School Closure Update
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March 19, 2020
Thank you for your patience as we work through the many questions we face as a school during this unprecedented time. We are working as diligently as possible to get you the most accurate information in a timely manner. Things continue to evolve constantly, sometimes by the hour.
On Wednesday I participated in a virtual meeting with the California Department of Education, led by California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. Superintendent Thurmond clarified that we do not have any specific information from the Governor or our State Legislature about school closures. I recognize that hearing from state officials that closures may last until the end of the year is extremely concerning for families. The fact is that we cannot predict when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, and at this time our students are scheduled to return to school on Tuesday, April 7th. Any change to this date will be communicated to you as soon as possible.
I would also like to update families on a few other informational items.
Delivery of Academic Services
At the Wednesday meeting with the California Department of Education some new information was released. There are new directives related to how schools should be delivering academic content moving forward. Teachers and staff are now regrouping, discussing the implications, and will provide an update to our community in the days to come. As a Montessori school, online learning requires some creative strategies so we can maintain our most important core teaching values and learning methods. Please continue to work on the suggested projects and activities already provided by your teacher as new lesson plans are developed.
Gov. Newsom issued an executive order Wednesday to waive, pending federal approval, this year’s statewide testing for California’s students. These guidelines include both CAASPP and ELPAC.
Child Care Service
The California Dept of Public Education is encouraging school sites to support families who are deemed “Essential Workers” with child care during the school day. The State of California Health and Human Services Agency has provided guidance for these child care centers. No more than 12 children can be together and it must be the same group of children the whole time. In addition, childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children. If you are an individual in an occupation deemed as an "Essential Worker" and you need childcare, please email Mr. Emal at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is trying to determine how many families at Golden Oak Montessori need Apollo to open a camp to provide this service. Please note there must be a minimum of 8 children for the camp to run, and it is ONLY for families with a parent/guardian deemed an “Essential Workers” who still must leave their home to work.
There are numerous locations throughout Alameda Co. serving “Grab and Go” style breakfast and lunch. Any child under 18 years old can pick up these free meals on a first-come, first-served basis. No identification is required. If your family is having an issue accessing these meals, please contact email@example.com.
For families that do not have a computer at home for a student to access online educational resources, we are checking out a limited number of school Chromebook computers to those who need them. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need this resource. Due to the shelter in place guidelines, we will set up a scheduled block of time to pick up the computers next week. In addition Comcast is offering a temporary free Internet service for qualifying families during this time. Learn more at internetessentials.com/covid19.
Supporting Your Child And Yourself During the Pandemic
We all are doing our best right now and please know that we are here to support your students. These are difficult times for our children, as they are faced with new learning platforms, missing their classmates and friends, and having different daily routines. Our staff and school psychologist are working and are available remotely. Please let Jennine Powell (email@example.com), our school psychologist, know if your child needs some support.
While health and physical safety is a priority, it is also important to consider how children are thinking, feeling, and talking about what is happening around them. Here are some suggestions.
Talk to Your Children:
Ask your child to tell you what he or she knows about COVID-19. You can share facts as needed.
Help children draw pictures or other activities to express themselves.
Be extra patient and provide comfort if children say they are worried.
Limit screen time about COVID-19.
Be Mindful of Your Routine:
Keep your family’s bedtime, meal, and exercise routines consistent.
Find ways to include movement and physical activity, such as a dance party or yoga stretches.
Do things at home that have made you and your family feel better in other stressful situations, including, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, exercising, or practicing religious activities.
Have time set aside each weekday for school work.
It is normal for students to feel lonely, worried, or bored. A regular routine can help.
Include children in chores around the house so they can feel a sense of accomplishment.
Limit screen time.
Care for Yourself So You Can Care for Others:
As a caregiver, take small breaks.
Be aware of your feelings and how to support yourself. Suggested ideas.
Connect with friends and family by phone, text, or email to find support.
You are a role model for your children. How you handle this stressful situation can affect how your children manage their worries.
We know this period is very difficult for many of our families, and we thank all of you for your patience and perseverance. Our staff misses your children dearly and wish health for everyone in our community. Please take care of yourself and your family.
Head of School
Golden Oak Montessori