Coronavirus - April 9th Update #8

Coronavirus - April 9th Update #8
Posted on 04/09/2020

April 9, 2020

Good Afternoon Parents/Guardians and Staff: Earlier today we received notification from the state that our public schools will remain closed for face to face instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. While we are disappointed our students and teachers will not have the opportunity to see each other again this year, we are confident this is the correct decision at this time. Also, we are certain there are many questions that remain unanswered.

Below is a listing of topics/questions we have received over the past few weeks that answers were uncertain given the hope we could return to the buildings to complete the 2019-2020 school year. Now with the closure, we do have certainty for many of these questions:

Will students continue to attend school in the distance learning format? Yes, students will continue to attend school for the remainder of the year using the newly implemented distance learning format. The school calendar will remain the same as the official school calendar posted on the district website. The last day of school for students will be Thursday, May 28, 2020. All academic requirements, including end of year projects and final exams, where appropriate, will be determined by the classroom teacher and shared with students and parents.

Will the South Western School District hold a graduation ceremony for the senior class? The South Western School District remains committed to holding a graduation ceremony for the 2020 Senior Class. We continue to plan for a traditional ceremony as scheduled, but are also exploring additional options should we not be permitted to gather in a large group on May 29, 2020. The SWHS administration will be working with class advisors, class officers, SWSD Board of School Directors and teachers on ceremony plans over the next several weeks. We will be in communication with our families about our plans as soon as they are solidified. We are aware this is a wonderful event for the entire family, and often involves guests from out of the area, so we will do our best to finalize plans as soon as possible.

What does the cancellation of face to face instruction mean for other school events? As a result of the building closures, all field trips and evening events have been canceled for the remainder of the year. This includes banquets, concerts, sporting events and award ceremonies typically held in the spring.

Will the Senior Class have their prom? The Senior Class Prom scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2020, has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 23, 2020. We are aware this change in date may prevent some seniors from attending, but we hopeful all seniors who wish to attend will be able to attend this wonderful event.

When can I get my student's materials from school? We understand that many of our students have personal items in their lockers and desks at school. We will be working as an administrative team to plan a schedule for students and their parents to come to their school building to pick up their materials while remaining compliant with all CDC recommendations. Please allow some time for the administrative team to develop this schedule as it will require a great deal of coordination given the number of students who need to pick up materials. We anticipate beginning this pick up process in early to mid-May.

Will the senior scholarships be awarded this year? Yes, all seniors who have been awarded a scholarship will participate in a virtual award ceremony later this school year. Our HS guidance counselors, administration and awarding agencies are working to plan this ceremony and make sure all the selected seniors receive their awards.

When will the district hold kindergarten registration? The district is planning on holding their annual kindergarten registration in late May and early June of this school year. We will be sharing the information with the final details of the registration process as soon as possible. If the state remains under a stay at home order into summer, we will adjust our registration process to comply with all state orders.

Will the district be holding Extended School Year (ESY) for eligible students with IEPs? Yes, the district does anticipate holding the Extended School Year (ESY) program for all eligible students with IEPs. If your student is eligible for this program, you will be contacted by his/her teacher to share the details of the program.

Will the South Western School District hold its Summer Recreation Program? A final decision has not been made on this summer program. The district will continue to evaluate this offering and communicate a final decision as soon as possible.

Will the 2020-2021 school year start on time? Yes, the district is planning the first student day for the 2020- 2021 school year to remain Monday, August 24, 2020.

As stated above, we are positive there are many additional questions, including some that will come up over the next few weeks. We will continue to do our best to share answers with our community and continue providing a high quality educational program to our students, something I am confident we will be able to do. I would encourage our families to visit our district website (www.swsd.k12.pa.us) and/or parent website (https://sites.google.com/southwesternsd.org/distance-learning-for-families) to review our Continuity of Education program that outlines our plan for the remainder of the school year.

We all know these circumstances have presented us all with situations we only read about in books and witnessed in movies - the unrealistic events, until they weren't. There are many who are struggling with this crisis in so many ways; health, financial, solitude and ways we may not understand. I want to reassure our families we are here for all of you. We will do our best to provide support to all of you; it may be in providing lunches for our students, directing families to additional resources in their time of need, providing technology support for families as they take on distance learning, being a constant in an ever changing crisis and most importantly just being here for each other. I can speak for our entire staff on how grateful we are for our community's unwavering support. I can speak for our administration on how fortunate we are for our entire staff, I can speak as the Superintendent of Schools on how grateful I am for the outstanding administrators who lead our district and I will take the liberty to speak for everyone to say there is no better community family to be a part of than our Mustang Family!

Be strong, be safe and be well and please continue to practice social distancing.


Thank you,

Jay H. Burkhart
Jay H. Burkhart, D.Ed.
Superintendent of Schools
Jay_burkhart@southwesternsd.org
717-632-2500

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