Greetings Mount Vernon City School Families,
We understand that the Novel Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, is causing much anxiety in our community, country, and around the world. Mount Vernon City Schools is closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and the potential impact on the safety of our students and staff.
The District has remained in constant contact with the Knox Public Health Department as well as the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education. The District Leadership team met this week to address the five (5) core areas of the Emergency Operating Plan relative to an Influenza Pandemic: The core areas include:
Prevention, Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
Plans were being finalized and information was being prepared to share with students, staff, and parents this coming Friday. This afternoon we were informed by Governor Mike DeWine that all public, community and private K-12 schools will be on a three-week extended break due to the coronavirus concerns. The Ohio Department of Education will be developing guidance for schools to ensure the continuity of education and important student services.
We were already in the planning stages should the closure of school be necessary. The district’s response to such an event included but not limited to the following:
- Continuing Education – The district will provide for the continuation of education in both an Online and ‘Blizzard Bag’ format. The district currently has 1:1 Chromebook technology in place grades 6-12. We are also considering assigning Chromebooks to elementary students in the upper grades. The remaining elementary students will be assigned a ‘Blizzard Bag’. Teachers will be working daily from 8:00-3:00 pm during this extended break to provide timely and relevant lessons and feedback.
- Internet accessibility is always a concern, especially in an online learning environment. In a recent survey of 6-12 students, nearly 96% of students indicated they had internet access at home. We have sent a similar survey home to elementary students and should receive that information by Friday. We are planning on providing internet ‘Hotspots’ for students who may not have access. Pickup locations for additional ‘Blizzard Bag’ assignments are being developed.
- Free/Reduced Meals -We are developing a plan to provide meals to students who qualify for Free/Reduced lunches and breakfast during this extended break. As these plans are fully refined we will provide the pertinent information.
The plans that were being developed earlier in the week have already changed as we find ourselves in an ever-evolving situation. We will find it necessary to be flexible as we develop plans with guidance from the Governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Education. We appreciate your understanding as we work through this process together.
Students will attend school on Friday, March 13th and Monday, March 16th where additional information will be provided to students. As of today, the Governor’s order declares an extended break from Tuesday, March 17th through Friday, April 3rd. We will continue to provide you information through the district website: www.mvcsd.us as well as the ‘Knox Alert’ Information System.
While we understand the Governor’s decision, we are conscious of the incredible burden this situation will place on some families. Childcare for working families is always a challenge made even more difficult due to the length of this extended break. In times like these, it will be important to reach out to one another to offer assistance and an encouraging word.
William Seder Jr.