CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 5/28/2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 5/28/2020
Posted on 06/02/2020
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 5/28/2020

Coronavirus Update
DUE TO THE VOLUME OF INFORMATION WHICH IS TOO LENGTHY
TO TEXT OR INCLUDE IN A PHONE CALL BUT NEEDS TO BE COMMUNICATED
DURING THIS UNPRECEDENTED EVENT,
WE ASK THAT ALL PARENTS LOG IN TO
THEIR SCHOOLMESSENGER ACCOUNTS
AND MAKE SURE THEIR EMAIL IS SELECTED AS A NOTIFICATION OPTION
AND IS ENTERED ACCURATELY.

SCHOOLMESSENGER INSTRUCTIONS
  

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

It is hard to believe that we are just days away from the end to this unique school year! This communication will provide you with many details regarding the events of the coming days.

Thursday, May 28 – Honors Night

The video for Honors Night was posted to the District website at 5:30 p.m. today. Congratulations to our seniors who have earned many accolades for their excellence in academics, athletics, and extra-curricular activities. Over $79,500 in scholarships and awards is announced during the video. We are very proud of their accomplishments! The June 3rd edition of the Press & Journal will contain a special supplement highlighting the names of each scholarship/award winner.

Friday, May 29 – Last Day of Remote Learning

The last day of remote learning for students in Grades K-12 is Friday, May 29. All student work must be submitted online no later than Sunday, May 31 at 8:00 p.m. to receive credit for the 4th marking period.

Monday, June 1 – Start of Summer Food Service Program

The summer food service program will continue to operate at both Fink Elementary School and the High School beginning June 1 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Monday, June 1 – iPad Return for Grades 3-5 at Fink, Kunkel & Reid Elementary Schools

Elementary students (Grades 3-5) will return their iPads to their schools according to the following schedule. Students will also receive a bag containing the contents of their desks. The school nurse will also be available for pick-up of any medication that has been stored at the school.

Grade 5 – 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Grade 4 – 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Grade 3 – 2:30-4:00 p.m.

**If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 4:00-4:30 p.m.**

NOTE: If you have children in multiple elementary grades, you may drop-off all their iPads at one of your children's time slots.

Monday, June 1 & Tuesday, June 2 – Last Days for Seniors to Return MASD Equipment/Satisfy Debts

Senior Class Only: Any items or debts owed to the District should be taken care of during the dates and times listed below to include iPads, charging cables, and charging bricks. These items can be returned to the High School lobby/main office area.

June 1 – 12:00-3:00 p.m.
June 2 – 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 2 – Transfer of MAMS 8th Grade

A video of the Middletown Area Middle School Transfer of the 8th Grade Class will be posted to the District website on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:00 p.m. Congratulations to our 8th graders as they are promoted to the High School.

Wednesday, June 3 – iPad Return for Grades 6-8 at MAMS

Middle School students will return their iPads to MAMS according to the following schedule. Students will also receive a bag containing the contents of their lockers. The school nurse will also be available for pick-up of any medication that has been stored at the school.

Grade 8 – 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Grade 7 – 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Grade 6 – 1:00-3:00 p.m.

**If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 3:30-4:30 p.m.**

NOTE: If you have children in multiple middle level grades, you may drop-off all their iPads at one of your children's time slots.

Wednesday, June 3 – Commencement of the Class of 2020

The graduation video honoring the Class of 2020 will be released on the District website and on social media on June 3 at 3:00 p.m. Congratulations to our Class of 2020!

Seniors should plan to arrive at the High School on Wednesday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. for the diploma pick-up ceremony and parade. A parent must be driving the vehicle and the senior should be seated in the front passenger seat wearing their cap, gown and specially designed MASD mask. Students may decorate their caps and/or cars. Our Operations Department will direct vehicles into the bus lane where the seniors’ cars will be lined up until reaching the balloon pillars. This is the location in which the seniors will be handed their diploma. Everyone will remain in their vehicles. District personnel in attendance will also be wearing masks and socially distancing to maintain safety for all. The diploma pick-up will resemble the drive-through at Chick-Fil-A where there are two lanes for ordering that converge into one lane for payment/pick-up. We anticipate that we will move everyone through the pick-up line in approximately 40 minutes. Cars participating in the parade will be guided into line using the student parking lot, while those who do not wish to be in the parade will exit the campus using the lane behind the High School. This ceremony will be broadcast live on WMSS.

Our local first responders will be leading the parade through our community immediately after all diplomas have been issued. A map of the parade route will be released this weekend after it is received from the first responders.

** Seniors who choose not to participate in the diploma ceremony can pick up their diplomas at the High School front lobby on June 4 or 5 between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.
*** Senior yard signs will be available for pick up on either June 4 or 5 at the High School front lobby between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.


Thursday, June 4 – iPad Return for Grades K-2 at Fink, Kunkel & Reid Elementary Schools

Elementary students (Grades K-2) will return their iPads to their schools according to the following schedule. Students will also receive a bag containing the contents of their desks. The school nurse will also be available for pick-up of any medication that has been stored at the school.

Grade 2 – 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Grade 1 – 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Kindergarten – 1:00-3:00 p.m.

**If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 3:30-4:30 p.m.**

NOTE: If you have children in multiple elementary grades, you may drop-off all their iPads at one of your children's time slots.

Thursday, June 4 & Friday, June 5 – iPad return for Grades 9-11 at High School – Use Rear Entrance to Life Fitness Center

All underclassmen are asked to return their iPads and any other District-issued equipment according to the following schedule. Students will be given a bag containing the contents of their locker. The school nurse will also be available for pick-up of any medication that has been stored at the school.

June 4 - Grades 9-11 – 5:00-8:00 p.m. (rear of school at entrance to Life Fitness Center/Weight Room)
June 5 – Grades 9-11 – 12:00-3:00 p.m. (same location as above)

Wednesday, June 10 – Electronic Report Cards Issued

4th quarter report cards will be issued electronically on Wednesday, June 10 via secure email using the same process that was used for quarter three.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your support and cooperation during this unprecedented spring. The administration will now be turning its full attention to re-entry planning for August 2020. In a virtual meeting this morning with PA Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera superintendents were informed that the department will be issuing guidance to school districts sometime in June so that the administration can develop plans for how we will return to school while adhering to the guidelines from the CDC. As those plans begin to take shape, we will certainly keep you updated. If any parents are interested in serving on the re-entry planning committee over the summer, please email me at lsuski@raiderweb.org to express your interest.

Best wishes to all for a safe and healthy summer!

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


UPDATE: AFTER THE MAY 9TH MESSAGE WAS SENT, FURTHER DECISIONS WERE MADE AND THE DETAILS HAVE BEEN ADDED AND HIGHLIGHTED IN RED BELOW.


SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2020

Dear MASD Parent/Guardian:

Today’s communication provides updated information regarding several important events, especially those affecting the Class of 2020 and their families. Let me begin by saying that I share the profound disappointment that you feel over the loss of significant events this spring since the stay-at-home order has been in effect. Every student deserves the opportunity to experience the rites of passage that come with being a senior, such as prom and graduation. I look forward to these events every year and have never missed one in the past 12 years. Having watched many of your children advance through MASD from kindergarten through senior year, I believe in the importance of commencement as both the culmination of a student’s K-12 education as well as the ceremonial sending students forth into the world to begin their adult lives. It is an emotional night that every parent anticipates with excitement and joy, interspersed with a tinge of sadness that this stage of their child’s school life is concluding. Although this year has to look very different, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Administration remains committed to recognizing and celebrating our students’ accomplishments in a manner that is both memorable and safe. We understand that these decisions will be met with mixed opinions and respect the fact that we will not be able to please everyone. However, we will continue to act responsibly in balancing our desire to do whatever it takes to see that our students get to experience what they have earned with the need to comply with the governor’s orders in an effort to maintain the health and safety of everyone. Specific details of each event that was previously scheduled are outlined below.

Honors Nightpreviously scheduled for Thursday, May 28, 2020

This event will not be able to held as scheduled; however, a virtual Honors Night program in which all awards are announced along with the names and pictures of each recipient will be produced in a video that will GO LIVE ON THE DISTRICT WEBSITE ON MAY 28, 2020 AT 5:30PM. Seniors will receive those awards along with their diplomas on June 3, 2020.

Prompreviously scheduled for Saturday, May 30, 2020

This event will not be able to be held as scheduled. Even if Dauphin County were to be in the “yellow” phase of the governor’s re-opening plan for Pennsylvania by May 30, large gatherings of more than 25 persons are not permitted and social distancing guidelines would prevent this event from being possible. The High School Administration and I have discussed the rescheduling of Prom to later in the summer; however, that would only be possible if Dauphin County were to be in the “green” phase of the governor’s re-opening plan for the state. We do not want to further disappoint students by announcing a rescheduled date as some other schools have done, only to have to cancel once again. Therefore, at this time, Prom will not be rescheduled. At such time that we anticipate a projected date for return to “green,” the Administration will then revisit the idea of holding a social event for the senior class that may be a formal, semi-formal or casual affair, dependent upon the majority of the wishes of the senior class at that time. It is very important to us that no student be excluded from participating in such an event due to an inability to afford formal or semi-formal attire or the traditional costs associated with Prom when many parents are out of work right now and may not be able to afford these expenses, so we may need the support and assistance of others in the community at that time. When the time arrives to revisit this topic, we will be in touch with the senior class to seek their input on the type of event they wish to have and make the decisions accordingly at that time.

MAMS 8th Grade Transferpreviously scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, 2020

This event will not be held as scheduled due to restrictions on holding large gatherings; however, a virtual transfer video will be produced with students’ names, photos, and awards received, that will be released on June 2, 2020. Promotion certificates will be mailed to all students.

Commencement Honoring the Class of 2020previously scheduled for Wednesday, June 3, 2020

This event will not be able to be held at The Forum in Harrisburg as previously planned. Even if Dauphin County were to be in the “yellow” phase of the governor’s re-opening plan for PA, large gatherings of more than 25 persons are not permitted and social distancing guidelines would still be required. Therefore, graduation will be a hybrid model. What does that look like?

  1. All seniors who have satisfied their academic requirements (and any debts, including return of MASD physical property) will receive their caps and gowns on May 21 and 22  May 20 – 5:00-8:00pm and May 21 – 12:00-3:00pm. Seniors can pick up their caps, gowns, and school-provided masks in the front lobby of the high school. There is no sign-up for this event, but social distancing should be practiced at all times. Caps and gowns will only be given to the senior or their parent/guardian. Seniors will not be permitted to pick up regalia for other seniors.
  2. Beginning Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, May 29, each senior will be invited to come to the High School with their parents/guardians. We recognize that step-parents also play an important role in the lives of our students. Therefore, we will allow parents, guardians, and step-parents into the school for this photo opportunity. Students must sign-up using the information Mr. Carnes emailed to them. The parents will be seated in the HS Auditorium where they can watch their child walk across the stage and receive their high school “diploma.” (Please note that the actual diploma has never been handed out on stage; but afterward. This year, it will be on graduation night – see #4 below.) A photographer will be on hand to take the senior’s picture as s/he walks across the High School auditorium stage, just as we would typically do at The Forum. The senior will exit the stage, parents will exit the side door of the auditorium, and be directed to a different location where we will have the Raider backdrop set up for you to take a family photo before leaving the building. Maintenance will sanitize any surface that is touched before the next senior will come in with their parents, and we will repeat this process over again until, by the end of the week, we have provided that opportunity to each senior and their parents. We will do all of this while exercising social distancing guidelines and limiting the number of people in the building to no more than 10 total as required under the “red” phase – which includes the staff involved. (*Please note that should Dauphin County move into the “yellow” phase by the last week of May, we would increase the number of family members that each senior can have come into the building to watch him/her walk across the stage and be photographed, while wearing masks and exercising appropriate social distancing).
  3. We will schedule times for the valedictorian, salutatorian, class president, and other commencement speakers to pre-record their remarks. All of this will be uploaded into a video, along with the photos and names of each senior. If a senior does not wish to come to MAHS to walk across the stage and be photographed, their name will still be announced and we will use their senior yearbook photo in the video instead. This graduation video will be released on June 3, 2020 AT 3PM. A copy of the video will be provided to each graduate, posted on the District website, and available online for viewing at your leisure.
  4. At 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3 (the actual date and time of graduation), each senior and their immediate families are invited to come to Middletown Area High School in cap and gown for a drive-up graduation in which the actual diplomas will be handed to each graduate without anyone leaving their cars using the High School bus lane. We encourage each senior to decorate their cars. The senior should be seated in the front passenger seat to allow for expedient distribution of the diplomas. Parents are asked to serve as drivers to ensure safety during this exciting evening. Other household family members may be in the back seat of the car at your discretion. After your car has exited the High School bus loop you will be directed to the student parking lot to get in line for the parade (if you wish to participate) or to the rear of the building to exit the campus via the Reid entrance to the campus (if you choose not to participate in the parade). No one will be permitted to exit their vehicles or congregate in order to abide by social distancing guidelines. Once every student has received their diplomas, a procession of seniors in their decorated vehicles will be led through the community with the assistance of our local police and fire companies as escorts. The community will be asked to remain on their porches or front lawns to observe the parade as it moves through town. Exact details on the parade route to be announced as details are arranged with local first responders in the coming weeks.
  5. At some point in the future, when Dauphin County is in the “green” phase, the Administration will discuss holding a real graduation ceremony in which everything would be recreated “live” and in person in a modified form, for any seniors and their families who want that opportunity, with the understanding that many students may have already departed for college or the military by that time. Since we do not have any idea when large group gatherings will be permitted, the Administration feels that the above alternative plan is the best approach to allow students to graduate on June 3 as scheduled in a safe but unique way.


In closing, please know that these decisions are not taken lightly. We are deeply saddened that the current pandemic has robbed our seniors of a “normal” experience of the last few months of high school, yet we are doing everything possible to make it as memorable an event as possible, while respecting the rules that have been set forth by our governor. In addition to the above, I am pleased to announce that through the generosity of both the Middletown Alumni Association and the Middletown Area Blue Raider Foundation, a special sign for each member of the Class of 2020 is currently under production by Lenny Yospa of Youth Sports Photos, Inc. Each sign will be personalized with the name and photo of your senior and given to the student as a graduation gift. The signs will be displayed on the front lawn of the High School in the coming weeks for everyone to see. The signs will be taken down by the MASD Operations Department immediately following the graduation ceremony on June 3 and safely stored in the school until the following day when graduates can return to the High School to pick up their sign. More details to come.

Additionally, through the generosity of the American Legion Post 594, a special blue mask for each senior is being made to be worn for the drive-up graduation on June 3. Many thanks to Middletown residents Lori Shafaye for designing and producing the masks and Amy Ebersole of Kidz in Mind for imprinting the gold “M” on each mask. Along with the 2020 tassel, this mask will certainly be a keepsake for seniors. Each senior will also receive three (3) printed graduation ceremony programs and three (3) printed tickets for the senior and parents to keep as mementos. These will be included in the sleeve with the diplomas on June 3.

Lastly, through a special partnership with the Press & Journal, the District will sponsor a special full page in their newspaper that will accompany the traditional sponsor-funded pages that feature the photos of graduating seniors. This additional page will contain special recognition of the valedictorian and salutatorian, as well as listing all honorees of awards and scholarships from Honors Night, and will include messages from MASD employees and Board members for our graduates. Thank you to Joe Sukle and the Press & Journal for offering this special supplement to honor the Class of 2020. Additionally, you should have received notification yesterday about the newspaper’s opportunity to feature your senior’s photo and information to appear on the Press & Journal website, and for a small fee, to be printed in an upcoming newspaper edition. We encourage parents to highlight their senior student in this special way.

Again, many thanks to all for your patience, support and cooperation as we navigate this unique season! Our community has been so gracious in reaching out to lend their support and assistance to make this year’s graduation special, despite the current circumstances. Look for specifics from Mr. Carnes next week with details about how to satisfy debts, return District property, and sign up for your child’s slot to be photographed walking across the stage.
 
Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

We hope this communication finds you and your family well. I encourage anyone who could use some midweek encouragement to listen to the wonderful performance of our High School Select Choir singing the Middletown Alma Mater under the direction of Mr. Andrew Vensel. Hearing it gave me chills and was a reminder that graduation is only six weeks away! An important letter for parents of seniors regarding graduation requirements has been prepared for mailing. Look for it to reach your home mailboxes by Saturday. One additional reminder for seniors is that the May 1st deadline to apply for scholarships is soon approaching. Please encourage your senior to use this time to apply for as many scholarships for which s/he may be eligible. There is a lot of money to be awarded which can help offset the cost of post-secondary education. The administration still intends to hold Honors Night at the end of May (either in-person or virtually). Look for updates in the next few weeks.

Last week’s parent communication referenced additional information that would be forthcoming regarding grading for students in Grades K - 11. The intent of today’s message is to provide greater clarity on this topic. Over the past week we have communicated with several parents who have reached out to us for support for themselves and their children who are experiencing frustration learning from home in a virtual environment. First, please know that the intent of MASD is to provide continuity of education while also understanding that teaching and learning do not look the same as in the brick-and-mortar setting. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone differently. Individual experiences may impact the way in which your child is able to perform academically while at home. For example, many parents are working from home and cannot devote undivided attention to their child’s schooling throughout the day. Also, some students may have to assist their parents with care of younger siblings due to daycares being closed. This may reduce the amount of time that a student can be online. Worse yet, some of our families may have relatives who are ill from COVID-19, and their primary focus may be on the health and well-being of family members. These are the realities of this pandemic that many of us are dealing with on a daily basis. Our goal is to strike a balance between preserving the integrity of our academic programs while approaching expectations with a level of empathy and grace.

Let’s revisit the information shared last week regarding grading and provide some additional clarification:

Will my child receive grades for the 4th quarter?

Students in Grades K – 8 will be evaluated in the 4th marking period by level of engagement in each subject area. What does this mean?

  • No letter or numeric grades will be issued for the 4th quarter. Rather, each subject will be graded “meets expectations” or “did not meet expectations” for this last marking period due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closure.
  • A student will receive “meets expectations” if they complete at least 60% of the work assigned by their teacher per subject area.
  • A student will receive “did not meet expectations” if they complete 59% or less of the work assigned by their teacher per subject area.
  • If a student was passing a subject at the end of the 3rd quarter, and they “meet expectations” for the 4th quarter, they will pass that subject for the 2019-20 year.
  • If a student was failing a subject as of the end of the 3rd quarter, and they “did not meet expectations” for the 4th quarter, they will fail that subject for the year.
  • Students can also use the 4th quarter to improve their grade as of Q3 by completing missed assignments (although they may receive only partial credit as opposed to full credit for being late).
  • The exception to the above statements applies to MAMS students taking Algebra I in Grade 8. Those students must complete all work (as determined by their teacher) in a satisfactory manner to be eligible to proceed to Algebra II in their freshman year at MAHS. If they do not complete the assigned work, they will be assigned to Algebra I in their freshman year.

Students in Grades 9 – 11 will receive a grade of either “Pass” or “Incomplete” for each course during the 4th quarter. What does this mean?

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closure, no 4th quarter grades will count toward GPA or class rank for students in grades 9 - 11. GPA and class rank will be determined by the first three quarters and a midterm, if applicable. Semester courses will be graded based on the work that was completed up to March 13, 2020, when school ended.
  • All 4th quarter grades will be reflected on report cards/transcripts as “Pass” or “Incomplete” (similar to how colleges and universities are grading during their spring semester).
  • Each teacher will determine what assignments/tasks must be completed for each high school course. If the assignment/task is completed in a satisfactory manner (as determined by the teacher), then the student will earn a grade of “Pass."
  • Students who receive a grade of “Incomplete” for any course in the 4th quarter will have the ability to make up the work via summer school options or into next school year via delayed start Mondays or after-school options.
  • Any “Incomplete” that is not made up by the end of September will result in a failing grade. There is no reason for any student to “fail” the 4th quarter with these reasonable accommodations in place as a result of the extenuating circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

When is the last day of remote learning in MASD?

The District will observe the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 25, 2020. The last day of remote learning for all MASD students will be Friday, May 29, 2020. Since we did not take the entire spring recess (afternoon of April 8 and both April 9 and 13) and will also not use April 28 for a staff development day, we will be able to end the 2019-20 school year 3.5 days early. Students will receive their final work assignments on Friday, May 22 which should be completed by Friday, May 29 (but will be accepted up until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31). Teachers will use the first few days of June to wrap up the school year.

When do students return their iPads and clean out their lockers/desks?

This will take place beginning June 1 – 4, 2020. A schedule is forthcoming in a few weeks that will outline the schedule and process for iPad return and locker/desk clean-out at each school.

Will food service continue?

Yes, we will continue to provide curbside pick-up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Fink Elementary and Middletown Area High School through May 29, 2020. However, beginning this week, we are now distributing breakfast for the subsequent days along with the lunches. The breakfast has replaced the snacks that were previously offered. RaiderPacks will continue to be available during the Friday pick-ups. The schedule for summer food service (which begins in June) will be published in a few weeks.

What if my child has a balance in their food service account? Can I get a refund?

The District will be providing additional details within the next few weeks about the process for requesting a refund of any remaining balance in your child’s account.

What if my child owes cafeteria money or other debts?

The District will also be providing additional details within the coming weeks on what balances are due and where to mail the payment for any debts that your child may owe for cafeteria, library books, textbooks, technology, etc.

In closing, we again wish to thank all of our parents and our community for their overwhelming support of our teachers, support staff and administration during this challenging time. We know that this has not been an easy transition for some students and families, but we are committed to doing our best to assist you wherever possible. In the coming weeks, in addition to our focused work on the development of the 2020-21 budget, the administration is developing a plan for how we will assist our students in filling any knowledge gaps due to the school closure (either over the summer months and/or into the fall) so that all students return to school ready for the next grade level in August 2020. As those details become available, we will certainly share them with you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, APRIL 13, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

As you are aware, on April 9, 2020, Governor Wolf and PA Secretary of Education Rivera announced that all K-12 schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year. Today’s communication outlines the tentative plan for moving forward, with the understanding that as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, it may be necessary to revisit some of these topics. We will continue to update this information as further decisions are made. We appreciate everyone’s support and patience during these challenging times. If you have questions or concerns about this information, please contact us. Our goal is to provide as much information as possible and utilize all available resources to support our students and parents through this pandemic.

CONTINUITY OF EDUCATION PLAN

Did the Governor’s announcement mean that school is over now?
No! Although the announcement was made that schools are closed for the remainder of the school year, that does not mean that education has stopped. MASD personnel will continue working remotely from home to provide planned instruction in an online learning environment through the end of the school year.

Is student attendance taken daily?
Teachers will not be tracking daily attendance during the 4th marking period. Rather, the focus for teachers will be keeping students meaningfully engaged in online learning. The administration is in the process of developing guidelines for teachers to use in determining the level of student engagement in this remote learning environment.

Will my child receive grades for the 4th quarter?
Students in Grades K – 8 will be evaluated in the 4th marking period by level of engagement in each subject area. More information is forthcoming to explain how students will be held accountable and how parents can monitor their child’s level of engagement in Power School.

Students in Grades 9 – 11 will receive a grade of either “Pass” or “Incomplete” for each course during the 4th quarter. More information is forthcoming to explain this modified grading scale, the impact of “Incomplete” grades in terms of credit accrual, and how students will be held accountable to make up “Incompletes” in order to receive credit over the summer or next school year when work is made up.

Seniors will be expected to meet all requirements for graduation, including completion of the senior project. School counselors and teachers will communicate details with seniors to ensure that every student understands what s/he needs to do in order to graduate.

When will my child receive his/her 3rd quarter report card?
Quarter 3 report cards will be issued electronically K-12 on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Parents will receive an email communication from SwiftK12 regarding their child’s report card being available via link in that email. This is a secure document delivery system and the report card is accessed with the child’s 8-digit birthdate (XX/XX/XXXX) including the slashes. The report card will also be available on the PowerSchool parent portal, via the SwiftK12 icon on the left hand side, and accessed via password, which is your child’s 8-digit birthdate.

What if my child’s iPad cable and/or charger needs replaced?
The IT department is working very hard to respond to help desk tickets on technology-related matters. If a student’s iPad charger block or cable needs to be replaced for any reason, parents should bring the defective charger block and/or cable to the food service distribution sites at Fink or the High School on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to swap them out for new ones.

Will Extended School Year (ESY) still be held this summer?
At this time, ESY is scheduled to begin on June 16, 2020 and end on July 16, 2020 for special education students whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) recommend this programming. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and adjust accordingly, if necessary.

Will the District still offer summer school?
The administration is currently reviewing the plans for summer school and will provide further details in the coming weeks for eligible students.

UPCOMING EVENTS PLAN

Will spring sports occur?
No. PIAA released an announcement on April 9, 2020, stating that winter sports championships and all spring sports have been cancelled. Uniforms will be returned at a later date (to be determined).

Will the Prom take place on May 30 as scheduled?
Given the Governor’s stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines, it is doubtful that the Prom can be held on May 30, unless something radically changes. The rescheduling of the Prom to a later date (i.e. June) would be very challenging due to planned senior week activities, summer vacations, etc…

Will spring concerts be held?
No. All spring band and choral concerts are cancelled since group rehearsals and performances are not permitted at this time.

What about Honors Night, Banquets and other Events?
The administration and faculty are reviewing all scheduled recognition events to determine what could be done virtually to recognize students should it become necessary to cancel these gatherings. More information will be forthcoming based on the dates of the scheduled events and social distancing guidelines.

What is the plan for Graduation?
As of today, the District will hold the June 3, 2020, date for Commencement at The Forum. We are hopeful that the social distancing guidelines may be reduced by that time. However, the administration is also being proactive in developing an alternative plan for graduation in the event that we are unable to gather on June 3. Some of the ideas discussed include a virtual commencement ceremony followed by a drive-by pick-up of diplomas. There are many ideas we have to make sure that the Class of 2020 is formally recognized and honored for their achievements. The District is ordering a special recognition sign for each senior to be placed on the High School front lawn and then given to each senior as a special gift. We will also be working on a special website feature for our seniors.

What is the plan for MAMS Transfer?
Even if it were possible to gather by early June, the administration has decided that MAMS Transfer will not be held this year. The reason for this decision is that this ceremony requires several rehearsals with students which would be nearly impossible to hold since school is not in session.

FOOD SERVICE PLAN UPDATE

Will MASD continue to offer food service now that schools are closed for the remainder of the school year?
Yes, but you will no longer see the white tents. The tents were removed due to the recent high winds. Our volunteers will now serve as runners to and from the school lobbies to bring the food to your cars. MASD will continue to operate its seamless food service program for any and all resident children (including pre-school ages up through 18 years of age) three days per week until the end of the school year. Bagged lunches and snacks will be available for curbside pick-up at both Fink Elementary School and Middletown Area High School from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Enough bagged lunches and snacks will be distributed to last subsequent days until the next scheduled distribution day.

What if my child(ren) are not available at the pick-up times?
If a student is unavailable to come to the site, a parent can show a picture of their child’s school ID card in order to receive the free lunch/snack.

Will the MASD RaiderPacks program still operate now that schools are closed?
Yes. Please note that the RaiderPacks program is only available on Fridays from now until the end of the school year beginning this Friday, April 17. RaiderPacks can be picked up during the food service distribution times of 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Fink and the High School.

OTHER HOUSEKEEPING TOPICS

Will the Safe2Say Something program still operate now that school is closed?
Yes! Students and parents are still able to report concerns about students using the Safe2Say Something app or website. All tips received will continue to be addressed by the MASD S2SS team.

What if my child has medication that needs picked up from the school nurse’s office?
Since most parents picked up medications a few weeks ago, we are recommending this be handled on a case-by-case basis. If your child has a prescription medication that is currently housed in the school’s nurse’s office, please email your child’s school nurse to make arrangements to pick up the medication.

What if my child has something in their locker or desk that is needed now?
Items that are critical can be picked up by contacting your child’s building principal to make arrangements. Once the Governor’s stay-at-home order is lifted, the District will establish a schedule whereby students can come back to clean out their lockers and/or desks for the year.

When will we return the iPads to the schools?
Students will keep their iPads at home until such time that the District releases a schedule for their return (during the first week of June).

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

At 10:20 a.m. today, I received notification that the PA Secretary of Education issued an order under Act 13 of 2020 to close all public schools through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, as defined by the local school calendar. Additionally, Governor Wolf is ordering all K-12 schools and programs, public and private, to be closed through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. All of these decisions were made in consultation with the Secretary of Health, based on the most recent information regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the health, safety, and welfare of students, school staff, and communities.

This announcement was just received, so we will now transition into discussions about the many questions this news has raised. Please stay tuned for a more detailed update.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools



SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2020


Dear Parent/Guardian:

I hope this greeting finds each of you and your family members healthy and safe! Our thoughts are with our MASD families, in particular those who are experiencing any challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please know that we are here to provide encouragement and support to you and your children to get through whatever difficulties your family may be facing. MASD is so fortunate to have caring and dedicated employees who are willing to go the extra mile to assist families. One of the ways in which we will continue to support our families is through the food service program. We are grateful to the wonderful cafeteria staff at Nutrition Group for their role in preparing the bagged lunches and snacks for our children. We also appreciate the ongoing support of our employees who have helped to coordinate and distribute food the past three weeks. Several donations from individuals and local businesses have also allowed our RaiderPacks backpack food program to be extended during this pandemic. We are most grateful to all those who have supported this cause.

The purpose of today’s communication is to update you on the schedule change for food service this week and to provide a few details about planned instruction for all students beginning Monday, April 6.

Food Service Schedule Change This Week

Bagged lunches and snacks will be available this week at both Fink Elementary School and Middletown Area High School on Monday (April 6), Wednesday (April 8), and Thursday (April 9) from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Please note that there will be no distribution on Friday, April 10. Any child living in MASD up to 18 years of age is eligible to receive a bagged lunch and snack FREE on those days with extras provided for the days in between offerings. RaiderPacks will also be available for pick-up during those times on Monday, April 6 and Thursday, April 9.

The regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday lunch program schedule will resume on April 13 and continue until further notice.

Planned Instruction Begins This Week

Once again, I wish to thank the MASD IT department and employees who assisted with the distribution of over 1,100 iPads last week. Kudos to the parents of our elementary students who arranged to visit their child’s school last week to pick up the devices. We are so appreciative of your cooperation!

Beginning tomorrow (Monday, April 6), all MASD K-12 students are expected to begin remote learning using their District-issued iPads. Our teachers have reached out to their students and parents last week during the enrichment/review week to get everyone acclimated to the new learning platforms. A few teachers have shared with administration that some of their students are not responding to emails, phone calls, or Zoom meeting invitations. We understand that there is a learning curve for all of us, but we really need everyone to work together and do their part to make this new venture successful for our students.

Parents, please ensure that your child is able to get online and is logging in daily. If you are without internet, there were several options recommended to assist with getting service for free or at a reduced rate. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or building principal who can guide you to those resources.

This week teachers will begin tracking completion of students’ assignments. We are still awaiting further direction from the PA Department of Education regarding the tracking of daily student attendance and grades, but students should be spending time online daily this week (with the exception of Friday that is a day off for everyone) to participate in lessons, complete assignments, and communicate with teachers. Last week was optional, but this week and the weeks hereafter are required.

Elementary parents, please note that the older model devices given out last week do not contain the District’s internet filtering service. Therefore, it is the parents’ responsibility to monitor the content students are engaging with on their devices using your home internet permissions, similar to what you do if your child has a cell phone.

Lastly, please note that all MASD employees and students will be off on Friday, April 10, 2020 (for a 3-day “spring break” weekend). Teachers will not have office hours on Friday or be responding to students’ emails. Online learning will resume again on Monday, April 13, 2020.

I will be back with an update next week and information on how to receive your child’s 3rd quarter report card electronically. Until then, please remain at home and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This afternoon Governor Wolf made two announcements that impact Middletown Area School District. The first is that Dauphin County has now been added to the growing list of Pennsylvania counties that are under a “stay-at-home” order as of 8:00 p.m. today. The second is that the mandated school closure has now been extended indefinitely; meaning that students will not be returning to school on April 13, 2020, as previously planned. This new information raises several questions for which answers may or may not yet be known:

How does the Dauphin County “stay-at-home” order impact MASD families picking up bagged lunches and iPads as scheduled this week?

The “stay-at-home” order will not impact these planned distributions. According to guidance received from the state, travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning or for receiving meals is considered “essential travel.” Therefore, the schedule published last week for this week’s M-W-F food distribution and T-Th iPad distribution is still in effect.

When will schools re-open?

Governor Wolf did not announce a date for the reopening of schools. He only stated that the closure has been extended indefinitely. Therefore, all we know, at this point, is that MASD will not re-open for staff on April 9 or for students on April 13 as previously announced.

Does this mean that school is over for the rest of the year?

No! Although we have not yet been told when the closure will end, we remain hopeful that schools will re-open at some time this spring; however, that is currently unknown. We will continue to update parents as information becomes available to us. Now that we know that school is not going to open for some time, it is even more critical that students begin to go online and become acclimated to the remote learning environment. Remember that optional enrichment and review activities are available to students this week, and next week all K-12 students are expected to begin 4th marking period work online through planned instruction. Teachers will be reaching out to students and parents with specific directions this week.

What about spring sports, concerts, banquets, prom and graduation?

This morning PIAA announced that spring sports will continue to be placed on hold. It is too early to tell what will happen with any of our major school events; however, as stated on Saturday in the MASD Continuity of Education Plan, reasonable effort will be made to reschedule any missed, significant events, especially for seniors, when it is safe to do so. We will continue to update you, if and when we get to that point.

This is all the news we have to share at the moment. Know that all of us share your frustration with this situation. We feel badly for the Class of 2020; yet, every day as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, we have all become increasingly aware of how very serious this disease is. Continue to take necessary precautions and discourage your children from congregating at local parks and playgrounds. Children also need to practice social distancing to prevent the community spread of COVID-19.

Be well and know that the MASD faculty, staff and administration will continue to be here to support and assist you during this challenging time in our world.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

As we conclude this second week of the mandated school closure, there are two important updates to share with you:

1.  The Middletown Area SD Continuity of Education Plan is completed and can be located HERE. The plan has been placed in a template required by the PA Department of Education to be published on the District website and shared with all parents and community. The plan is very detailed and addresses many areas. Please take time this weekend to read the plan in its entirety and contact your child’s building principal with any questions. This plan is a fluid document and may be updated regularly as new information becomes available. The most recent version of the plan will be posted to the District website and parents will be notified if any changes to the plan occur.

2.  This week the District served bagged lunches and snacks to hundreds of students. The District’s RaiderPacks program was also very busy. All available food in the RaiderPacks inventory has been distributed. Although the District anticipates another delivery late next week from the Central PA Food Bank, we are aware that many families may require additional assistance with food before that time. Therefore, on Tuesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 2, during the scheduled elementary iPad pick-up times, there will be a separate area of the elementary school parking lots designated as drop-off locations for any donations of unperishable food (cans, boxes) that can be distributed to families in need with next week’s RaiderPacks. We thank you in advance for your support and assistance as we all work together to remain Raider Strong!

Please continue to stay healthy!

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Here is the latest update on Middletown Area School District’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic which includes answers to some pending items from the March 24th communication:

Has the District made a decision on how Spring Break will be affected should classes be able to resume in two weeks?

Yes! Here is the anticipated schedule for students’ return (subject to change based on any further mandates from the office of the Governor). As of now, the earliest MASD students will return to school is Monday, April 13, 2020.

  • April 6 – 8 – Operations Department only reports to thoroughly clean and sanitize all school buildings.
  • April 9 – Teachers report back to work for classroom preparation. School will be closed for all students.
  • April 10 – District Closed for Spring Break (Good Friday)
  • April 13 – District Resumes Classes for All Students

What is the District’s Plan for Continuity of Education over the next two weeks?

Earlier this week the PA Department of Education provided guidance to PA school districts on options for continuity of education. Middletown Area School District administration has developed a plan that will enable all K – 12 students to have equitable access to education during the remaining weeks of the mandated school closure once all elementary students receive their iPads next week.

Week of March 30 – April 3: Enrichment & Review – This consists of informal activities that reinforce or extend students' prior learning. New standards and skills are not addressed through Enrichment and Review. (Offered to all students K – 12 online, but optional for work completion since elementary iPads will not be ready for distribution until March 31 and April 2.)

Week of April 6 – 9: Planned Instruction – This is formal teaching and learning online similar to that which occurs in a classroom setting. Within this process, teachers use planned courses of instruction of new concepts/skills aligned to grade level standards. (Offered to all with expectations for work completion; however, no grades will be recorded for this week only.)

Week of April 13 – 17 and beyond: Return to brick-and-mortar classes (contingent upon Governor’s order for any possible extension of the school closure) or continuation of Planned Instruction online as described above with expectations for work completion and grades assigned.

How will elementary students receive their iPads to begin continuity of education?

Elementary iPad Distribution Schedule – Thanks to the MASD Technology Department’s incredible efforts this week, an iPad has been prepared for each elementary student in MASD (Grades K through 5) and will be ready for distribution next week at your child’s school (Fink, Kunkel and Reid) according to the following schedule:

Tuesday, March 31
Grade 5 students may pick up their iPads from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM.
Grade 4 students may pick up their iPads from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM.
Grade 3 students may pick up their iPads from 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM.
**If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.**

Thursday, April 2
Grade 2 students may pick up their iPads from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM.
Grade 1 students may pick up their iPads from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM.
Kindergarten students may pick up their iPads from 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM.
** If you are unable to pick up your iPad during the assigned grade level timeframe, please contact your building principal who will make arrangements for pick-up from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. **

NOTE: if you have children in multiple grades and would like to pick up all their iPads at once, please inform your building principal which time slot you plan to attend so they can have all devices ready for you.


Elementary iPad Distribution Process - All social distancing rules will apply. No one will be permitted to exit their car. These building maps, Fink, Kunkel, Reid show the entrance onto each school’s campus.

  • Upon arrival, parents should drive to Station #1. Walkers must maintain a distance of 6 feet between themselves and the next person in line.

  • At Station #1, parents will hand the MASD employee the completed iPad Agreement. If possible, please print out the document at home, sign it, and be prepared to hand it to the employee at Station #1. (Note: Parents who are unable to print at home will be handed a paper copy at Station #1 and asked to drive to another area of the parking lot to complete the necessary paperwork and then return to Station #1 to submit it.) Please read Policy #815 regarding Acceptable Use of Technology.

  • Then proceed to Station #2 to pick up your device. To prevent as little physical contact as possible, we ask that you hold up a sign from your car window as you approach Station #2 that indicates child’s last name, grade level, and homeroom teacher. iPads will be organized in bins in individual bags by grade level and homeroom teacher. This will expedite the employee’s ability to quickly retrieve your child’s device from the bin and keep the lines moving as quickly as possible.

  • Each iPad will be handed to parents/students by an MASD employee wearing protective gloves. The iPad will be stored in a sturdy plastic Ziploc™ bag containing a charger, directions, information for free internet access, and individual login information for access to Google Classroom.

Additional details regarding this Continuity of Education Plan will be published online and emailed to parents via School Messenger late on Friday or over the weekend as the plan is finalized. Our teachers are eager to begin virtual instruction to ensure that our students continue to receive an education during this pandemic. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as this is uncharted territory for all of us. I am confident in our MASD teachers, support staff and administration and know that we will do whatever it takes to assist our students and their families to adjust to this new way of learning at home until the time that we are able to return to our school buildings. Meanwhile, we hope that your families are all staying healthy and well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic! Today’s communication is intended to provide new information for parents of MASD students.

How long will schools remain closed?

Yesterday Governor Wolf and the PA Secretary of Education announced that all Pennsylvania schools shall remain closed until at least April 6 with further re-evaluation of the situation at that time. The announcement included guidance that, as of now, teachers and administrators may return to schools on April 7 for two days of preparation before students would be permitted to return on April 9, at the earliest.

How does this affect Spring Break scheduled for April 8 (PM) through April 13?

In keeping with the Board-approved MASD academic calendar, although the Governor advised that students may return to school on April 9, the District recognizes that Spring Break is scheduled during the annual observance of religious holidays such as Passover and Easter, and we want to respect the fact that school has historically not been in session on Good Friday. Therefore, the earliest that MASD students would return to school is Monday, April 13 (which is a scheduled make-up day on the academic calendar); however, this is contingent upon further discussion with the teachers’ association regarding the possibility of using April 13 as a teacher preparation day with students returning to school on Tuesday, April 14. We will update you as decisions are made. The District plans to have the Operations Department thoroughly clean and sanitize all District schools on April 7, 8 and 9 in preparation for teachers’ and students’ return the following week.

When will my child receive his/her 3rd marking period report card?

The marking period was originally scheduled to end on March 26; however, due to these unprecedented events, the end of the marking period has been extended to at least April 8 to permit students to turn in overdue assignments and to allow teachers time to finalize grades. Report cards will be issued sometime during the week of April 13 (exact date to be determined).

What is the District’s plan for continuity of education now that the closure has been extended two more weeks?

Administrators and teachers have been working remotely to develop a plan for continuity of education. Specifically, this is what we are able to tell you at this time (with further details forthcoming in the next few days as new guidance from the PA Department of Education has just been released at noon today):

1. The MASD IT Department is working around the clock to prepare for the deployment of iPads for ALL students in Grades K – 5 next week using available technology in our existing inventory of past generation models that are slated to be sold at the end of the school year. That means that every student in MASD K – 12 will have a 1:1 device to use at home during the closure as our Grades 6 – 12 students already have their devices at home.

2. A schedule is being developed for pick-up of the elementary iPads beginning the week of March 30 (look for a specific schedule later this week). No one will need to leave their car to pick up the iPads. The devices will be handed out in a protective bag containing a charger, instructions, and an MASD iPad Agreement that parents will need to complete and submit to the District. Free internet access is available through Comcast for two months. If you do not have internet service at home, please consider contacting Comcast this week.

3. By late next week, K – 12 teachers will begin posting student activities/assignments on Google Classroom (K – 5) or Canvas (6 – 12) for students to work remotely from home. Teachers will be in touch with all students regarding the use of free Zoom accounts that will enable teachers and students to communicate individually, in small groups, or as a whole class using this technology application. Please note that this does not mean that teachers will be holding their brick-and-mortar classes online according to their in-school schedules. We need to provide flexibility to teachers and students while providing continuity of education. Each teacher will announce “office hours” during which they will make themselves available to students who have questions or need additional supports. Your child’s individual teachers will be your contact persons to provide details as we roll out this plan for continuity of education.

4. Beginning next week, K -12 counselors, social workers, school nurses, and school psychologists will be available via Zoom by appointment for any students who need to “check-in” for their own mental health and well-being. These professionals meet regularly with many of our students in the brick-and-mortar setting, so with available technology, these supportive services will be made available to our students. Students (and/or parents) may wish to reach out to these professionals via email to make arrangements for online meetings.

5. Special education teachers have the most challenging role in providing services to their students in an online capacity, but MASD is committed to doing whatever it can to provide continuity of education to its special needs students during this extraordinary time. Please reach out to your child’s special education teacher via email with questions. Teachers and other related service providers will be reaching out to parents and students to talk about how continuity of education can be facilitated using available technology. Teachers will also be in touch with parents regarding upcoming IEP meetings that may be conducted virtually.

6. The focus for the next two weeks of the school closure is on educational continuity; not grades! Teachers may provide feedback to students on work submitted and will keep track of completed assignments, but no grades will be issued during these two weeks. Our goal is to not add to the stress levels of our students, parents or teachers during this unusual situation. We simply want our students to keep learning and stay engaged in meaningful ways.

Will weekday meal service remain available during the extended closure?

Bagged lunches and snacks will continue to be served during the extended closure; however, the District will move to a 3-day serving schedule to reduce the number of food service personnel coming into the schools. Beginning Monday, March 30, service will be available at Fink and the HS from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Mondays, students will be given enough food for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesdays, students will be given enough food for Wednesday and Thursday. On Fridays, students will be given enough food for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Remember that students must be in the car or walk-up to the outdoor distribution site in order to receive these bagged meals.

In closing, we are grateful for all of your support and patience as we continue to work through these issues together. We know there will be more questions that arise, and we will do our best to provide you answers in a timely manner.

With Raider Pride,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Governor Wolf has just announced that the mandatory closure of PA schools has been extended for two additional weeks. The Pennsylvania Department of Education just issued an email to superintendents that the earliest staff will return is Tuesday, April 7, 2020. As of now, students would be scheduled to return on Thursday, April 9, 2020. As you can imagine, this news just broke, so the District requests your patience as we work through this news and begin to roll out our plan for instruction next week and discuss the impact on the school calendar. Watch for more information later today.

Thank you again for your patience!

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:,

Please take a few minutes to view this video message from Dr. Suski, Superintendent of Schools.

In Dr. Suski’s video, she announces that the RaiderPacks program will be providing food for families in need. Interested parents must complete this RaiderPack survey.

Lastly, we have been informed that some parents are having difficulty submitting their videos through wetransfer.com for the “Send Us Your Videos” project. Small videos can be emailed directly to raidervideos@raiderweb.org. Students may share their videos with raidervideos@raiderweb.org through their google drive. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Middletown Area School District


THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:,

I want to provide you an update on the District’s response to COVID-19 on this 4th day of the Governor’s 10-day mandated closure of PA schools:

Food Service
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the District began serving daily bagged lunches and bagged snacks to any students 18 years of age or younger. We distributed 154 lunches on Tuesday, 185 on Wednesday, and 144 on Thursday between our two sites at Fink Elementary School and the High School. The District will continue to serve these meals on weekdays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Fink and the High School during the closure. Parents do not need to get out of their cars but the children must be in the vehicle in order to receive the lunches, per federal guidelines. We have also offered eggs and milk to families in need from our available inventory from the RaiderPacks program while lunches/snacks are distributed. Due to the closure we are unable to operate our RaiderPacks program this evening, but we are discussing alternative ways to assist families in need of food over the coming days, so please look for more information in future updates.

Continuity of Instruction
Our teachers are working from home during the closure to wrap up 3rd marking period grades (based on assignments given up until the announcement of the closure on March 13). If your child has missing work from the 3rd marking period, his/her teacher will communicate with the student to ensure that the work is completed during these two weeks and submitted for grading. Teachers will be flexible in accepting work submissions due to these extenuating circumstances, and we will delay the closing/storage of grades and issuance of report cards accordingly to allow all students to have equal opportunity to hand in missing assignments. Please communicate directly with your child’s teachers for assistance and support in this area.

All school districts across the Commonwealth are awaiting word from the PA Department of Education regarding the continuity of instruction should the closure extend beyond March 27, 2020. Once school district officials are given direction from state officials, we will release a plan to parents as to how continuity of instruction would occur in MASD. There are many unanswered questions that remain, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through these challenging times. We have informed MASD teachers to prepare for the possibility of moving into a virtual teaching and learning environment, and discussions have been occurring administratively all week as to what options exist to allow for such a change to occur. Please be assured that while our students and teachers may be out of school, the administration has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a plan for the delivery of online learning in the event that conditions would not allow us to return to school as we hope. Please look for more information on this very important topic on Friday evening after we receive more information from the PA Department of Education.

State Assessments
Late this afternoon, school officials were notified that PSSA, PASA and Keystone Exams will not be administered next month. The state testing has been cancelled for this spring due to the pandemic.

Student & Parent Mental Health Resources
Unanticipated upheaval in people’s lives creates an undue amount of stress on adults, and that stress is often mirrored in children and teens who are overwhelmed by the volume of constant information available via social media and television related to COVID-19. I want to close today’s communication by sharing with you the power point slides from an excellent webinar provided by Effective School Solutions entitled “Supporting Student Stress, Anxiety & Mental Health During COVID-19.” We hope you find this information helpful as you cope with these unprecedented times.

Continued best wishes for everyone’s health and safety,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This is a reminder that school nurses will be available at each school building on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM for parents who need to pick up their child’s prescription medications needed for home administration over the next two weeks. In addition, parents will be required to provide identification and sign a release form before any medications will be released.

Principals will also allow access into the buildings from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Tuesday, March 17 for any student who needs to retrieve essential items from their lockers or desks, such as iPads, chargers, books, and any outstanding assignments for the third marking period. Please note that students who come in are to get what they need and leave the building immediately. For the safety of all, no one is permitted to congregate in the school buildings.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Middletown Area School District will be providing a FREE grab-and-go lunch and snack to any children aged 18 and under. Click here for details.

We will continue to update you as new information is available.

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Middletown Area School District administrators have engaged in planning discussions throughout the weekend as the COVID-19 pandemic moved from prevention and preparedness phases to response efforts. As announced on Friday afternoon, all Pennsylvania schools are closed beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020 by order of Governor Wolf.

Administrative meetings are scheduled for tomorrow morning to finalize plans for the next two weeks with further communications forthcoming to parents on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, we are able to share the following information with you, based on guidance provided to school districts on Sunday, March 15 from the PA Department of Education’s Office of the Secretary of Education:

Schools are not required to provide any type of instruction during the closure of schools due to COVID-19 response efforts. The PA Department of Education recognizes that the rapidly evolving pandemic may make it impossible to implement continuity of education plans.

What does that mean for MASD students?

There are currently nine (9) days remaining in the 3rd marking period. Students who have any assignments missing are expected to use these two weeks to make up any outstanding work that was assigned prior to the announcement of the closure. Work from middle and high school students can be emailed to teachers or submitted through a drop box or learning management system such as Canvas. Elementary students who owe missing assignments can ask their parents to email it to the teacher or we will work on other arrangements to have the work submitted later in the week by mail or at a drop box location. (Elementary plans will require more discussion on Monday.)

What if my child left things at school on Friday and needs to access the building? Can they get in?

To facilitate this effort, all school buildings will be open on Tuesday, March 17 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM only for students to pick up anything they may need from their desks or lockers to get that work completed. The Health Rooms will also be opened and staffed by nurses for parents who need to pick up their child’s medications for home administration during the closure.

Are the teachers working during the closure?

Teachers will be working remotely from home during the closure to grade missing work and begin to finalize grades for the 3rd marking period. Teachers are available via email to consult with parents and students as needed to answer any questions about 3rd quarter assignments, but no new assignments will be issued during the closure and no direction instruction will occur. Teachers will be working on the development of online lessons in the event that the closure lasts longer than the currently scheduled two weeks. If that was to occur, the District will have a plan for continuity of instruction beginning March 30, 2020 at all levels K – 12. More information is forthcoming as that plan is developed this week.

So what can my child do during the closure?

Several options that MASD educators believe to be great ways for students to remain actively engaged in learning include, but are not limited to:

· Reading books, magazines, or the newspaper every day.
· Keeping a journal of this unprecedented time or writing a reflection on what has been learned from this experience.
· Practicing math facts or doing puzzles and activities that keep the brain active.
· Making a card or writing a letter to a grandparent or some other elderly person who may be feeling lonely during this time of isolation.
· Creating or inventing something.
· Doing an art project.
· Practicing a musical instrument or singing.
· Taking a walk outdoors (but keeping away from others).
· Cooking or baking with a parent or older sibling.

Keeping a routine and schedule for your child is important during these two weeks so that students will be ready to return to school after the closure. Social isolation is reportedly the most important factor in keeping the COVID-19 virus from spreading, so it is best that children remain at home and not engage in community play time with large groups of other children.

Comcast is providing FREE internet to families in need for two months. There are also many companies that are providing FREE access to educational websites and apps during the closure for students to use at home. The District will be compiling a list of the best sites available to share with parents tomorrow.

How can my child get breakfast or lunch during the closure?

Late on Friday afternoon MASD applied for a waiver to allow the District to operate a seamless food service program for students during the closure. We anticipate approval of the waiver on Monday and hope to have our food service operations prepared for “grab-and-go” bagged meals available at two sites in the District by Tuesday or Wednesday. In the interim, the District has been informed that some of our local restaurants have offered to provide FREE lunches for students who come in with their parents during the closure. We do not yet have an official list of those restaurants, but we will have that information for you tomorrow. Social media may be a good place to get the information earlier.

Please stay tuned for further updates as additional information becomes available.

Again, we thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging time.

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020

UPDATE: The District has applied to the state to provide FREE grab-n-go lunches during the school closure. More information will be provided when the application has been approved.


Dear Parent/Guardian:

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all K-12 public schools in Pennsylvania to close beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Governor’s announcement allows for school districts to plan to reopen Monday, March 30, 2020; however, the state will monitor COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, and at the end of the state-mandated closure, an evaluation will occur to decide whether schools may re-open.

During the mandated closure, no programming will occur in our schools, including before- and after-school activities, athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, weekend events, and any facilities rentals.

Prior to the Governor’s announcement this afternoon, Middletown Area School District had already begun discussions to close schools in response to this evolving pandemic situation with the utmost concern for the safety of our students and school communities. Because of this, Middle School and High School students were instructed to take their District-issued iPads home when they left school on Friday, March 13, 2020.

The Governor has announced that due to the mandated closure, school districts will not be held to the usual requirement to meet the 180 days of instruction (or 990 hours of instruction for secondary students and 900 hours for elementary students) during the 2019-2020 school year. The District is looking into options that would allow for potential continuity of instruction if a closure extended beyond two weeks.

The District has the ability to utilize the iPads to provide for continuity of instruction at the secondary level, but we do not have devices for each elementary student, and some District students may not have internet access at home. In either case, teachers would need time to plan for remote instruction. We plan to discuss these options with our teachers’ association.

We will share updated information as soon as we are able via SchoolMessenger, the District website, and social media outlets.

Again, our primary concern is the safety and security of students, staff, and community during this pandemic. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we all navigate these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Lori A. Suski, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

****MARCH 13, 2020 PRESS RELEASE FROM GOVERNOR'S OFFICE****

Governor Wolf Announces Closure of Pennsylvania Schools

Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16. The administration has been working with school districts as well as state and local officials to gather input on this decision. The Wolf Administration will continue to monitor Covid-19 in the commonwealth, and at the end of 10 days will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is needed.

Governor Wolf made the following statement:

We understand that these are trying times and recognize the impact of the coronavirus on our students and communities.

First and foremost, my top priority as governor – and that of our education leaders – must be to ensure the health and safety of our students and school communities.

As such, I am ordering that all schools in the commonwealth close for the next two weeks.

Be aware that no school district will be penalized if it fails to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements.

The Department of Education will work with intermediate units and other stakeholders to support school districts with any continuity of learning plans they may be pursuing.

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced today that it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow eligible schools to serve meals to low income students in a non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during this closure. We will also work with schools to assist them with those plans.

We appreciate your collaboration as we work together to deal with this difficult issue.

Governor Tom Wolfe


THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020

 

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Two weeks ago we released a communication on the District’s response to the growing public health concern related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since that time, we continue to receive daily updates from local and state officials since COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic. School District officials across our region met yesterday with emergency management to discuss what additional measures may be necessary to prevent the spread of illness if/when COVID-19 eventually reaches our area. Please note that as of today, there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Dauphin County. We continue to take our lead from information received from the CDC, federal, state and local emergency management agencies. At this time, those agencies are not recommending K-12 public schools cancel classes but continue to utilize best practices in prevention of the spread of any illness. Should this guidance change, we will alert you immediately.

In addition to the preventative measures already in place, such as daily cleaning of classroom surfaces, door knobs, railings, and “high touch” surfaces, we remind students and staff to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating. Hand sanitizers have been placed in common areas of each school building. We continue to ask that students and staff refrain from shaking hands, touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Most importantly, students or staff who are sick should remain at home.

MASD continues to follow its emergency preparedness plan which calls for preventative measures as described above and continuous monitoring of the situation based on daily updates from emergency management officials. We also continue to monitor daily student and staff attendance and review plans for upcoming field trips and events. Again, with no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, we have not been advised to curtail any extra-curricular activities or in-school events. As situations change, we will adjust accordingly and continue to communicate those decisions with you. THIS LINK contains information from Dauphin County regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 continues to evolve, so we must continuously review the facts and make decisions in the best interest of students and employees. We await further direction from the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education. There are many rumors circulating about the closure of school districts; therefore, we have been advised to let parents and employees know that any information about our District’s response to COVID-19 will be posted on the District website and communicated to parents via School Messenger email. Please do not rely on social media postings that may be fake and contain inaccurate information. When in doubt as to the accuracy of information you hear, please contact the School District Administration Office or your child’s school directly for confirmation or clarification as needed.

For up-to-date information, please visit the PA Department of Health website. 

Thank you in advance for your support and cooperation as we navigate this public health concern together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that schools across the United States should begin preparing for the possible threat of Coronavirus. However, please know that no cases have been reported in Pennsylvania. The attached information sheet shares the most recent information we have received from the PA Department of Health regarding Coronavirus. While the news of Coronavirus has everyone on high alert, it is important to note that there are other respiratory viruses such as influenza currently circulating in our schools. Fever, coughing and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of influenza and do not necessarily mean that a person has contracted Coronavirus. Currently, public health officials are not recommending the use of masks or gloves in public settings. At this time, federal health authorities are not recommending that schools cancel classes.

We kindly ask parents to follow these recommended strategies to prevent the spread of communicable illnesses:

  • Keep children home from school when they exhibit cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Encourage frequent hand-washing with anti-bacterial soap.
  • Refrain from touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Refrain from sharing food with others.

At the School District and school building/classroom level, staff have been directed to do the following:

  • Review hand-washing techniques with students.
  • Continue to provide anti-bacterial soap in classrooms and bathrooms.
  • Have hand sanitizers available in all public areas for student and staff use when hand-washing is not possible.
  • Daily cleaning by custodial staff with anti-bacterial products on all high-touch surfaces.
  • Vigilant monitoring of the student body by school nurses, especially in cases where students exhibit symptoms associated with the virus.

For further information from the CDC click HERE. We will continue to update you with additional information as it becomes available from the CDC and/or the PA Department of Health.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools

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