Updates During Campus Closure/Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
While our campus is closed, the learning continues!
**PLEASE NOTE: Updates to this page will be made as new information emerges. See ADDITIONAL RESOURCES at the bottom of this page for links to the most up-to-date COVID-19 information from reputable sources.**
JGS families should check email regularly for updates from department heads, teachers, and the support team. Messages from Dana, Head of School, will also be posted below, with the most recent communication first.
March 30, 2020
RE: AZ Schools Closing
Good Morning, JGS!
As many of you have already heard, Governor Ducey announced school campuses to remain closed through the remainder of the year. I will be virtually meeting with my team leads within the next few hours and will inform you of our long-term structure for the rest of the year. Obviously, I am heartbroken for our children but will do everything in my power to make sure that our kids feel connected and supported in these unprecedented times. More to come…
Sending HUGE Virtual Hugs (and a few more tears),
March 22, 2020
RE: Virtual Week 2
I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful weekend. I’ve heard that many of us spent a great deal of time outdoors (allergies and all!) just to feel some sense of normalcy in the world.
We have sent a short survey (via email) to help us help your family. Please know that whatever your experience thus far, you are not alone and you are supported! This is challenging, on one level or another, for everyone. The teachers and administrators are talking all day, every day, to make sure that we are “connecting” about (and to) every student. You have a committed team and we want to help you to the very best of our ability.
EF Support for Families:
If you would like some family support, please let me know. I am happy to set up virtual meetings with you and walk you through some tips and tricks for creating and managing your child’s schedule.
I have been reading (a lot!) that it is really important to share pictures of happy moments within our community so that we don’t feel so alone in this experience. I know several parents have asked for this. Additionally, I am on groups where we are sharing things, as a school, with other schools & teachers. It’s been fun because we are gathering and trying new ideas every day. If you have pics that we could post (in accordance with our online/social media policies to protect our kids) of something happy that is happening during your child’s virtual school day, please send our way.
Virtual Hugs to All,
March 20, 2020
RE: AZ Schools Closed Through 4/10/2020
In case you didn’t hear…
Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced, “the extension of school closures through April 10, 2020. Our goal is to get kids safely back in the classroom as soon as possible while providing parents and educators certainty so they can plan and make decisions. We will continue to work together to determine what’s best for Arizona kids and schools in the face of COVID-19.”
Beginning next week, you can expect the workload to increase along with daily scheduled live classes. Thank you again for your support as we navigate our new virtual world.
We hope you have a wonderful weekend,
Dana & Team
March 18, 2020
RE: Day 1: Digital Learning
Today, more than ever, I am so grateful for technology (bet you never thought you’d hear me say that!). 🙂 Seeing and talking to all of the kids today gave us all that needed jolt of joy! Thank you so much for sending such positive feedback on our distance learning rollout! It was so appreciated! As you know, this construct/structure is new to our teachers (& Lower School Students!) and we are all finding our way. Honestly, we are finding it much faster and smoother than I had even anticipated. The teams worked tirelessly putting this together and I couldn’t be more proud of what they all accomplished. Please understand that this is a fluid process and one that will evolve over the next few days/weeks. Several of you have reached out regarding whether or not the 2 weeks is really what we can expect. Given what we know, today, 3/18/2020, my answer is what none of us want – probably not. Whatever is thrown our way, we will rise to the occasion and do well by all of our students and the community!
A couple of housekeeping items:
1) If you need headphones with microphones, we have a few at school that we can give to you. Please let your school director know (Monica, Kris, Sam).
2) Kim and/or Tracie are at the campus most weekdays, but the remainder of us are working from our homes. If you call the school and do not get a live person, please leave a message and it will be returned promptly. Or, view the individual contact lists, provided by your director, for specific phone numbers for each team member.
3) If your family needs (any) items for your home, please let us know.
4) Please know that the Chat Rooms were created to provide a sense of community; they are meant to be a happy, safe, friendly place to share our new lives with one another.
Onto Day 2,
March 17, 2020
RE: Our Community 2.0
Below you will find information from our specials and support teams to help guide us in this journey. Please take the pieces that are important to you.
All JGS students and staff have been invited to an old-school style PRIVATE chatroom in Google Hangouts Chat. This is a place for students and teachers to interact outside of the digital classroom to feel connected. Please feel free to use this space to share thoughts, feelings, pictures, and videos. Remember that students of all ages are invited to join, so we expect everyone to remain mindful of their posts. If you are not mindful or kind, you will be removed from the group. We trust everyone within our community and hope that this tool will allow us to bond over the great things we contribute to the JGS world!
The chatroom can be accessed only while logged in with a JGS email account (check email for specifics). When you access the page for the first time, you should see a notification to join the ‘JGS Student Community’ to start chatting!
Google Hangout “Meets”
Many of our teachers are opting to hold ‘live’ virtual classes using a video conferencing tool called Google Hangout Meets. Again, this is contained to only users with a JGS email account. Teachers will send out specific links for different meeting times, but we encourage you to check the platform out ahead of time to get familiar with the tool. It can be accessed directly through links shared by teachers. Try logging in and starting a meeting – work out any bugs with your video or audio before those classes start!
Executive Function Help with Dana
As we navigate our new secluded world, one positive is that we may have found “time” in our lives to work on those skills we’ve hoped to get to but never had the time. A few suggestions:
1. Create a daily structure and routine NOW. Whatever it looks like, write it down and adhere to it. The experts don’t recommend sleeping in, taking naps, lounging all day in PJ’s. Sorry folks, it’s true! Maintaining a productive structure is important for mental health.
2. Think of some tasks that you can teach now to build lasting routines (it only takes a few weeks of doing it daily to make it happen!).
- Making the bed
- Daily exercise
- Doing his/her own laundry
- Making breakfast/lunch
- Feeding the dog, cat, fish, etc.
- Meditation/mindfulness (10 min/day) – see activity ideas (sent via email)
Whatever your focus is, just remember that consistent routines are key!
KEEPING YOUR KIDS BUSY
Right now, it is important, as a community, that we adhere to the recommendations of people who know more than we do. Social distancing is painful for all of us and even more painful for our kiddos. However, we have to remember that this is necessary and is, hopefully, short-term pain. Barb has provided the attachments regarding talking to your children.
Lower and Middle School families: You’ll notice that we have included “specials” as part of our recommendations in your students’ daily routines. Especially during times like these, we believe it is important to keep our lives well-rounded. Movement and creativity are critical for social and emotional well-being. Our specials teachers are sending some ideas for the kids to do independently and a few of the teachers are offering some virtual classes.
More virtual hugs,
March 16, 2020
RE: Our Community and Distance Learning
Today our team met (virtually or in very small groupings, per social distancing recommendations) to plan for the upcoming weeks. Classes will begin virtually on Wednesday (3/18/20)!
Specific details will be shared over the next few days, but I wanted to take a few moments to extend our objectives as a school community. As you can imagine, much of our morning was spent discussing how we can continue to feel connected while we are all physically separated. We have many ideas to make that happen, but I will leave you with just a few so that you have something to look forward to!
Community-wide private chatrooms to share stories, texts, pictures, videos!
Daily video calls with staff members.
Live virtual classes.
Daily and/or weekly Morning Meetings.
In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to ANY of us for support. We want you and your children to contact us if they have questions or just want to hear our voices. In short, you will feel as connected to us as you would like.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate some major changes. Please understand that many of our teachers are parents, too. We are all working collectively to support each other in discovering our ‘new normal’. What we promise you is that we are doing all that we can to make sure that learning will continue to take place in multiple formats (not all in front of a screen!).
As for getting everyone the necessary supplies and loaner computers, we plan to distribute TOMORROW in a staggered format. IF we have materials for your student, we will text you individually in the morning with your pick-up time frame (in the afternoon hours).
With Virtual Hugs (& a few tears…),
March 13, 2020
RE: Campus Closure
Dear JGS Families,
If you know me at all, you know that this is painstakingly difficult to write…
It is after considerable thought, too many meetings to count, webinars and readings that I have concluded it is in the best interest of our entire community to close our campus for the next two weeks (with tentative plans to return to campus on Monday, March 30, 2020). Due to the fact that we are coming off of Spring Break where many of our families spent the holiday traveling around the world, the risk is just too great to ignore. Like every other school administrator around the globe, this is a decision that I have struggled with for days. In reality, none of us know exactly what to do/not do, so I have to go with what I truly believe; it is best to be in a proactive and not a reactive position. I am thinking of our families, our teachers (of whom many are at high risk), and, of course, our beautiful students. As a whole, we feel it is our responsibility to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
I am planning to assemble our amazing educators next week to put our plan for distance learning together. I know that several of them had already begun planning over the break. Our goal is to have everything ready to roll out next Wednesday, 3/18/20, which will consist of online classes as well as packets/books which we will make available to you. We will also have a plan for continuing Wilson instruction via Skype/Facetime. While none of this is ideal, we will do our best to make learning accessible from home.
I promise to be in constant contact as the situation evolves. As always, I appreciate your ongoing support as we navigate this unprecedented time in our lives.
Sending Virtual Hugs,
Head of School
March 12, 2020
RE: School closed Monday 3/16/2020
Dear JGS Community,
We will be closing school on Monday, 3/16/20, following Spring Break, in order for the staff to create short & long-term online class formats & get our cleaning practices down! Additionally, please be on the lookout for emails from Jeanine (Health Services) and/or Kris (Athletic Director) regarding sports this semester.
Head of School
March 11, 2020
Dear JGS Community,
Following the recommendations from the Maricopa County Public Health Office and the Arizona Department of Education, we have created the following guidelines to be proactive within our community. Please note, these guidelines are subject to change as new information emerges.
If your child has any signs of illness, including coughing, stuffy head, fever, do not send them to school! Do not assume allergies! It is required to wait 72 hours to return after a fever. A fever is not indicative of allergies.
Anyone who goes to the health office with symptoms of a cold will be sent home & be required to stay home for 72 hours.
To summarize, if your child feels ill, please KEEP THEM HOME!
TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:
If your child tests positive for COVID-19, he/she cannot return to school for a minimum of 7 days.
The Department of Health “strongly recommends getting a flu shot” (If your child hasn’t already gotten one) due to the fact that we are also in the height of flu season.
We will enact stricter, ongoing cleaning/sanitizing practices throughout the day with recommended cleaning/sanitizing supplies.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands
Wash your hands
Don’t touch your face
Cover your mouth with your arm when you sneeze or cough
WASH YOUR HANDS
RETURNING FROM SPRING BREAK:
If you have been on a plane or in a hotel, please stay home for 72 hours prior to returning to the campus. If you do not have symptoms after 72 hours, you may return to work/school. If you have symptoms, you may not. Remember, on this campus, we have groups considered susceptible/high-risk – pregnancy, chronic illnesses, age.
We are waiving our attendance policy for the remainder of the school year. However, in order for high school students to receive credits for 2nd-semester classes, students MUST submit work and/or participate in classes offered via Skype/Facetime, Zoom, etc.
We have received notice that our remaining field trips have been canceled. We have been in close contact with EF Tours regarding our European travels in June. As of today, no firm decisions have been made. We will keep you updated.
In an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we are no longer accepting food delivery outside of our school lunch service. Please know that that includes DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, etc. On a typical day, we often have 10-25 lunch deliveries a day. Please plan your children’s lunch accordingly.
We have been in daily contact with CAA regarding both tennis and track & field. As of today, nothing has been changed.
SCHOOL CLOSURE PLANS:
Please be sure that you are prepared as a family should school be interrupted. The Maricopa County Public Health Office is not currently foreseeing school closures but in the event of excessive faculty absenteeism, we may have to suspend classes.
Please contact me with any questions.
Thank you for your support,
Head of School
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- AZ Dept. of Education: Guidance to Schools on COVID-19
- Maricopa County Health Department
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- World Health Organization (WHO) Travel Advice
- Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map
- NY Times: How To Talk To Kids About Coronavirus