CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 4/05/2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 4/05/2020
Posted on 04/05/2020
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 4/05/2020
Coronavirus Update

DUE TO THE VOLUME OF INFORMATION WHICH IS TOO LENGTHY
TO TEXT OR INCLUDE IN A PHONE CALL BUT NEEDS TO BE COMMUNICATED
DURING THIS UNPRECEDENTED EVENT,
WE ASK THAT ALL PARENTS LOG IN TO
THEIR SCHOOLMESSENGER ACCOUNTS
AND MAKE SURE THEIR EMAIL IS SELECTED AS A NOTIFICATION OPTION
AND IS ENTERED ACCURATELY.

SCHOOLMESSENGER INSTRUCTIONS
  

SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

I hope this greeting finds each of you and your family members healthy and safe! Our thoughts are with our MASD families, in particular those who are experiencing any challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please know that we are here to provide encouragement and support to you and your children to get through whatever difficulties your family may be facing. MASD is so fortunate to have caring and dedicated employees who are willing to go the extra mile to assist families. One of the ways in which we will continue to support our families is through the food service program. We are grateful to the wonderful cafeteria staff at Nutrition Group for their role in preparing the bagged lunches and snacks for our children. We also appreciate the ongoing support of our employees who have helped to coordinate and distribute food the past three weeks. Several donations from individuals and local businesses have also allowed our RaiderPacks backpack food program to be extended during this pandemic. We are most grateful to all those who have supported this cause.

The purpose of today’s communication is to update you on the schedule change for food service this week and to provide a few details about planned instruction for all students beginning Monday, April 6.

Food Service Schedule Change This Week

Bagged lunches and snacks will be available this week at both Fink Elementary School and Middletown Area High School on Monday (April 6), Wednesday (April 8), and Thursday (April 9) from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Please note that there will be no distribution on Friday, April 10. Any child living in MASD up to 18 years of age is eligible to receive a bagged lunch and snack FREE on those days with extras provided for the days in between offerings. RaiderPacks will also be available for pick-up during those times on Monday, April 6 and Thursday, April 9.

The regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday lunch program schedule will resume on April 13 and continue until further notice.

Planned Instruction Begins This Week

Once again, I wish to thank the MASD IT department and employees who assisted with the distribution of over 1,100 iPads last week. Kudos to the parents of our elementary students who arranged to visit their child’s school last week to pick up the devices. We are so appreciative of your cooperation!

Beginning tomorrow (Monday, April 6), all MASD K-12 students are expected to begin remote learning using their District-issued iPads. Our teachers have reached out to their students and parents last week during the enrichment/review week to get everyone acclimated to the new learning platforms. A few teachers have shared with administration that some of their students are not responding to emails, phone calls, or Zoom meeting invitations. We understand that there is a learning curve for all of us, but we really need everyone to work together and do their part to make this new venture successful for our students.

Parents, please ensure that your child is able to get online and is logging in daily. If you are without internet, there were several options recommended to assist with getting service for free or at a reduced rate. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or building principal who can guide you to those resources.

This week teachers will begin tracking completion of students’ assignments. We are still awaiting further direction from the PA Department of Education regarding the tracking of daily student attendance and grades, but students should be spending time online daily this week (with the exception of Friday that is a day off for everyone) to participate in lessons, complete assignments, and communicate with teachers. Last week was optional, but this week and the weeks hereafter are required.

Elementary parents, please note that the older model devices given out last week do not contain the District’s internet filtering service. Therefore, it is the parents’ responsibility to monitor the content students are engaging with on their devices using your home internet permissions, similar to what you do if your child has a cell phone.

Lastly, please note that all MASD employees and students will be off on Friday, April 10, 2020 (for a 3-day “spring break” weekend). Teachers will not have office hours on Friday or be responding to students’ emails. Online learning will resume again on Monday, April 13, 2020.

I will be back with an update next week and information on how to receive your child’s 3rd quarter report card electronically. Until then, please remain at home and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This afternoon Governor Wolf made two announcements that impact Middletown Area School District. The first is that Dauphin County has now been added to the growing list of Pennsylvania counties that are under a “stay-at-home” order as of 8:00 p.m. today. The second is that the mandated school closure has now been extended indefinitely; meaning that students will not be returning to school on April 13, 2020, as previously planned. This new information raises several questions for which answers may or may not yet be known:

How does the Dauphin County “stay-at-home” order impact MASD families picking up bagged lunches and iPads as scheduled this week?

The “stay-at-home” order will not impact these planned distributions. According to guidance received from the state, travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning or for receiving meals is considered “essential travel.” Therefore, the schedule published last week for this week’s M-W-F food distribution and T-Th iPad distribution is still in effect.

When will schools re-open?

Governor Wolf did not announce a date for the reopening of schools. He only stated that the closure has been extended indefinitely. Therefore, all we know, at this point, is that MASD will not re-open for staff on April 9 or for students on April 13 as previously announced.

Does this mean that school is over for the rest of the year?

No! Although we have not yet been told when the closure will end, we remain hopeful that schools will re-open at some time this spring; however, that is currently unknown. We will continue to update parents as information becomes available to us. Now that we know that school is not going to open for some time, it is even more critical that students begin to go online and become acclimated to the remote learning environment. Remember that optional enrichment and review activities are available to students this week, and next week all K-12 students are expected to begin 4th marking period work online through planned instruction. Teachers will be reaching out to students and parents with specific directions this week.

What about spring sports, concerts, banquets, prom and graduation?

This morning PIAA announced that spring sports will continue to be placed on hold. It is too early to tell what will happen with any of our major school events; however, as stated on Saturday in the MASD Continuity of Education Plan, reasonable effort will be made to reschedule any missed, significant events, especially for seniors, when it is safe to do so. We will continue to update you, if and when we get to that point.

This is all the news we have to share at the moment. Know that all of us share your frustration with this situation. We feel badly for the Class of 2020; yet, every day as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, we have all become increasingly aware of how very serious this disease is. Continue to take necessary precautions and discourage your children from congregating at local parks and playgrounds. Children also need to practice social distancing to prevent the community spread of COVID-19.

Be well and know that the MASD faculty, staff and administration will continue to be here to support and assist you during this challenging time in our world.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

As we conclude this second week of the mandated school closure, there are two important updates to share with you:

1.  The Middletown Area SD Continuity of Education Plan is completed and can be located HERE. The plan has been placed in a template required by the PA Department of Education to be published on the District website and shared with all parents and community. The plan is very detailed and addresses many areas. Please take time this weekend to read the plan in its entirety and contact your child’s building principal with any questions. This plan is a fluid document and may be updated regularly as new information becomes available. The most recent version of the plan will be posted to the District website and parents will be notified if any changes to the plan occur.

2.  This week the District served bagged lunches and snacks to hundreds of students. The District’s RaiderPacks program was also very busy. All available food in the RaiderPacks inventory has been distributed. Although the District anticipates another delivery late next week from the Central PA Food Bank, we are aware that many families may require additional assistance with food before that time. Therefore, on Tuesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 2, during the scheduled elementary iPad pick-up times, there will be a separate area of the elementary school parking lots designated as drop-off locations for any donations of unperishable food (cans, boxes) that can be distributed to families in need with next week’s RaiderPacks. We thank you in advance for your support and assistance as we all work together to remain Raider Strong!

Please continue to stay healthy!

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Here is the latest update on Middletown Area School District’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic which includes answers to some pending items from the March 24th communication:

Has the District made a decision on how Spring Break will be affected should classes be able to resume in two weeks?

Yes! Here is the anticipated schedule for students’ return (subject to change based on any further mandates from the office of the Governor). As of now, the earliest MASD students will return to school is Monday, April 13, 2020.

  • April 6 – 8 – Operations Department only reports to thoroughly clean and sanitize all school buildings.
  • April 9 – Teachers report back to work for classroom preparation. School will be closed for all students.
  • April 10 – District Closed for Spring Break (Good Friday)
  • April 13 – District Resumes Classes for All Students

What is the District’s Plan for Continuity of Education over the next two weeks?

Earlier this week the PA Department of Education provided guidance to PA school districts on options for continuity of education. Middletown Area School District administration has developed a plan that will enable all K – 12 students to have equitable access to education during the remaining weeks of the mandated school closure once all elementary students receive their iPads next week.

Week of March 30 – April 3: Enrichment & Review – This consists of informal activities that reinforce or extend students' prior learning. New standards and skills are not addressed through Enrichment and Review. (Offered to all students K – 12 online, but optional for work completion since elementary iPads will not be ready for distribution until March 31 and April 2.)

Week of April 6 – 9: Planned Instruction – This is formal teaching and learning online similar to that which occurs in a classroom setting. Within this process, teachers use planned courses of instruction of new concepts/skills aligned to grade level standards. (Offered to all with expectations for work completion; however, no grades will be recorded for this week only.)

Week of April 13 – 17 and beyond: Return to brick-and-mortar classes (contingent upon Governor’s order for any possible extension of the school closure) or continuation of Planned Instruction online as described above with expectations for work completion and grades assigned.

How will elementary students receive their iPads to begin continuity of education?

Elementary iPad Distribution Schedule – Thanks to the MASD Technology Department’s incredible efforts this week, an iPad has been prepared for each elementary student in MASD (Grades K through 5) and will be ready for distribution next week at your child’s school (Fink, Kunkel and Reid) according to the following schedule:

Tuesday, March 31
Grade 5 students may pick up their iPads from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM.
Grade 4 students may pick up their iPads from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM.
Grade 3 students may pick up their iPads from 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM.
**If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.**

Thursday, April 2
Grade 2 students may pick up their iPads from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM.
Grade 1 students may pick up their iPads from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM.
Kindergarten students may pick up their iPads from 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM.
** If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. **

NOTE: if you have children in multiple grades and would like to pick up all their iPads at once, please inform your building principal which time slot you plan to attend so they can have all devices ready for you.


Elementary iPad Distribution Process - All social distancing rules will apply. No one will be permitted to exit their car. These building maps, Fink, Kunkel, Reid show the entrance onto each school’s campus.

  • Upon arrival, parents should drive to Station #1. Walkers must maintain a distance of 6 feet between themselves and the next person in line.

  • At Station #1, parents will hand the MASD employee the completed iPad Agreement. If possible, please print out the document at home, sign it, and be prepared to hand it to the employee at Station #1. (Note: Parents who are unable to print at home will be handed a paper copy at Station #1 and asked to drive to another area of the parking lot to complete the necessary paperwork and then return to Station #1 to submit it.) Please read Policy #815 regarding Acceptable Use of Technology.

  • Then proceed to Station #2 to pick up your device. To prevent as little physical contact as possible, we ask that you hold up a sign from your car window as you approach Station #2 that indicates child’s last name, grade level, and homeroom teacher. iPads will be organized in bins in individual bags by grade level and homeroom teacher. This will expedite the employee’s ability to quickly retrieve your child’s device from the bin and keep the lines moving as quickly as possible.

  • Each iPad will be handed to parents/students by an MASD employee wearing protective gloves. The iPad will be stored in a sturdy plastic Ziploc™ bag containing a charger, directions, information for free internet access, and individual login information for access to Google Classroom.

Additional details regarding this Continuity of Education Plan will be published online and emailed to parents via School Messenger late on Friday or over the weekend as the plan is finalized. Our teachers are eager to begin virtual instruction to ensure that our students continue to receive an education during this pandemic. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as this is uncharted territory for all of us. I am confident in our MASD teachers, support staff and administration and know that we will do whatever it takes to assist our students and their families to adjust to this new way of learning at home until the time that we are able to return to our school buildings. Meanwhile, we hope that your families are all staying healthy and well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic! Today’s communication is intended to provide new information for parents of MASD students.

How long will schools remain closed?

Yesterday Governor Wolf and the PA Secretary of Education announced that all Pennsylvania schools shall remain closed until at least April 6 with further re-evaluation of the situation at that time. The announcement included guidance that, as of now, teachers and administrators may return to schools on April 7 for two days of preparation before students would be permitted to return on April 9, at the earliest.

How does this affect Spring Break scheduled for April 8 (PM) through April 13?

In keeping with the Board-approved MASD academic calendar, although the Governor advised that students may return to school on April 9, the District recognizes that Spring Break is scheduled during the annual observance of religious holidays such as Passover and Easter, and we want to respect the fact that school has historically not been in session on Good Friday. Therefore, the earliest that MASD students would return to school is Monday, April 13 (which is a scheduled make-up day on the academic calendar); however, this is contingent upon further discussion with the teachers’ association regarding the possibility of using April 13 as a teacher preparation day with students returning to school on Tuesday, April 14. We will update you as decisions are made. The District plans to have the Operations Department thoroughly clean and sanitize all District schools on April 7, 8 and 9 in preparation for teachers’ and students’ return the following week.

When will my child receive his/her 3rd marking period report card?

The marking period was originally scheduled to end on March 26; however, due to these unprecedented events, the end of the marking period has been extended to at least April 8 to permit students to turn in overdue assignments and to allow teachers time to finalize grades. Report cards will be issued sometime during the week of April 13 (exact date to be determined).

What is the District’s plan for continuity of education now that the closure has been extended two more weeks?

Administrators and teachers have been working remotely to develop a plan for continuity of education. Specifically, this is what we are able to tell you at this time (with further details forthcoming in the next few days as new guidance from the PA Department of Education has just been released at noon today):

1. The MASD IT Department is working around the clock to prepare for the deployment of iPads for ALL students in Grades K – 5 next week using available technology in our existing inventory of past generation models that are slated to be sold at the end of the school year. That means that every student in MASD K – 12 will have a 1:1 device to use at home during the closure as our Grades 6 – 12 students already have their devices at home.

2. A schedule is being developed for pick-up of the elementary iPads beginning the week of March 30 (look for a specific schedule later this week). No one will need to leave their car to pick up the iPads. The devices will be handed out in a protective bag containing a charger, instructions, and an MASD iPad Agreement that parents will need to complete and submit to the District. Free internet access is available through Comcast for two months. If you do not have internet service at home, please consider contacting Comcast this week.

3. By late next week, K – 12 teachers will begin posting student activities/assignments on Google Classroom (K – 5) or Canvas (6 – 12) for students to work remotely from home. Teachers will be in touch with all students regarding the use of free Zoom accounts that will enable teachers and students to communicate individually, in small groups, or as a whole class using this technology application. Please note that this does not mean that teachers will be holding their brick-and-mortar classes online according to their in-school schedules. We need to provide flexibility to teachers and students while providing continuity of education. Each teacher will announce “office hours” during which they will make themselves available to students who have questions or need additional supports. Your child’s individual teachers will be your contact persons to provide details as we roll out this plan for continuity of education.

4. Beginning next week, K -12 counselors, social workers, school nurses, and school psychologists will be available via Zoom by appointment for any students who need to “check-in” for their own mental health and well-being. These professionals meet regularly with many of our students in the brick-and-mortar setting, so with available technology, these supportive services will be made available to our students. Students (and/or parents) may wish to reach out to these professionals via email to make arrangements for online meetings.

5. Special education teachers have the most challenging role in providing services to their students in an online capacity, but MASD is committed to doing whatever it can to provide continuity of education to its special needs students during this extraordinary time. Please reach out to your child’s special education teacher via email with questions. Teachers and other related service providers will be reaching out to parents and students to talk about how continuity of education can be facilitated using available technology. Teachers will also be in touch with parents regarding upcoming IEP meetings that may be conducted virtually.

6. The focus for the next two weeks of the school closure is on educational continuity; not grades! Teachers may provide feedback to students on work submitted and will keep track of completed assignments, but no grades will be issued during these two weeks. Our goal is to not add to the stress levels of our students, parents or teachers during this unusual situation. We simply want our students to keep learning and stay engaged in meaningful ways.

Will weekday meal service remain available during the extended closure?

Bagged lunches and snacks will continue to be served during the extended closure; however, the District will move to a 3-day serving schedule to reduce the number of food service personnel coming into the schools. Beginning Monday, March 30, service will be available at Fink and the HS from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Mondays, students will be given enough food for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesdays, students will be given enough food for Wednesday and Thursday. On Fridays, students will be given enough food for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Remember that students must be in the car or walk-up to the outdoor distribution site in order to receive these bagged meals.

In closing, we are grateful for all of your support and patience as we continue to work through these issues together. We know there will be more questions that arise, and we will do our best to provide you answers in a timely manner.

With Raider Pride,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Governor Wolf has just announced that the mandatory closure of PA schools has been extended for two additional weeks. The Pennsylvania Department of Education just issued an email to superintendents that the earliest staff will return is Tuesday, April 7, 2020. As of now, students would be scheduled to return on Thursday, April 9, 2020. As you can imagine, this news just broke, so the District requests your patience as we work through this news and begin to roll out our plan for instruction next week and discuss the impact on the school calendar. Watch for more information later today.

Thank you again for your patience!

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:,

Please take a few minutes to view this video message from Dr. Suski, Superintendent of Schools.

In Dr. Suski’s video, she announces that the RaiderPacks program will be providing food for families in need. Interested parents must complete this RaiderPack survey.

Lastly, we have been informed that some parents are having difficulty submitting their videos through wetransfer.com for the “Send Us Your Videos” project. Small videos can be emailed directly to raidervideos@raiderweb.org. Students may share their videos with raidervideos@raiderweb.org through their google drive. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Middletown Area School District


THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:,

I want to provide you an update on the District’s response to COVID-19 on this 4th day of the Governor’s 10-day mandated closure of PA schools:

Food Service
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the District began serving daily bagged lunches and bagged snacks to any students 18 years of age or younger. We distributed 154 lunches on Tuesday, 185 on Wednesday, and 144 on Thursday between our two sites at Fink Elementary School and the High School. The District will continue to serve these meals on weekdays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Fink and the High School during the closure. Parents do not need to get out of their cars but the children must be in the vehicle in order to receive the lunches, per federal guidelines. We have also offered eggs and milk to families in need from our available inventory from the RaiderPacks program while lunches/snacks are distributed. Due to the closure we are unable to operate our RaiderPacks program this evening, but we are discussing alternative ways to assist families in need of food over the coming days, so please look for more information in future updates.

Continuity of Instruction
Our teachers are working from home during the closure to wrap up 3rd marking period grades (based on assignments given up until the announcement of the closure on March 13). If your child has missing work from the 3rd marking period, his/her teacher will communicate with the student to ensure that the work is completed during these two weeks and submitted for grading. Teachers will be flexible in accepting work submissions due to these extenuating circumstances, and we will delay the closing/storage of grades and issuance of report cards accordingly to allow all students to have equal opportunity to hand in missing assignments. Please communicate directly with your child’s teachers for assistance and support in this area.

All school districts across the Commonwealth are awaiting word from the PA Department of Education regarding the continuity of instruction should the closure extend beyond March 27, 2020. Once school district officials are given direction from state officials, we will release a plan to parents as to how continuity of instruction would occur in MASD. There are many unanswered questions that remain, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through these challenging times. We have informed MASD teachers to prepare for the possibility of moving into a virtual teaching and learning environment, and discussions have been occurring administratively all week as to what options exist to allow for such a change to occur. Please be assured that while our students and teachers may be out of school, the administration has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a plan for the delivery of online learning in the event that conditions would not allow us to return to school as we hope. Please look for more information on this very important topic on Friday evening after we receive more information from the PA Department of Education.

State Assessments
Late this afternoon, school officials were notified that PSSA, PASA and Keystone Exams will not be administered next month. The state testing has been cancelled for this spring due to the pandemic.

Student & Parent Mental Health Resources
Unanticipated upheaval in people’s lives creates an undue amount of stress on adults, and that stress is often mirrored in children and teens who are overwhelmed by the volume of constant information available via social media and television related to COVID-19. I want to close today’s communication by sharing with you the power point slides from an excellent webinar provided by Effective School Solutions entitled “Supporting Student Stress, Anxiety & Mental Health During COVID-19.” We hope you find this information helpful as you cope with these unprecedented times.

Continued best wishes for everyone’s health and safety,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This is a reminder that school nurses will be available at each school building on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM for parents who need to pick up their child’s prescription medications needed for home administration over the next two weeks. In addition, parents will be required to provide identification and sign a release form before any medications will be released.

Principals will also allow access into the buildings from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Tuesday, March 17 for any student who needs to retrieve essential items from their lockers or desks, such as iPads, chargers, books, and any outstanding assignments for the third marking period. Please note that students who come in are to get what they need and leave the building immediately. For the safety of all, no one is permitted to congregate in the school buildings.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Middletown Area School District will be providing a FREE grab-and-go lunch and snack to any children aged 18 and under. Click here for details.

We will continue to update you as new information is available.

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Middletown Area School District administrators have engaged in planning discussions throughout the weekend as the COVID-19 pandemic moved from prevention and preparedness phases to response efforts. As announced on Friday afternoon, all Pennsylvania schools are closed beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020 by order of Governor Wolf.

Administrative meetings are scheduled for tomorrow morning to finalize plans for the next two weeks with further communications forthcoming to parents on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, we are able to share the following information with you, based on guidance provided to school districts on Sunday, March 15 from the PA Department of Education’s Office of the Secretary of Education:

Schools are not required to provide any type of instruction during the closure of schools due to COVID-19 response efforts. The PA Department of Education recognizes that the rapidly evolving pandemic may make it impossible to implement continuity of education plans.

What does that mean for MASD students?

There are currently nine (9) days remaining in the 3rd marking period. Students who have any assignments missing are expected to use these two weeks to make up any outstanding work that was assigned prior to the announcement of the closure. Work from middle and high school students can be emailed to teachers or submitted through a drop box or learning management system such as Canvas. Elementary students who owe missing assignments can ask their parents to email it to the teacher or we will work on other arrangements to have the work submitted later in the week by mail or at a drop box location. (Elementary plans will require more discussion on Monday.)

What if my child left things at school on Friday and needs to access the building? Can they get in?

To facilitate this effort, all school buildings will be open on Tuesday, March 17 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM only for students to pick up anything they may need from their desks or lockers to get that work completed. The Health Rooms will also be opened and staffed by nurses for parents who need to pick up their child’s medications for home administration during the closure.

Are the teachers working during the closure?

Teachers will be working remotely from home during the closure to grade missing work and begin to finalize grades for the 3rd marking period. Teachers are available via email to consult with parents and students as needed to answer any questions about 3rd quarter assignments, but no new assignments will be issued during the closure and no direction instruction will occur. Teachers will be working on the development of online lessons in the event that the closure lasts longer than the currently scheduled two weeks. If that was to occur, the District will have a plan for continuity of instruction beginning March 30, 2020 at all levels K – 12. More information is forthcoming as that plan is developed this week.

So what can my child do during the closure?

Several options that MASD educators believe to be great ways for students to remain actively engaged in learning include, but are not limited to:

· Reading books, magazines, or the newspaper every day.
· Keeping a journal of this unprecedented time or writing a reflection on what has been learned from this experience.
· Practicing math facts or doing puzzles and activities that keep the brain active.
· Making a card or writing a letter to a grandparent or some other elderly person who may be feeling lonely during this time of isolation.
· Creating or inventing something.
· Doing an art project.
· Practicing a musical instrument or singing.
· Taking a walk outdoors (but keeping away from others).
· Cooking or baking with a parent or older sibling.

Keeping a routine and schedule for your child is important during these two weeks so that students will be ready to return to school after the closure. Social isolation is reportedly the most important factor in keeping the COVID-19 virus from spreading, so it is best that children remain at home and not engage in community play time with large groups of other children.

Comcast is providing FREE internet to families in need for two months. There are also many companies that are providing FREE access to educational websites and apps during the closure for students to use at home. The District will be compiling a list of the best sites available to share with parents tomorrow.

How can my child get breakfast or lunch during the closure?

Late on Friday afternoon MASD applied for a waiver to allow the District to operate a seamless food service program for students during the closure. We anticipate approval of the waiver on Monday and hope to have our food service operations prepared for “grab-and-go” bagged meals available at two sites in the District by Tuesday or Wednesday. In the interim, the District has been informed that some of our local restaurants have offered to provide FREE lunches for students who come in with their parents during the closure. We do not yet have an official list of those restaurants, but we will have that information for you tomorrow. Social media may be a good place to get the information earlier.

Please stay tuned for further updates as additional information becomes available.

Again, we thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging time.

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020

UPDATE: The District has applied to the state to provide FREE grab-n-go lunches during the school closure. More information will be provided when the application has been approved.


Dear Parent/Guardian:

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all K-12 public schools in Pennsylvania to close beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Governor’s announcement allows for school districts to plan to reopen Monday, March 30, 2020; however, the state will monitor COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, and at the end of the state-mandated closure, an evaluation will occur to decide whether schools may re-open.

During the mandated closure, no programming will occur in our schools, including before- and after-school activities, athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, weekend events, and any facilities rentals.

Prior to the Governor’s announcement this afternoon, Middletown Area School District had already begun discussions to close schools in response to this evolving pandemic situation with the utmost concern for the safety of our students and school communities. Because of this, Middle School and High School students were instructed to take their District-issued iPads home when they left school on Friday, March 13, 2020.

The Governor has announced that due to the mandated closure, school districts will not be held to the usual requirement to meet the 180 days of instruction (or 990 hours of instruction for secondary students and 900 hours for elementary students) during the 2019-2020 school year. The District is looking into options that would allow for potential continuity of instruction if a closure extended beyond two weeks.

The District has the ability to utilize the iPads to provide for continuity of instruction at the secondary level, but we do not have devices for each elementary student, and some District students may not have internet access at home. In either case, teachers would need time to plan for remote instruction. We plan to discuss these options with our teachers’ association.

We will share updated information as soon as we are able via SchoolMessenger, the District website, and social media outlets.

Again, our primary concern is the safety and security of students, staff, and community during this pandemic. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we all navigate these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Lori A. Suski, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

****MARCH 13, 2020 PRESS RELEASE FROM GOVERNOR'S OFFICE****

Governor Wolf Announces Closure of Pennsylvania Schools

Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16. The administration has been working with school districts as well as state and local officials to gather input on this decision. The Wolf Administration will continue to monitor Covid-19 in the commonwealth, and at the end of 10 days will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is needed.

Governor Wolf made the following statement:

We understand that these are trying times and recognize the impact of the coronavirus on our students and communities.

First and foremost, my top priority as governor – and that of our education leaders – must be to ensure the health and safety of our students and school communities.

As such, I am ordering that all schools in the commonwealth close for the next two weeks.

Be aware that no school district will be penalized if it fails to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements.

The Department of Education will work with intermediate units and other stakeholders to support school districts with any continuity of learning plans they may be pursuing.

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced today that it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow eligible schools to serve meals to low income students in a non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during this closure. We will also work with schools to assist them with those plans.

We appreciate your collaboration as we work together to deal with this difficult issue.

Governor Tom Wolfe


THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020

 

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Two weeks ago we released a communication on the District’s response to the growing public health concern related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since that time, we continue to receive daily updates from local and state officials since COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic. School District officials across our region met yesterday with emergency management to discuss what additional measures may be necessary to prevent the spread of illness if/when COVID-19 eventually reaches our area. Please note that as of today, there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Dauphin County. We continue to take our lead from information received from the CDC, federal, state and local emergency management agencies. At this time, those agencies are not recommending K-12 public schools cancel classes but continue to utilize best practices in prevention of the spread of any illness. Should this guidance change, we will alert you immediately.

In addition to the preventative measures already in place, such as daily cleaning of classroom surfaces, door knobs, railings, and “high touch” surfaces, we remind students and staff to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating. Hand sanitizers have been placed in common areas of each school building. We continue to ask that students and staff refrain from shaking hands, touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Most importantly, students or staff who are sick should remain at home.

MASD continues to follow its emergency preparedness plan which calls for preventative measures as described above and continuous monitoring of the situation based on daily updates from emergency management officials. We also continue to monitor daily student and staff attendance and review plans for upcoming field trips and events. Again, with no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, we have not been advised to curtail any extra-curricular activities or in-school events. As situations change, we will adjust accordingly and continue to communicate those decisions with you. THIS LINK contains information from Dauphin County regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 continues to evolve, so we must continuously review the facts and make decisions in the best interest of students and employees. We await further direction from the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education. There are many rumors circulating about the closure of school districts; therefore, we have been advised to let parents and employees know that any information about our District’s response to COVID-19 will be posted on the District website and communicated to parents via School Messenger email. Please do not rely on social media postings that may be fake and contain inaccurate information. When in doubt as to the accuracy of information you hear, please contact the School District Administration Office or your child’s school directly for confirmation or clarification as needed.

For up-to-date information, please visit the PA Department of Health website. 

Thank you in advance for your support and cooperation as we navigate this public health concern together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that schools across the United States should begin preparing for the possible threat of Coronavirus. However, please know that no cases have been reported in Pennsylvania. The attached information sheet shares the most recent information we have received from the PA Department of Health regarding Coronavirus. While the news of Coronavirus has everyone on high alert, it is important to note that there are other respiratory viruses such as influenza currently circulating in our schools. Fever, coughing and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of influenza and do not necessarily mean that a person has contracted Coronavirus. Currently, public health officials are not recommending the use of masks or gloves in public settings. At this time, federal health authorities are not recommending that schools cancel classes.

We kindly ask parents to follow these recommended strategies to prevent the spread of communicable illnesses:

  • Keep children home from school when they exhibit cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Encourage frequent hand-washing with anti-bacterial soap.
  • Refrain from touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Refrain from sharing food with others.

At the School District and school building/classroom level, staff have been directed to do the following:

  • Review hand-washing techniques with students.
  • Continue to provide anti-bacterial soap in classrooms and bathrooms.
  • Have hand sanitizers available in all public areas for student and staff use when hand-washing is not possible.
  • Daily cleaning by custodial staff with anti-bacterial products on all high-touch surfaces.
  • Vigilant monitoring of the student body by school nurses, especially in cases where students exhibit symptoms associated with the virus.

For further information from the CDC click HERE. We will continue to update you with additional information as it becomes available from the CDC and/or the PA Department of Health.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.