Please go to the MSD19 Health Center for further information.
Fr: Craig Fiegel, Ph.D., Superintendent
School for Monday, March 16, has been canceled for student attendance. This day will now be used as a Teacher Inservice to prepare for E-Learning and continued education for the two weeks our schools are closed for attendance. Please note the information below for medicine pick up, food service, and Chromebook/learning packet pick up.
I ask for your patience and understanding as we try to navigate this evolving situation. Recommendations from state and local officials change frequently, as they too are dealing with never-before seen and unknown situations. Our staff has been preparing for this likelihood, and we are continuing to work through some issues to be able to provide some continuity in our educational services. Our staff will continue to work to prepare lessons for some online learning as well as learning packets for students.
Some of our teachers have already been in contact with their students, providing some lessons or directions for their class. As we work with our union, we will be providing staff more directions and expectations which they will share with students. Our plan is for all students to have received directions from their teachers by the end of this week. Further information regarding E-Learning will be available on our school websites, under For Parents and also For Students in the Menu option.
This afternoon it was confirmed from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) that the days of Governor Pritzker's executive order on mandated school closing will all be Act of God Days. Therefore, emergency days will not be used as make-up days for the closure. ISBE continues to strongly encourage districts to provide for continuity of learning during the closure. The plan for our students is to offer a continuity of learning through various resources, instructional materials, and activities. We respect that your family may have many stressors right now, and it is our hope that the activities we provide will offer an opportunity for students to keep learning and keep their brains active but not overwhelmed. If you feel your child needs more than what we provide, we encourage you to explore a new skill such as learning keyboarding/typing skills or a foreign language. Perhaps this is a time to learn a new musical instrument or an artistic skill. The possibilities are limitless, and there are many free online tools to learn something new. Many of these tools and resources will be linked to the E-Learning Portal, in development, on the district website.
The Illinois State Board of Education told Illinois schools we are not to penalize students who cannot complete the work, or misunderstand the work, during this time. Schools can hold students accountable and offer feedback on work completed, but the work will not be entered as a traditional letter grade in a grade book. We take this approach because we may not know the circumstances the child is dealing with at home. Some families may have to work extra hours because parents are in a healthcare profession, for example. Mascoutah School District 19 will be flexible and understanding; we will focus on providing a continuity of learning throughout the closure.
We will be offering meals to students who qualify for free/reduced lunches. Our food service staff will be providing meals to be picked up at designated locations starting Monday. Local churches and charitable organizations are also preparing meals to be available to families in need. I am proud of our community as I watch many step up to offer support! Details will be provided to qualifying families Monday morning.
School buildings will be closed to the public and students. Staff will be able to access the building as they need supplies and materials to support student learning. We had planned to have students in on Monday to provide some direction about lessons during the closure. With the recent developments, having school on Monday will not be possible. On Monday,we will provide a schedule of times later in the week that the buildings will be open to pick up personal items, medications, and Chromebooks and learning packets. Please watch for further communication from the District.
We will offer continuing education for all K-12 students via Google Classroom, and/or learning packets. Our focus for the next two weeks is the continuity of learning. Teachers will share lists of activities and materials that will reinforce skills. Examples of activities might be practicing math facts or reading a book and writing about it. Physical exercise could include taking a jog around the block with the dog. We encourage parents to help students have fun with learning through the many resources our staff will share.
In closing, please remember that each time I write to you, I share the best information I have at the moment. You’ll see that I’ve included dates at the top of messages because the directives from officials have been rapidly changing given the way the pandemic continues to change our norm and our approach to safety. Personal health is boosted with a positive attitude, even in challenging times. We can choose to look at the negative aspects of what we're being asked to do, the family trips that must be canceled, or the inconvenience to a previous lifestyle. We could all complain about so many things right now. Or we can choose to focus on the positive and express gratitude. I believe that is a choice each one of us must make.