Response to COVID-19 by the Glens Falls school community

May 29 Parent Update: Last day of instruction is June 17; graduation recognition activities planned

Monday is June 1st, so we know we are in the final stretch of the school year. Based on Governor Cuomo’s executive order regarding schools meeting the requirement for 180 instructional days, the last day of school for students and staff will be Wednesday, June 17th. We plan to finish up meal delivery that week as well, with Tuesday, June 16th being the final meal delivery date for the month of June. There are still some questions regarding summer meals and summer childcare, as we have not been given any details from Albany. We will let you know about these items as soon as we have any updates.

There have been some questions regarding the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. Currently, there are a number of special recognition activities that have been put in place to honor and celebrate our graduating seniors. An individual diploma ceremony and a virtual ceremony are both being developed in lieu of our traditional June graduation. We are working under the guidelines from the Governor regarding school closures and the restriction on non-essential gatherings of more than ten individuals. We also take our guidance from the state and local Departments of Health. The Superintendent is in constant contact with both DOH and they are not recommending large gatherings.

That being said, we expect to hear something from the Governor’s office soon, seeing that both Massachusetts and New Jersey have made announcements allowing ceremonies in July. If that occurs, we will make appropriate changes. We would much prefer an in-person graduation ceremony for our students, as we have always been able to provide in the past, with some modifications for social distancing and the requirement of masks.

Mrs. Silvernell will be providing information to senior students and families next week, detailing the current celebratory plans that we have in place. As soon as we have any new guidance from Albany, we will provide that information to the students, parents, and staff as well.

For the next few weeks, we look forward to celebrating a strong finish to the academic year for every student in GF Nation. We sincerely appreciate your support and perseverance as we finish out this extraordinary school year.

April 16 Parent Update: School closure extended to May 15; Staying mentally and physically healthy

Today, Governor Cuomo extended “NYS on PAUSE,” which means that all schools and grounds will remain closed through May 15th. Please continue to stay home, stop the spread, and save lives. This is a huge challenge for all of us, yet health officials continue to emphasize that staying home is what has flattened the curve of infection. The more we stay home now, the sooner we’ll all be together again.

Superintendent Paul Jenkins talked about meeting this challenge in a message to staff today: “Every one of us has been juggling the major changes to our personal and professional life with grace, dignity, and compassion.  Just look at the things happening across the District each day.  We have our tech team donating face shields they fabricated on 3D printers, we had a teacher leaving positive sidewalk chalk messages outside of students’ homes, a teacher being nominated for teacher of the week in the craziest time in education we have ever seen, administrators … teachers … support staff … cafeteria staff … bus drivers … custodians … all adapting from meal pick up to meal delivery in less than a week, and all while trying to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Staying mentally and physically healthy

It is hard to stay mentally and physically healthy when the finish line for this pandemic keeps shifting farther into the future. Dr. Gerard Florio, Clinical Health Psychologist at Glens Falls Hospital and GF Nation parent, suggests shifting our mindset as the situation continues to change. “Shift toward seeing the best,” Dr. Florio says. “Notice your inner and outer speech and try to see things more positively:

Are you “stuck at home” with your kids . . . . or do you have an opportunity to connect with family and keep the community safe while you work from home?

Are you “stuck at work,” . . . . or are you helping to keep the community running by staffing hospitals, grocery stores and other important functions despite the risks?

Are selfish people hoarding things . . . . or are frightened people trying to make sure their families have enough?

Are government officials doing too much/not enough/stupid things . . . . or are they doing the best they can with constantly changing information about an unexpected, unprecedented threat?

Should those people know better than to go out . . . . or are there millions of individuals who are helping each other by staying home to slow the spread of the virus?

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s going wrong. Instead, try to consciously shift toward helpfulness.” Dr. Florio has more in 6 Tips for Overcoming Coping Fatigue, which is attached to this message for your convenience.

To help keep you physically healthy, NY State of Health provides a health insurance safety net in difficult times like these. If you are at risk of losing your health insurance coverage as a result of job loss or business closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for health coverage with financial assistance. You can apply now through NY State of Health. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, you may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus, or subsidized Qualified Health Plan coverage. More information is in this letter.

Please reach out to our team of school psychologists and social workers if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help supporting your child through this time.

April 8 Curriculum Update: Regents exams/course requirements; K-12 remote learning experiences

On behalf of Glens Falls City Schools, we hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy. We want to update you regarding some very important announcements by the New York State Education Department, and clarify district guidelines for K-12 remote learning experiences. Please be sure to read this letter to the end.

First, Governor Cuomo has extended the statewide school closure through April 29th. Remote learning, meal service, and essential childcare are ordered to continue through the April break, and for the duration of the closure.

Second, all 2019-2020 June Regents exams have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, who during the June 2020 examination period would have taken one or more Regents examinations, will be exempted from passing the assessments in order to be issued a diploma. To qualify for the exemption, students must meet one of the following eligibility requirements below:

  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and will have earned credit in such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year; or
  • The student is in grade 7, is enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and will have passed such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year; or
  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and has failed to earn credit by the end of the school year. Such student returns for summer instruction to make up the failed course and earn the course credit and is subsequently granted diploma credit in August 2020; or
  • The student was previously enrolled in the course of study leading to an applicable Regents examination, has achieved course credit, and has not yet passed the associated Regents examination but intended to take the test in June 2020 to achieve a passing score.

Because of this announcement and guidance, it is extremely important for parents, guardians, and students to understand the importance of participating in the remote learning experiences being provided by Glens Falls City School District teachers. These remote learning experiences will now provide the basis for grade advancement and graduation. Participation in these remote learning experiences cannot be over-emphasized. At this time, Glens Falls teachers report that less than 50% of students are participating in the remote learning experiences being offered. Please understand that the New York State Education Department guidance now makes remote learning a key requirement for grade advancement and graduation, and it is critical that students participate. If you have obstacles that prevent your child from participating in the remote learning experiences being provided, please contact the Principal of your child’s school as soon as possible.   

Third, to reduce the number of days and time that students and parents receive communication from teachers, Glens Falls teachers have been asked to limit their presentation of new material to students on the following days:

K-8 remote learning communication schedule grid

We have also asked faculty to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All teachers in grades K-12 should be using Google Classroom to interact with students and present information. These interactions may be live Google Meet sessions or pre-recorded videos.
  • Students (on average) are expected to spend no more than 2 hours per subject each week. This includes watching instructional videos, participating in class chats/hangouts and completing assigned work.
  • HS Principal has discretion with Honors/ECHS/AP/SUPA courses so that we adhere to the requirements for students to receive credit as it is made available for these programs.
  • Assignments must be able to be completed with limited resources and should not require resources that need to be purchased or obtained outside the home.
  • Please refrain from assigning homework over the weekends.
  • Students may reach out to teachers as needed during the week for support.
  • All students should be encouraged to read for 15 minutes each day.

Here is a summary of how Glens Falls grading practices will be approached in the context of school closure and remote learning. Our goal is to provide students with continued opportunities to show their understanding and mastery of standards and curriculum that teachers have been covering both remotely and in class throughout the 19/20 school year.  

Please know that we understand many families are experiencing hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a district, we do not want to add to the stress families may be experiencing. The purpose of this communication is to make clear how critical student participation is during this remote learning time. Together, GF Nation will get through this extraordinary time.

April 8 Food Service Update: GFSD Meal service switching to DELIVERY as of Friday, April 17

We have an important update to our food service program as the COVID-19 school closure continues on. As of FRIDAY, APRIL 17, Glens Falls City School District will be delivering meals to GF Nation students!

Meal delivery will REPLACE the Grab-and-Go meal pickup at our schools.

Meals will be delivered on TUESDAYS and FRIDAYS between 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. as long as the school closure lasts. Somebody needs to be home to accept your child’s package of meals, because some items will be frozen/refrigerated. We cannot leave meals at your door.

Meal packages will consist of 6-8 breakfast/lunch combos to get your child through the entire week. You can expect a variety of breakfast cereals, muffins, bagel w/cheese, fresh fruit, deli sandwiches, side salads, juices, and more. A carton of milk is also offered with every meal.

Some meals will include frozen items for you to heat and eat, like taco meat or breaded chicken strips. We will provide directions with those meals.

These meals continue to be FREE for all Glens Falls students in grades Pre-K through 12!

We need to know whether or not your family would like meals delivered by Tuesday, April 14. Please look for an email survey coming to your inbox later today. This meal delivery response form is specific to your family, and only takes a minute to fill out.

Remember, delivery will not begin until Friday, April 17 … so be sure you continue to pick up your child’s meals at a Grab-and-Go location on Monday, April 13, and Wednesday, April 15.

If you need any help signing up for meal delivery, or have any questions, please email GFcommunications@gfsd.org. 

April 3 Parent Update: Must-see videos for your weekend at home; Maintaining parents’ mental health

Even though we are all staying separated for the good of the whole, we can still connect digitally to share a smile, get a little exercise, make music, or wave hello to a favorite teacher. Watch this collection of videos with your kids this weekend, as we all stay home, stop the spread, and save lives.

Dom’s Duet – Clapping Music (GFHS)
Dom and Mr. B play Steve Reich’s 1972 composition, Clapping Music. Watch to the end, you won’t be disappointed!

Coach May’s Driveway Obstacle Course (JH)
Recreate Coach May’s obstacle course on your own driveway or sidewalk .. and don’t forget the compliment station!

Mrs. Raymond’s “All in This Together” TikTok (GFMS)
Clap your hands for Mrs. Raymond’s first-ever TikTok!! We’re all in this together, GF Nation 🙂

GF Nation saying Hi! (GFHS)
High School faculty and staff say hello to students with their pets, jokes, and footage from the Homecoming Games!

Hello from Jackson Heights!
Teachers and staff members from Jackson Heights give a shout-out to Action Jacksons!

Coach Crossman’s Morning Movers video series:
Baseball-Softball Exercise and Football exercise (GFMS)
Middle School students + families can join Coach Crossman on his Google Classroom page daily for a 10-minute “Morning Movers” exercise routine. Each session begins at 8:30 AM. Start your morning off with a hit and feel accomplished for the rest of the day. The baseball-softball video has a SPECIAL guest outside the window! 🙂

Sax Quartet – Every Thing Must Go (GFHS)
It’s a gorgeous piece of music by Martin Bresnick. From self-isolation, a quartet is born! Mr. B plus Erin on Alto Sax, Peyton on Tenor Sax, and Sean on Bari Sax.

A note for parents on mental health

This is a really challenging time for us. Family psychologist Dr. Emily King writes, “Parents: What we are being asked to do is not humanly possible. There is a reason we are either a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or a part-time working parent. Working, parenting, and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time. It’s not hard because you’re doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much. Do the best you can.”

“Keep in mind that this quarantine period is about surviving,” echoes Erin Belanger from Samaritan Counseling Center. “Keep these two words in mind at all times: Good Enough!” Breathe in, breathe out, and read more here.

Please be sure to connect with a member of our student support team if you or your child feels overwhelmed. We are all in this together, and our compassionate staff members are here to help.

Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

composite photo of GFSD administrators and their dogs wearing blue and smiling

GFSD leadership team members went blue from home yesterday, in support of World Autism Awareness Day!! We support not only our students, but our dedicated faculty and staff members who provide a great education for our kids on the spectrum every day. Our teachers, assistants, aides, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, and other team members are helping students meet “the challenge … to reach one’s personal best while respecting each person’s individuality,” as it says in our mission statement. They deserve our thanks for their determination to help each child learn!

Please take advantage of Grab-and-Go meals!

As a reminder, Grab-and-Go meals are available for pickup on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the High School, Big Cross, Kensington, and Jackson Heights. Every Pre-K through 12th grade student will get four meals on Monday and Wednesday (lunch/breakfast for two days), and six meals on Friday (lunch/breakfast for three days).

March 30 Parent Update: School budget vote/BOE elections moved to June 1 or later; Superintendent Jenkins’ in-depth interview with LOOK-TV

Today, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order that postpones the May 19 school budget vote and Board of Education elections to June 1 or later. Our GFSD Board of Education will continue to comply with the open meetings law AND safe social-distancing practices by dialing into a virtual meeting on April 6th via Google Meet. The link for public participation will be posted on the district website shortly.

Superintendent Paul Jenkins recently spoke with J. Hood Jackson of LOOK-TV to talk about:

  • What learning looks like as the COVID-19 shutdown continues further
  • Child care for essential workers being provided by BOCES at Sanford Street School
  • Serving hundreds of Grab-and-Go lunch and breakfast meals each day, for every Glens Falls student

Watch the full interview here:

As a reminder, Grab-and-Go meals are now available for pickup on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the High School, Big Cross, Kensington, and Jackson Heights. Every student will get four meals on Monday and Wednesday (lunch/breakfast for two days), and six meals on Friday (lunch/breakfast for three days).

Please continue to stay home, stop the spread, and save lives. As the weather improves and we move outside for solitary exercise and fresh air, the Warren Co. Health Department has asked us to remind children not to meet up in groups. The more we separate now, the sooner we can all be together again.

By working together, school staff and families can keep our school community healthy and safe. The district is committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness. Please refer to the district web page devoted to COVID-19 updates and information.

photo of graham crackers, cocoa puffs and apples with text: Meal PICKUP NOW MON-WED-FRI

March 27 Parent Update: School closure extended to April 15th; Meal pickup now Monday-Wednesday-Friday

Today, Governor Cuomo extended the statewide school closure to April 15th. Glens Falls City Schools will continue providing meals and online learning resources throughout the length of this closure.

The district leadership team fully understands — as parents ourselves — that learning at home is a big challenge, and is causing families stress. We are having conversations with faculty members on how to streamline communications and schedule work in more manageable bits for students. We’ll update you soon on this effort.

Grab-and-Go meals will be shifting to a Monday – Wednesday – Friday pickup, as of next week. Every student will get four meals on Monday and Wednesday (lunch/breakfast for two days), and six meals on Friday (lunch/breakfast for three days).

If your family needs additional help of any kind, please reach out to our student support team members. The Salvation Army is also stepping up to provide many support services. Call and leave a message at 518-792-1960 and someone will return your call. (See flier attached)

All GFHS Juniors got an email update on the Junior Prom today. The prom has moved to November 14, 2020 at the Hiland. Please check your junior child’s email for additional details.

Please continue to stay home, stop the spread, and save lives. As the weather improves and we move outside for solitary exercise and fresh air, the Warren Co. Health Department has asked us to remind children not to meet up in groups. The more we separate now, the sooner we can all be together again.

Finally, did you wear your red and black gear today? Every Friday is now a VIRTUAL Red+Black-Out as we celebrate GF Nation Day from home in our best spirit gear! Superintendent Paul Jenkins’ therapy dog Finn started us off today by wearing his Glens Falls red at home. Feel free to share your best GF Nation attire with us on Facebook or Twitter.

photo of Finn the dog and text GF nation Day - every Friday wear your red and black

March 24 Parent Update: Settling into a learning routine at home; Helping children work through stress

Governor Cuomo continues to urge all New Yorkers to stay home, going outside only for solitary exercise, or to meet immediate needs (getting food, medicine, seeing a doctor, etc.). Experts agree that the only way to beat COVID-19 … and we WILL beat it! … is for all of us to stay separated for a while.

Settling into a new routine at home, and shifting into the role of educator-parent can be challenging for adults and our kids. Remember that we are all in this together, and we need to take it one day at a time. It may sound simple, but taking a few deep breaths during the day can greatly help calm our nerves and reset the atmosphere at home. School Social Worker Deidre Grieve has a great exercise for younger students (and even adults!) to help manage feelings of anxiety. Watch this video and follow Big Cross principal Ms. Hall as her safari hunt leads her into a conversation about handling big emotions.

Community resources for learning and thriving

Adding these two elements to your new daily routine can go a long way in keeping families happier and healthier during this time:

  • Each morning, check the GFSD Community Resources Page with your child, and choose a learning activity to complete. You could take a virtual field trip to Yellowstone National Park, check out an eBook or audiobook, or connect directly with one of your child’s teachers.
  • Each weekday, take a walk to the High School, Big Cross, Jackson Heights, or Kensington between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to get your child’s lunch and breakfast for the next day. It’s a very quick pickup, and meals are free to ALL Glens Falls students. Please bring a reusable grocery bag to carry your lunch and breakfast bags home. The fresh air, a bit of exercise, and tasty meals can help both brains and bodies.

We are still #GFNationStrong, even though our roaring bleachers have become quiet nights sitting on the couch. Know that all of our efforts to stay home, stop the spread, and save lives are very important to our school community.

March 23 Parent Update: Social-Emotional support page launched; NO community access to athletic fields

Our Psychology and Social Work staff has put together new resources for students and families as we each do our part to “Stay Home, Stop the Spread, Save Lives” from COVID-19. This website has great resources for social emotional learning and stress management — whether your child is elementary-level, or MS/HS. It also has links to local community mental health and service organizations. Please reach out to one of our psychologists or social workers if you need help! The GFSD team is also now on Instagram @GFSDfamilyresources.

Athletic fields and playgrounds remain closed

Please remind your children that ALL athletic fields, playgrounds, and school yards are closed to all community members. This means students should NOT be playing pick-up games on the fields, track, or courts at any time. No one should be on any school district playgrounds or athletic fields at any building until further notice.

Main offices at each school will be staffed from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays to facilitate grab-and-go meal pickup. If your family has certain needs we can help with, please email or call the main office during those times, as the school buildings are completely closed.

Coordinating childcare for essential workers

If you believe you qualify for child care under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders regarding essential workers (emphasizing health care workers and first responders), please complete and submit this survey so that we and our community childcare partners can be as responsive as possible in assisting our families.

School libraries can help!

During the COVID-19 school closure, school librarians are ready to provide the help you need and activities to engage and inspire learners of all ages. Please visit your school’s library homepage and resources using the links HERE.

Grab-and-Go meals available Monday-Friday

Don’t forget that every weekday, EVERY Glens Falls student can get a lunch/breakfast combo meal from one of our four pickup locations. Walk up to the High School, Big Cross, Jackson Heights, or Kensington between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to get today’s lunch and tomorrow’s breakfast. It’s a very quick pickup. Please bring a reusable grocery bag to carry your lunch and breakfast bags home.

March 20 Parent Update: Weekend meals now available with each Friday grab-and-go pickup

Glens Falls City Schools are now providing weekend meals with every Friday pickup at our grab-and-go locations. That means today’s meal pickup will include three lunches and three breakfasts for every K-12 student, regardless of whether or not a family qualifies for free or reduced meals.

Students or their caregivers can pick up meals at the High School, Big Cross, Jackson Heights, or Kensington between 11:30 AM and 1 PM each weekday as long as the school closure goes on.

Please take advantage of these meals.

March 19 Parent Update: Coordinating childcare for essential health care workers; Grab-and-Go meal pickups

Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring school districts to arrange care for children of essential health care workers and first responders. This survey will assist us in determining the needs within our community so that we and our community childcare partners can be as responsive as possible in assisting our families.

If you identify as a Health Care Worker or First Responder, please complete and submit this survey no later than Monday, March 23rd.  We thank you in advance for your help in gathering this information.

Grab-and-Go meal pickups

Don’t forget that every weekday, EVERY Glens Falls student can get a free lunch/breakfast combo meal from one of our four pickup locations! Walk up to the High School, Big Cross, Jackson Heights, or Kensington between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to get today’s lunch and tomorrow’s breakfast. So far, we’ve served turkey and ham sandwiches, bagel and cheese meals, fresh fruit, green salad with Italian dressing, graham crackers, cereal, chocolate milk, and more!

We highly encourage all of our K-12 students to get meals every day they’re offered, if possible. It’s a very quick pickup. Please bring a reusable grocery bag to carry your lunch and breakfast bags home.

Update: Wednesday, March 18: Calmly guiding our children through news; Make meal pickup part of your routine

With yesterday’s news about Warren County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 (NOT related to the school district), families may be looking for ways to have constructive conversations at home.

We adults have the responsibility to calmly and confidently guide our children through these evolving COVID-19 circumstances. The American Psychological Association suggests that we discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with honest and age-appropriate information. “Parents can also help allay distress by focusing children on routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings during this time. You may want to limit how much media they consume to help keep their anxiety in check.”

Please reach out to our team of school psychologists and social workers if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help supporting your child through this time.

Also be sure to rely only on credible, factual information from trusted sources … not neighborhood rumor or social media from an unofficial source. New York State and the CDC are our go-to agencies for solid updates.

Setting up a routine at home

As your family begins to develop a routine at home, please see the growing assortment of learning resources and activities on our Community Learning Site. If your child has any trouble with their Chromebook itself, please use this form and the S.W.A.T. technical team will get back to you as quickly as possible. If you need help with internet issues, program issues, software questions, or other inquiries, please use this form and a staff member will follow up with you.

Got a middle-schooler at home? Every weekday at 10:15 a.m., join the Google Hangout with Mrs. Moore, Ms. Parker, and Mr. Kocak! Tune in here each morning: meet.google.com/tvq-kcmq-ktk for updates, surprises, and fun!

grab and go meal featuring turkey and cheese sandwich, green salad with drerssing, apple, graham crackers, apple juice, cocoa puffs and chocolate milkMake meal pickup a part of your daily routine! Glens Falls City Schools are providing grab-and-go lunch/breakfast combo meals to ALL K-12 students, regardless of your family’s eligibility for free and reduced lunch. Get a bit of fresh air and walk to one of the meal pickup sites every weekday between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bring a reusable shopping bag if possible, and head to the High School, Big Cross, Jackson Heights, or Kensington. Just today, our combo meals featured turkey or ham/cheese sandwiches, fresh garden salad with dressing, apple juice, chocolate milk, fresh fruit, graham crackers, and Cocoa Puffs for tomorrow morning. Delicious! We encourage every one of our students to take that walk and get these meals.

By working together, school staff and families can keep our school community healthy and safe. The district is committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness. Please refer to the district web page devoted to COVID-19 updates and information, as it is refreshed regularly.

Update: Tuesday, March 17: New order from Governor Cuomo; Continued learning at home

Last night, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that closes all schools state-wide, through Wednesday April 1st. At that time, the state will decide if schools will come back in session or remain closed. We are still missing key details about this executive order, but want to give families as much notice as possible about what it could mean: 

  • On Friday (3/13), the Governor “waived” of the 180-day requirement for schools to be in session. He also gave local superintendents the ability to close schools, based on local factors.
  • On Saturday (3/14), all 31 districts in WSWHE BOCES deliberated intently, and then decided to close schools through April 19th. The closing was in response to state and health officials urging social distancing to “flatten the curve” of a potential spike in infections region-wide.
  • The April 19th date was chosen in part because the initial 180-day waiver requires schools to use any remaining snow days or vacation days to make up for any closure time … meaning that any return to school before April 10th would require school to be in session during April break (4/10-4/17).
  • The Governor’s executive order on Monday (3/16) has now superseded the regional closing decision, and we will await the state’s decision on re-opening or remaining closed on or around April 1st.

Again, we are waiting for guidance on other key details in the order, and we will keep families updated with the best information we have, as we get it.

For now, all school buildings and grounds are closed. No one should be on any school district playgrounds or athletic fields at any building until further notice. Main offices at each school will be staffed from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on weekdays to facilitate meal distribution. If your family has certain needs we can help with, please email or call the main office during those times.

Continued learning at home

Yesterday, our faculty and staff worked on materials and activities to help keep students engaged during the extended school closure. Grade-level and subject-area resources to supplement, review, or practice skills are available to families here: https://sites.google.com/gfsd.org/continued-learning-resources/home

In addition to this webpage, many teachers will likely be emailing parents/students directly using their established Google Classrooms and Teacher Pages. Please check your email regularly and encourage your grade 7-12 child to do the same. Grades K-6 teachers will be using a variety of tools to provide academic activities and opportunities to connect. You will receive a message directly from your child’s teacher(s) on their delivery mode for these resources.

A few key points to note about continued learning during this school closure:

  • The complete educational program that normally occurs in a classroom simply cannot be replicated in full at home, particularly when a closing involves an entire district over a long period of time. However, we are committed to providing a variety of supplemental resources for students’ self-guided learning during the shutdown. 
  • Students’ work during this time period will not be graded, as students do not have the benefit of direct instruction on new material, and may have varying levels of outside adult support with assignments.
  • At this time, the state has suspended ELA testing for grades 3-8, which was scheduled to begin next week. All school districts are still waiting for guidance on grades 3-8 math testing, Advanced Placement exams and credits, seat time and lab requirements for students to be eligible to take the Regents exams, and a host of other questions. As we receive information, we will follow up with families.

We understand that this is a lot of information to digest, and that many families feel unsettled at best about each day’s new developments. Please reach out to your school psychologist, social worker, or counselor if your child needs support.

As Superintendent Jenkins reiterated to staff yesterday morning, we’re all in this together. With your patience, support, and resilience, we can grow stronger as a school community during these unprecedented times.

Update: March 16, 2020: Grab-and-Go meal pickup begins tomorrow

As you can understand, our leadership team is responding to new information nearly every hour, and we’re working to provide clear communication to families and staff. We appreciate your patience as we thoughtfully respond, as quickly as we are able. Please know that we remain committed to provide ongoing and frequent communications with all members of the Glens Falls school community.

Lunch and tomorrow’s breakfast: Grab-and-Go

Beginning tomorrow, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals will be provided during the COVID-19-related shutdown at no cost to ALL of our students, regardless of whether or not a family qualifies for free/reduced meals. We are offering meals to any Kindergarten through 12th grade student registered with the Glens Falls City School District. 

Meal service will begin tomorrow (3/17), and pickup/distribution locations will be the main office vestibule at the High School (for both HS and MS students), Big Cross, Jackson Heights, and Kensington. 

Meal distribution has changed from yesterday’s communication — starting Wednesday, there will now be ONE meal pickup daily, and students will receive lunch and breakfast for the next day in one package. We didn’t want students to miss out on breakfast tomorrow, so the meal pickup schedule is this:

  • Tuesday, 3/17: Breakfast grab-and-go from 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, 3/17: Lunch grab-and-go with Wednesday’s breakfast:  11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 3/18: Lunch grab-and-go with Thursday’s breakfast:  11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, 3/19: Lunch grab-and-go with Friday’s breakfast:  11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Friday, 3/20: Lunch grab-and-go with Monday’s breakfast:  11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The same 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. pickup window will be in effect Monday through Friday for the remaining weeks of the shutdown. Any Glens Falls City School District student may pick up his/her meal from ANY building location. Please note, however, that  students enrolled at Abe Wing (grades K-6) must pick up their meals at Abe Wing. For those Abe Wing residents attending either the MS or HS, they may go to any Glens Falls City School building.

Students can pick up their own meals. Parents and caregivers can pick up meals for multiple students by providing the students’ names to the school staff member at the meal distribution. We are not able to provide meal delivery. Each student is entitled to two meals per day: a breakfast and a lunch. Breakfast meals will generally be cereal, juice, and milk, and lunch meals will generally be a rotation of deli sandwiches and sides.

If your family participates in the weekend backpack program, we are currently making plans to distribute those backpacks during the lunch pickup window on Fridays. More details will be forthcoming. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Update: March 15, 2020: Chromebook pickup, community WiFi availability, grab-and-go meals begin Tuesday

We would like to provide updates to our plan for Monday, March 16.

Student pickup of personal items and Chromebooks

On Monday afternoon, March 16th, students will be allowed to enter the buildings on a limited basis to collect any personal items from their lockers. Students in grades 3-6 will be allowed to take home the Chromebook they use at school for the duration of the closure. In order to maximize social distancing, only students will be allowed inside the buildings to collect their items, and leave quickly. This process should take no more than 10 minutes for each child. Parents and caregivers will be asked to wait outside for the few minutes that students are collecting their belongings. A school staff member will greet your child at the front door and allow them into the building on a staggered schedule. Pickup windows are as follows:

  • Grade 3:  noon-1:30 p.m. to collect personal cubby items and Chromebook/charger
  • Grade 4:  1:30-3 p.m. to collect personal cubby items and Chromebook/charger
  • Grade 5:  noon-1 p.m. to collect personal locker items and Chromebook/charger
  • Grade 6:  1-2 p.m. to collect personal locker items and Chromebook/charger
  • Grades 7-8:  2-3 p.m. to collect personal locker items
  • Grades 9-12: Any time between noon-3 p.m. to collect personal locker items
  • Grades K-1-2: Any time between noon-3 p.m. to collect personal cubby items (boots)

Students MUST bring their Chromebook and charging cord back to school with them on Monday, April 20th. Teachers and the district will provide additional communications with families on the supplemental learning and review materials that students and caregivers can use at home. Families should expect to receive more information about staying connected during the closure early this week.

Students whose Chromebooks are currently in for repair can get a loaner device with charger. If your child currently has a device checked out, they can come in to loan a charger for the device. Chromebooks in for repair will continue to be repaired and students/families will be contacted as those device repairs are completed.

Internet and WiFi availability

Spectrum announced Friday it will offer free high-speed internet service and Wi-Fi for 60 days to households with students. Families can call (844) 488-8395 to enroll. Installation fees will be waived for new student households, the company said. Spectrum said regular pricing will take effect at the end of the 60-day period if a customer doesn’t cancel or change the service.

Breakfast and Lunch: Grab-and-Go

Grab-and-Go breakfast and lunch meals will be provided during the COVID-19-related shutdown at no cost to ALL students. Meal service will begin on Tuesday, March 17th. The pickup/distribution locations will be the main office vestibule at the High School (for both HS and MS students), Big Cross, Jackson Heights, and Kensington. Meal distribution times will be at each above location, as follows:

  • Lunch and breakfast for the next day:  11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Students can pick up their own meals. Parents and caregivers can pick up meals for multiple students by providing the students’ names to the school staff member at the meal distribution. We are not able to provide meal delivery. Each student is entitled to two meals per day: a breakfast and a lunch. Breakfast meals will generally be cereal, juice, and milk, and lunch meals will generally be a rotation of deli sandwiches and sides.

If your family participates in the weekend backpack program, we are currently making plans to distribute those backpacks during the lunch pickup window on Fridays. More details will be forthcoming.

Continuing communication

As you can understand, leaders are responding to new information nearly every hour, and are working to provide clear communication to families and staff. We appreciate your patience as we thoughtfully respond, as quickly as we are able. Please know that we remain committed to provide ongoing and frequent communications with all members of the Glens Falls school community.

Thank you for your support as we come together as one GF Nation.

Update: March 14, 2020: All GFSD schools closed until April 20; Being responsive rather than reactionary

Yesterday, the New York State Health Department and Governor Cuomo released new information for K-12 schools in light of the coronavirus pandemic, most specifically, the waiving of the 180-day requirement for schools to be in session. Health officials also spoke of increasing precautions and social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID-19, and hopefully prevent a dramatic spike in infections. 

In a carefully measured response, Glens Falls City Schools will be closed for five weeks,  March 16th through April 19th, as health officials and the district leadership team continue to monitor this evolving situation. This means that all classes, extra-curricular activities, sports practices/competitions, and events will be canceled through the end of April break. To be clear, Glens Falls City School District still does NOT have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school community. These measures are being taken in an effort to “flatten the curve” of a potential spike in infections region-wide.

On Monday afternoon, March 16th, students will be allowed to enter the buildings on a limited basis to collect any personal items from their lockers, and to pick up school books and Chromebooks. We intend to allow students in grades 3-6 to take home the Chromebook they use at school for the duration of the closure. Specific details on distribution will be shared with families on a building-by-building basis.

We will be offering breakfast and lunch meals to ALL students during the closure, and will follow up with details on continued meal distribution.

Faculty and staff members will be meeting at school on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 + 17 to discuss plans for supplemental learning and review materials that students and caregivers can use at home. Families should expect to receive more information about staying connected during the closure early next week.

It is important to note that there are practical limits to any type of remote learning. The complete educational program that normally occurs in a classroom simply cannot be replicated in full at home, particularly when a closing involves an entire district over a long period of time. However, we are committed to providing a variety of supplemental resources for students’ self-guided learning at home. 

We encourage parents, guardians, and caregivers to support children’s learning at home during the closure, and direct you to the following pages on the district website for resources: https://sites.google.com/gfsd.org/continued-learning-resources/home. Individual teachers may communicate with students and families to suggest optional activities to keep brains and bodies moving.

We are all members of the GF Nation school community, and our mission compels us all to “model the behaviors” of being responsive rather than reactionary during this unusual time. The district leadership team is making its best effort to be responsive by:

  • Carefully considering the health and safety impacts of holding classes or closing as each affects students, staff, and families. In many ways, our classrooms and buildings are some of the cleanest spaces for students to be during this time, thanks to the exceptional around-the-clock efforts of our custodial staff to disinfect our schools. In many cases, children would need to be watched by grandparents—the very population these closures and cancellations are meant to protect.
  • Intently deliberating over the effect on our students and families of losing daily breakfast and meal service in school, and planning multiple possible options to continue providing food during a school shutdown;
  • Weighing the drawbacks of a prolonged interruption in our educational program, which could affect students’ college or career plans, or their growth and mastery of core subjects. During any closure, our students with special needs or whole-child supports experience a major disruption in their programming.

As parents and guardians, we must be responsive rather than reactionary by calmly and confidently guiding our children through these evolving COVID-19 circumstances. We recognize that this news will be concerning to many of our students and families. Adults can be responsive to these concerns by doing the following:

  • Remain calm and reassuring when talking with your children about the global situation and our local responses. Please read the tips from school psychologists and nurses here.
  • Connect with other parents and caregivers in your neighborhood to think about ways to support one another. How can a neighborhood or friendship group use a rotation schedule to provide supervision for children? Is there a knowledgeable neighbor who can help trouble-shoot technology issues that may come up during the school closure? 
  • Commit to only sharing credible, accurate, and relevant information in conversations, on social media, and in your community. Respect that the situation is changing rapidly, and adults are making decisions based on the best information they have available at the time. Your concerns and precautions may be different than those in your circles. Do not add to fear or stress with unhelpful comments. Instead, rely on the CDC and New York State DOH updates for factual information.

State officials continue to emphasize that the general risk to the public is low. The CDC also recommends that older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. If you or one of your family members tests positive for COVID-19 during the closure, please contact the district office.

The state Department of Health has a coronavirus hotline. You can call the hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.

It continues to be the district’s highest priority to keep students and staff healthy and safe, and we are committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Update: March 12, 2020: Weekend building closures district-wide

As the district works to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our school community, please be advised that Glens Falls City School buildings will now be closed to all individuals and groups on weekends, until further notice. These Saturday and Sunday building closures begin as of Saturday, March 14th, and will allow multiple measures to take place:

  • Limiting the number of non-school individuals (people other than current students, faculty, and staff) who use our schools also limits the possible introduction of new germs into our schools by outside community members.
  • Our custodial and maintenance staff will now be able to complete even more comprehensive cleaning of all facilities on the weekends. The district is increasing custodial staffing levels at the HS/MS complex, and providing overtime pay for our dedicated and hard-working cleaners.

We celebrate that our schools are hubs for community gatherings, and we look forward to providing these high-quality spaces to the public once again after this public health situation has passed. Until then, we are compelled to take these necessary steps to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and visitors.

The weekend building closures affect community use of our pool, buildings, and classrooms. Spring sports practices will be allowed to continue if they are outside, and do not access the school buildings or locker rooms. Outside groups are being notified so they can make alternate arrangements at their discretion. School-sponsored weekend events are being canceled or postponed. Please check the district calendar on www.gfsd.org for updates on event rescheduling. 

Details on some specific events of interest are as follows:

  • March 14: GFHS Girls Day: postponed
  • March 20 + 21: GFHS Theatre Ensemble production of “Just Another High School Play:” Friday night performance will be held with only family members of the cast in the audience. Production will be live-streamed on the District’s Facebook feed.
  • March 21 + 23: HOPE Boutique: cancelled
  • March 27-29: Bart Girard Basketball Tournament: postponed
  • March 29: Shamrock Shuffle: event STILL ON, but modified to avoid using indoor space
  • April 4: Big Cross PTA Craft Fair: cancelled

By working together, we can keep our school community healthy and safe. The district is committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.  

Update: March 11, 2020: Mental health and factual resources caregivers can use with children

As a reminder to parents and guardians of students in grades K-4, this Friday is a previously planned half-day of school for elementary parent-teacher conferences.

Families may be looking for resources to support conversations at home around the Coronavirus pandemic. We adults have the responsibility to calmly and confidently guide our children through these evolving COVID-19 circumstances.

School psychologists and nurses suggest these points to emphasize when talking to children:

  • Adults at home and school are taking care of your health and safety. If you have concerns, please talk to an adult you trust.
  • Not everyone will get the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. In fact, to date there are no confirmed cases in Warren County.  School and health officials are being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick.
  • It is important that all students treat each other with respect and not jump to conclusions about who may or may not have COVID-19.

Extra helpful points are available HERE.

Elementary students may enjoy viewing this fun video about proper hand-washing. Watch it with your child, and then go to the kitchen sink to practice together. 

Middle school students may be interested in this audio story and comic-style explanation put together by NPR News … Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus

You and your middle-level child could also watch and then discuss this 4-minute animated BrianPop video about viruses, how they spread, and what to do if children feel anxious. 

High school students will benefit from having credible, factual information about the virus as it develops. Consider viewing this CDC resource on how to protect yourself and your family, including preparation activities to complete at home.

By working together, school staff and families can keep our school community healthy and safe. The district is committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Update: March 10, 2020: Disinfecting protocols and issues related to closure discussion

Yesterday, the New York State Health and Education Departments released guidance to schools teaching students in grades Pre-K to 12 on how to handle the coronavirus.

The guidance says that if a student or faculty member had a confirmed case of COVID-19, the building would have to close for 24 hours so that it could properly be disinfected. To be clear, Glens Falls City Schools DOES NOT have any CONFIRMED cases of coronavirus among its faculty, staff, or students. Two individuals connected with GFHS/MS are continuing their self-quarantine after coming into contact with the CVS employee who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The guidance states that “the local health department will notify schools if and when a school must close due to COVID-19 and when a school can reopen.”

District leaders are in continuous contact with the Warren Co. Department of Health, which has indicated that pre-emptive school closures are not appropriate at this time. The district and Warren Co. DOH are in ongoing consultation about the cleaning and disinfecting procedures happening every day in each school.

Community members may want to note the additional factors in consideration when discussing a closure: 

  • Continuity of education is disrupted for all students.
  • Breakfast and lunch meals are not served to the nearly 50% of the district’s students who qualify for free or reduced meals – adding to their food insecurity and stress.
  • Critical related services – such as special education and supports for high-need students – are not available when a school is closed.

State officials continue to emphasize that the general risk to the public is low. The CDC recommends that older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

The district will continue its cleaning and disinfecting protocols at all schools, which include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting all hard surfaces in classrooms nightly, paying special attention to desktops, tables, and chairs. Custodians use a Purell spray to mist classroom furniture after manually cleaning it with a disinfectant cleaner and cloths.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting doorknobs, handrails, water fountains, bathroom fixtures, and other “high-touch” areas throughout the day.
  • Cleaning shared Chromebooks and other device keyboards with disinfecting wipes between student usages.

Hand-washing supplies are refilled regularly in every bathroom and classroom with a sink. Hand sanitizer is available in every classroom, library, cafeteria, and office in each building.

More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The New York State Department of Health also has information available on its website, including a coronavirus hotline. You can call the hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.

It continues to be the district’s highest priority to keep students and staff healthy and safe, and we are committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness. 

Update: March 9, 2020: Precautions taken district-wide

screen shot of video preview for WTEN news story March 9, 2020
https://www.news10.com/news/glens-falls-city-school-district-takes-coronavirus-precautions/

 

Update: March 8, 2020: Precautionary self-quarantine

Letter to Parents and Guardians

Good evening,

I have just been informed that one or more individuals connected with the Glens Falls Middle and High School have been placed under quarantine in connection with the Coronavirus. At this time, it is important to state that none of these individuals have been diagnosed with, nor are exhibiting any symptoms of, the virus.

Here are some important details that I would like to share with you at this time.

1. To date, no GF student, parent/guardian, or employee has been diagnosed with, or is exhibiting any symptoms of, the virus.

2. The District has consulted with local officials and has received guidance on appropriate protocols to best protect the safety and health of our students, parents, employees, and community members.

3. The District has taken several precautionary steps to disinfect the school building and buses today in anticipation of students returning to school on Monday.

4. School will be open and run on time tomorrow, Monday, March 9th.

5. If a need to communicate further information arises, the District will do so in an open and expeditious manner.

In closing, I thank you for your cooperation in helping us to educate your children on appropriate and thorough hand washing as well as some “best practices” for staying healthy and safe. Below are some precautionary tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued support of your children and the Glens Falls City School District.

Respectfully,

Paul Jenkins
Superintendent of Schools

 

March 4, 2020: General information for families

Dear Parents and Guardians:

CDC graphic reading Keep calm and wash your hands with Centrers for Disease Control logo

While Glens Falls City School District does not have a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within its school community, the district leadership team is closely monitoring information and recommendations from local, state, and federal officials about this newly-emerged virus.

The district will continue its cleaning and disinfecting protocols at all schools, which are always heightened during cold and flu season. These protocols include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting all hard surfaces in classrooms nightly, paying special attention to desktops, tables, and chairs. Custodians use a Purell spray to mist classroom furniture after manually cleaning it with a disinfectant cleaner and cloths.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting doorknobs, handrails, water fountains, bathroom fixtures, and other “high-touch” areas throughout the day.
  • Cleaning shared Chromebooks and other device keyboards with disinfecting wipes between student usages.

Additionally, classrooms with sinks also have soap and paper towel dispensers, as does every bathroom. Hand-washing supplies are refilled regularly, and hand sanitizer is available in every classroom, library, cafeteria, and office in each building. The district has also ordered ahead to prepare for possible supply shortages of disinfecting products.

We encourage our students, staff, and families to be mindful of key preventive measures, such as the following from the New York State Department of Health:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory illness and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.

For more information, consider consulting these additional resources:

In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.

Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we are committed to further communications about our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Sincerely,

Paul Jenkins

Superintendent