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Parent Message 3-16

Good evening Clippers.  Today was originially a day off for students and a professional day for teachers.  However, as we work through the rest of this week and next week, students will be missing routine instructional time.  Because we are early into the closuer we don’t know how everything will play out during this National Emergency.

At this point our focus is on following the guidlelines from local, state and federal leaders as it relates to protecting ourselves and others from the conronavirus.  This is situation is different from a snow day and though you and your family may be feeling well, social distancing and social isolation are being implemented to keep you and your loved ones feeling good.  If we spend these two weeks away from school and everyone stays healthy that equals a great outcome.  I know it is tempting to look for things to do on these mild spring days but consider outdoor family activites instead of indoors with large groups of people.

According to many psychologist who are positing on social medial, keeping a routine during this time is good for everyone no matter what your age.  Consider establishing a routine each day for all family members and include some academic/learning oppurtunites in those routines.  In the email portion of this message is a list of online resources that could help with continued learning as well as information about how to discuss the conronavirus with your child.  Central office is also working to provide a growing list of online options for families so be sure to check out the link in the email as well. https://www.facebook.com/WCPSLearningLinks

 

  • Recommended websites can be shared with students and families
    • Possible online resources include, but are not limited to:  Khan Academy, ReadWriteThink, Common Sense Media, CK-12, Smithsonian Learning Lab, OER Commons, Discovery Education, TED Ed, ST Math, EM4 Games, Vocabulary.com, Newsela, Legends of Learning, Gizmos, and Duolingo
  • Some ideas to keep in mind (from the NIH) as conversations arise in your families and classrooms. Discussion of this should not dominate your school day, keep up the same expectations and routines as much as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. “You take on the news and you’re the person who filters the news to your kid,” explains Janine Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news.
  • Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
  • Take your cues from your child. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
  • Deal with your own anxiety. “When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that isn’t the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the coronavirus,” warns Dr. Domingues. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
  • Be reassuring. Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child about how rare the coronavirus actually is (the flu is much more common) and that kids actually seem to have milder symptoms.
  • Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe. An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Jamie Howard, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, notes, “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” We know that the coronavirus is transmitted mostly by coughing and touching surfaces. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If kids ask about face masks, explain that the experts at the CDC say they aren’t necessary for most people. If kids see people wearing face masks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
  • Stick to routine. “We don’t like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be helpful right now,” advises Dr. Domingues. This is particularly important if your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during a spring break or summer vacation. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
  • Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more. “Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open,” says Dr. Domingues. “You can say, ‘Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, mom or dad will let you know, too.’”

    Seniors needing transcripts or other important information to complete scholarship applications during this time that James M. Bennett is closed, please contact Mrs. Lori Batts, supervisor of school counseling, at lbatts@wcboe.org.  Be sure to include your name, your school (James M. Bennett), and a phone number where you can be contacted.  Also include the name of the scholarship you are applying for.  *Let’s use this time to get those scholarship applications completed.

    Starting Tuesday, Wicomico County Public Schools will serve free nutritious meals to children and teens during the two-week mandatory closure of schools. The meals will be available to all children up to age 18, and to individuals over 18 who are mentally or physically disabled.

    Meal pickup will begin on Tuesday, March 17 at six school locations, and will continue each weekday through Friday, March 27th. A lunch and a snack will be available for pickup from 12-1 p.m. at an outside area at the following school locations:

    • East Salisbury Elementary
    • Fruitland Primary
    • Pemberton Elementary
    • Pinehurst Elementary
    • Prince Street Elementary
    • Salisbury Middle

    Our community partner SonRise Church is planning a Sharing the Harvest event on March 21st.  Supplies will be handed out until they are gone on Spring Avenue from 11-1.    

    During this time, we also want to see how students are using this time in a positive way.  Please send us pictures of students who are complying with social distancing/isolation, students reading, students helping around the home, students wearing JMB attire, students practicing their instruments, students demonstrating kindness, students outside in the fresh air or anything else positive.  Please send those pictures to either bedavis@wcboe.org or csavage@wcboe.org and we will be adding them to our Facebook posts throughout the closure.  Though we will not see each other every day let’s capture those pictures and continue to show the community the awesomeness of JMB. 

    Please stay well and have a good evening.