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Grand View Superintendent Ed Kennedy provides an update on COVID-19 actions at Grand View School - April 3, 2020
Grand View Superintendent Ed Kennedy provides an update on COVID-19 actions at Grand View School - April 3, 2020
Ed Kennedy
Saturday, April 04, 2020

Hello Grand View.

We wanted to give you a specific, detailed update on how COVID-19 and school closure orders have impacted Grand View students, staff and families and what we are doing on behalf of Grand View students, staff, and you. 

It is likely that nothing I note will be significantly different than what other area schools are doing. Still, it will be reassuring for you to know that we have been actively planning to keep our school clean and to insure that you and our staff remain healthy and safe. We have also focused on doing “what’s right” on behalf of your children and our staff. We are proud that our efforts have allowed us to work within the guidelines defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Governor of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Here are some points to consider:

Safety: All our actions focus on everyone’s health and safety. We follow CDC guidelines to help flatten the curve as COVID-19 spreads throughout our state. Our actions include: . 

  1. Personnel deemed “essential” by the OSDE are the only ones regularly scheduled to be on campus. They also may work limited shifts.  

  2. Limiting onsite personnel to no more than 10 in a building at any time. 

  3. Social distancing of 6' or more.

  4. All teacher visits to campus must be scheduled. This ensures compliance on #2 & 3.

  5. Taking and recording temperatures of all staff entering a Grand View facility.

  6. Wearing gloves and facemasks where appropriate.

  7. Making disinfectant kits available at multiple sites in every building.

  8. Posting check sheets on every classroom or workspace. Any employee entering and using the space is required to post the time and duration of their visit. Our custodial staff then checks these log-in sheets to know when a room needs to be re-cleaned. 

  9. Closing Grand View playgrounds and athletic facilities. 

  10. Hosting online conference calls for any faculty or staff meetings that are necessary. 

  11. Communicating via text and email as appropriate. 

Students: As noted in the introduction, we have focused on meeting the important needs of the students;. We have concentrated on food, safety, mental health and continued learning.

  1. We have had good success with our daily Grab-and-Go meal program as more take advantage of these free meals. To date, April 1 and 2 have been our highest totals. 200 meals were served each day through Grand View School and our partnerships with The Skate House and the Gideon Fire Department. 

  2. The Presbyterian Church has continued their Backpack Program. More of those will be sent home soon. 

  3. Beginning Monday, April 6, we will send families home with meals for the entire week; 5 breakfast and 5 lunches for each child.

  4. Meals will be offered only at Grand View School and only on Mondays. This is necessary to match our plan to send home the Learning Packets at the same time..  

  5. We are reimbursed by the school lunch program. We are encouraging participation, 

  6. Distance Learning through online instruction AND using the available Learning Packets will begin on Monday, April 6. 

  7. Students will not be expected to return materials. Any work completed would only be reviewed to improve a  student’s grade. No student’s grade will drop lower than it was on March 12. 

  8. Only absences prior to March 12 will be calculated.

  9. Teachers are collaborating to develop lessons, materials and enrichment activities at this time. In fact, many have already packed student take home materials or posted online links and enrichment activities or experiments. 

  10. Communication may come in the form of teacher contact online or via phone. Additionally, students may be contacted by some of our other specialists like tutors, elective teachers, coaches or mentors. 

  11. Special Education teachers, the Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapy contractors and Physical Therapy specialists are working together to meet IEP goals. These experts will also be reaching out to families that fall under their umbrella. 

  12. Whether online, or with Learning Packets, families will have guidance on how to interact with teachers and support their children in this Distance Learning Partnership. 

  13. Parents of students using Learning Packets will have a form to document their child’s work each week. This reporting will be available in an end-of-year survey as well. Collecting data on your participation is valuable information for grant reports or future grant applications. 

  14. Some school supplies may be provided for Learning Packets and for those online learners that request materials. These will be based on grade level and availability. 

  15. A school-wide book giveaway will take place on a Monday later in April. 

  16. School counselors are available to reach out to families in need and share resources.

  17. Viewpoint Counseling (formerly SongByrd Counseling) has staff following up with clients. They can provide tele-counseling services. They can also offer information about area agencies and programs that offer a variety of assistance levels. 

  18. Our 21st Century After-school Program partner, Cherokee County Boys and Girls Club is offering resource materials and activities that support family engagement and play. 

  

Staff:  While many schools consider the angles on how to involve staff, Grand View’s decisions and call to action was easy to set in motion: the Grand View School Board, administration and staff have trusted one another to simply “do what’s right” for staff, like we are for families. 

  1. Grand View custodial staff have stepped up to clean and sanitize the building repeatedly. They have mixed disinfectant and placed cleaning supplies near rooms.

  2. The maintenance department has completed routine projects and even assisted with upgrades to the heating and cooling systems in the elementary building. They have also been involved with distribution of the Grab-and-Go meal service. 

  3. The child nutrition team came in to order supplies and products to start the Grab-and-Go meal program immediately after the OSDE Child Nutrition division approved our plan. They have continued to encourage families to take advantage of this free program. By safely delivering meals right to the cars, families and staff have been able to follow CDC protocol. 

  4. The school health aide has been on campus to return prescription medication to families. She has also set up sanitary check-in stations around campus enabling employees register their temperature readings and sign-in when arriving on campus.

  5. Even our VISTA staff have been involved with preparing and handing out meals, general maintenance and keeping the kitchen prep area clean. 

  6. Our next consideration was equity; fair wages for those working, while other jobs were not considered essential (they did not have to be on campus). Schools just received news of an executive order noting that everyone would be paid per their contract (as if they worked every day). I will work with the school board to develop a plan to provide differentiated compensation to the essential employees (on campus)  in items #1-5. 

Future: Lastly these are considerations that we are making as we move forward. 

  1. We ask that you please reach out to your child’s teacher and make sure that the contact information we have on file for you is updated and accurate. This enables them to stay in touch and it will also allow you to receive updates and notifications as things change. 

  2. Parents of students with IEPs will be contacted so that timelines are honored and resources and services are scheduled as appropriate. 

  3. We expect the OSDE Child Nutrition office will approve our Grab-and-Go meal program and allow us to continue through the summer.

  4. As you can imagine, events like concerts, tournaments, graduation and trips have all been cancelled. Eighth grade and kindergarten diplomas, as well as yearbooks and spring pictures, will all be available when school central offices are allowed to reopen. 

  5. We will wait on OSDE approval before making any arrangements for any campus guests to come to school to pick up personal items. Conversely, we are waiting on this same approval before we ask for the return of school resources like uniforms, books, educational equipment, band instruments, etc. 

We’ve heard it said that this is an unprecedented event. We feel it is more than that: Every one of us is witnessing  history. The way we handle adversity, protect our children, work for the good of our nation, and come back stronger, will be the legacy of character and toughness studied by future generations. We miss one another, and miss your kids, but let’s be sure that the Grand View family continues to show unity and resilience. After all, the history books will need heroes to write about. We feel the word hero describes you: the Grand View Family. 

Ed Kennedy

Superintendent, Grand View School