Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Dear Shorewood Families,
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we move into our extended school closure. This communication provides you with an update on our work to create virtual learning activities and supports for our students and families.
While we shared with you last week that we are unable to meet the instructional requirements set by the Department of Public Instruction for virtual learning, the Shorewood School District is dedicated to ensuring our students stay connected to school during this extended closure. To that end, we are working as a district to provide students with virtual learning activities to keep them engaged during the extended time off.
Learning at Home
Our teachers and administrators have developed this list of instructional resources to ensure learning continues. While these activities are not a replacement for classroom instruction, they do provide families with ideas on how to maintain an educational routine throughout this closure.
Virtual Learning Plan
Yesterday, a group of teachers and administrators met to begin the development of our district’s Virtual Learning Plan. Following these meetings, teacher teams at every grade level began collaborating across the District to share resources and create virtual learning activities for all of our Shorewood students. The goal for our virtual activities is to maintain connections with our students and families. During this time of isolation, we are focusing on providing familiarity and connections to boost student wellness and enhance academic achievement. We can help families provide routines and academic resources for students while still providing family flexibility.
The plans will not meet the requirements set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for their definition of “virtual learning”. Those plans would need to include specific accommodations for individual students, virtual face to face teacher/student time and virtual instruction equal to the amount of time students are typically in school for the regular school day. The virtual plans we provide will also not include graded assignments or due dates at this time. However, we are strongly encouraging our students and families to participate as they are able, understanding that this time is difficult and stressful for families.
Our virtual learning plans are set to begin on Monday, March 30, immediately after Spring Break and plan to run through Friday, April 10, our expected closure end date. If our school closures are extended, our virtual learning will continue throughout the entire length of our closures. Our virtual learning plans will evolve as our current situation evolves. We will remain fluid in meeting the needs of our students and families.
Tim Joynt, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, will provide a more detailed plan on our virtual learning activities on Friday, March 20.
The virtual learning activities that begin on Monday, March 30 will require a device and internet access. Our district will do our best to support all families having access to the internet and at least one device per family. If your family is in need of a device and/or internet access, please fill out this survey. Families that fill out the survey and indicate they need a device and/or internet access will be contacted by our technology department by the end of the day on Friday, March 20 to set up a time to come and pick up your device and discuss your internet needs. These devices will be assigned based upon need and availability.
Please note, devices checked out to students will be locked down (no Netflix, no Hulu, no Amazon Prime, etc.) and fully managed by our district technology department.
Talking With Your Children About COVID-19
During a time of crisis, it is also important that we help our students navigate through all the anxiety and emotions that may arise. Below is a list of reminders when talking with your children and a few resources for managing the stress during this time.
Remain calm and reassuring.
- Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
- Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.
Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
- Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
Provide information that is honest and accurate.
- Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
- Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.
- Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
- Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.
(e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
- Get children into a handwashing habit.
- Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.
Additional Resources for Talking with Students About COVID-19 & Stress Management
- Coronavirus Comic Strip
- Coronavirus Brainpop
- Five Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About COVID-19
- Talking to Your Children About COVID-19
- Talking with Children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children
- Meditation Apps for Children
- Movement Apps, Games, & Websites
Please stay safe and healthy during this crisis, adhere to expert advice and best practice, and find ways to support and protect your neighbors.
Together, WE WILL get through this.
Shorewood School District