Distance Learning and COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) INFORMATION
UPDATE - March 31st, 2020:
I apologize for leaving out a vital piece of information. The amount of time students will be engaged in learning each day. Research and evidence from online programs show that the amount of time kids should be engaged in online/distance learning varies by grade level. The following times will be the guidelines our teachers use as they develop lessons and assignments.
- Pre K: 30 minutes per day
- Grades K-1: 45 minutes per day
- Grades 2-3: 60 minutes per day
- Grades 4-5: 90 minutes per day
- Grades. 6-12: 30 minutes per class up to 3 hour max per day
Remember our goal is to keep kids engaged in learning and prevent an extended summer slide. Don't hesitate to reach out to teachers or administrators if you have any questions. We are here to help.
The following information about various deals on internet service was sent to me from one of our parents.
UPDATE - March 30th, 2020:
I hope all is as well as can be expected in these remarkable times. I wanted to give you an update on the Bethany Public Schools Distance Learning Plan. After many hours of meetings with principals, superintendents from other districts, getting input from our teachers and reviewing the technology survey we asked you to fill out last week, we have put together a plan that will keep our Bronchos learning.
As you know, this is our first attempt at distance learning. As such, please know that we do not believe our plan is perfect. We ask for grace, patience and flexibility. I promise we will offer you the same. The purpose of this email is to lay out the basic framework of the plan. Adjustments will be made throughout the course as needed.
- Grading: School districts have been given a directive that distance learning grading can only help a student and cannot lower a students grade. Said differently, your child will have a final grade that is no lower than the grade they had at the beginning of spring break. They have an opportunity to improve that grade but no harm. We ask for your help in keeping our students engaged in the lessons. We will do everything we can to motivate them from a distance. At the end of the day, it is likely that your expectations of your children will determine if they do the lessons or not. Our goal here is to prevent an extended summer slide and keep student learning moving forward. We have always partnered in this effort with you. That partnership is more important than ever.
- Thank you all for taking the time to fill out our technology survey. It has proven most helpful as we developed the Distance Learning Plan. We had 742 families fill out the survey. That is the vast majority of our families. The survey revealed that 97.3% of our families have internet service in their home. In the comments, we read that there are special circumstances or challenges within those numbers. We also learned that 88.3% of our families have a computer at home for their kids to use in distance learning. There several who indicated yes, but only one with three kids, or some other special circumstance. We know there are and will be many challenges.
- We have a limited number of Chromebooks that we are willing to check out to families. We ask that you only request a Chromebook if you absolutely need it. In order to check out a Chromebook, you will have to fill out and submit the google form on the following link: https://forms.gle/i2p2XUkwMa2qCEHbA
- We continue to look into wifi hotspots. All vendors are out of stock or very high in their pricing or both. We are also working with several companies who provide low cost or no cost internet service. A no cost option is: Altice internet providers Suddenlink and Optimum are offering 60 days of free internet service for households with K–12 or college students. Internet speeds are up to 30 Mbps if you do not already have access to a home internet plan. To sign up, call 1-866-200-9522 if you live in an area with Optimum internet service, or call 1-888-633-0030 if you live in an area with Suddenlink internet service. Cox is offering a low cost internet option. I believe the offer is $10 per month for qualifying customers.
- If none of these options work for you, please email your school principal. We will exhaust every option to help you. If we are unable to help you get internet, your principal will arrange for work packets for your child.
- By electronically signing for the Chromebook, you are accepting responsibility for any loss or damage to the device and agreeing to pay to have the device fixed or replaced. If you do not have a computer and do not want to check out a Chromebook, we will create paper packets that you can arrange to pick up at the school.
- We have been offered a 2 month free use of some educational software from a company by the name of Edmentum. The elementary is going to use one of the programs, Reading Eggs, for our Pre K students. Kindergarten through 5th grade will use the other program, Study Island. These are both outstanding software programs that will be engaging and educational for our kids. Our teachers will be trained this week and they will help you set up your kids after that. Some of the elementary teachers plan to create video lessons as well.
- Middle school students will continue to use the online platforms they have been using. IXL, BMS Path, Google Classrooms. In addition, some MS teachers plan to have Zoom sessions with kids and send them video lessons.
- High school kids will continue to use the platforms they know like Google Classrooms, Schoology, video lessons and Zoom sessions.
We are here to help and support you and your children. Feel free to email your child's principal or teacher if you have questions or special circumstances. For your convenience, the principals emails are:
We are all in this together. If you have a question specific to a class, please email that teacher. Emails can be found on our website. If you have a general school question, please email the principal of the school. If you have a district question, please email me. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support.
Bethany Public Schools
UPDATE - MARCH 26th, 2020:
As many of you already know, yesterday the state board of education voted 7-0 to close all public schools in the state of Oklahoma for the remainder of the school year. This will be a challenge for students, teachers, support staff, parents and families as a whole. I know you have many questions. So do we. The state department of education is working long hours to provide school districts with guidelines and a framework from which we can operate. I have met with principals several times and they are now meeting with teachers via Zoom (teleconferencing). We are working on a plan to provide the highest quality distance learning we can. We are all new to this, there will be bumps in the road, please be patient.
Thank you for filling out the technology at home survey I sent earlier in the week. It has proven most helpful as we are developing our distance learning plan. If someone in your family did not complete the survey, please complete the survey at your earliest convenience. The survey indicates that the vast majority (98%) of our families have access to the internet in the home. That still leaves a good number without any wifi service. BPS and the state department of education are currently looking for solutions for these families. I will let you know when I know our options. The survey indicates 88% have a computer or device for kids to use at home. The solution to this is going to be a challenge as well.
Many of you would like to know about graduation. BHS graduation is scheduled for May 21st. We still hold out hope that we will be allowed to have large groups of people come together by then. If not, it is our intent to have a graduation at some point. When we are allowed to have large numbers of people come together we plan to hold a graduation ceremony. Graduations take time, effort and coordination to pull together. I know you have people that want to come from out of town. I promise we will let you know as soon as we can about graduation plans.
Finally, Bethany Public Schools is built on relationships, not brick and mortar. We will survive this and we will be stronger as a result. Distance learning is going to stretch all of us, students, teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, families and the community as a whole. I ask that you offer grace to our teachers, your kids and each other. We all handle stress differently and it manifests in different ways. I have instructed my principals to preach flexibility with students and parents. We know and understand that many of you have very unique situations. We ask that you share those with us so we can help you. It is my goal that your child gets to see or hear from one or more teachers on a weekly basis. That is the baseline. If we can do more, we will. You will hear from us next week. Until then, be safe and take care of each other.
Superintendent Bethany Public Schools
UPDATE - MARCH 23rd, 2020:
Oklahoma State Department of Education votes 7-0 to move to a distance learning model for the remainder of the school year. Classes will resume in this format April 6th. School facilities will remain closed until June 30th, 2020. Complete Summary can be found here: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A4265834c-1ebc-411a-99a0-59c77ff6b6be
Some of the focus areas included:
- Continuous, distance learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year - be on the lookout for a survey from the SDE about connectivity in the coming days.
- Waivers for assessments
- Child nutrition during closures
- Special Education
Bethany Schools has been monitoring the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 outbreak. We are following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for schools. Bethany Public Schools continues to monitor the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We are following US CDC, Oklahoma County Health Department and State Department of Education guidance for schools.
What we are doing:
- Custodial staff is continuing to disinfect classrooms and common areas.
- Custodial staff is continuing to clean common touch areas such as doorknobs, handrails, and other areas students touch frequently throughout the day.
- Employees are reminding students to wash hands often and to use other preventative actions below.
- Administration is monitoring the situation and will communicate the most up-to-date information to staff and parents.
What you can do:
- If your child is sick, keep them home from school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
- Teach your child correct hand washing techniques.
- Talk to your child about washing their hands frequently.
The most important communication at this time, is preventative information from the CDC. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including the flu.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.