Good evening, John Rex parents and families,
We want to keep you in the loop as developments progress. Here are some updates as of March 17 at 5:00 p.m.
Meals: In order to qualify for the Seamless Summer Meals program which allows schools to distribute meals outside of the school day or during school closures, the student population of our district must meet or exceed 50% in free or reduced lunch status. Unfortunately, our district does not qualify for the Seamless Summer Meals Program because the John Rex student population consists of less than 50% free or reduced lunch status. However, there is good news! We are not the only school which doesn’t meet this requirement so our state department has submitted another waiver to override the 50% free or reduced lunch requirement to allow schools like John Rex to offer meals to all students during a school closure.
Educational activities: During a mandated school closure by our state department of education, no school can require students to participate in online or offline instruction. It is mandated by our state department of education to cease all operations with the exception of essential operations such as custodial, food service, administration and clerical. NO instruction is to be expected, required or suggested by any school during a statewide closure. John Rex will provide a list of both offline and online resources as support to families but WILL NOT require any of those resources to be accessed or used. The list of resources will be provided as a means of helping families who want to provide teacher suggested educational activities at home. We hope these resources help and provide comfort – and FUN! – for our Rockets and their families.
Family Support: Teachers will create videos from their homes to send to their students as a way to provide social emotional support. Teachers will provide their email addresses and available office hours for you to contact them during those times. They will also use Class Tag to send and receive messages from families during the school closure. Although I cannot require our teachers to provide these services during administrative leave due to a mandated school closure, we are fortunate to have an extraordinary staff who wants to stay connected, provide support as best they can and ensure a smooth transition back to school when allowed.
We understand the strain this has created and want to help our families in any way we can, while following protocols set by the CDC and local government for staying healthy and safe.
I understand there are still so many unanswered questions. Our State Board of Education will be meeting again in an executive session on March 25th . After that meeting, we will know more about the possibility of extended closure beyond April 6th. We all have a lot of work ahead of us in this unpredictable situation. It is my top priority to stay in contact with our state and local health officials and our state board of education. I’ll collect the information and communicate what I learn as quickly as possible. I expect to have more information to share next week, after March 25th.
Many families have asked how they can help. My suggestion is to connect through the Rocket Forum Facebook Page, post positive and encouraging messages as well as offer to help and support each other. If you’re feeling super creative – we encourage you to create videos to show how your Rockets are spending their time learning outside the classroom. We can then share on our website page. You can also contact Alicia Currin-Moore, our PTA president at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our PTA is a very active, engaged and helpful group of parents and families who can help us pull together resources and support. Thank you, John Rex Rockets!
Our school community is strong and we will get through this together! Stay healthy and safe.
John Rex Charter School