COVID-19 Update to Families and the Community

COLIVD-19

UPDATE- July 2

I hope you are enjoying these first weeks of summer and are looking forward to some sunshine in the coming days!  

Since school ended in June the district has been working very hard to prepare to reopen schools to all students on September 1st as scheduled.  With yesterday afternoon's release of the Wyoming Department of Education Smart Start plan we now have the requirements and guidance needed to finalize our plans.  

Our current plan outlines several scenarios for reopening schools:

  1. Reopen schools for face to face learning for all students.

  2. Reopen schools for face to face learning for all students, except those with underlying health conditions who would participate in an Adapted Learning Plan (distance learning).

  3. All students return on an Adapted Learning Plan (distance learning).

  4. Reopen schools on an intermittent basis, meaning schools may open and close depending on public health conditions.   

Our planning efforts included staff and family surveys to gather input about returning to school.  We convened a community committee to review the variety of issues to be addressed in the reopening options described above.  We have consulted with local public health officials and reviewed dozens of reports, including Guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and experts within the education sector.  The bottom line is, there are no easy answers for how to return to school nor are there any guarantees that we will be able to guarantee there will not be some risk of exposure to the coronavirus when students and staff return to school.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be finalizing the details of the TCSD Smart Start plan prior to presenting it to the Board of Education for their approval.  Once approved, we will submit the plan to the Wyoming Department of Education by August 3rd for their approval.  

We know families are anxious to know how students will return to school in the fall.  Please know we are doing everything we can to bring students back to school on September 1st, while also preparing for the possibility that we may have to transition to an Adapted Learning Plan option on very short or no advance notice.  Thank you for continuing to do your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community by following public health guidelines and requirements which will ultimately help our schools and our community return to “normal” sooner than later.

 

UPDATE- June 5

As we close out one of the craziest school years I think any of us have ever experienced, I have just a few updates for families before we say goodbye for the summer. 

The transportation department has a large selection of lost and found items that were left on buses before schools closed in March.  If you are missing any items that may have been left on a bus, stop by the bus barn (located off Gregory Lane) next Monday through Friday, between 9am-2pm.  Any items not claimed by next Friday will be donated.   

You should have received communications from your school principal about the schedule to return district devices, library books etc. and to collect personal belongs before next Friday.  If you have specific questions about those processes and schedules, please reach out to your child’s school directly.  

Over the coming weeks we will continue working on our Smart Start Plan.  This plan will outline how we will return to school in the Fall.  More information will be provided as our plans take shape.  

I am closing out this year with tremendous gratitude to our district team who has worked tirelessly to support students during this challenging time.  Thank you to our families for taking on additional efforts in supporting students with their learning.  But most importantly, thank you to our students for facing the challenges of distance/online learning with positive attitudes, perseverance and grit.  I know we have all done our very best.    

As I have said before, students throughout our state, country and the world are in the same position we are in, having lost invaluable time with classroom teachers, support from school counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, interventionists, and social interactions with peers.  When we return in the Fall, in whatever format that may be, we will reassess the academic and social emotional needs of each student and determine the best strategies to move forward.  This will take continued partnership with parents/guardians, but I know that together we can do it.  

Be well and have a wonderful summer!

Dr Gillian Chapman
Superintendent of Schools

UPDATE- May 29

It seems that summer has finally arrived and I think this beautiful weather has us all excited for the 2019-2020 school year to come to a close!  

While we are all making final plans and arrangements to close this school year, here at TCSD we are thinking about the 2020-2021 school year.  If you have a child who will be starting kindergarten in the Fall, if you have not already completed the online registration packet, please do so as soon as possible.  To register, click here.  Having an accurate count of incoming students is critical to ensure we have the appropriate number of teachers and staff to provide an exceptional education for your child.  

We understand that many students and families are wondering what the return to school will look like on September 1st.  The Wyoming Department of Education is currently in the planning phase and has directed all districts in Wyoming to prepare a Smart Start Plan.  To prepare our plan TCSD will convene a committee of parents, teachers, administrators, representatives from the public health community and the business community.  The committee will help us address the various issues and considerations for the return.   More information will be provided to families as our plans take shape.  

For students who participated in the meal service program prior to the school closures, please be aware that any meal account balances, either balances due or account credits will carry forward to next school year.  Accounts will transition with your student if they move to a different TCSD school.  If you do have an overdue balance, you may visit the TCSD Food Services page to pay by credit card.  You may also mail a check, payable to TCSD Food Services, to PO Box 568, Attn: Wes Clarke, Food Services Director.  Questions?  Call (763) 229-3279.

Principals and teachers are working hard wrapping up the current school year.  They will be in touch with families to share plans to return district materials and to collect any personal items that were left at school in March.   

Lastly, we should all be very proud of the efforts we have made to keep our community safe during this challenging time. As we prepare to say goodbye to the 2019-2020 school year and welcome the summer season, it is important that we continue to follow the guidance and health orders our health officials have issued for our community while making the most of the warm temperatures, long days and the outdoor activities we are so fortunate to enjoy in Jackson Hole.   

UPDATE- May 8

Another busy week is under our belts as we all continue to work on various efforts to support our students.  

This week we received approval from County Health Officer  Dr Riddell and State Health Officer Dr Harrist to proceed with our Phase 1 reopen plan.  As a reminder, this plan includes providing supervision for 180 kindergarten through 5th grade students at Colter Elementary School.  Students will continue to engage with their teachers via the Adapted Learning Plan that we have been using since early April.  Teachers will continue to teach from home while our paraprofessionals and other support staff provide supervision for students in small groups.

Jackson Hole High School and Summit Innovations School continue their planning efforts to offer celebrations for our graduating seniors, including graduation.  Our team is also working on some modified schedules to allow students to complete coursework and close out the school year in these challenging times.  Please refer to the communications from the high school principals for additional information and details on these efforts. 

As we continue to provide educational services to students during this very unique time we are still uncertain if we will be able to return to school for the last few weeks of the 2019-2020 school year.  A critical consideration in our decision making hinges on guidance from our health officials regarding the allowable size of social gatherings.   We are unable to make an informed decision about reopening schools until we understand the  restrictions that will remain in place for the next couple of weeks and if we can operate our schools within those restrictions.  We will share information and decisions with families and the community as soon as we have the guidance necessary to make these important decisions. 

While we consider our options for the remainder of the school year we need to remember this is a very stressful time for all of us.  For now, please encourage and support opportunities for your students to engage with their teachers through the various options teachers will provide.  Please also seek out the variety of resources available to help parents/guardians support their student’s social emotional needs.  Please take a moment to review the resources linked here: Resources for Parents (English)  

Lastly, stay informed on all the most recent local COVID-19 news by visiting www.jhcovid.com.  Getting through this crisis requires that we all do our part to sustain the progress we have made in flattening the curve.  Please continue to follow the guidance and health orders our health officials have issued for our community.  

Please enjoy the Mother’s Day weekend and hopefully some warm temperatures.  

UPDATE- May 2

We understand that some families were confused by the message we sent out yesterday afternoon so we wanted to try to clarify the information.

We do not yet know if school districts throughout the state will be allowed to reopen this spring. We are waiting for additional information from the Governor's office and the Wyoming Department of Education. If we are notified that we may reopen, we need to understand what restrictions would be in place and if we can provide educational services within any potential restrictions, for example it will not be possible to open schools with 8 students and 1 teacher in a classroom to meet the current "no gatherings of 10 or more people".  We hope to have this decision made prior to May 15th.  

To clarify the phase 1 option discussed in yesterday's email, TCSD has requested approval to open Colter Elementary School to ALL k-5 students in the district whose parents/guardians are essential workers or are otherwise unsupervised at home. The enrollment would be limited due to the current restrictions of groups less than 10.  

If we are able to provide this program we will send an enrollment application to all k-5 families.  Given the limited capacity of this program it is being considered for elementary students only as past experience with CREST, the no school day program, was not used by secondary families.  

Lastly, this program will only provide supervision for students to participate in the Adapted Learning Plan/online programs currently being offered to all TCSD students.  

Thank you for the feedback and we will keep you apprised as we learn more.

UPDATE- May 1

With Governor Gordon’s recent decisions to relax many statewide closures, and as our local health officials and businesses consider how to reopen our community in the coming weeks and months, we understand many families are anxious for a decision about reopening schools.  

At this time the Governor has stated that schools may reopen to special populations after May 15th, if the local county health officer approves such a reopening.  TCSD is currently working with Dr Riddell to consider such a reopening following a phased approach.

Phase 1, if approved, would allow TCSD to open Colter Elementary School to students in grades kindergarten through 5th to provide supervised delivery of the current Adapted Learning Plan that our schools have been following since April 6th.  If we are able to move forward with this opportunity we will have a limited number of students so families would be invited to complete an enrollment application.  Depending on interest, participation may need to be prioritized to serve the children of our community’s essential workforce as outlined in the Governor’s Health Orders.  

Phase 2 would consider providing summer school for some students.  We are currently discussing how we could open in July and August based on community data regarding the number of cases and spread of the virus.   

Finally, phase 3 is the reopening of school in the fall.  Over the coming weeks we will be evaluating the options to open schools as normal or if modifications need to be made.  

I am pleased to announce that starting on Monday, May 4th district fields and playgrounds will be open to the public.  It is essential that users follow public health orders and recommendations in accessing these facilities.  Group size should be limited to 9 or less and to follow the 6 feet of physical distance between non-family members. If a person has COVID-19 like symptoms they should stay home.  As always, Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation schedules use of the athletic fields so user groups, such as club sports should reach out to Parks & Rec to inquire about use of the fields for any team practices.  

We are all feeling the tremendous loss of our annual traditions and celebrations such as school performances and presentations, prom and notably, high school graduation.  We are working on options to honor our graduating seniors while also ensuring the health and safety of our community.  As soon as we have an approved plan we will be sharing that information with seniors, their families and our community as we know the Class of 2020 deserves to be celebrated for their accomplishments.  

It may seem that the coronavirus is the only thing happening in our community and our country but in fact the 2020 Census is underway!   Completing the Census is critical for our community, including our district.  The count from the 2020 Census determines federal congressional seats,  and funding for services such as education, health care, small businesses, transportation and much, much more!  You can complete the Census using the materials you received by mail in March or you can simply visit www.2020census.gov or calling (844) 330-2020.  Completing the Census for every member in a household takes approximately five minutes and is a confidential survey.  Please take five minutes and complete yours today.  

Lastly, stay informed on all the most recent local COVID-19 news by visiting www.jhcovid.com.  Getting through this crisis requires that we all do our part to flatten the curve.  Please follow the guidance and health orders our health officials have issued for our community.  

Stay well as we eagerly anticipate returning to school when it is safe to do so!

 

UPDATE- April 23

This afternoon Governor Gordon announced that the statewide restrictions he implemented in March have been updated resulting in the decision to close all TCSD schools through at least May 15th and possibly through the end of the school year.  Based on direction from the Wyoming Department of Education, currently special populations may access the buildings on a limited basis and they may continue to do so with the approval of the local county health officer. It is uncertain at this time if we may be able to safely reopen schools after the updated statewide orders expire on May 15th.  In the meantime, we will be developing a plan that will outline how to reopen schools and ensure physical distancing protocols. 

Tomorrow, Friday, April 24th we will host our weekly Community Update via Webex.  You may view this update using this link:

 

https://tcsd1.webex.com/tcsd1/onstage/g.php?MTID=efa461bfe9b6e8b6477614d626eb54a85

While we are all excited about the possibility of returning to our schools and providing face to face learning, it is critical that we are able to provide a learning environment that meets public health guidance to ensure our students’ and staff health and safety.

While we consider the best path forward for educating students, remember this is a very stressful time for all of us.  For now, please encourage and support opportunities for your students to engage with their teachers through the various options teachers will provide but you are not expected to homeschool your student, trying to replace the talented, professional teachers hired to help our students learn and grow.  When we return to school, whether that be in a few weeks or next school year, our dedicated team will pick up where we left off, determine what content needs to be reviewed or retaught and move forward. There is no question this will be difficult, but we will get through it, together. There are also a variety of resources to help parents/guardians support their student’s social emotional needs.  Please take a moment to review the resources linked here: Resources for Parents (English) 

Lastly, stay informed on all the most recent local COVID-19 news by visiting www.jhcovid.com.  Getting through this crisis requires that we all do our part to flatten the curve.  Please follow the guidance and health orders our health officials have issued for our community.  

Stay well and remember, we will get through this, together.
 

UPDATE- April 17
TCSD Community Update Video Recording: 
https://tcsd1.webex.com/tcsd1/lsr.php?RCID=cc01fdfeba610671e17e03e91673aeb5

Password: bSiJbmM3

UPDATE- April 16

I hope you are all well as we continue to adjust to this new world of physical distancing and adapted learning.  

Tomorrow, Friday, April 17th starting at 2:00pm TCSD will hold the first in a series of weekly Webex meetings to provide a live update to the community. To listen in to the meeting, use the following link: https://tcsd1.webex.com/tcsd1/onstage/g.php?MTID=e53dee29940b2d92db781554c85b62502

We are aware that some families are dealing with slow internet connections.  We understand this situation makes it difficult for students to fully engage in the online classes.  We are investigating some possible supports for families and hope to have more information in the next several days.  We also understand that students and families may be experiencing stress and concerns about keeping up with learning at a level similar to when our schools were open and students were attending in-person classes everyday. Try to remain calm and do what you can.   Students across the county, state, country, and world, are in the same boat. Our students will catch up. We will come together when students return and help make up any lost learning. We have started thinking about how to build a system that will support students when they return to school.  Whether that is sometime later this spring or next fall.  

We do not yet know how long this closure will last but we are prepared to remain closed through the rest of the school year, should Governor Gordon make that recommendation or alternatively, the situation in our county is not safe enough to return.   

TCSD has a selection of adjustable student desks and chairs available at no costs for families.  

If you are interested in claiming a desk and/or chair they will be available on Monday April 20th and Tuesday April 21st at Colter Elementary or contact Lori Beck at lbeck@tcsd.org

Please remind your students to continue to follow physical distancing practices.  I know that when we see each other, it is tempting to chat. However, physical distancing, even while picking up food or during the delivery times, is important.  Please remind your student to stay 6’ away from others, cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and to wash their hands.  

It may seem that the coronavirus is the only thing happening in our community and our country but in fact the 2020 Census is underway!   Completing the Census is critical for our community, including our district. The count from the 2020 Census determines federal congressional seats,  and funding for services such as education, health care, small businesses, transportation and much, much more! You can complete the Census using the materials you received by mail in March or you can simply visit www.2020census.gov.  Completing the Census for every member in a household takes approximately five minutes and is a confidential survey.  Please take five minutes and complete yours today.  

As we settle into our new educational delivery platforms, students and families may experience technology issues.  We are offering tech support through the district’s provider, a company called K12 ITC.  The Help Desk will be available to students and parents Monday – Friday, 8:00AM MDT to 5:00PM MDT.  K12 ITC may be reached by telephone at 816-382-4840 or 1-855-K12-TECH and by online chat: CHAT.K12ITC.COM.

Lastly, stay informed on all the most recent local COVID-19 news by visiting www.jhcovid.com.  Getting through this crisis requires that we all do our part to flatten the curve.  Please follow the guidance and health orders our health officials have issued for our community.  

Stay well and remember, we will get through this, together.

 

UPDATE- April 10

Congratulations, we all made it through the first week of school under the new Adapted Learning Plan!   

As much as we all wish we could have returned to school after spring break to see our friends and teachers,  we are living in a new reality where we keep our physical distance from one another to help keep ourselves and those most susceptible to this virus safe.  We have heard it many times, but we truly are in this together.  

As we settle into our new educational delivery platforms, students and families may experience technology issues.  To support families we are offering tech support through the district’s provider, a company called K12 ITC.  The Help Desk will be available to students and parents Monday – Friday, 8:00AM MDT to 5:00PM MDT. K12 ITC may be reached by telephone at 816-382-4840 or 1855-K12-TECH and by online chat:  CHAT.K12ITC.COM.

To ensure families are aware of the use of web video conferencing to deliver  educational programming, we have prepared a video conference etiquette, safety  and privacy permission form.  Please take a moment to complete this form by the end of the day Tuesday, April 14th.  Families who do not complete and submit the form will be considered as having granted permission for their student to connect to the web conference using their video for teachers to see and that their image may be recorded for sharing the classroom discussion with students who are not able to participate in the live class session.  

For students participating in middle school track or high school sports, the Wyoming High School Activities Association has cancelled spring sports.  We understand this is very disappointing for students and families but we support the efforts to keep everyone involved in spring activities safe.  

As a reminder, health officials are recommending that we all wear a cloth face covering whenever leaving our homes. It has been confirmed that anyone who has the virus, even if they are not symptomatic, can spread the virus.  Wearing a face covering allows me to protect you and you to protect me.

If you have any questions about our community’s response to and local resources to support residents during this time please visit https://www.jhcovidespanol.com.  There is helpful information on this site, including links to community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce that explains the recent updates to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rules.    

Lastly, please take advantage of the TCSD meal program.  There are no applications or eligibility requirements to participate, we just want to make sure kids have access to meals during the day.  Meals are distributed via a drive through pick up at Jackson Hole High School Monday-Friday, 7:30am-2:30pm. On Fridays Dominos is generously providing pizzas to the first 100 families so students have food over the weekend when the TCSD meal program is not offered.  If you are unable to make it to JHHS, a meal delivery service is provided. While there are no eligibility requirements, pre-registration is required. Please contact Charlotte Reynolds at creynolds@tcsd.org or Angela Peterson at apeterson@tcsd.org  to sign up for this service. 

Thank you to all the families and members of the community who have offered support and encouragement through these challenging times.  The health and well being of our students is my highest priority and our district is doing everything we can to support the community-wide efforts while also providing the high quality education our students deserve.  

 

Stay well and remember, we will get through this, together.

 

UPDATE- April 4

TCSD is excited to welcome students back from spring break, although it is not how we hoped we would be returning to school as we all looked forward to seeing one another in person!  

For the week of April 6th students will participate in learning in the same way they did the week of March 16th-20th, with teachers providing office hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 2-5pm and Wednesday and Friday from 8-11am to answer student questions and provide support.  Some online learning assignments will be posted on Canvas for secondary students and the educational packets provided to elementary students on March 16th should be completed.  

Starting the week of April 13th a more structured learning plan will begin.  Teachers and principals will be providing more information in the coming days about this transition and expectations for students.  

WiFi hotspots and iPads
For families who requested digital resources, TCSD will distribute WiFi internet hotspots and iPads to elementary families at the student’s school on Monday, April 13th.  Any additional educational materials from teachers will be provided on this same day and location. Directions for using the hotspots will be provided with the device. The distribution schedule will be provided by your school principal.  Due dates for any assignments posted on Canvas or through other teacher communications during the week of April 6th will consider the fact that several students will not have online access prior to April 14th.

To help students and families who experience tech issues, we will be providing tech support to all families through our district tech support, a company called K12 ITC.  The Help Desk will be available to students and parents Monday – Friday, 8:00AM MDT to 5:00PM MDT.  

816-382-4840 or 1855-K12-TECH
CHAT:  CHAT.K12ITC.COM

The Help Desk has the ability to support students with the following items:

- Password issues with district related applications.

- Questions regarding specific applications supported at a district level.

- Troubleshooting district owned devices.

- Best effort support on connecting a device to a home or public wireless network.

- Non-district devices cannot be supported for hardware malfunction, virus, ransomware or spyware issues.

- Printing outside of a district school building will be best effort support due to complexities involved with home printers. 

The TCSD meal program is resuming April 6th.  Drive through meal pick up will be available Monday-Friday from 7:30am-2:30pm at Jackson Hole High School.  Domino’s Pizza has generously offered to provide pizzas on Fridays to ensure youth under the age of 19 have food over the weekend when the TCSD meal program is not available.  

A new meal delivery program will start April 7th for families who completed a survey requesting this service.  Information about the delivery times and locations is being sent directly to the families who signed up. If you wish to receive meals through the meal delivery program please contact Charlotte Reynolds at creynolds@tcsd.org for information.  

Please make sure you are aware of the official health orders that are in place as well as the recommendations from Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County Health Officer.  Teton County is currently under a health order limiting social gatherings to members of a single household. This means no social gatherings with friends, neighbors or other community members. Additionally, Dr. Riddell has issued a recommendation “that residents of Teton County, Wyoming who leave the geographic area of the State of Wyoming, Bonneville County, Idaho, and Teton County, Idaho and any visitors that visit Teton County, Wyoming from outside that geographic area should limit movement and gathering with other individuals who are not their immediate family upon their return to Teton County, Wyoming. Persons should leave their residences only to perform Essential Activities for a period of self-isolation lasting at least fourteen days or self-isolation until any fever or respiratory illness has resolved and they have returned to normal health for at least three days, whichever is longer. Please visit the Teton County Health Department website for all current orders and recommendations. 

We realize these measures are incredibly challenging and trying to engage in school through the Adapted Learning Plan is difficult.  The only way we can get through this time and return to our normal activities is to follow the guidance and direction of our public health officials.  We are in this together and must rely on one another to do the right thing- stay home, wash your hands, cover your sneeze and cough and if you have COVID-like symptoms, contact St. John’s Health at 307-739-4898.

UPDATE- April 3
Today Governor Gordon extended the current closure through April 30th.  This extended closure includes schools so TCSD schools will remain closed through this closure period.  Schools and teachers will provide educational services and programming through the district's Adapted Learning Plan.  

UPDATE- April 2, 12:30pm

As spring break nears its end, there are several important updates to share with you as we prepare to resume classes on Monday, April 6th, via distance learning opportunities and our newly approved Adapted Learning Plan.   

During spring break, Dr Travis Riddell issued Teton County District Public Health Order #20-4.  This official order limits gatherings to individuals in your household for all people in Teton County, WY. This means that students and families should not participate in any social gatherings of any size.  We are taking that order and Dr. Riddell’s other recommendations, very seriously.  We ask that you and your students do the same to help reduce the impacts of this virus on our friends, neighbors and community.  

On Tuesday, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE)  approved the District’s Adapted Learning Plan. The plan, which will be implemented starting the week of April 13th, outlines how our schools will ensure educational services are provided to students for the duration of the school closure. The current closure is through April 17th, however the plan is valid for the remainder of the school year should the Governor, the Wyoming Health Officer or our local public health and district officials determine that schools are to remain closed for the remainder of the year.  

Students will resume school on April 6th under the less formal plan established before spring break while staff work and collaborate remotely to determine the best ways to implement the details of the Adapted Learning Plan.  In the coming days principals will provide detailed information about how teachers will engage with students, take attendance, provide feedback on student assignments and other important information about how learning will be supported during this extraordinary time.    

We understand this is a very stressful time for families.  Please know that we will do our very best to support students virtually, while providing as much structure and as many learning opportunities as possible.   We know that nothing can replace the face to face learning that happens in our schools every day. We also know that students will not progress academically as they would within the normal school experience.  That is ok and to be expected. Students throughout our state, our country and the world are in the same boat. For now, please encourage and support opportunities for your students to engage with their teachers through the various options teachers will provide but you are not expected to homeschool your student, trying to replace the talented, professional teachers hired to help our students learn and grow.  When we return to school, whether that be in a few weeks or next school year, our dedicated team will pick up where we left off, determine what content needs to be reviewed or retaught and move forward. There is no question this will be difficult, but we will get through it, together.

Wyoming received a waiver from the US Department of Education’s accountability requirements meaning we will not conduct WY-TOPP this spring in all tested grade levels.  ACT tests have been postponed but we will do everything we can to make sure juniors have the opportunity to take ACT later this summer. For students in advanced placement classes, while no dates have been set, AP testing will be available online.  The test will be shorter in length than normal and include mid-year rather than year end content. 

TCSD meal service will continue for ANY youth under the age of 19 available for pick up Monday through Friday from 7:30-2:00 in the parking lot at JHHS.  Additionally, if you would prefer to have meal service delivery we will be able to accommodate this need starting April 7th. Recently we sent a meal and educational delivery survey to families.    If you need to have school breakfast and lunch delivered to a central location near your home, please complete this survey  by Friday, April 3rd.  We will develop drop off schedules over the weekend and provide that information to you on Monday, April 6th.  We will also use this service to deliver educational materials so families do not have to drive to the schools to pick up materials.  For elementary students who did not get an iPad before spring break, please let your child’s teacher know if an iPad is needed. WiFi hotspots will also be available for delivery.  If you do not have WiFi at your home and have not already requested a TCSD provided hotspot, please contact Charlotte Reynolds at creynolds@tcsd.org. A special thanks to the Fund for Public Education and the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole for covering the cost of the hotspots.  Silver Star communications is also providing free community WiFi at the Teton County FairGrounds. More information about this service is available at www.JHCOVID.com.  

We also encourage any family whose income has been reduced due to business closures or reduced work hours due to the COVID-19, to apply for Free and Reduced meals.  Families who meet the income eligibility guidelines will be considered eligible for the program for the entire school year and for 30 school days after the start of the upcoming school year.  The application is available here.  

Thank you to all the families and members of the community who have offered support and encouragement through these challenging times.  The health and well being of our students is my highest priority and our district is doing everything we can to support the community-wide  efforts while also providing the high quality education our students deserve.  

Stay well and remember, we are all in this together.

UPDATE- April 2

The Board of Education met last night for a Special Meeting to discuss the current COVID situation.  Here is a link to the meeting recording.  The password is nJdtmeh3

UDATE- March 27, 2:30pm
Governor Gordon has just announced that schools throughout Wyoming will remain closed through April 17th.  We will provide updates to families as soon as we have more information.

UPDATE- March 27

On March 25th the Board of Education met to discuss the current COVID-19 situation and the associated impacts to schools.  We were hoping that today Governor Gordon’s Office and Wyoming Department of Education would have determined if the current state-wide closure of district schools would extend beyond April 3rd.  It appears that a decision will be made early next week. While no decisions have been made, given the number of new cases in Wyoming and Teton County we are developing plans to accommodate this closure remaining in effect through the rest of this school year.   

During the week of April 6th we will use previously developed learning plans while staff work and collaborate remotely to establish the details of the adaptive learning plan that has been submitted to the Wyoming Department of Education for approval.  This plan includes how we will provide student and family support and account for attendance and teacher feedback. The Board will meet again on April 1st at 5pm via Webex. A link to the meeting will be available on BoardDocs by 4pm on Wednesday.  

We are committed to implementing plans that will allow our current senior class to meet graduation requirements and ensuring the current junior class remains on track to graduate next year.  Wyoming has received a waiver from the US Department of Education’s accountability requirements meaning we will not conduct WY-TOPP this spring in all tested grade levels. ACT tests have been postponed but we will do everything we can to make sure juniors have the opportunity to take ACT later this summer.  For students in advanced placement classes, while no dates have been set, AP testing will be available online. The test will be shorter in length than normal and include mid-year rather than year end content. 

Our district has purchased WiFi hotspots that will be available at no cost to families starting on April 6th.  If you need one of these devices but did not communicate your need to your student’s school, please contact Charlotte Reynolds at creynolds@tcsd.org or 307.732.9409.

Now that we know we have community transmission please help our community by practicing physical distancing.  The Teton County Health Department and the Sheriff’s office district have asked for our support for this effort by keeping all school facilities and grounds closed.  This includes playgrounds and athletic fields. Law enforcement will be monitoring these locations for people not following the closures.  

For families with students starting kindergarten in the fall, registration is now open on the district’s website. If you need assistance, please check back after April 6th as we will be updating support options on or before that date.  

We also encourage any family currently out of work to apply for Free and Reduced meals.  Families who meet the income eligibility guidelines will be considered eligible for the program for the entire school year and for 30 days after the start of the upcoming school year.  The application is available here.  

Please stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation by visiting www.jhcovid.com.  Another great resource to ideas to follow physical distancing guidance is available through the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to all the families and members of the community who have offered support and encouragement through these challenging times.  The health and well being of our students is my highest priority and our district is doing everything we can to support the community-wide  efforts. Please join me in doing your part by practicing physical distancing and following all other guidance from our public health experts.

_____________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE- March 25
Board of Trustees held a special meeting on March 25th to discuss short term and long term planning for school closures.  The meeting was recorded and is available here. The passcode is: PnQHyre3

All TCSD schools are closed through at least April 5th due toe COVID-19 global pandemic.  Schools are providing distance learning opportunities for students in grades K-12.  To access the online resources, please visit the distance learning page.  

For current and accurate information about the national COVID-19 outbreak please visit the Center for Disease Control.

For local information the following resources are available:

www.jhcovid.com

This site provides links to local resources and information related to COVID-19 and the local Jackson Hole community.  

Feeling sick?  If you have flu or cold like symptoms please use the following hotlines to determine if you need to seek medical care:

St John's Health Evaluation Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 3
St John's Health Shortness of Breath Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 1
Teton County Public Health Update Hotline 307-732-8628

With a confirmed case of COVID-19 so close to home, we understand families will have heightened concerns about exposure to this virus.  For students experiencing stress or anxiety about COVID-19, the National Association of School Psychologists has provided information (available here) for families in speaking with their children about the current outbreak.  Another resource is available through PBS. Another resource, Caring for your coronavirus anxiety is available here.  

To receive COVID-19 related updates from Teton County Emergency Management please text the words tc_covid to short code, 888777 

UPDATE March 19

TCSD #1 expresses its appreciation to the families and TCSD #! staff for your support and feedback as this worldwide event impacts our local community.  

With the announcement of a local COVID-19 case, please help our community by following the advice of public health experts, especially in terms of social distancing. In my email on Tuesday I included an article This is not a snow day.  Please take a moment to read this article and use it to explain to your child why they should participate in social distancing practices as advised by the CDC.  I know it is hard to stay in, but please reinforce with your student the importance of social distancing for the sake of everyone.  

I hope your student is fully participating in the distance learning opportunities we have provided for students in grades K-12.  Be sure to visit our website for more information about these offerings.  There are educational resources as well as materials and ideas to support social emotional needs.  As a reminder, teachers are holding office hours today from 2:00-5:00pm and tomorrow from 8:00-11:00am.  It is helpful to continue to have a routine with your student while educational opportunities are occurring this week.  I know everyone has a new appreciation for teachers after this week of remote learning.  

Meals will be offered from 7:30-2pm today and tomorrow.  Whole Food Rescue will provide meals during spring break at JHHS from 11am-1pm, Monday through Friday.  

While our teachers will take some well deserved time off during spring break,  I will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. By April 3rd I will notify families if the current school closures will extend beyond April 5th.  This determination will be made based on guidance from the Wyoming Department of Education and Health and our local public health officials. We are in almost daily contact with the Wyoming Department of Education to obtain guidance regarding how school closures will impact the school year including spring activities, state assessments and the school calendar. 

The Teton County Board of Trustees will meet virtually Wednesday night, March 25, at 5:00 pm to discuss short and long term plans for school closure.  A link to the meeting will be posted on the TCSD#1 website www.tcsd.org by 4:00 pm on March 25 to allow for public participation.  

A new website, www.jhcovid.com launched today.  This site has links to local COVID-19 information. While I know many families have cancelled spring break travel plans I hope you are able to find some ways to relax and have fun with your children, in spite of this unprecedented situation that has created significant anxiety, stress, and confusion for us all. 

Dr Gillian Chapman
Superintendent of Schools

UPDATE March 17

I understand this has been a very challenging time for students and families.  Thank you for the words of support and encouragement many of you have shared with our district staff.  

As a reminder, youth under the age of 19 can pick up breakfast and lunch in the west parking lot at JHHS from 7:30-2:00 on Tuesday through Friday of this week.  Meals will be served in a drive-thru format. Youth will need to be present in order to pick up the free meals.  

TCSD teachers are now providing distance enrichment and learning opportunities.  This week, teachers will provide office hours on Wednesday and Friday from 8:00-11:00 am and Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-5:00.  

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how long COVID-19 will affect our community, state and nation.  We will closely monitor this evolving situation over spring break and will send a communication to families on Friday, April 3rd if we will be returning to school on Monday, April 6th or if we will continue with distance learning offerings for a longer period of time.  

Our local government agencies are providing a significant amount of information for the community.  Please use these official sources as the most accurate and verified sources of information.    

Town of Jackson: https://www.jacksonwy.gov/

Teton County: https://www.tetoncountywy.gov/

Teton County Health Department: http://www.tetonwyo.org/163/Health-Dept

St John’s Health Center: https://www.stjohns.health/

An additional resource for timely messages is through COVID-19 Nixle notices.  To sign up text the word TC_COVID to short code 888777

If you have flu or cold like symptoms please use the following hotlines to determine if you need to seek medical care:

St John's Health Evaluation Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 3
St John's Health Shortness of Breath Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 1
Teton County Public Health Update Hotline 307-732-8628

At the state level Wyoming 2-1-1 and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) are partnering to provide a public telephone helpline for COVID-19 questions and information. 

Wyoming 2-1-1 is a statewide helpline that provides free, confidential information and referrals to health and human services. By dialing 2-1-1 from anywhere in the state of Wyoming, people are linked to information about COVID-19 as well as local resources, from both government and nonprofit agencies. 

2-1-1 is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.to 6:00 p.m. Service is available statewide by dialing 2-1-1 or 888-425-7138 during normal business hours. Callers requesting information outside standard business hours may leave a voicemail message and will receive a follow-up call the next business day. 

Wyoming 2-1-1 also connects callers to other health and human services in their community. Many of these resources may also be needed by Wyoming residents at this time.  

Questions can also be emailed to wdh-covid-19@wyo.gov.  

We understand families and students may have heightened concerns about exposure to this virus.  For students experiencing stress or anxiety about COVID-19, the National Association of School Psychologists has provided information (available here) for families in speaking with their children about the current outbreak.  Resources are also available through PBS, Caring for your coronavirus anxiety is available here.  A national hotline has been set up through the National Alliance on Mental Illness, with information provided on this flyer.    Lastly, general information about dealing with life’s challenges is available here.  

This is Not a Snow Day, is a great article to consider in speaking with your student about why meeting up with friends to hang out, sleepovers or even small group gatherings defeats the purpose of this closure and the community efforts currently being implemented.  

Lastly, many families have reached out asking how they can help support students in need during this closure, especially to support free meals.  Here is a message from the Fund for Public Education. If you are looking for a way to help, consider donating to the Fund.  

Hundreds of TCSD#1 students rely on school meals to meet their daily nutritional needs. While we are committed to ensuring that every child is fed during this trying time, we need your help to make this happen. One of the safest ways to have a direct and immediate impact during the COVID-19 outbreak is to support the Fund for Public Education's emergency fundraiser. Please give what you can and help spread the word. The money raised helps cover the cost of meals and their distribution, as well as other emergency needs within the district. All donations are tax deductible and directly support the district and its students. 

Thank you again for your continued patience, support, and feedback.  We are all in this together and I am immensely proud of the TCSD team for pulling together and providing excellent services for our students, families and community.  

 

CORRECTED- UPDATE March 16, 12:00pm
Note the times for teacher office hours have been corrected.

Because of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, district leaders have canceled the annual Jackson Hole High School scholarship night. Scholarship winners will still be notified electronically in late April, with a special community celebration to follow as soon as we are able. We are proud of every student who submitted an application this year and grateful to every donor who supports these amazing seniors.  These are truly life-changing gifts and we look forward to celebrating with you all soon. 

All athletic and activity practices and events have been cancelled through at least April 5th. 

As a reminder, youth under the age of 19, can pick up breakfast and lunch at JHHS from 11:00-2:00 on Monday and from 7:30-2:00 on Tuesday through Friday.  Meals will be served in a drive-thru format in the west parking lot of JHHS. Youth will need to be present in order to pick up the free meals.  

TCSD teachers are finalizing distance learning plans and preparing educational materials for elementary students.  Elementary families may pick up packets and if you do not have a device at home, you may sign out an iPad at your child’s school on Monday, March 16th from 3:00 - 5:00 pm and Tuesday, March 17th  from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. 

If there are items that need to be picked up from a cubby or classroom, that will also be the time to come to the school. Each school principal will communicate more specifics about how to reach teachers during their office hours and other details about the distance learning offerings.  

This week, teachers will provide office hours on Wednesday and Friday from 8:00-11:00am and Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-5:00pm.  Principals and the certified staff will be communicating with parents how to reach the individual staff during the virtual office hours.  

Based on the current guidance from the Wyoming Department of Education, we have applied for a waiver to allow these distance learning offerings to count for services as if in session and may avoid having to make up any COVID-19 related school cancelations.  It is important that students fully engage in these offerings to ensure they are maintaining their learning during this unprecedented situation. We are awaiting further information about WY-TOPP testing, which typically occurs after spring break and ACT testing which currently has testing planned for March 29th, April 7th and April 21st.  We will share more information about these assessment dates as soon as they are available from WDE.  

Thank you for your support of TCSD #1 students and staff during this challenging time.

UPDATE March 15, 4:00pm

Today our district administrative team met virtually to outline the educational process for the week of March 16-20, 2020.  

All TCSD staff will report to work on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 to work.  We will practice social distancing as our staff work together to ensure services are provided to our students, families and community members.  

For the week of Monday, March 16-Friday, March 20, 2020 the following plans are in place:

Food services will be available for free all week for any individual under the age of 19, enrolled student or not.  Two meals at a time will be available for pick up that includes breakfast and lunch. Pick up will be made available at Jackson Hole High School at the following times:

Monday from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 am - 2:00 pm

On Monday, families can expect a communication from their student’s school principal.  In general, here is what you can expect for the week of March 16-20, 2020.  

We will have a link on our website at www.tcsd.org  by grade level with resources for families and students to use for learning that meet Wyoming Standards.  A social/emotional link will also be shared for resources as well as mindfulness, yoga, and health related topics.  When in doubt, read books together.  

Elementary families who need access to a device will be able to checkout an iPad from their school and pick up a variety of printed materials or resources on Monday from 3:00 - 5:00 pm and Tuesday from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.  If there are items that need to be picked up from a cubby or classroom, that will also be the time to come to the school. Each school principal will communicate details about any printed items to be picked up.  

Middle and high school students will have access to coursework via Canvas.  This is already a part of their routine, so it should be a little more seamless.  Additionally, teachers will be using other technology to support two-way interactions between students and teachers.  

We will have technology support available and will share that number as soon as we have that scheduled and set up.  

In addition to the resources posted, daily all of our teachers will have office hours.  The principals will be communicating with you on Monday to determine how to reach the teachers during the office hours.  

Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-5:00 pm
Wednesday and Friday from 8:00-11:00 am

The Fund for Public Education has launched a new fundraising campaign to support the district during COVID-19. This is primarily focused on feeding hungry kids. Please help spread the word. 

I am so very grateful for the outstanding leadership in this district and community.  As we all navigate these uncertain and stressful days, I could not be more grateful for our Trustees, principals, administrative team, and staff. Charlotte Reynolds has been working with me around the clock to provide timely communications and support.  Community partners like Dr. Travis Riddell, Jodie Pond and Rich Ochs have been answering texts and calls at all times during the day and night. County Commissioners and Town Council members have asked great questions and understand the impact that closing schools has on a community.   

Our district team is dedicated to ensuring our students are safe and have outstanding educational opportunities at home.  It will certainly not be the same without the energy of the students and staff in the buildings, but I am confident that together, as a team, we will figure it out.  Thank you for being patient with me as I make these decisions and know that we are all doing our best, cognizant of all the impact each decision has on our students, families and community.  Times like this bring us together and I want you to know that your trust in our school district means a lot to each of us. We are united in service to your student first and foremost.  

UPDATE March 15:

After last night’s announcement of the positive COVID-19 case in Teton County, Idaho TCSD #1 has been carefully reviewing the CDC guidance for schools (available here) that suggests schools not close until there is a case in their buildings.   The district has also been considering all of the efforts being taken in our community to “flatten the curve”.  Based on all of these considerations, all TCSD #1 schools will close starting tomorrow, Monday, March 16th.  Schools will remain closed until at least April 5th.  Decisions about post-spring break closures will depend on how this situation unfolds in the coming weeks.  

Superintendent Gillian Chapman stated, “This is a very difficult decision to make and I appreciate the support from our Trustees, Dr Riddell and Jodie Pond in the district taking this action. Plans for cloud or distance classroom learning and other services will be finalized tomorrow and sent to families and posted on the TCSD #1 website on Monday.”

TCSD Board of Education Chair, Betsy Carlin commented, “It is our opinion that being proactive rather than reactive at this time like this is the best way we can support our community.  Even if it saves one life, it will be worth it. I want to thank Superintendent Chapman and her team for the hours they have put into monitoring the situation and making this difficult decision.  I hope that everyone stays safe and healthy in the coming weeks.”

Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County Health Officer stated, “In my role as County Health Officer I have been in regular contact with the school district administration.  In this unprecedented situation, I fully support TCSD #1’s steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.” 

Board of Education Vice-chairman Keith Gingery added “The school district really appreciates the professionalism and expertise of Dr. Riddell, and Jodie Pond, the Director of Teton County Health Department.  They have been invaluable in helping to make an informed decision.  

Please remain vigilant in your prevention efforts and remind your student to: wash your hands frequently, cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissue and stay home if you are sick. It is incumbent on us all to take these preventative measures to help our community stay healthy, especially those over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions.  To obtain current local information please visit http://tetoncountywy.gov/163/Health-Dept.  

If you have flu or cold like symptoms please use the following hotlines to determine if you need to seek medical care:

St John's Health Evaluation Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 3
St John's Health Shortness of Breath Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 1
Teton County Public Health Update Hotline 307-732-8628

With a confirmed case of this virus so close to home, we understand families will have heightened concerns about exposure to this virus and that students may experience stress and anxiety.  The National Association of School Psychologists has provided information (available here) for families in speaking with their children about the current outbreak.  Another resource is available through PBS (https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-co

UPDATE: March 14

This evening Idaho public health officials announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Teton County, Idaho.  The individual tested positive after being in close contact with someone in a neighboring state. There are few details at this time, however, when asked, the Teton Valley Health Department specifically stated that she is not advising that Teton Valley #401 Schools close.

As this dynamic, rapidly changing situation unfolds, we are further consulting with our local Health Officer and the Teton County Health Department Director to determine the best course of action based on the specifics of the COVID-19 case in Teton County, Idaho.  Please rest assured our highest priority is to make the best possible decisions that help to keep students, staff and community healthy. We will provide an update to all TCSD #1 families and staff tomorrow evening, Sunday March 15th. 

Please remain vigilant in your prevention efforts and remind your student to: wash your hands frequently, cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissue and stay home if you are sick. It is incumbent on us all to take these preventative measures to help our community stay healthy, especially those over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions.  To obtain current local information please visit http://tetoncountywy.gov/163/Health-Dept.  

If you have flu or cold like symptoms please use the following hotlines to determine if you need to seek medical care:

St John's Health Evaluation Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 3
St John's Health Shortness of Breath Hotline 307-739-4898 Option 1
Teton County Public Health Update Hotline 307-732-8628

With a confirmed case of COVID-19 so close to home, we understand families will have heightened concerns about exposure to this virus.  As always, parents who do not feel it is in their child's best interest to attend school certainly may excuse their student from school. For students experiencing stress or anxiety about COVID-19, the National Association of School Psychologists has provided information (available here) for families in speaking with their children about the current outbreak.  Another resource is available through PBS (https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-coronavirus).

_____________________________________________________

UPDATE: March 13

Today TCSD participated in a conference call with the Wyoming Department of Education and the Wyoming Department of Health.  Based on the information provided by state health experts and the updated guidance (available here) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), our district will monitor the situation over the weekend and provide an update to families and staff on Monday afternoon.  If a case of COVID-19 is identified in our local region (Teton County, Victor/Driggs, Alpine or Star Valley), over the weekend or anytime next week, TCSD schools will close.  

We understand this public health crisis is causing stress for students and families alike. The National Association of School Psychologists has provided information (available here) for families in speaking with their children about the current outbreak.  Another resource is available through PBS (https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-coronavirus)

We will continue to provide updated information as soon as it is available.  

Thank you for your ongoing support of TCSD, our staff and students. 

______________________________________________________________________________________





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