In The Q: Coronavirus Edition
March 24, 2020 newsletter
We are continually updating our QCSD.org website to give you the latest information. Please click here to view the District Closure and the Coronavirus page. Updates can also be found on Twitter @QCSDNews and Facebook at QCSD News.
Please know QCSD teachers and staff miss seeing your children and look forward to seeing them again as soon as possible. But it's important right now for everyone to be safe and adhere to social distancing. So let's all do our part to prevent the spread of this virus. It may sound strange, but staying apart proves we're all working together!
Superintendent's Blog: Resuming Students' Education While We Are Closed
Our game plan is to get your child(ren) back to learning opportunities next week in a virtual setting. This is the first scenario that I outlined in my last blog - moving to optional online instructional activities provided by our teachers. Students will be able to participate and learn in this way for the remainder of the school year, or until the governor reopens our schools and we locally determine that it is safe for students, faculty and staff to return. The last day of the school calendar remains June 16th.
What to expect and when to expect it? On Friday, March 27th, we will be providing more details about what education in QCSD will look like going forward. We expect that our instructional model will support your children in reinforcing the skills they have learned, as well as acquiring the additional learning they will need to be successful in school next year.
Food for students during the closure
During the closure of Quakertown Community School District schools, students on free and reduced lunch will be able to pick up food at no cost on Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at Quakertown Community High School, 600 Park Ave.
In addition, QCSD families going through a financial hardship may also bring their students for food pickup. We ask that you speak with a Chartwells Food Service food provider about filling out an application for free and reduced lunch.
To pick up food during the closure all students will need to enter their I.D. number and be able to name the school they attend. They will be allowed to enter the front door, where they will be greeted by members of Chartwells. No one, however, will be allowed through the second set of doors and into the building.
Students, or parents of younger students, will be able to get breakfast for the next morning and lunch for that day. Both meals will be cold service, consisting of cereal, sandwiches, muffins, fruit, milk and juice.
Here’s more information, regarding financial hardship:
- An application can be filled out at any time during the school year.
- Even if you've already filled out an application (whether approved or denied), you can fill out another application if you've had a change in household income.
- Online application would be the current method to use due to limited mail receipt
- Families may contact Stacy Reiss (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions concerning their free and reduced status or other questions.
Quakertown Community Outreach wants QCSD families to know that it can assist with housing, transportation, prescriptions or food emergencies that arise due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
If you are in need of assistance, please email email@example.com. Please visit Facebook and join our group, “Quakertown Community Outreach,” which will post updates on closures and services as they are received.
At-Home Learning Opportunities For Students
The Office for Teaching and Learning, along with building principals, have reviewed options for student learning as school closures take place.
Each resource is something that is familiar to your child or easily accessible. Currently, no assignments will be graded, and they are not mandatory. The available resources are not meant to replace instructional time, and work completed will not count as school assignments.
Please click here for information.
Physically separated, students & teachers stay connected
QCSD teachers didn't waste any time staying in contact and reassuring students during the closure. Whether it be social media or distance learning options many teachers and students have remained connected, during these unusual times.
Several teachers on Twitter, using the hashtag #qcsdshareyourlearning, posted photos and videos of the learning taking place in their homes. Seeing this, students asked teachers for a video of them saying "Hi" or shared videos of their own home learning.
Teacher Brooke Reed tweeted "My heart is so full! Checking in with my students on Seesaw, and one of my QE fifth graders has posted a few videos of her stuffed animals talking to each other in Spanish! What a buena idea! #qcsdshareyourlearning"
A parent tweeted "Whoever created @Seesaw Thank you!! For my children to be able to continue to connect with their teachers through your platform during this difficult time has been so valuable!! @trumelem #qcsdshareyourlearning"
The Office of Teaching & Learning added to its long list of student resources, and several teachers caught up and provided support to one another in Zoom conferences.
And then there was Chef Chris Polk, who shared these fabulous cooking videos!
PDE to Cyber Charters: 'no school in PA is permitted or authorized to reopen'
With several cyber charter schools indicating through social media, parent communications, and other means that they have reopened, or intend to reopen, instructional programming, the Pennsylvania Department of Education made clear "under the current order from the Governor, no school in Pennsylvania is permitted or authorized to reopen. Your school, like all other public schools, may plan for and pursue continuity of education; however, PDE does not approve local continuity of education plans."
We need Your Help During COVID-19 Crisis
Tech Support for Students & Staff
We ask that when you arrive for your appointment, you pull up to the digital sign in front of the high school main entrance on Park Ave. and we will come to you. Curbside support will limit everyone's exposure to others. We will limit the number of people who arrive for support to ensure we follow our social distancing efforts.
Please click here for more information.
Statewide assessments canceled
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has canceled statewide assessments for the 2019-20 school year. This includes the PSSA, PASA, and Keystone Exams.
More information and updates can be found on PDE’s website.
Helping Homebound Children During COVID-19 Outbreak
Emergency measures, such as requiring that children remain at home are critical methods to limit the spread of infection from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Despite its positive public health benefits, for an individual child, being homebound can serve as an opportunity to spend time with family, but also can result in insufficient physical activity, irregular sleep patterns, weight gain, and decreased fitness.
As many parents know, boredom and frustration are common during time required to be home and inside. The lifestyle changes may also contribute to social isolation from peers and teachers, anxiety, and tension among family members due to a lack of personal space at home.
Importantly, public fear about COVID-19 that stigmatizes and scapegoats specific populations can further increase a child’s and family’s sense of isolation. Clinicians and parents can consider the following approaches to better manage homebound periods for children and families.
Please click here for information put out by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.
Working Remotely During Covid-19
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting new and unique major challenges. We are navigating unchartered waters with this virus making it important to find new ways to
work and interact while also taking care of our mental health and well-being.
Many are teleworking full-time for the first time, isolated from co-workers, friends and family. Our daily living routines are disrupted causing added anxiety, stress and strain physically, mentally, and financially. It is completely natural for this disruption and uncertainty to lead to anxiety and stress.
Now more than ever, we all must take care of our mental health and well-being. As we protect ourselves against potential exposure to the Coronavirus, keep in mind that social distancing does not mean social isolation.
This resource from the Center of Workplace Mental Health provides practical tips on taking care of our mental health and well-being.
Borough sets up web page for latest info
They decided that the pandemic provides area leaders the opportunity to work together, serve in the best interest of all, and clearly demonstrate the character and community values we hold dear. Not knowing how long our lives will be disrupted, they will work through this together with the intent to support all of our citizens and local business owners to the best of our ability.
Quakertown Borough has established a go-to webpage to ensure that the Quakertown community remains safe and healthy, the neediest have a place to turn to for support, and our local businesses survive the pandemic. Please check it out if you need assistance or to see all the local food establishments that are setting up a ‘grab and go’ system. We need to help get our small businesses in the Quakertown area through the pandemic.