Superintendent Update on March 26th, 2020
This Monday, March 30, the Gulf District Schools Instructional Continuity Plan or ICP goes into effect. The ICP provides for students to have access to paper instructional activities and/or digital materials so that they remain engaged in homebased learning during the time school campuses may remain closed.
Teachers are reaching out to their students with specific instructions on how to obtain instructional packets. If you have not yet heard from your child’s teacher regarding this matter, please call your child’s school. Educational packets are being made available at each school. The ICP may also be found online, by accessing the district website at gulfcoschools.com.
Home-based instruction is important in order for students to remain engaged, prevent regression, and maintain some sense of normalcy. However, we hope that you will remain flexible in the instruction process and make the experience a pleasant one for both you and your child. While face-to-face instruction is not currently possible, teachers will remain accessible to provide support if needed.
Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher and we hope that home-based education is a productive, enjoyable, bonding experience for your family.
Read together. Explore nature together. Create together. But most importantly… stay healthy together.
Superintendent Update on March 25th, 2020
Any Gulf District employee or student who has traveled to an area described by the CDC as an “area experiencing community spread,” within the past 3 weeks, is now requested to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, beginning the day you arrive back home. This includes, but is not limited to, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, the Miami area, Washington State, California, parts of Colorado, and many other areas that may be referenced by visiting the CDC website.
If members of your immediate household have taken such travels and returned to your home, in addition to their self-quarantine, it is recommended that you exercise additional precautions including heightened social distancing.
The continued health of our community rests upon the responsible behavior of each individual.
Your understanding and cooperation is appreciated.
Superintendent Update on March 20th, 2020
I hope you’ve been able to find some enjoyment and relaxation this Spring Break despite the chaos wrought by COVID-19. You certainly deserve a break and I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for the devotion and grace with which you have handled the challenges so far.
The virus situation seems to change by the minute. Last Friday morning, DOE instructed districts to keep schools open and march on. That afternoon, we were instructed to extend Spring Break by a week. A few days later, Governor DeSantis made the decision to close campuses until April 15 with the understanding that the date would be re-evaluated as the situation unfolded.
This additional time is being used to develop a two-prong approach to provide as much normalcy as we can for our students…to FEED and to EDUCATE. Food Service personnel will prepare hundreds of bag lunches. Beginning Monday, bus drivers and paraprofessionals will be delivering those meals along established routes. Additional meals will be made available for pick up at the elementary schools for those students who do not ride a bus.
In addition, we have been charged with developing an Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP) to ensure our students are provided with age/grade appropriate instruction during the school closure. This plan will be initiated on March 30 and will be a combination of digital and traditional paper-pencil activities.
Each of us will have a role to play and it will require the teamwork Gulf District Schools is known for. Everyone will be working in some capacity to provide meals and instruction to our students. Preparing or delivering meals, developing lessons and delivering instruction, running copies, answering phones, calling parents…we will all have to roll up our sleeves. Each school site administrator will develop a flexible schedule for employees that will allow us to remain in compliance with the groups of ten or less rule. The traditional whole-group faculty meeting is not an option. Until contacted by your school site administrator, do not plan to come to work, but remain on call during regular school hours. Please check your email regularly.
If you have concern for your health or that of an immediate family member due to a compromised immune system or other specific health issue, please understand that we will work with you to accommodate your needs.
For those of you who may have traveled over spring break please act responsibly by self-monitoring and avoiding contact if any symptoms are present. The school feeding program will begin Monday, March 23. Meals will be ready at both elementary schools between 11:30-1:00 local time, and will be delivered to each established bus stop approximately 5 hours later than scheduled morning pick up (i.e. if a student is regularly picked up at 7:30am, lunch will be delivered at 12:30pm).
The Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP) will be completed soon and is slated to begin Monday, March 30. Teachers will receive a copy and be responsible for facilitating its implementation with their students. The ICP is a broad overview of instructional requirements during school closure. Principals will provide more detail to you. Teachers will be key to successful implementation and I thank you in advance.
Principals will have considerable autonomy to handle staff and student matters as they arise.
Parents have always been a child’s first and most important teacher and we are confident that you will recognize the importance of your role in this process. Please know that your support is highly valued. While we are dedicated to your child, we cannot do this alone. Keep your child engaged, be patient with your child (and with us), and we will be successful.
Thank you for all your support as we face this closure. I know that we will all be successful with God’s grace.
Superintendent Update on March 17th, 2020
All schools will be closed until April 15th. During this period the school districts and the Department of Education will be looking at 2-week snapshots of time to determine if additional closures should be necessary.
The district is working on an Instructional Continuity Plan for home-based learning until schools reopen. This plan will be implemented on Monday, March 30th. Details will follow later this week, along with details for the student feeding program.
All state standardized testing has been cancelled by the Department of Education.
Gulf District Schools employees should maintain a high degree of readiness to assist with the home-based Instructional Continuity Plan… our greatest task is maintaining our educational programs and supporting families through this unprecedented time.
Everyone is strongly urged to adhere to the CDC guidelines for gatherings. At present the limit is no more than 10 people in a single occupied space.
I know that everyone has as many questions as I have. We will continue to share information as it becomes available to us.
At an Emergency Meeting of the Gulf County School Board on March 17, 2020, the board declared a local State of Emergency as pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, authorizing the Superintendent to act within his emergency executive authority as relating to district matters to include, but not limited to:
- Develop and implement an Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP) to ensure that students’ educational opportunities continue during the closure of schools
- Develop and implement a meal distribution program using for district resources
- Develop a plan for providing related services for students with IEPs or 504 plans
- Continuing making payroll for all employees with the understanding that employees remain “on call” to assist as needed
This order will be in effect through April 1, 2020 at which time the school board will meet in regular session to amend or extend this order.