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MVCSD News Letter from Doug Tuetken 3/30

Maquoketa Valley Parents: Please know that I understand and feel the frustration you’re experiencing with our current shut down.  As much as we want your children to be at school learning, socializing and growing, I think we all understand the importance of social distancing so we hopefully limit the spread of this virus to our most vulnerable. As our Governor is requesting, we all need to do our part.  I want to again reiterate and will continue to do so as long as we are shut down, please know you can reach out to me or any of our instructors, counselors or principals if you are in need of anything.  We are here for you and your children.  Also remember, this too shall pass and it will get better!!  The weather will improve each day and all of us will be able to get outside.  That will help! With that said….. I do not have a considerable amount of new information to share with you, but I did want to share with you a few updates regarding distribution of meals and also with our approach to online learning options. Beginning this Monday, our food service program will be distributing meals from 11:30 till 12:15 at the High School in Delhi, Earlville and Johnston Elementary.  We are also going to try and reduce the number of our delivery dates so parents will not have to rearrange their daily schedules to get to their designated sites each day.  This also reduces the number of contact days for our food service staff.  Beginning on Monday March 30th we will distribute and deliver the breakfast and lunch meals for Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday, we will deliver the breakfast and lunch meals for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  We will see if this works for our families.  If this schedule has a significant negative impact or if you truly are unable to get to the distribution sites on Monday and Wednesday, please contact Laurie Kramer at lauriekramer@maquoketa-v.k12.is.us. I did want let you know how proud I am of those employees that have taken the time to help our families and children through this unsettling and ever evolving time.  This ranges from our custodians for their cleaning and continued building and transportation work as well as our food service staff for continuing to make over 1000 a meals a week for our kids.  I am also simply amazed by our instructors and principals and what they have done in such a short time frame to prepare academic engagement and enrichment activities for all of our students.  I appreciate the fact that our instructors and administrators have been reaching out to our students’ and their families to help provide additional academic and emotional support and just to stay connected. This is why we are MV and MV strong!! The Iowa Department of Education (DE) pulled together a “Continuous Learning Task Force” that convened last Wednesday and Thursday to provide guidelines for educational enrichment opportunities and educational services.  On Friday evening I was notified that this Task Force will now allow schools to fall into one of two primary approaches to our online delivery.  This will either be a Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunity or a Required Educational Service program.  Before the Task Force released their recommendations,  we met as an administrative team on Friday morning to discuss the most sensible approach for online opportunities for our students, parents and teachers.  At this juncture, it makes most sense for our district to expand what we are currently doing and take advantage of the Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities for all of our students.  In this format we can provide new learning and build on existing concepts as well as course and content competency.  For our High School students we can offer selected credit recovery and address existing grades and content course competencies.  In this process we then do not have to wait for the DE to vet and approved our plan, we can begin immediately.  The principals will be meeting with our teachers this week to devise our plans.  We anticipate that our plan will be available to our students and parents in the next week or so.  We will just need some time to organize our online learning protocols and make sure we have realistic expectations for our students, parents and teachers.  I also wanted to let you know that if we do return later in April or the first part of May, it will be our intent to extend the school year to take time to finish course work and catch kids up.  So new information will be forthcoming later this week. To finish up, just a couple of reminders that we have previously discussed:
  • With the uncertainty in our return date, we are still in a holding pattern for prom, fine arts and athletic events, Booster Club events, Academic Excellence, Senior Awards, Graduation, etc.  If we postponed for the year, our plan is to possibly combine some of these events and find a suitable date this summer to organize a community and school district celebration.  More details will be developed once we get to the downside of the COVID Curve.
  • As parents, when your students do get together, please remind them to practice social distancing protocols.
  • The engagement activities link for your children is located at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-WssZSvT4mew6EOtlT8ZSD-KctQ8PB0pXTHEduSsAg0/edit?ts=5e739f09
  • If you are in need of childcare please reach out to Katie Pfeiler at St. Joseph Childcare Center in Earlville.  Her office number is 563-923-2068.  Our district will continue to partner with Katie in case their center needs additional help or needs to expand to Earlville Elementary.
  • Audible Books online are now offering books to listen to for free for all ages at https://stories.audible.com/start-listen.
  • Scholastic Books is offering free grade and Lexile level online reading at: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
  • US Cellular is now waiving the overage fees no matter what data plan(s) you are on.  Please go to https://gsys.io/X8. This will allow you a hotspot for your child’s computer if you do not have internet access.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) if you need any assistance or suggestions with the academic and skill building activities available online.
Again, as information changes that is applicable to you from our district, I will reach out.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Thanks and stay safe, Doug