Earlier today, Governor DeWine physically closed Ohio schools through Friday, May 1. As referenced in the March 20, 2020 letter to families, we expected an extension of the time line and have been preparing for the next phase of distance learning. In fact, our staff have been hard at work refining our distance learning educational plan in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.
- Distance Learning If you have not yet been in contact with your child’s teacher(s) about technology access, please reach out to them and provide the requested information. Also, to help provide support we are opening wireless Internet access to all families within our school district. Watch for additional information about this service later in the week. In advance, we are repurposing the secure student pick up areas at South and West Elementary Schools and the LH High School Stadium press box (weather permitting). At these locations our wireless access points will broadcast an open Internet signal for families that is available 24/7. Additionally and directly following this message is information to establish low-cost Internet access through a variety of area providers.
- Meals for Students Tuesday, March 31 will be our last pick-up with only 2 days of meals. Instead of 2 days, we are moving to 5 days of student meals. As the school closure continues, the 5 day schedule will make it easier and more efficient for families and those preparing the meals. Therefore and as of April 2, student meal pick-up will be every Thursday during the mandated school closure from 4-6 p.m. at Central Middle School and will include 5 breakfast and 5 lunch meals. Also, we are experimenting with an additional pick-up time on March 31 and April 2 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Central Middle School.
All families who opt-in will receive a pick-up card to be displayed in your vehicle when picking up meals. Additionally and due to an update and expanded permission by the USDA, students no longer need to be present as long as the child is enrolled within the Licking Heights Schools. If you have not already done so, please opt-in here to continue to receive meals during this expanded closure: https://forms.gle/fqq9zTShHq83jJ8t5
You may not be aware, but last week we distributed 250 student meals. In comparison, this week our student meal orders total over 400 and it takes a lot of effort to prepare and distribute these meals. As such, I specifically want to acknowledge all those who helped to prepare and distribute student meals, as well as, local businesses and community members who have helped support our efforts. Without these staff, volunteers and donations, we would not be able to distribute the student meals. Furthermore, I want to specifically highlight Mrs. Ginger Parsons, Food Services Supervisor, for her efforts to lead this important process.
In addition to student meals, I continue to acknowledge the truly heroic efforts that are occurring within our community. There are so many positive stories of helping others and I especially want to acknowledge those involved with the instructional programs. There are many staff working behind the scenes to continue the educational program and the quick shift to distance learning. Our teachers, administrators, and families have been adapting to this process, but we all know it is not easy; again, especially with such a quick shift to distance learning due to the global health crisis. Even though it is challenging, we do appreciate all involved to continue the educational process.
Home Internet access
There are several opportunities for families to purchase reduced-cost residential Internet service packages, by qualifying for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the National School Lunch Program, if the cost is an issue. Families must not currently have a plan in place or a past-due balance with the provider.
Your Chromebook is optimally designed to run with a wireless Internet connection. A lack of wireless Internet does not render the Chromebook obsolete or useless, but it is important to understand the limitations of technology. If you do not have Internet access at home you have options.
Though currently closed through April 6, branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Licking County Library provide access to wireless Internet during regular business hours. They also offer homework help centers on most weekdays.