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DEADLINE TO SIGNUP IS APRIL 27, 2020
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Coronavirus Update and School Closure
To All ECSS Family, Friends, and Community:
We are hoping and praying that we have weathered the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic, but our plan for next year will be a work in progress as we shift into a new normal that remains cautious and conscious of all safety precautions. With guidance from federal, state, and local authorities, we are working to make plans that will allow for A) a full, regular opening; B) a blended learning option that will include some face-to-face and some virtual learning; and if necessary, C) virtual learning for those who have a health-related need as well as for everyone if we are notified that a student or staff member has tested positive and we have to temporarily move to virtual learning again. At this point, our goal is to start back to school as we normally would. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and receive guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Department of Education (please refer to their Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools that is being released today), and the state and local Department of Public Health for direction. We will continue to provide regular updates and information on our website and Facebook page.
We are also creating a Coronavirus Task Force that will mirror Governor Kemp’s as well as create a few other areas that will meet local needs. Right now, the Task Force Working Groups include:
2. Connectivity and Devices
3. Distance Learning
5. Home-School Communication
7. Mental Health & Wellness
8. Professional Learning
9. School Calendar/Scheduling
10. School Meals/Nutrition
11. Supplemental Learning
If any parents or community members want to serve on any of these committees, please let me or Mrs. Tammy Storey know, and we will be glad to include you in the planning process. Also, there is a parent survey that we have released to get input from parents. We are analyzing current responses and will take them into consideration as we plan. If you have not completed the survey, we welcome your input. The link is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScjoG0yO5q-saDb78fXnZF_bvUYn46gbY_hYy7l7Tdy97GDIg/viewform
Baylor University has provided meals to students’ homes over the past few weeks. It is our hope and prayer that this has been a great service for many families, and it will continue through June 30, 2020. Currently, meals are delivered to 750 students, and we have been thrilled to meet our students’ needs for food security. School Nutrition Coordinator Mr. William Shippee is determined that he and his staff will be able to provide meals once the school year starts, whether we are in school face-to-face or for distribution if we have to fall back to a virtual learning option in the event of another outbreak or if a student or staff member tests positive. (Specific safety protocols that will respond to these situations are being developed in coordination with federal, state, and local guidance.)
Mrs. Tammy Storey has also updated our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that is on our website and on our Facebook pages that allows for all of the commonly asked questions and current answers to be listed. I encourage you to check that resource before reaching out to administrators as the question you have may already have been answered. This is a fabulous resource page, and we appreciate all of the questions we have received throughout this time.
We began allowing limited, monitored access to the buildings following health guidelines starting May 1. Principals have created schedules that have allowed students and teachers to come in for their belongings. Please continue to watch the website and Facebook pages for more information if you need to come to any of our campuses.
A big thank you to our ECHS and ECMS administration and staff for the great job they did in coordinating our drive-through graduation ceremonies. Although it was not “in the plan” at the beginning of the year, I think both ceremonies were well received, and we are proud of all of our graduates of 2020! We know that graduating under these circumstances was not optimal, but we hope that it will build grit and resilience as well as flexibility and agility for our graduates as they get ready to step out into the world or into high school. (Plans for Kindergarten graduation are being developed and will be communicated soon.)
As we continue to monitor and navigate these very turbulent waters, know how very proud I am to be a Bobcat. As is Early County’s tradition, we are stepping up to help out and to provide support for each other during this difficult time, and we continue to band together and stand ready to help in any way possible. Be assured that we are here – either back in our offices or in our homes at our work stations doing the very best we can to prepare for our precious students.
I personally want to thank all family, friends, and co-workers who have reached out to me during my family’s quarantine period. We will come out stronger and better than ever! I encourage you to please continue to limit your social activities, practice social distancing, wash your hands, wear your masks, and protect the elderly as well as people with chronic health conditions in the days and weeks ahead. If I may be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me.
On another note that I feel strongly about, please know that the ECSS administration supports social justice for all people, and we stand hand in hand against the travesty that occurred in Minneapolis last week. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” How we treat others who look like us and who don’t look like us matters. All lives matter. We need to stand together and unite against anyone who treats others unfairly.
Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, Ed.D.
11927 Columbia Street ~ Blakely, Georgia 39823 ~ Phone: (229)723-4337 ~ Fax: (229)723-8183