Weekly News and Notes, 3/27
A bit of a different format for the Weekly News and Notes this week, but wanted to reach out with some guidance from where we are right now.
We know that right now there are many questions, and, at this point, the number of questions probably outnumber the answers. At the same time, we realize that we have a good number of people who are possibly overwhelmed by the daily news bulletins, which is why we at UHS have, at times, been focusing on maintaining connections. The Commissioner put out some guidance on Thursday from which we are adjusting that will move from mere connections to learning to actual learning and holding students more accountable, and we will be releasing our plans for that next week. Rest assured, the high school staff and faculty has been buzzing in identifying ways to connect to students over the next month, and to also provide assignments and a schedule that will give more structure to that learning. We anticipate being able to release more of that next week.
There are some other questions, however, for which we have some very specific answers. Given the extension of the closure to May 4, our junior-senior prom, which was initially scheduled for May 1, has been postponed. We will be meeting next week with the senior class officers and potentially the senior class as a whole to determine next steps, and our advisors have been working with the venue on identifying an alternate date, so that we can hopefully move forward with the event, should we return after May 4. We are also renewing our commitment to providing the Class of 2020 has many of its regular events as possible, with the guidance of Public Health and the Governor, as we share in the deep sorrow that this was not the type of spring or culminating semester that any of the students had in mind. Our goal - again - will be try and postpone as many events as possible to dates later in the year or even into the summer before getting to outright cancellation.
With the transition to distance learning, many of our students have taken advantage of online class meetings that teachers have scheduled, have looked at our resources, emailed, or communicated with support staff. Most of those conversations have built connections during otherwise isolated times. However, there are some students who have used these online chats as an opportunity to violate some of our core values, with vulgar, bigoted, or disrespectful language. Some norms for online/virtual classes to which we expect students to adhere:
- Students must have the video enabled.
- Students must have their full name as they sign in and be prepared as they would for a regular class at school.
- If a teacher or class moderator sees either of those standards not met, the student will be removed from the online chat.
- All classroom expectations for physical class remain in effect.
If students do not follow these guidelines, the teachers have been instructed to remove them from the room. A separate message has been posted to this blog from Mr. DiMeglio to the students regarding their expectations in terms of virtual learning spaces.
We also have an update from athletics, in that spring sports will now be delayed until May 4. We have made a commitment as a Southern Worcester County League to continue adjusting our plans for an abbreviated spring season, though it would appear that all post-season tournaments sponsored by the MIAA have been canceled. We will certainly provide updates as they come.
In terms of meetings, we right now have one meeting scheduled with all students who take an AP class for Monday at 1:30 p.m. We will be reaching out early next week about a time for a Parent Town Hall meeting, as well as another full school Town Hall for all students. We hope to do so following the release of our Distance Learning guidelines.
It goes without saying that we wish we were sending this from the school and with the teeming excitement that the turn from March to April and the planning for our typical spring would bring. However, while the circumstances have been challenging for us all, we hope and trust that this message finds everyone continuing to practice social distancing, finding ways to connect with each other and others despite those guidelines, and, most importantly, in good health and safety.
Have a great weekend.
Michael Rubin Principal Uxbridge High School