Doing What's Right For Students

March 17, 2020

Hello, Polk Families and Community!  This is an automated message from Superintendent Aaron Greene updating you on COVID19 and our school status.  First, I would ask for your patience and understanding as we deal with this unprecedented situation.  I also want to reassure folks that we will all be working together to serve students in whatever capacity we can.

In tonight’s message I want to briefly address food and schoolwork.  When he closed schools, Governor Cooper charged school districts with meeting the nutritional needs of children as their first priority.  To that end we are setting up food distribution centers at each elementary school in Polk County.  Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18 We will have meals ready for pickup between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm Monday through Friday.  This process will be a drive through distribution where parents or caregivers will drive up, tell the number of children in the household, and receive that number of meals through their window.  Each package will have a lunch meal and breakfast for the next day.  We will also have the usual Friday food bags at the end of each week for those students and families who get them regularly.  We ask that you please go to the elementary school in your community to pick up meals.  Our middle and high schools will not be used as distribution sites.  We may expand this outreach to possibly include alternate times and potential delivery to neighborhoods.  Please visit our www.polkschools.org site for details and updates.

As far as making up missed days no guidance has been given or will be given to us any time soon.  I think the legislature will be forced to waive many of the days, but we can’t say for sure.  Local districts are given flexibility in times like these.  We will likely be able to modify course requirements, promotion and graduation standards, and so on.  I am confident our Board and administration will be ready to err on the side of students and families.     

Regarding sending out school work to students, we are focusing on setting up food distribution and assessing our personnel capabilities as our first priorities this week.  All staff have been sent home through Friday to give us time to set up service structures and get our school sites ready in case we need them for other purposes.  State officials have made it clear that we are not to require anything of students for this two-week timeframe regarding instruction.  I know other districts are rolling out sophisticated online systems and e-learning options.  My estimate is that more than 60% of our Polk students have no internet and lack the ability to access online learning.  Therefore I want our instructional staff to take time and be thoughtful about how we do this.  Please know we will not be sending any required work home for students this week.  If you are looking for things to do with your students you can visit www.polkschools.org/coronavirus where we will continue to post activities and fun lessons for students.  I would also encourage you to spend time with your kids.  Play games, teach them life skills, and get to know them better. 

Finally, we are working on a parent survey to be sent out tomorrow that you will be able to use to submit questions or concerns you have.  We will post the answers on our website as we answer them.  For now, please take care of each other, and thank you for your patience and support.  Goodbye.

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