3/24: Update from Dr. Gerhard

Melissa Fullerton
By Melissa Fullerton March 24, 2020 16:05

Hello Governor Mifflin families,

Yesterday (March 23), Governor Wolf announced that he would extend the closure of schools across Pennsylvania. While this was something we had been expecting, this news and some additional details from the Department of Education received today has helped guide our planning for the days and weeks ahead. We are receiving ongoing guidance from the Department of Education that this situation and subsequent decisions will be reviewed in two-week increments based upon new information and impact of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Our leadership team recognizes the ever-changing nature of this situation and has developed three phases of work for this period of closure. 

Phase 1
I have previously shared information about this phase, which included:

  • Providing enrichment opportunities for students
  • Establishing our free breakfast and lunch program
  • Deep cleaning and securing all of our facilities
  • Working through initial staffing accommodations 

As of this email, we consider this phase complete and we are now working to move forward with Phases 2 and 3.

Phase 2 (March 30-April 13)
We are considering this phase the “best case” scenario. Given the additional guidance from state leaders, this phase works under the assumption that we would return to school on Monday, April 13. 

Starting Monday, March 30 and continuing through Wednesday, April 8, families can expect daily learning opportunities from your child(ren)’s teacher(s). Students in grades K-2 can expect this learning to take place via Class Dojo. Students in grades 3-12 will find these learning opportunities on Google Classroom. April 9-10 would remain in place as a “spring break” with no new instruction expected at that time.

What will Phase 2 online learning look like?
For grades K-6, teachers will provide one online learning opportunity per day. This could be a math lesson one day, an English Language Arts lesson on another day, etc… These lessons will be on Class Dojo (for grades K-2) and Google Classroom (for grades 3-6).

For grades 7-12, each one of your child(ren)’s teachers will provide one online learning opportunity per day via Google Classroom.

Later this week, we will provide you with an updated webpage that will house all of the free enrichment resources that we have already provided. This site will also includes detailed instructions on how to access these daily lessons from Governor Mifflin teachers and any additional academic resources we receive for families (i.e. AP information, FAQs, etc…). 

We are also currently working on a plan to distribute Chromebook devices to students who need a device at home. We will provide you with that information in the coming days as this will require significant mobilization of devices.

Throughout this week, our teachers are receiving additional remote professional development to help them provide this level of online learning. Again, you can expect to see daily lessons starting Monday, March 30.

Phase 3 (school closure beyond April 13)
While we would like to continue to look optimistically toward the reopening of our schools, with the Governor’s latest extension, we recognize he also introduced more restrictive measures for portions of our state. With that in mind, we are planning for a Phase 3 closure that would extend past April 13.

In the event that our schools would remain closed past April 13, our staff is preparing to offer a full online planned instruction program. More information will be shared as we approach the date and need to to move in this direction.

It is important to point out that at this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will not penalize schools who cannot make up these days missed. There is, however, still a recommendation that districts work to adjust their school calendar to meet the 180 day requirement and the learning needs of their students that have been interrupted during this period of time. Currently Phases 1 and 2 (March 16 – April 8) remain subject to possible make-up days in June. Should we move into Phase 3 and the rollout of online planned instruction, those days would be considered “counted” school days and would not need to be made up in June.

We understand there are still many more questions than answers. Our first priority as a district is to provide as much stability for our staff and families as we possibly can. We continue to do our best to balance between adjusting quickly and taking time to make decisions with long-term implications. Thank you for your ongoing understanding, patience, and flexibility during this time. I will provide an additional update later this week with details on our Chromebook distribution and any new details that may arise. In the meantime, please continue to do your part to stay home and help keep our Governor Mifflin community healthy.

In gratitude,

Dr. Steve Gerhard
Governor Mifflin School District

Melissa Fullerton
By Melissa Fullerton March 24, 2020 16:05