Dear Forest Hills Families:
We are in unprecedented times. Although school is closed for several weeks, these days are not like “snow days” and it is critically important that we understand that this virus is now in our community. Our number one priority must be the health and safety of all in our community. We must slow the advance of this virus which is why it is vitally important to distance ourselves from other people and events. While it is our intent to support families and students with resources and learning opportunities, these things are far behind the focus on health and safety. Consistent with our Guiding Principles, we are making decisions on what is best for students in the areas of caring, trust, collaboration, open communication, inclusiveness, and respect.
While we know there are numerous questions families have, here are important points to know.
- While we are a learning institution, our children’s well-being is critical and this is more important than academic rigor and mandatory assignments. This is a time for us to provide our students with the opportunities to support their continued learning, help families navigate the opportunities and challenges of social distancing, and set aside concerns about grades, GPAs, and test scores. Life over the next weeks will be different for a second-grader, a high school junior, a family with food insecurity, a student with intensive special needs, a household with one or no digital device, or a parent or loved one fighting COVID-19. We must understand that our experiences are different and there is no universal approach to remote learning that will satisfy everyone. Our staff is “all in” for our students. To that end, you will receive regular communication from your student’s school principal and teachers. Principals will also notify you later today of the dates and times for students and families to pick up critical belongings at the school. In an attempt to limit the number of messages we are sending, we are establishing “communication time windows” when you can expect to hear from teachers, principals, and the district as opposed to fielding emails all day long.
- Communications will be forthcoming on various topics. We also are building a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on our district website.
Things we are still determining and/or awaiting guidance on:
- Spring break
- Allocation of district-technological resources to those who need them
- Coordination of essential services, such as food service and other necessities
Finally, this is a time to emphasize the seriousness of this situation with your children while also creating the space for kids to talk about their questions, fears, concerns, and ideas. Here are some resources for parents to help talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak:
- National Association of School Psychologists.
- Talking to Teens and Tweens About CoronaVirus – NYTimes
- Talking to Kids About The Corona Virus – ChildMind
- Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus – NPR
- PBS Videos and Resources
Again, expect to see more information from FHPS in the coming days, including a comprehensive FAQ page on our website. In the meantime, be well, stay close to home, support one another, and know that we will get through this together as a community, state, and nation. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support.
With respect and appreciation,