Dear RSS Families,
As I sit here writing down my thoughts and pondering the last day of school, there is a tug in my heart knowing that this is yet another way we miss our children. We will miss the last day hugs, smiles & tears mixed with the excitement of all that is to come in looking forward to the frolic and fun of the anticipated summer months. We will miss the traditional last day of school picture with students hanging out the school bus windows waving goodbye to their teachers, as teachers smilingly and tearfully wave goodbye to their students. Sadly, those memories will not be ours this year.
Yet – we made it. We came through one of the most surreal times that most of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. We did it! We pulled together and made the best of a sudden change in life as we knew it. We embraced this new way of life without hesitation because we knew it was all about doing what is best for our children. It brings me to tears to think about the strength of our staff giving tirelessly to assure that our children are fed and cared for; that they would all have devices so learning could continue and more importantly so we could stay connected to them to be sure they were okay. We found new ways to teach a lesson, share a smile and show we care.
As our seniors prepare to say farewell to their high school days, they will all rise up in history as the incredible class of 2020. They will have memories that an entire world will share and remember with them – never to be forgotten. And yet – they did it! As I look through photos of students standing by graduate yard signs, riding in parades, receiving awards and scholarships, they are happy, smiling, and proud faces. They must know how much they are loved and admired as we cheer them on to their next journey in life.
As we approach the upcoming summer months, we know it will be different too. How different is yet to be seen. We have learned to hope for the best and plan for the best and be prepared to make adjustments in between. We will be and are ready to do what is needed and what is best for our children and families. It will be a busy summer as we plan for virtual summer camps and summer feeding programs. As we move forward in discussing plans for the next school year, that too is yet another unknown of exactly what that may look like. But whatever happens, we will be ready.
We will keep you informed as the details of these plans unfold and as we follow the directions of our governor and healthcare officials. I hope you have enjoyed staying informed through our Parent Communication Guide, Connect-Ed phone calls, social media postings and our district website.
In closing, I want to thank all of you for entrusting us to teach and care for your children. It is an honor to serve and to help mold their lives into discovering their passions and developing their interests. We are flexible and durable when it comes to teaching and learning however that may happen. We will adjust and keep pounding.
My wishes to you for a safe and happy summer,
Familias de las Escuelas de Rowan-Salisbury,
Mientras me siento aquí escribiendo mis pensamientos y reflexionando sobre el último día de clases, siento una pena en mi corazón al saber que esta es otra forma en que extrañaremos a nuestros niños. Echaremos de menos los abrazos, las sonrisas y las lágrimas del último día, mezclados con la emoción de todo lo que está por venir esperando los días libres y la diversión de los meses de verano. Echaremos de menos la tradicional foto del último día de clases con los estudiantes en las ventanas del autobús escolar diciéndoles adiós a sus maestros, mientras los maestros se despiden sonriendo entre lágrimas. Lamentablemente, no tendremos estos recuerdos para este año.
Sin embargo, lo logramos. Pasamos por uno de los momentos más surreales que la mayoría de nosotros hemos experimentado en nuestras vidas. ¡Lo hicimos! Nos unimos e hicimos lo mejor que pudimos con un cambio tan repentino en nuestra vida. Adoptamos esta nueva forma de vida sin dudarlo porque sabíamos que se trataba de hacer lo mejor para nuestros niños. Me trae lagrimas el solo pensar en la fuerza de nuestro personal escolar trabajando incansablemente para asegurarse de que nuestros niños estén alimentados y atendidos; que todos pudieran tener sus equipos electrónicos para continuar con su aprendizaje y, lo que es más importante, para estar conectados con ellos y asegurarnos de que estén bien. Encontramos nuevas formas para enseñar una lección, para compartir una sonrisa y demostrar que ellos son importantes para nosotros.
Mientras que nuestros estudiantes de último año se preparen para despedirse de su escuela preparatoria, en el futuro, la historia los recordará como la increíble clase de 2020. Tendrán recuerdos que un mundo entero compartirá y recordará con ellos, para nunca olvidarlos. Y sin embargo, ¡lo lograron! Mientras observo fotos de estudiantes que están parados en sus casas junto a carteles de su graduación, desfilando por las calles, recibiendo premios y becas, son caras felices, sonrientes y orgullosos. Deben saber cuánto se les ama y admira mientras los animamos en su próxima etapa en la vida.
A medida que nos acercamos a los próximos meses de verano, sabemos que también serán diferentes. ¿Cuán diferente? aún está por verse. Hemos aprendido a esperar lo mejor, planificar lo mejor y estar preparados para hacer ajustes. Estaremos y estamos listos para hacer lo que sea necesario y lo que es mejor para nuestros niños y sus familias. Será un verano ocupado con campamentos de verano virtuales y programas para la repartición de alimentos. A medida que avanzamos con los planes para el próximo año escolar, ¿cómo será exactamente? continuamos sin saberlo. Pero pase lo que pase, estaremos listos.
Los mantendremos informados a medida que sepamos los detalles de estos planes, mientras seguimos las instrucciones de nuestro gobernador y los funcionarios de salud. Espero que hayan disfrutado el mantenerse informados a través de nuestra Guía de comunicación para padres, las llamadas telefónicas de Connect-Ed, publicaciones en las redes sociales y nuestra página web del distrito.
Para finalizar, quiero agradecerles a todos por confiarnos la enseñanza y el cuido de sus hijos. Es un honor servir, ayudar a moldear sus vidas para descubrir sus pasiones y desarrollar sus intereses. Cuando se trata de aprender y enseñar, de la manera que sea, somos flexibles y persistentes. Haremos los cambios necesarios y seguiremos esforzándonos.
Deseo que todos pasen un verano seguro y feliz.
Dr. Lynn Moody
With the information on the rapidly evolving news surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, Rowan-Salisbury Schools is ahead of the game in preparations. The innovative work that the district has implemented through the years has placed the district in a position to be prepared for emergency situations if and/or when they occur.
We continue to closely monitor the situation and follow the direction of our local and state departments of health and human services and the governor’s office regarding the coronavirus.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools has embraced the global concept that education is changing and changing quickly in the many different platforms in how children learn and in how instruction is delivered. We are fortunate to live in a community where in 2014 both the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved the district moving forward in offering one-to-one technology devices to all our children. From the very beginning technology was introduced as a valuable learning tool that allows students immediate access to the most current information available to them. This elevated our students to be true global learners. Children in Grades 3-12 take their devices home while the devices for students in grades K-2 remain at school. Rowan-Salisbury was one of just a few districts to embrace the 1:1 devices for each child.
Technology allowed the district to think differently about student learning. With the implementation of eLearning days, students could continue learning at home on inclement weather days whether or not they have access to home internet connectivity. Our forward-thinking curriculum and instruction team prepared framework for students, staff and families to follow in the ‘learning from home’ format.
With the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, our technology advancements have provided us with quick access to gathering data on individualizing each student’s and staff’s home access to the availability of internet in their homes and assuring that each child has a device to take home in grades 3-12 and that we can individualize learning when needed. Technology staff is working on developing creative ways and tools for students to access internet when they are not in school. With the support or strong partnerships and community supporters, staff is exploring off-campus connectivity options through various different means such as hotspots and even the option to open up WiFi at school facilities during specific times during the day. We are fortunate to have a grant that can provide internet hotspots for all of our 9-12 students who do not have access to internet in their homes. The WiFi accessibility at schools will allow families to travel to schools, remain in their vehicles and connect to the internet. We are still exploring other tools to continue to support remote learning for our children.
eLearning Days for Grades 3-12
With Rowan-Salisbury implementing eLearning Days for the past two years, we are ready to provide quality and meaningful virtual learning opportunities for all our students in the event of an extended absence.
The curriculum team designed learning frameworks and suggested learning opportunities for teachers and students in the event of an extended absence. The framework supports teachers in their preparation and planning for a potential eLearning experience. Included in this framework are learning opportunities specifically designed for our special needs students (EC-Exceptional Children) and our EL-English Language Learners.
eLearning Days for Grades K-2
Literacy continues to be our learning focus. With our emphasis in reading, our younger learners in grades K-2 are provided additional take home reading materials and packets with activity assignments. This allows families to work one on one with their children to improve their reading and math skills. As a part of the preparation, schools are encouraged to send home packets of books and other essential learning materials.
Principals will introduce the framework and work with teachers on the March 13th workday for staff to begin the process of planning for an E-Learning. Teachers will explain and review expectations with students as done previously on eLearning Days.
Information will also be provided to parents in regard to eLearning.
Work from Home
For the past two years, RSS staff have been provided options on how to account for their time during inclement weather or when other emergency situations occur. Because many of our staff have individual devices, they have the capability to continue working from home following a set of guidelines.
The options available to staff should schools be closed are to:
- Take Leave
- Make up Work
- Work from Home
*Should schools be closed, we will follow up with additional guidelines.
Regarding staff who may not have devices, professional development opportunities and other options are being planned and discussed. Many of these staff members are in school nutrition and transportation departments and can assist with meal plans for children should schools be closed.
School Nutrition & Transportation
With district-wide poverty of 60 percent, it is extremely important to us that we can offer meals to our students, should we experience a school closure. We worked collaboratively with our regional consultants at NCDPI and USDA and received the necessary waivers, etc. to operate as we do during the summer months.
School Nutrition and RSS Transportation departments are ready to partner together to possibly deliver meals to the students along the normal day to day bus routes. We are actively getting menus together and working with vendors to ensure that we will be able to receive the necessary items to prepare meals in the event that we have a closure for several days.
The district may look to school staff and school volunteers to assist with meal distributions if needed.
RSS has a plan in place for cleaning schools and buildings. We have the necessary products and a staff emergency response team to do the work that needs to be accomplished. Right now we are looking at weekends and overnight cleaning, but this can be adjusted as needed.
Community Use of Building
We have suspended use of our buildings to outside community groups and organizations. We will work with our partners who have contracts to issue credits or process refunds as quickly as possible.
To the greatest extent possible, Rowan Salisbury Schools is restricting visitor and volunteer access to schools to parents or guardians only.
Parents or guardians should visit their students in the nurse’s office, or in the front office only.
All parents or guardians who travel to and from a CDC Level 3 country, which currently includes China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and most of Europe, are asked to notify schools and their healthcare providers, and not enter schools sites. We are also moving district- and school-based meetings to conference call or online formats to the maximum extent possible.
The decision to cancel out of county field trips was made as a safety precaution in being proactive with reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. We are working through many questions, concerns, and scenarios that families have regarding the total impact of cancelling out of county field trips.
RSS is following the NC High School Athletic Association decision to postpone the 2020 Men’s and Women’s Basketball State Championships indefinitely, and also suspending all athletics beginning at 11:59pm Friday, March 13th through April 6th. This includes workouts and practices.
This also includes middle and high schools.
We understand that this is a difficult situation and that rumors are floating around on social media. We want to be sure that folks are receiving accurate information.
We follow the lead of our local and state health department officials in making any calls regarding school closings because of the coronavirus. Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody is meeting regularly with her emergency response team to make preparations for different scenarios, and there are regular meetings being held with our health department officials, so we stay updated on the latest news and developments. We are prepared to do what is needed to promote the health and safety of our families and communities. We will update parents anytime we have important new information to provide.
Report card distribution will be postponed. This will give teachers the opportunity to plan for any future school closure.
RSS Coronavirus Webpage
We have created a webpage for our parents and community that provides links to CDC, DHHS, in addition to updates, videos and parent tips on speaking with children. www.rssed.org/coronvirus This information may be accessed from the RSS front page: www.rssed.org
Safety comes first in doing what is best for the well-being of our students, staff and families.
Dr. Lynn Moody
This message is to provide you with information on the rapidly evolving news surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus also known as the COVID-19.
Because of how fast news is being released and shared, I want you to have the facts and to know what we are doing from a school district’s position to address the rising concerns and uncertainties. We have several wheels in motion as I write these words to you.
There are weekly meetings led by our local Rowan County Health Department that we are participating in along with other representatives from involved organizations in our community. At these meetings we receive updated facts and status reports about the outbreak and impending outbreak occurring across the nation. This allows us to review and build upon our own safety preparedness and practices that are already in place.
State & Federal
I also receive on a regular basis updates from state and federal agencies on current status reports and suggested procedures to follow - organizations such as health departments, health and human services, superintendent associations, department of public instruction, as well as educational news & media outlets.
According to Governor Roy Cooper’s office, the first case of COVID-19 has been identified in Wake County; however, there are no reported cases in Rowan County as of March 4, 2020.
We follow the lead of our local and state health department officials. They are the professional experts, and we are fortunate to maintain open and supportive relationships with them.
Through our PowerSchool student data system, we are able to monitor daily absenteeism in our schools. This helps us to know potential areas that may be of concern.
Keeping Our Buildings Clean
At Rowan-Salisbury, we have a safety protocol in place in the event emergency situations may occur. Although at this time, it is unknown how COVID-19 will fully play out in our community, we are fortunate to be ahead of the game in our preparedness efforts. We have a stock of appropriate supplies that work specifically to keep areas sanitized and to help control the spread of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19. Our operations department and maintenance staff are trained and ready to disperse when needed. This process is over and beyond our typical daily cleaning procedures.
Many folks have questions regarding school closures. While this is too early to call at this time, we are prepared to do what is needed to promote the health and safety of our families and community. Just as we follow safety measures during inclement weather and often close schools for weather-related issues, we can do the same if needed during times of other emergency situations. Again, we will seek guidance from our health professionals when making calls regarding school closures due to communicable diseases.
What You Can Do
The North Carolina Division of Public Health recommends everyone to continue taking precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses, which includes COVID-19:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth and eyes to unwashed hands can help
- to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill and stay home if you are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
In summary, I want to provide a place for you to visit regularly to gain facts along with updates about COVID-19. Please visit our RSS Student Services / Counseling website for updated information on the Coronavirus.
Thank you for your support as we work through this time together keeping our focus on the health and safety of our families.
Dr. Lynn Moody