Dear Parents and Caregivers:
I know this is a long Email but please read all of it at your convenience:
I think we survived our first couple of days of remote learning. I want to thank the teachers and support staff who help put together the resources to make the time at home productive. I know that there are plans to stay in touch with each and every student and parent in our districts. We also began our lunch program today. We served breakfast and lunch to over 300 children today! I want to thank our bus drivers, our support staff, and especially our food crews for the work to get this ready. A special shout out to Craig Locarno and Anton Prikazchikov for their readiness to adopt this remote program with such efficiency. You can't imagine the work that went into the planning. Hats off!
We also want to applaud the work being done by the special educators. We have over 200 children in the Supervisory Union who receive specialized instruction in a variety of ways. Our administration, special education teachers, and support staff are working out the details of delivering those services remotely. We are taking our direction from the AOE and the Governor's office as we proceed. It isn't perfect, but we have the right people on top of it all.
Last night we got some clarification from the AOE and the Governor's office about another topic - childcare for "Essential Employees". The Governor, in his directive on school closure, left the responsibility for coordinating this childcare to the public school districts. An essential employee is defined in the directive and includes the following:
- Healthcare workers;
- Law enforcement and criminal justice employees;
- Childcare workers and educators;
- Public Health employees;
- Military personnel;
- First Responders;
- State employees designated essential for response during a crisis.
We have to determine two things over the next couple of days: First, how many families fit the categories listed above? And second, do they need childcare? I want to be clear that this is not childcare for anyone; but strictly those employees listed above. In fact, it goes by household. So in a household, if there is another responsible adult who is not in the categories listed above, then the household would not qualify.
Organizing this will be a challenge. Angie Ladeau, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, along with Jennifer Sprague, our Early Childhood Coordinator, will take the lead. After this email, you will get a communication from Angie outlining the plan. Along with that email will be a quick survey to assess the need for childcare. You will need to provide your employer information; household information; and the number of children and their ages that need care. We will coordinate care for children of Essential Workers from birth to Grade 8.
None of this necessarily means that we will provide all that care in our schools. We will partner with existing agencies to offer placements. If there is still a need after assessing the need and matching the placements, we may have to offer some of the care in a school building. It is important for our public to understand that we may not have the capacity to serve everyone. That is why honest responses to the survey will be critical. We want to provide only care to only those Essential Workers as defined in the Order. Your cooperation will be appreciated.
Be on the lookout for an email from Angie and get the survey done ASAP if you need childcare and fit one of the categories listed above. We continue to fight the good fight. We will all get through this. We live in the best part of this country and the idea of reaching out to our neighbors comes naturally. I am proud to be a part of this school system.
We will keep in touch. Stay safe.
Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union