Parent Communications

Emails to Parents & Caregivers

Below are the most recent communications to parents and caregivers regarding the 2020-2021 school year.
October 16, 2020

Good afternoon everyone,

As we close out our first week of Phase 2 of our Reopening Plan, I want to thank you for your patience and grace, not just in the last four days, but since the start of the school year.  

Despite months of preparation and planning, there remained many decisions that could not be made until we knew more about the learning options our families wanted for their children. On behalf of the entire administrative team, thank you for your understanding as we worked to assign teachers and classes as quickly as possible. There were many moving parts behind the scenes; however, seeing so many students smiling as they returned to school this week or continuing to excel in Distance Learning 2.0 made it all worthwhile.

If our schools are to remain open for in person instruction, it is critical we continue to work together. As a District, we will assume that every child who gets on a bus or walks into a school building has conducted a home screening and has not been knowingly exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

We are particularly mindful that many of our families have recently traveled or have plans to travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving recess. After careful review and consideration, and effective immediately, the District is strongly recommending, but not requiring, that students and staff follow the guidelines issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC regarding domestic and international travel.  

As you consider your travel plans and health precautions to take upon return, please keep in mind that students who are quarantined and feel well enough to complete schoolwork will be able to keep up with the class by asynchronously accessing their course in Schoology or Seesaw. Instructional staff who are quarantined and feel well enough to support instruction will be able to work via Zoom.

If you have not already, I encourage you to review the District website for additional information and FAQs related to our Phased Reopening and Health & Safety Plans. The dedicated page for those resources is https://www.wssd.k12.pa.us/ReturntoSchool.aspx.

Thank you again for your help and support.

Sincerely,

Todd

Todd B. Stoltz, Ed.D.
Superintendent
#WestShoreProud


September 14, 2020
Thank you to all who have reached out with questions regarding our revised plans for reopening schools shared with the Board last Thursday evening. We are currently working through those emails and responding to each individually.

To ensure families have time to receive those responses, and those who have not already done so, have time to create their PowerSchool account, the deadline for parent commitments to be made in PowerSchool has been extended until Friday, September 18, at 8 a.m.

While our preference is for parents to make a commitment in PowerSchool, if no option is chosen by the deadline, the District will expect the student to appear for in person instruction the week of October 13.

Directions for Registering Your Selection

STEP ONE:
Sign in to your PowerSchool account:
https://psweb.wssd.k12.pa.us/public/home.html
Please note, your selection can only be submitted on the PowerSchool website and cannot be reported through the PowerSchool App. If you need assistance creating a PowerSchool account, please contact your child's school.

STEP TWO:
Along the top, left-hand side of your screen, you will see “Phase 2: Parent Commitment” (it is the first button above Grades and Attendance). Click on that button.

STEP THREE:
On the next screen you will see the options available to your child for their particular grade level. Make your selection by clicking on the circle button.

STEP FOUR:
Once you have made your choice, click the blue “Submit” button to record your selection. You will see a green check mark and message which confirms your selection has been submitted. Parents have until Friday at 8 a.m. to make changes.

Parents must select an option for each of their children. If you have multiple children associated with your account, you can easily do this by selecting their name at the top of the screen.


Parent Resources
As a reminder, the District’s Health and Safety Plan, which provides details on the safety protocols and procedures in place upon students’ return, has not changed and can be downloaded from the District website as a searchable PDF. This plan includes specifics on masks, face shields, cleaning, sanitizing, ventilation, social distancing, procedures following a positive case, etc. Summaries of each section begin on page 40 of the plan.

Link to the District's Revised Phased Reopening & Health and Safety Plans: https://bit.ly/WestShoreSafeReturn

Please Note: Parents of students in our low incidence classrooms who have already returned as of September 9, do not need to submit this PowerSchool form.  Families are asked to contact Dr. Ryan-Washington ([email protected]), Director of Special Education, to further discuss their child’s individual learning needs.

September 11, 2020

Last night, Dr. Stoltz, Superintendent, and Dr. Whye, Assistant Superintendent, shared the District's revised Phased School Reopening Plan.

Following the revised plan, beginning October 13, students will have the option to transition to in person instruction with blended learning. Additionally, families with children in kindergarten through grade 8 will have the option to continue Distance Learning 2.0 if they would prefer that option, and based on feedback we received since the meeting; we are also looking at the possibility of offering that as an option at the high school level. The revised plan does not impact those students who have already returned for some in person classes with vo-tech or through our Special Education program.

Families and staff are encouraged to view the Board presentation shared Thursday evening. During the Board Meeting, Dr. Stoltz and Dr. Whye answered several questions from the community regarding changes to our plans. 

Link to website with presentation, notes, and board meeting link:
https://bit.ly/WestShoreSafeReturn


Next Steps

Families will be asked to utilize PowerSchool to notify of the District of their plans for their child/ren. Additional information will be coming next week, but in the meantime, if you do not already have a PowerSchool account, please contact your child’s school to obtain the necessary information to set up your account. As a reminder, this information was also emailed to all parents on August 17. The subject line of that email was “IMPORTANT: Parent and Student Account Log In Information”

August 21, 2020
 
The District has worked diligently over the last several months to develop a Health and Safety Plan for the safe reopening of schools as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). In addition to the Pandemic Team identified in the Plan, the District sought the feedback of numerous key stakeholder groups, including local physicians; legal counsel; District nurses; teachers; food services, maintenance and custodial staff; building and department administrators; and survey and email feedback from students, staff, and parents.

While it may be necessary to revise the Plan as conditions evolve over the coming months, last night (August 20, 2020), the Board of School Directors approved a District Health and Safety Plan for the 2020-2021 school year.
 
The plan, and presentations made to the Board throughout the development process, can be found on the District website.
Additionally, we have developed an infographic which gives a visual overview of the safety precautions in place for in person instruction.
If, after viewing our plan, you have questions to share, please submit them by using the Contact Form (select School Reopening/Health & Safety Plan as your topic) on our website or reach out to your building principal. 
 
Thank you and best wishes for the 2020-2021 school year.
August 14, 2020
 
With the start of the 2020-2021 school year quickly approaching, we wanted to provide answers to a few of the questions your family may be asking at this time.

Is there any chance the District will change its plans for the start of school?
No. As shared on July 16, all students will start the school year on Tuesday, August 25, with Distance Learning 2.0. Our plan to start this school year with students learning from home and a Phased School Reopening has not changed.

Has a Health and Safety Plan been adopted or a decision been made to continue Distance Learning 2.0 in Phase 2?
During last night’s Board meeting, a draft of the Health and Safety Plan was presented to the Board and the community. The Board is scheduled to vote on an updated draft of our Plan at its meeting next Thursday, August 20.

During the presentation, we also shared that we are exploring the option to continue Distance Learning 2.0 after students and staff begin to return for in person instruction. Thank you to all who participated in our August survey and indicated your interest in this approach.

Parents who did not join us online for the Board meeting are strongly encouraged to view the Health and Safety Plan information posted on our Return to School website. There you will find the presentations made to the Board, links to the Board meetings where detailed explanations are provided about our Phased School Reopening Plans, and a copy of our Draft Health and Safety Plan.
Will there be Learning Plans like we received in the spring?
Yes. Our intent is to mirror, as much as possible, the school day. K-5 teachers will post learning plans for the week by 7 p.m. on Sunday in Seesaw. Grade 6-12 teachers will populate their Schoology Calendar with weekly assignments by Sunday at 7 p.m. Please contact your child’s teacher(s) if you need additional support.

How will attendance be taken during Distance Learning 2.0?
Attendance will be taken during period/mod 1 for secondary or during the morning meeting for elementary. Students should be present on screen and dressed for school during Zoom meetings with their teachers.

If a parent believes they have extenuating circumstances that prohibit their child from meeting daily attendance expectations, they must contact their building principal by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 19. Principals will schedule a Zoom meeting with you and a team of educators (principal, counselor, teacher, etc.) to discuss your unique situation. Email addresses for each principal can be found on the District website on the Contact Us page.

Do I need to report absences during Distance Learning 2.0?
Yes. We will follow regular attendance procedures and policies during Distance Learning 2.0. Parents should notify the school if their child will miss school for doctors’ appointments, educational trips, etc.  In instances when your family may be traveling, if your child is still able to attend Zoom meetings and complete their work for the day, an educational trip request is not needed. Schools will be providing additional information on ways to submit doctor notes and excuses electronically while we are in Distance Learning 2.0.

Do I need to pick-up a device if my child has their own device at home?
Yes. The District is only able to share educational software with District owned iPads and Chromebooks. For this reason, it is very important all students have and use a District device.

Device distribution will be taking place August 17 and August 18 along with materials and textbook distribution. An email from your principal with specific times was sent on August 7. If you did not receive the email or need to make alternate arrangements, please contact your child’s school.

How will my student log in to Schoology, Seesaw, and Zoom?
Quick Start Guides have been developed to assist students in signing on to their computer and platform (i.e., Schoology for Grades 6-12 or Seesaw in Grades K-5). These guides will be given out at device distribution and are available on the Student Devices and Technology Support website along with directions on how to request technology support for your student’s device if it is needed. Additionally, we have developed a digital Schoology Boot Camp for students in Grade 6 or others who are new to the platform. We recommend all students test their log in to Schoology/Seesaw on Monday, August 24.

For students attending Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School (CPAVTS), has a decision been made about their schedule?
Yes. Students enrolled at CPAVTS will return for their morning only classes at Vo-Tech beginning August 26. Cedar Cliff students will attend A days (Monday and Wednesday) and Red Land students will attend B days (Tuesday and Thursday). Transportation for vo-tech students will be provided to and from each student’s home. Vo-tech students and families will receive additional details about transportation, bus pick up times, etc. next week.

Can CPAVTS students use their West Shore School District issued Chromebook to complete their vo-tech assignments?
Yes. District issued Chromebooks can be used. Please click here for a video to show how to add the second account. Students who need additional assistance should complete our Student Device Issues Form.

Can you provide assistance with internet for my child’s device?
Below you’ll find a list of free or low-cost Internet and WiFi access options that are currently available. 
  • Internet Essentials through Comcast
    For information call 1-855-846-8376 or visit their website.
  • Everyoneon.org
    For a listing of providers by zip code, please visit their website.
  • District Hot Spots
    The District does have a limited supply of hot spots available for low-income families who do not qualify for free internet through another provider. These hot spots are limited and are intended to help those families who will not have internet access otherwise. Please email Mr. Vogelsong for information at [email protected].

Will you continue to provide Grab-and-Go Bagged Meals?
Yes. We are pleased to continue to offer meals through August 31.  Beginning September 1, the National School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs will have new rules for us to follow. Additional details to come as we adjust our program to meet changes in regulations.

On behalf of the entire administrative team, thank you for your patience and support. Please continue to share your feedback and ask questions via email or by using the Contact Us page on the District website.

Sincerely,

Todd B. Stoltz, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Jamie A. Whye, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent
July 31, 2020
I hope you are enjoying summer break and finding some time to relax. As we approach the start of the school year, I know there continues to be a great deal of uncertainty not only around safely reopening our schools, but many other aspects of our daily lives.

In my time as superintendent, I hope you have come to know that I have your best interest in mind, and when making big decisions that will have a big impact on District students, staff, or families, I tend to take more time in that process. That is especially true when the health and safety of students and staff are at stake. I also hope you have come to know; just how much I appreciate your patience and the confidence you have afforded me in that regard.

The plan Dr. Whye and I shared on July 16th and the work since then has been challenging.  It seems just as things appear to be moving in one direction, they can turn on a dime. However, this message is not meant to explain what I think we all realize is happening, but rather to update you as best I can at this time.

Since we released our Phased Reopening Plan, most people, staff and parents, that is, are interested in what Distance Learning 2.0 will look like and what it means for them. Dr. Whye and a team of teacher representatives met yesterday to further define the evolution of Distance Learning, and more importantly, how it will differ from the spring. Mrs. Fourhman has created a designated page on our website with a wealth of information, which contains critical information for everyone in planning for the school year. You can easily access this page from the header of the District website.

After reviewing this information, I am requesting your help in planning for our reopening. On the website you will find a link to a Return to School Survey. Please use this survey to share your intention for the start of the school year, whether that be to utilize Distance Learning 2.0, CAOLA, or another option. The survey will also give those interested in continuing Distance Learning beyond Phase 1 the opportunity to share that with us. I kindly ask for your participation in this survey by Sunday, August 9.

As I, and the administrative team, work toward the goal of reopening schools as quickly and as safely as possible and continue to refine the District’s plans for Phases 2 and 3, we will be providing more frequent updates to you, the Board, and our school community.

Thank you for your time today, and be well.

Todd B. Stoltz, Ed.D.
Superintendent
July 17, 2020
 
When we began the development of our Health and Safety Plan, there was a trend moving toward green status across the state and restrictions being lifted. In the last two weeks, we have received a universal masking Order, recommended quarantines following travel to approximately 20 states, and limitation on group sizes.  Additionally, at 2:44 p.m. yesterday, July 16, we received updated guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 

Given these and other factors, at last night's Board Meeting, Dr. Stoltz and Dr. Whye shared the District's plans to start the 2020-2021 school year on Tuesday, August 25 with Distance Learning 2.0 and transition to in person instruction through three phases.

2020-2021 School Year - Phased Reopening Plan  

Phase 1: From August 25 to September 18, all students will engage in Distance Learning 2.0. On September 10, a recommendation will be made to either remain in phase 1 or transition to phase 2 on September 21, 2020. 

Phase 2: A segment of the student population will return to the building for in person instruction with priority given to elementary and high needs special education students. Throughout Phase 2, additional students and staff will return to school for in person instruction. Based on feedback received, we are exploring the option of continuing Distance Learning 2.0 during Phase 2.

Phase 3: Total reopening as outlined in accordance with state, federal, and health agencies.  Specific details will be shared in a revised District Health and Safety Plan prior to the start of Phase 3.

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