March 25, 2020 --
I hope you are all well. I want to provide you with Covid-19 Update #8.
First, I appreciate how difficult the shutdown is for families. Our teachers and staff have been working hard to provide a continuity of learning and I know all of you have been working at this as well. Like our teachers, trying to do your job from home and manage your children's work is extremely stressful and challenging. None of this will be perfect, but all need to do the best we can under the circumstances. A good tip I'm hearing is to use an explicit schedule for wake up time, school work, exercise, etc. Parents have been finding success with that structure. It has certainly worked (not perfectly) with my own 10th grader and 12th grader.
It is my current understanding that the announcement of a longer shutdown is imminent. This could mean an incremental extension until the end of April. Planning for a longer-term strategy for instruction and learning has begun and we will launch the use of Zoom for our teachers very soon. We received a student data privacy agreement with Zoom and are almost complete with the establishment of norms for these remote meetings. Initially, Zoom will be used for making connections with students, for "check-ins", and answering questions. If the shutdown extends for a longer period of time, we will consider expanding the use and content of Zoom meetings.
On Friday, March 27th there will be no assignments for students to complete. The 27th was originally scheduled as a professional development day for our Digital Learning Day. Instead of DLD, our teachers and staff will continue the planning for an extended closure, as well as participate in Zoom training for use in the coming weeks.
Although it doesn't feel like it, we are still in the initial 3-week shutdown timeline. We are still focused on keeping connections with our students and the continuity of learning. We are not trying to recreate the traditional school day. If an extended shutdown happens, we will re-evaluate our approach and consider the guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. DESE guidance is expected by the end of the week.
Thank you again for your ongoing understanding and commitment to our children. Medfield is an incredible community and we will all get through this together.