Thursday, March 26, 2020
Dear Riverside families,
I am writing to bring you up to date on the status of Riverside Public School and hopefully shed some light on the current status as a result of COVID-19. With the recommendation from the Commissioner of Education, Matt Blomdsteadt, and local health departments, Riverside Public School buildings will remain closed through May 1st. ALL Riverside scheduled activities through May 1st are canceled. The Nebraska Schools Activities Association has also suspended all activities through May 1st.
While a variety of factors influenced this decision, be assured that the health and safety of our students, families, staff, and community is always our primary concern even though we regret not being able to provide many opportunities for Riverside students this spring. The CDC has been clear that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grows each day. Large gatherings have already been canceled with more cancellations possible in the near future. Continued social isolation is one of the recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus.
We know this is an ever-changing time in history, and things change by the hour. Knowing this, we plan on meeting with the health departments and ESU10 on April 24th to reevaluate. Each week we learn more and will keep you informed. This doesn’t mean the school year is over. Nor does it mean we won’t go back to the buildings before the end of the school year. If we are no longer in an emergency, and it is safe, we could conceivably return to our buildings after May 1st.
I want to be clear, even though the buildings are closed and activities are canceled, education will continue throughout the school year. We are not “canceling” school. We will still continue education through alternative learning to provide the education we are committed and obligated to provide. Our teams of administrators and teachers have been working tirelessly to plan for effective continuity of learning plans for our students. We will start this process through “packets” that teachers have put together for your child/ren. All packets will contain a letter that will explain the packet process and individual teacher’s instructions and requests. It will also state when to return the packets and pick up the next one. Each packet will contain two weeks of educational enrichment opportunities for your child/ren.
The initial packets will need to be picked up at the attendance site of each individual child. This is because personal items will be retrieved at this time too. Initial packet pick up and personal item retrieval will take place Wednesday, April 1st from 9-2 PM at each building. Students in grades sixth through twelve will enter the building to pack up their belongings. Bags will be provided to pick up your belongings. We will allow 10 students in the building at a time to meet the recommended state guidelines for social distancing. Elementary student’s items will be packed by their classroom teacher and available for pickup when you arrive to receive the educational packet. Please come to the main entrance of each school building to retrieve packets. If April 1st from 9:00-2:00 does not work, call the building during this time to make other arrangements.
SCHOOL WORK – STANDARDS BASED ENRICHMENT
Students in all grades, PK-12, will be asked to complete standards-based enrichment work every week. This will look different for every grade level. Teachers were asked to prepare packets for students to complete at home (variable by age/grade). Each teacher has prepared an explanation of the work that will be in the packets you pick up on Wednesday, April 1st between 9 AM-2 PM.
We ask that PK-5 students first focus on core subject material: Reading/English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers are focusing on standards/objectives that they would be reviewing in class if the school were in session. It is important that students TRY to complete the work.
FEEDBACK - NOT GRADES
Teachers will be providing feedback on some of the completed work, but not necessarily everything. Student work will not be graded, but we will be tracking what lessons are completed so that we know how much progress students are making. If you need an explanation of why we can’t assign grades, please contact Ms. Kaczor at email@example.com
We will offer a survey throughout this process as a means of our attempt at finding out how things are going. Is the workload too much or too little, how is your child/ren adjusting, etc. Please complete the survey so the staff has time to consider changes in their future plans. Additional surveys may follow. Please email your building principal Mrs. Nordhues firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr. Tejkl at email@example.com if the school does not have your email.
Teachers will be available to answer questions during regular school hours. Each teacher has been asked to provide you with their email and phone number. EMAIL is preferred. Please reserve the usage of phone calls for URGENT matters only.
Students: It is okay to ASK QUESTIONS! Ask your parents, teachers, fellow classmates, etc! Most teachers of older students will have a Q/A document provided.
Teachers will be calling and checking in with you and/or your student(s) regularly.
Teachers are juggling kids, work, and the health of their loved ones as well. They will do their best to continue the educational needs of your student(s). Your support is appreciated.
READ, READ, READ SOME MORE
Reading is one of the best things you can do to continue your child’s education. If you haven’t stocked up on books or options, consider the following resources:
Local Public Library-may/may not be open-call ahead
Scholastic at Home website is now free https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
Elementary or High school libraries-email us the name of a book, we will check if we have it and put it with items for the next “packet pick-up day”.
TIME is a free resource so view at https://www.timeforkids.com/
Audible is also offering free books at https://stories.audible.com/
SORA is an online library. It can be accessed through the student section of our school webpage. To sign in, you first choose Nebraska Shared Collection, then Educational Service Unit 10, finally use your Riverside email and password.
NSEA TEACHER TV
Another resource for educational purposes is NSEA Teacher TV, which can be accessed on the internet at central.newschannelnebraska.com.
Regarding school-issued laptops for our 6-12 grade students, we will access the need for technology in the upcoming week to determine a future plan of action.
It has been fascinating to watch the teachers come up with plans for students to continue their education while away from school. I think this pandemic will leave a positive, lasting impact on our educational system.
Any students taking college credit courses will continue as scheduled.
Also, on Wednesday, April 1st we will be starting our Grab & Go lunch and breakfast program for our families. Grab and Go lunches and breakfast (the lunches will also include breakfast items) will be available to all children 18 and younger every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will provide pick up sites for meals at Belgrade, Cedar Rapids, Primrose, and Spalding. Families who are interested must fill out the Riverside Grab and Go Meal form at this link or call 308-358-0533 between the hours of 8:30-9:30 AM to request a meal.
Meals will be handed out at the multi-purpose door of each school building and at the bus pick up sites in Belgrade and Primrose. Times for pick up are the following:
- Primrose Bus Stop- 12:10-12:20
- Cedar School- 12:15-12:30
- Belgrade Bus Stop- 12:15-12:30
- Spalding School- 12:35-12:45
Providing meals to our students is very important and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. There will be more information shared soon on the details of costs, etc. We will be modifying our Grab and Go Program as we see fit. Thank you for your flexibility as we find the best way to serve the needs of students and families.
In closing, I hope this letter finds you well and is able to clarify our plans moving forward. We will continue to provide you with new information as it becomes available and answer the uncertainty of the end of the year events like graduation. There are many needs that will arise from this pandemic, please take care of all needs, not just educational needs. Make sure you first and foremost take care of each other and your families! Please continue to communicate with teachers and administrators whenever questions arise. We will do our very best to find answers to them. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we maneuver through these unique times.
Thinking of you all,
Stephanie Kaczor, Supt.
Stephanie Kaczor, Superintendent