Important COVID-19 School Update: March 25, 2020 (Continuance of Education)

Dear AGASD Families:

As we continue to find solutions to the challenges we face in dealing with this unprecedented COVID-19 dilemma, our priority is assuring regular communication with the families of the Albert Gallatin Area School District. Moreover, we want you to know our district is here for you as a resource. That being said, I want to commend our essential employees who have continued to work providing meals and services for our students and families. Buildings may be closed, but our spirit of community and fellowship are visibly open and strong.

As the magnitude of this situation continues to grow, so do the challenges. Yet we must collectively find a way to best serve our students while hopefully providing some sense of normalcy in a time that is quite the opposite. Our administrative team participates daily in virtual meetings with other county school administrators, the local Intermediate Unit and state officials to discuss concerns, suggestions, and receive guidance.

Considering the information from our technology survey and the guidance and dialogue we have had with other districts; our administrative team has concluded it is imperative we do what is best for our district while meeting state and federal expectations. Governor Wolf announced the state-wide closure will be extended by two weeks as of March 24, 2020. At this time, we do not know if the closure will be extended beyond April 6, 2020. This closure could end up being another month, or possibly for the remainder of the year; right now, we do not know. Below is what we intend to occur over the next several days:

=         Elementary level (Grades K-5): Administration and teachers are in the process of developing packets for students to complete from home. We will determine how the packets will be collected at a later date.

=         Secondary level (Grades 6-12): Administration and teachers will be developing plans for online instruction through the use of Chromebooks utilizing Google Classrooms and other programs that they already use as part of their instruction.

=         All teachers will have live “office hours” Monday through Friday in order to help provide any additional instruction or answer questions from students and parents. The office hours will be from 10:00 Am to 2:00 PM in which you may contact the teacher through their school email account.

=         Teachers will prepare lessons this week so we can begin distance learning during the week of March 30, 2020. We plan on distributing and making packets available for pick-up on Monday, March 30th (Specifics for pick-up will be placed on the district website and social media sites). The Continuity of Education will begin on Tuesday, March 31st. If the closure is extended beyond April 6, 2020, we have prepared lessons and packets to be utilized through April 17, 2020.

Students that have a special education plan in the form of an IEP, 504 agreement, or a GIEP will be contacted by their case manager in the near future. This includes services such as ESL, Speech, OT and PT. While developing our plan, please be aware that our students with special needs have been at the forefront of our conversations. We plan to be as flexible as we need to be in order to make sure we are meeting the needs of all our students.

Again, the complexity of this situation brings with it a variety of implications. Those of which we will do our best to meet when we face them. As things continue to change, we will continue to adapt and keep you updated in a timely fashion. I cannot say enough about how our district has risen to the challenges the Coronavirus has presented to all of us. We will continue to do our best in providing our students with a quality education. Hopefully, we will be back to a “normal” life as soon as possible. Please remember that the health and safety of the Albert Gallatin community comes before everything else. Within the next few days, you will be receiving more information regarding our district’s move to online and remote learning for our students during this closure. Wishing you all good health and well-being during this time.

Sincerely,

Christopher A. Pegg, Superintendent

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