The Trojan Times
St. Maria Goretti Catholic School March 15, 2020
Dear SMG School Community,
After much consultation with the Texas Department of Health, the Diocese of Fort Worth will follow their recommendation and will close our diocesan school campuses, including St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, until Monday, March 30th. As well, there will be no activities, clubs, meetings, or SMEED available during this period.
To be clear, though closing of the school does follow spring break, it should not be viewed as an attempt at an extended vacation. The goal of closing the school is to prevent an outbreak and to work on containment. While the school is closed, our custodial staff will continue deep cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, restrooms, doorknobs, and all surfaces throughout the entire school, and this cleaning will take place repeatedly throughout the time in which the school is closed.
Additionally, on Monday and Tuesday I will be working with teachers to create lessons and assignments in core subject classes (Literature/Reading, English, Math, Science, History, & Religion), which they will then be able to provide to parents via Office 365 Teams (like Google Classroom, RenWeb, email, or other online platforms. The lessons and assignments teachers are designing will be appropriate for the subject and grade-level/age of the student. We are aware that students will most likely not have textbooks and other materials at home and students/parents will not be allowed access to the school to retrieve materials until further notice. Therefore, all lessons/assignments will include any materials students may need. Please keep in mind that the point is for students to be learning from the lessons/assignments-not just to be kept busy. Initial lessons/assignments will be communicated to parents by Wednesday, 3/18 and subsequent assignments from each subject will be communicated on a rotating basis so that students are not overwhelmed with lessons/assignments in all core subjects on the same day, or with assignments due on the same day.
Further, we understand that some families may experience challenges with connectivity, more users than devices, and supervision of children. I want to assure you that we will work with you. Any grades assigned will be both considerate and meaningful. Late work due to extenuating circumstances will not be penalized. We will be flexible to support parents (and students) should any challenges or extenuating circumstances arise.
Families are encouraged to stay home and not congregate in large groups or community gatherings. The Texas Department of Health recommends refraining from going to the movies, museums, theaters, etc. and Tarrant County has banned gatherings of 250 or more people. While this is an unsettling time for all of us, I am confident the steps we are taking are necessary to hinder and hopefully halt the transmission and spread of the COVID-19 virus, and keeping all of us healthy.
Please be assured that I will be in contact with the SMG school community with any changes or updates, and along with the diocese, will stay in close contact with the Health Department to assess each step with their guidance.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Stay safe & healthy!
St. Maria Goretti, Pray for Us!
Online Educational Resources for Parents
Click the link below for a list of online educational resources that parents may find worthwhile and helpful while children are not at school over the next two weeks. This list is not exhaustive as there are MANY other educational sites, many that are offering free resources and access during the COVID-19 crisis. Please note, St. Maria Goretti Catholic School does not specifically endorse any site on the list.
Mass Schedule and Protocol
Arlington ISD Launches Drive-Up Free Meal Locations
Officials with Arlington Independent School District announced they will launch 23 drive-up locations to hand out free meals while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Monday, March 16, the locations will be open from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. each weekday.
Children 18 years old and younger will be given "one packaged lunch meal and one light breakfast meal" to help make sure all students are fed during the closure, officials said. “We know these are extraordinary times for everyone,” Arlington ISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said in a news release. “Making sure our students have healthy food options is vital to everyone involved. It is a tremendous undertaking, but it’s necessary as the well-being of our students has been and always will be our No. 1 concern.”
Children must be present to pick up the meals, but no student ID or form of identification is required. Menus for each day's meals will be posted on the district's Facebook page and its coronavirus website. There will be a non-meat option each day as well. The district will be closed until March 30.
Below is the list of distribution centers:
- Dipert Career+Technical Center
- Sam Houston High School
- Ferguson Education Center
- Bailey Junior High
- Barnett Junior High
- Boles Junior High
- Nichols Junior High
- Ousley Junior High
- Shackelford Junior High
- Workman Junior High
- Young Junior High
- Crouch Elementary
- Farrell Elementary
- Knox Elementary
- Larson Elementary
- Miller Elementary
- Pope Elementary
- Sherrod Elementary
- Short Elementary
- Speer Elementary
- Starrett Elementary
- Swift Elementary
- Wood Elementary
Talking to Your Child About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere. Many parents are wondering how to talk about this health crisis in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. Here is some advice from the experts at the Child Mind Institute that may be relevant for you in speaking with your child.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the Coronavirus: Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. “You take on the news and you’re the person who filters the news to your kid,” explains Janine Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news.
- Be developmentally appropriate: Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
- Take your cues from your child: Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the Coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions.
- Deal with your own anxiety: “When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that is not the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the Coronavirus,” warns Dr. Domingues. If you notice that you are feeling anxious take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
- Be reassuring: Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the Coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child about how rare the Coronavirus actually is (the flu is much more common) and that kids actually seem to have milder symptoms.
- Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe: An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Jamie Howard, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, notes, “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” We know that mostly coughing and touching surfaces transmit the coronavirus. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of praying the Angel of God or St. Micheal the Archangel prayer twice) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If kids ask about facemasks, explain that the experts at the CDC say they aren’t necessary for most people. If kids see people wearing facemasks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
- Stick to routine: “We don’t like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be helpful right now,” advises Dr. Domingues. This is particularly important if your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during a spring break or summer vacation. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
- Keep talking: Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more. “Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open,” says Dr. Domingues. “You can say, ‘Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, mom or dad will let you know, too.’”
Excerpt from Talking to Kids About Coronavirus; Rachel Ehmke; https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/
65th Anniversary Homecoming Event Canceled
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