Remote Learning Update 3/3/20

Remote Learning Update 3/30/20
Posted on 03/30/2020
Dear LS Students and Families,

Over February break we read about the first confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Italy. February 24 the CDC recommended that schools prepare for extended school closure to mitigate the spread of COVID 19. L-S established a Learning Continuity Committee and began reviewing learning plans curated from around the world. A representative body of teachers and administrators convened as a Learning Continuity Committee on March 10 to plan for possible school closure. On March 12, the executive director of the MA Department of Public Health advised all school districts against proactive school closure. With the support of our local health department, L-S was part of the first cohort of schools to announce proactive closure for two weeks on March 13. Boston Public Schools followed with an announcement to close schools through April 28. On March 15 the Governor ordered all schools to be closed for three weeks starting March 17. This order has now been extended through May 3.

L-S has been at the forefront in response to the pandemic flu in this state. Teachers across all schools in the state and across our country are now actively engaging under extreme duress despite experiencing their own varying degrees of personal disruption at home in a form of learning. Although the state was officially recommending against proactive school closure and planning for remote learning when I asked staff to do otherwise in early March L-S educators never once hesitated to say yes. I am absolutely grateful for their early commitment to this and want you to know how proud I am of what they have committed to and have done. It has been hard and they have done it willingly with the best interest of students at heart.

Attached is a letter being forwarded to you at the request of Educational Commissioner Jeff Riley. The letter outlines state guidance recommendations issued on March 26 related to remote learning. L-S Phase 1 for remote learning (3/23 -4/5) is already in compliance with the state’s guidance. Phase 1 includes plans for 14 hours of instruction blended between educator-directed learning and student-directed learning per week, teachers checking in with each student at least twice a week, and counselors and special educators checking in with students on a regular basis.

We have intentionally not engaged in synchronous videoconferencing to date during Phase 1. With respect to videoconferencing there are significant concerns about being able to ensure student privacy if recordings are made and then shared without prior knowledge and permission. Some platforms not made specifically for a school environment when used do not protect against collection of data and images for future use by the vendor. If we do use videoconferencing as part of Phase II of our remote learning plan it will only be with safeguards in place.

Our primary impetus from the beginning has been to sustain continuity of meaningful learning experiences and the importance of maintaining contact with our students. We are striving to reach every student. As we continue, we understand that things may become more challenging as student and family needs, access, capacity, and ongoing health of all involved.

I hope this note finds you as well as can be during this period of profound uncertainty. I hope those you care about personally are all doing well. I know chances are that may not always be the case. Together I wish you encouragement and good wishes for best outcomes.

Sincerely,

Bella Wong

DESE Letter to Parents