Saturday, March 14, 2020
Dear SHS students,
In the whirl-wind that has been the last 48 hours, we have all experienced significant disruptions to our daily routine and what we thought were guaranteed events were made far less certain. I have been involved in conversations and planning sessions I can honestly say I did not consider when I was going through Principal School; however, in spite of how much of a departure from our normal routine the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us, I wanted to reach out and let you know that as a school community, we are keeping our support of you in the forefront of our planning and preparation.
Schoolcraft High School has a stellar reputation of excellence in everything we do - from academic achievement to success on the athletic field to elevating above the rest in our music, drama and Robotics programs, and with our philanthropy through multiple clubs. Few people share in the sheer disappointment the disruption caused from COVID-19 more than your families, teachers, myself, and other administrators across the school district. We are truly in uncharted times and as we have been making decisions grounded in the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and state and local Health Departments, the guidelines issued are for the health and safety of our community. This may not do anything to ease the disappointment of an indefinite suspension of our post-season athletic play-off schedule, a re-scheduled musical performance, and an uncertain future for our spring sports teams, but please know we will work to honor your contributions to these extracurricular activities in the best manner possible shortly after we return to school.
With Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to shut-down all public PreK-12 schools for the next three weeks, considerations for your learning are accounted for. We know that it only takes a few days to develop new routines; after-all, Netflix, gaming, and social media are pretty easy to access alternatives to Chemistry, Geometry, and Pride and Prejudice. As such, one of our goals as a school community is to prevent any academic “slide” in the progress you have made this school year. Your teachers are committed to providing you with materials to keep you thinking about school and practicing the skills you have developed. On Friday afternoon, I sent a message to all of your teachers, informing them they need to develop weekly lessons as a Continuation of Learning that meet three objectives: (1) Extend and deepen current units of study, (2) revisit previously assessed units of study, and (3) engage students with PSAT/SAT/M-STEP preparation materials.
All assignments over the next three weeks will be communicated with you via platforms your teachers have been using all school year. Now, more than ever, you need to stay connected to your school-issued email account. Your first set of assignments will be issued no later than Wednesday, March 18th and will then be sent to you at least once a week while we are on shut-down. Due to the guideline of limiting social contact with others via “social distancing”, teachers have been told not to organize small group meet-ups. Knowing the great connections you have with your teachers, this expectation is a necessary preventive measure to limit potential unknown exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, all communication between you and your teachers must be done electronically or over the phone.
Schools provide students far more than academic knowledge and life skills. If you find yourself in a situation where you are in need of an Internet “hot-spot”, food while we are away from school, or materials to support your learning, please let me know. Plans are in place to supply students with meals and distribute food as needed. For some, this situation might be distressing and emotionally upsetting. Over the next four weeks, I will be in District and available to support you in any way needed. If you would like to connect with our Student Support Team, consisting of Mrs. Schneider (email@example.com), Mrs. Dunham (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Ms. Getsinger (email@example.com), they are also available for you to contact.
While schools are always places you can come back to and our doors are generally always open, no one is allowed to be on campus. It is important to understand why no one is allowed on school grounds during this shut-down. Recommendations from state and federal health officials implore deep cleaning to all buildings. Given the incubation period of COVID-19, it is important to ensure there are not public gatherings or assemblies during the duration of this shut-down as such events place people in close contact for transmitting the virus. In spite of being inconvenient, this ban of being on school grounds is aligned with guidelines from health officials.
You and your families have been inundated in the last several days with frequent updates, many of which have drastically altered schedules and planning. This message is not intended to add another correspondence to your inbox, but act as reassurance we have your back. Even though we are unable to have direct face-to-face contact with you, your teachers and I are as supportive of you now as we were prior to this outbreak. If you have questions or need any support, do not hesitate to contact your teacher, our Student Support Team, or me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, my mobile number is (269) 274-3650, and you can follow me on Twitter at @MatthewJDailey.
Psychologists say it can take between 18 and 254 days for a person to form a new habit. For the next twenty-nine days, take time for you, listen to music, get outside and be physically active, engage in reading, complete the activities your teachers are sharing with you, and be aware of how much time you are spending electronically connected to social media and gaming. As a school, we want nothing more than to get back to all being under one roof and celebrating your accomplishments, but in the meantime, let us take a pause, stay healthy, and navigate this unusual time together.
Matthew J. Dailey