March 16, 2020
Dear GCS Families,
Our thoughts are with our entire GCS community in this challenging, confusing, and frightening time. As the crisis unfolds, things are changing by the minute, and it is hard for all of us to catch our breath. Our Groton Community School administration, staff, Board of Directors and Trustees understand the anxiety and hardship that the current crisis presents for GCS families. It is difficult to maintain work and daily life, while also caring for children, and riding out the state of emergency from a family perspective.
This purpose of this letter is also to notify you that Groton Community School has made the difficult decision to close until Monday, April 6th, aligning with the Governor’s mandate yesterday that all public and private K-12 schools must be closed for a three-week timeframe. At this point, childhood centers licensed by the MA Department of Early Education and Care are not mandated to close, however, we feel it is in best interest of our GCS children, families, and staff to close while the coronavirus outbreak is on the upswing.
We would again like to strongly suggest adhering to the concept of social distancing, to keep the infection from spreading exponentially. We believe it is our social responsibility to keep our distance from others to keep ourselves and others safe, especially high-risk groups such as older citizens and those with underlying chronic medical conditions. As Governor Baker wrote in his March 15th announcement to close K-12 schools,
“During this period, it is critical that students and their families, as well as school staff, stay home as much as possible. If an individual needs to leave home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.”
Click on the following social distancing article to understand the importance of this practice to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak in this country, and spread cases out so as not to totally overwhelm our health care system.
We again want to share that have no knowledge of COVID-19 cases at Groton Community School. However, it is critical that families and staff stay in communication with the school. Any confirmed or presumptive cases of the COVID-19 virus in GCS children, staff, or a family member of those at our school, must be communicated to GCS administration immediately. Our decisions on school safety and closure is dependent on knowing all the facts about our population. At this time, the CDC is requiring that any child or staff member who has COVID-19 in their family must likewise be quarantined for 14 days.
We promise to maintain communication with families as the situation evolves, and are vigilant in staying up-to-date with information to protect our GCS community. We are in contact with our local Nashoba Associated Boards of Health and state licensing agency about the crisis, and again encourage you to refer to reputable sources of information as well, such as www.cdc.gov and www.mass.gov, in addition to our school website.
Our current plan – which may change in the coming weeks – is to resume classes on Monday, April 6th, and complete our entire school year at GCS. To accomplish this, we are looking into possibilities such as extending the school year further into June, and may also remain open on some vacation days and holidays such as Good Friday and the April break. Again, we need to take things a day at a time, but want GCS Families to know that we are considering all options to make up lost time.
However, while children are at home during the school closure, teachers will be in touch with families via email, offering ideas for learning at home. They will also work on completing teacher responsibilities such as curriculum and lesson planning, children’s assessment (written observations and portfolios), professional development webinars, and their own performance self-appraisals. As a school, we will also offer GCS Home Learning Ideas that can maintain a sense of normalcy by adding structure to your child’s day, as well as resources for optional learning activities. There is no expectation for families to participate in suggested activities, as everyone is balancing so much.
As always, we are available for your questions and concerns, and would like to thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate the current health emergency together.
With gratitude and concern,
Linda Kosinski, Director Lkosinski@grotoncommunityschool.org
Lisa Stafford, Assistant Director email@example.com