April 21, 2020
Greetings to GCS Families,
Signs of new life and the change of seasons are popping up all around us. Spring vacation isn’t quite what any of us had anticipated, however. Everything in our lives has changed in one form or another. When I stopped by the school recently to pick up some needed supplies, it was such a sad sight to drive into an empty parking lot, walk through dark hallways, and pass by hooks that should have been overflowing with children’s backpacks and belongings. We can’t overstate how much we have missed seeing all of our families and children walking through the front door. We also recognize that you as parents, have had so much thrown on your plates, perhaps in more complex ways than ever. Juggling the needs of children vying for your attention, along with becoming immediate teachers, worrying about the health and safety of those you love, and addressing possible financial concerns are among the many.
The one thing that has remained constant is our GCS commitment to instilling peace & kindness and inspiring self-confidence and creative thinking in your children. When the schools were first closed temporarily, we were working to offer you opportunities to keep your children connected, giving them a sense of consistency and routine, challenging their developing minds, and recognizing their need to feel safe. It did take us a couple of weeks to refine our focus and approach to teaching and working with young children. Teachers have now perfected the art of inviting classes to Zoom meetings, recording and uploading YouTube videos, creating online curriculum, and finding ways to stay connected. Some have even been known to mail or drive around delivering materials. We do recognize that what many of you also have is a need for childcare, which we have been unable to provide during this time.
For those of you who know me well, you know that I like a plan. I don’t always need to know all of the details, but I do like a general outline for a reasonable and thoughtful course of action. It has been incredibly frustrating to be living day-by-day without all the information necessary to create a longer-range plan while awaiting word from both health care officials and our governor. I am re-writing my original correspondence because now, today, we have received the sad news that all MA Early Childhood Centers must remain closed through June 29, 2020.
As mentioned previously, we had sought funding under the CARES Act. Our loan application was approved, and while it covers eight weeks of payroll, our participation in the grant is contingent on GCS not laying off or furloughing staff, in addition to covering payroll for a second, subsequent eight-week period. However, if the majority of our families do not wish to take part in remote learning, it will not make sense for us to accept the loan.
We have limited options to consider and it would not be fiscally responsible of us to proceed with remote learning programs in May and June if a good portion of our families do not want to continue with this unique educational environment. As such, we are inviting families to weigh in on the course GCS should take for May and June by submitting your responses to our Groton Community School COVID-19 Tuition/Remote Learning Survey now! Your feedback is urgently required to help us determine how to proceed now that we know we will not be returning to school – at least “on-site” – for the remainder of the school year. We are asking for your ASAP reply, no later than Thursday, April 23rd, so that we can finally accomplish that plan, with regard to remote learning, the needs of our teachers and staff, and the bottom line for our school.
Thank you in advance for your prompt participation! We are thinking of you all, and sending warm wishes your way…
With sincere gratitude,
Linda Kosinski, Director
ASAP URGENT SURVEY LINK: https://forms.gle/yrNgyoKNRqs94V8Y8
P.S. – We are still optimistic and preparing for Camp Kaleidoscope enrollment onsite at 14 Main Street for a portion of the summer. Please look for enrollment materials coming your way.