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PARENT ALERT SCHOOL DISMISSAL FOR TWO WEEKS BEGINNING MARCH 16TH
Due to the COVID-19 situation and as per Governor Herbert and the Utah State Board of Education, all schools in Utah will be dismissed for two weeks beginning March 16, 2020. State leaders are determined to do their part to protect the health and safety of our communities. These decisions are not made lightly.
Per Utah Rule R277-419-12, a school dismissal (soft closure) means that students would be sent home, but facilities would be kept open and faculty and staff would be allowed to continue to work.
South Sanpete School District will implement the following action plan to continue instruction.
There will be no instruction on Monday and Tuesday, March 16th & 17th for teacher preparation. SSSD will begin providing online instruction for all students on Wednesday-Friday, March 18th - 20th, with the possibility of continuing after Spring Break. Spring Break, March 23rd-March 27th, will remain as scheduled.
South Sanpete Schools are very prepared to provide online instruction due to our one-to-one efforts. Each teacher will provide information to students/parents on how to access class materials.
Home Internet Access
For families who do not have internet access at home, we are working with local providers to offer public access points for families (i.e. parks, school parking lots, etc.). Additional information will be provided early next week.
School lunch will not be provided on Monday and Tuesday, March 16th and 17th but will be served beginning Wednesday, March 18th. Additional information about when and where lunch will be served will be sent out on Monday, March 16th.
Gatherings at Schools
All school activities have been cancelled and no gatherings will be permitted on school premises.
Updates to parents will be sent out via e-mail and text message using the SwiftReach system.
We appreciate your patience with us as we work through this difficult process. We recognize the responses to COVID-19 have significantly disrupted the school year. We hope you understand these changes are meant to protect you, your extended family, and members of our community.
Please understand this situation will require extensive discussion and we will not have answers to all questions right away. However, questions can be directed to the District Office at 435-835-2261 or individual schools.
As the South Sanpete School District begins our two weeks of school dismissal today, March 16, 2020, we would like to have you consider some things that can support improved mental health, despite a stressful and somewhat unpredictable situation.
We recognize the increased burdens placed upon you. We also know first hand what dedicated parents you are and how important your child's health, education, and emotional well being are. This letter is written with the hope that information might be given that could mitigate some of the difficulties of the imposed quarantine. Below are some suggestions.
SEEK INFORMATION FROM TRUSTED SOURCES: Obtain information and updates from the world health organization at who.int or the CDC at CDC.gov
TRY TO AVOID EXCESSIVE EXPOSURE TO MEDIA: Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds about COVID-19 can intensify feelings of worry and distress. Children are emotional receptors and can sense worry. Their fears and emotional insecurities are often manifested by emotional fluctuations, irritability, a return to behaviors they have outgrown, separation anxiety for younger ones, and possibly emotional withdrawal from older children. Our efforts at emotional health and balance will spill to them.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF: Making self-care a priority will allow you to continue to meet the needs of your children with less burnout, emotional numbness, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Where possible, focus on things you can control, maintain as much of your daily routine and activities as you can; for example, meal-times, reading, playing outside, getting enough sleep, and doing things you enjoy.
CONSIDER IMPLEMENTING A DAILY POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH PRACTICE: Begin a daily practice of exercise, meditation, taking a walk, learning to breathe mindfully, and practicing how to stay in the moment and avoid the "what ifs."
TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN IN A WAY THAT ALLOWS THEM TO EXPRESS FEARS: Children of all ages often misunderstand what is happening, and consequently, this heightens fears and insecurities. Have conversations that allow them to ask their questions and feel heard. When they are done expressing their worries, clarify misconceptions. Give them extra love, listening, and support.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS: You may have your own fears and frustrations. Be sure to acknowledge them. Allow yourself to feel them and then move forward. Repressed emotions fuels stress and emotional disconnection.
MAINTAIN HEALTHY CONNECTIONS WITH OTHERS: Isolation can be a breeding ground for increased anxiety, depression, and frustration. A connection is an antidote. Be creative in ways to connect with others: i.e., family online support groups, face timing, family dinners, game nights, and long talks with your friends and family who are good listeners.
SAFEUT: SafeUT recently sent out the following: “We wanted to take a moment to reassure you that SafeUT is still available as a resource for your students, parents, and yourself during this stressful time. We have master’s level clinicians available to chat or call 24/7/365 and will continue to have them available throughout the outbreak.” Just download the SafeUT app and use it as frequently as needed.
FEEL FREE TO CONTACT YASMIN HEYWOOD, OUR SOUTH SANPETE MENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST: If you would like increased resources, clarification, suggestions, or ideas in dealing with your specific concerns, feel free to contact Yasmin Heywood at email@example.com or call (435) 835-2261.
As we navigate the next few weeks as a district family, we want you to know we are here as a resource for you. While a continued educational focus is a priority, we also recognize the impact of mental health on our students and on you as their care-givers. We hope these suggestions prove useful.