Our Plan for COVID-19

3.24.20

Online Learning Google Classrooms for ALL
Preschool and Elementary
 
As we move forward with phase two and continue to learn and teach remotely, all Virginia Chance students, both preschool and elementary, will be given a Virginia Chance School Google account to access Google Classroom. Google Classroom will be your online link to the teachers and their daily messages, activities and invitations for learning. It is our hope to minimize the emails and streamline communication through the Google Classroom platform. In addition to your child's class, you will also join the Specialist Classroom, a place you can go to find activities and communication from all the Specialists each week. 
 
Preschool and K/1 families, you will receive an email from your child's teacher's with login/password, and class code. Please use this document to learn How to Access Student Google Accounts.
 
How to add your Google Classroom-- 
When you navigate to the Google Classroom you will need to click on the plus sign and then "join a Class". Then you use the class code given to you by your teachers. Repeat this to add the Specialist Classroom with the class code provided. 
 
When you go to Classroom from your student's Chance account you will always see your class and the specialists' class. Please note that Virginia Chance School student google accounts do not have email turned on and therefore you will not receive any notifications. We do not have student emails for their protection and security.
 
Please reach out with any questions to Lee Receveur at receveur.lee@chanceschool.org.
 
 
Grateful for your partnership,
Debbie Houston, Head of School

________________________________________________________________________________________

3/15/20

More Anxious about the At-Home Learning Work Than the Coronavirus? 

Five Tips to Help Parents


Yikes! My child came home with work to be completed during the two weeks school is closed due to the Coronavirus. How do I get him to do it? How do I start? How much time should she spend on this? What if it is not correct? What if my child doesn’t “get it” or understand the assignment or lesson? How can I be most helpful? What is my role?


Here are 5 things to HELP YOU and YOUR CHILD:


  • Give them a Voice and Choice: The more your child has a voice and a choice, the more successful and engaged they will be. Instead of YOU determining what, where, when, how, and how much, have a family meeting with your child and ask your child to do this. 
  • What will you need to be successful at doing and completing your work?

(Is it better to be in a loud and busy or quiet place? Do you work best with or without your siblings running around you? Will you need crayons or pencils? What about scissors?)

  • Where do you think would be a good place for you to have those things you just said you needed?

(Do you want a table or other work surface? Do you want to be at the kitchen table, in your bedroom, in mom’s home office, at dad’s desk, etc.)

  • When would be a good time for you to do your work? 

When do you do your Math/reading/writing/theme study/art, etc. at school?

Do you want to do it all in the morning time and be done by lunch time or would you like to do some in the morning and some after lunch? Would you like to do your work in your pjs or would you like to get dressed first? Do you want to do your work when your brother is taking a nap? Do you want to do some while I am at work and some when I am home?

  • How much time do you think this assignment will take? How long do you want to write your responses to the questions? How much time do you think is reasonable for completing this math? Would you like to work in 15 minute time blocks and then take a break or would you like to work for 20 (or 30) minutes and then take a break? Would you like to have a timer or use the timer on the computer, on my phone or in the kitchen to help you know when 20 minutes is over? Would it be helpful for me to remind you when you have 5 more minutes or shall Alexa? Is this assignment a one day or two day project?
  • What things do you like to do to take a break? 

(Do you want to do “brain breaks” like you do at school? Do you want to stop and have a healthy snack? Do you want to play outside? Do you want to go swing on the swingset?)

  • How will you complete this work? Do you just need to quickly get it done or do you want to do your best work? Does your writing need to be in final form or are you working on your rough draft? 
  • How can I be most helpful or supportive without doing your work?

Would you like me to review the instructions with you so you are comfortable and know what to do? Would you like for me to do my own work at the table too? Would you like for me to play with your sister so she does not bother you? Would it be helpful if I just got out all the materials that you need and put them on the table before I leave for work? Would you like to tell me what you are going to do before you start? Do you want me to review your work after you do or is your teacher going to do this?

  • When you have completed your work, where would be a good place to put it so it does not get lost? Where would be a safe place to keep your Chromebook/journal/sketchpad, etc. when you are done with your work for the day?
  • If you are not understanding something, what could you do?

Would you like to email your teachers to ask them your questions?

Would you like for me to try to help you or your dad?

Would you like to use your math resource book?

Would you like to google it?

Would you like to call a friend from school and ask them?

  • What would you like to do after your work is done?
  • What do you think we should do if you don’t want to do your work?

Do you want to email or call your teachers to tell them you are not going to do your work?

Do you want to email them or shall I?

Do you want to set the timer for 5 more minutes? (one time) and then do your work?

Do you want to have a piece of fruit and some crackers and then decide?


You can even chart their responses and hang them up, “My Choices For School Work” or they can write them and create the chart. You can take a picture of their choices and send it to the teachers. After you or your child create the chart, review the choices together or have them read them to you (For your K/1 student, they can write words or draw pictures by the words they dictated to you):


“Wow! It sounds like you have everything you need to be successful! You decided to do your work in 20 minute blocks of time. You decided to play for 15 minutes to take a break and then return to your work. You decided to do your work at the kitchen table. You decided to do your work after breakfast and 15 minutes building with Legos. You decided you wanted to do your best work. You decided to keep all of your completed work in your homework folder or backpack. You decided to ask your questions and call a teacher if you don’t understand something. You decided that I would email your teachers if you chose not to do your work. You decided to play a computer game for 20 minutes after your work is done each day. I can see you made some great choices for yourself, and you will have everything you need to complete this work. Since you decided to do your work after building with Legos, you are ready to go build! Have fun and I will remind you when you have 5 more minutes. I am going to do some of my work while you are building with your Legos for 15 minutes.”


  • Be an Encourager and Supporter: Those are your roles! This is your child’s work, your child’s brain, your child’s relationship with his teacher, and your child’s learning. Please be sure that this is a pleasant experience! You do not want these two weeks to turn into power struggles and arguments. As hard as it is, please refrain from being the criticizer, the “you messed that up”, the “here, do it just like this” or “draw the cat in the tree” and other directives. If your child makes mistakes, you might gently suggest, “Would you please check that letter again?” Or “Would you reread that part?” Or say nothing and just email the teacher and ask what they want you to do or ask for their guidance. Chances are, they will take on the mistakes or they are assigning a first draft and not final form. Encourage your children by empowering your children and commenting on their effort, their work ethic, their decision-making, etc. “Wow, you worked hard to write that paragraph and got your great thoughts on the paper.” “I can see that you accomplished your work because you stuck with it!” “How do you feel about your work?” and “I agree with you...it is cool because you used your imagination.” “Thank you for being so responsible to get your work done. You followed your plan so well. I think your teachers will appreciate that too.” “Wow, I did not know you knew that! You are learning so many new things.” “Congratulations! You followed your plan and now you are ready to play that computer game!”

  • Keep the routine. Just as your child goes through the same routines each day at school, this at home learning will work best if your child follows a routine. They do better with consistency and knowing what to expect. It actually provides security because they know what to do, how to follow the routine and can predict what to do next. You might email the teachers and get their usual schedule and then follow it as best you can. They may push back and whine a bit at first, but they are just testing to see where the limits are and if you are really going to be consistent. Statements such as, “I know you want to watch TV, and you will do that as soon as you follow the plan you made.” “It sounds like you are a bit tired and want to just lay on the couch this morning. You can take a nap when your work is done if you want.” (I am guessing they will miraculously be wide awake). “When your first 20 minute work session is done, would you like an orange cut up or a whole apple for a snack?” “When you have finished with your reading, do you want to take a hike or go for a walk in the neighborhood with the dog?” “Would you like to get started in your pajamas or get on your shorts and t-shirt?” “Shall we set the timer on the computer or ask Alexa to remind us in 15 minutes?” 

  • Keep the Coronavirus news to a minimum. You need to be informed, and they need to feel safe. Listening to the news and TV might be informative to you, but it is usually anxiety provoking or more confusing for your child. Having the TV or radio going all the time is not helpful and can be harmful. For your older child (above 7), you might summarize the news briefly (after Governor Beshear’s update) and spend time talking about what YOU CAN DO to be safe, how they are home to help reduce the spread of the virus, how children are not really getting that sick from the virus, and how you are doing everything you can to keep them safe and healthy. Remember that the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting you and your child’s emotional state. You are to be the calm in their chaos.

  • Remember to play, laugh, be active, and have fun! Running, playing, hiking, climbing, jumping rope, swinging, stomping on the deck, and digging in the dirt will make the times of school work even better! Your child will do best during this time if you are careful to provide time to play outside and inside. Make and play with playdough or slime; do fun workouts; plant seeds; play pretend; put on a show; play hide and seek; play board games and card games; tell jokes; tickle; rough house; create; make music; and take and make the time to play. They learn through their play, build social and emotional skills, and develop physically.  Playing outdoors has a plethora of benefits. https://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of-outdoor-play.html

Parents, you got this! Afterall, you are your child’s most important teachers! You are not alone in this. We will do this together; we will get through this together, and we will learn together! Remember that your child’s classroom and specialist teachers will be in touch with you and your child. They are available to you. They really do care about your child and you, and they are there to support your child and you. 


So am I,

Debbie Houston

Head of School



_______________________________________________________________________________________
 
REMOTE-LEARNING STARTING MONDAY MARCH 16
3.13.20
 
Dear VCS Family,
 
As you have probably learned by now, the schools in Kentucky are remote-learning for the next two weeks and then will be closed for Spring Break. That means Virginia Chance School will be closed the week of March 16, the week of March 23 and for Spring Break the week of March 30th. The purpose is to keep our students as safe and healthy as possible and to stop the spread of the coronavirus in KY. 
 
To reiterate what I communicated to you yesterday, we will be partnering together as best we can through this. We understand that these will be challenging times, and we are here to support you and your child.
 
If you have a preschool student, by 3:00 today you will receive an email containing “Ways to Keep Learning at Home” list and links. There will be no assignments due for preschool students.
 
Today, if you have an elementary student, you will receive At Home Learning to complete during the next two weeks:
 
For the K/1 students, your child will have a packet of materials. Thank you for being a parent and teacher for the next two weeks! I hope it helps to have “something to do” also that keeps your K/1 student learning.
 
For the Primary and Intermediate students, the teachers will give you your child’s Chromebook at carpool. It has a folder in the google drive that your child knows how to open to find their assignments. Your child’s teachers have provided assignments, and they will continue to monitor and check this online learning in the folder in the next two weeks.  
 
Teachers have also provided their contact information on their newsletters this afternoon as we partner with you over the next two weeks. Teachers will let you know the best times to reach a teacher. 
 
Elementary students are to keep their completed work either in the electronic folder or if they have written or hard copies, these are to be turned in when students return.
 
If your child is absent today, you may pick up their At Home Learning items at school at 3:00 in the carpool line today or on Monday from 9-3 in the office.
 
We know these are unusual times and unusual learning situations. To help, your teachers will be contacting the parents and/or the students during these 2 weeks.  The teachers will be working to respond to student questions, to check and comment on work, and to communicate with students and parents. You or your student will receive an email, a phone call, a video, Kaymbu, youtube or Skype, or a note in the mail during each week. Both classroom teachers and specialists will be reaching out to you or your child. In the Intermediate classes, you will note that classroom teachers will be responding to students primarily on their work in the folder. The staff will also be working at school and at home. Please feel free to email your teachers or any of the staff. I will also keep you updated with any new pertinent information. All of us will observe Spring Break starting on Friday the 27th of March through April 3rd.
 
In addition to completing the school work, here are more options of things to do...just in case you need it:
 
“50 activities for Kids When There is No School”:
 
 
When you are home over the next few weeks, I encourage you to do your best to navigate through this crisis in the most positive way. This is your opportunity to model and demonstrate to your children how to respond to a medical crisis, how to participate in safety measures, how to focus on what you can do to help yourself stay safe and healthy, how to wash your hands, how to keep a social distance of 6 feet, how to focus on facts, how to respond instead of react, how to remain calm, how to protect your family and friends who are most at-risk (those over 60 and those with underlying health issues), and most importantly how to love one another, support one another and make the best of this situation. 
 
Remember that social distancing means 6 feet away; it does not mean isolation. It means keep your distance, and that means if you are well or have not been exposed to the Coronavirus and are in a self-imposed quarantine, then you can still go outside and play, go to the zoo, go to a park, visit your library. It is important to stay away from: anyone who is sick, large groups, a buffet line, places where you are sitting right next to someone, crowded parks, events, and amusement parks. If you have plans to travel over Spring Break, driving your car, staying in a house (clean and disinfect it), playing in a pool or on a beach at least 6 feet away from others, doing drive-through or pick-up for foods, taking bike-rides and hikes are all good choices. If you or your children are sick, stay home! 
 
Governor Beshear and Mayor Fischer will provide regular updates and press conferences to keep all of us updated with the Coronavirus in KY and Louisville. Again, here are some reminders to stay healthy: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
 
  • Wash your hands with soap really well as often as possible for 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue (not your hands) and throw away the issue or cough into your elbow.
  • Use your own dishes instead of sharing.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, furniture, toys, etc.
  • Stay away from large groups or crowds.
  • Practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet away from others.
  • Stay home and away from others if you are sick.
 
Together, we will manage this and one day, we will all look back and reflect on how and what we did. Each of us will say, “Remember when we had the Coronavirus pandemic and we….” How do you want to fill in your ellipses...? I wish you moments of great learning, laughter, lots of conversations, fun, adventures, at-home projects, new activities, and even times of peace and quiet...when all are sleeping!
 
In it with you,
Debbie Houston, Head of School
 
___________________________________________________________________________
3.12.20
Dear VCS family,
 
We continue to watch carefully, learn more, and seek input about the Coronavirus. Please know that we are constantly desiring to be responsible and to keep all of us safe and healthy, and we desire to be acting on facts and the best advice. 
 
I know the news, constantly changing information and updates, and the thought of pending decisions is stressful and anxiety provoking. It affects all of us and those we love so this issue is also highly emotional for all of us. With that in mind, we strive to stay grounded, to wait for important information, to respond instead of react, and to consider the impact of all decisions. This link from our School Counselor, Kristin Kephart, might be helpful to you: Anxious About the Coronavirus? Here Are Eight Practical Tips on How to Stay Calm and Support Your Immune System
 
I am grateful for Governor Beshear for his calm demeanor, factual information, proactive responses, and his guidance. We will continue to monitor and follow the recommendations from him, our local government and health department, and of course, the CDC and WHO. Additionally, we are monitoring the information that ISACS, our accrediting agency, NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), and the KY licensing office is supplying. We are also communicating and coordinating with all Louisville Independent KAIS (Kentucky Association of Independent Schools) Schools.
 
Here is our VCS update:
 
  1. There are now 8 cases of COVID-19 in KY (including one in Jefferson Co) and 11 in Indiana, and none in our school.
  2. We contract with Vanguard Cleaners who clean our school every night. They are following all the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are also using their recommended product for disinfecting and cleaning. The following link provides more information: FROM VANGUARD CLEANING.
  3. While we are normally a green and healthy school and in compliance with the standards for “green” products, during this Coronavirus pandemic, we are using bleach and bleach-based products in each classroom and in the school. Each classroom also has Clorox wipes for teachers to use when wiping tables, countertops, doorknobs, etc. We will continue the use of bleach based products until further notice.
  4. Out of caution, we are also planning for the possibility of remote learning scenarios. Elementary teachers (K-5) have been busy preparing online lessons/learning to send to students and/or parents in the event that school is closed. Lisa Howie, our Preschool Director, will provide a list of ways to do play-based learning at home for our preschool students. They will not have specific online assignments.
  5. We will continue to use healthy practices each day we are at school and hope you are doing that at home too. (much hand washing, trying to keep hands off of face, mouth and nose, covering cough with tissue (and throwing it away) or coughing in elbow, and making sure that students who are sick or have fever are not at school. Here is the link sent last week with these practices: COVID-19 School Update 1
  6. We will NOT participate in the remaining March field trips or events coming to our school (Chorus, KY Science Center, McClanahan Irish Dancers). Our Fine Arts Showcase that was scheduled for March 20th will be postponed to a later date. Decisions about April events, including Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Days will be made after we have more information and updates. We will continue to have the Developing Capable Young People Parent Education Classes with childcare unless otherwise notified.
  7. We ask that every family who is traveling over Spring Break to please let us know the dates and places of your travel. Please contact your child’s teachers or Sarah in the school office with this information. This is a precaution we want to take to determine if there is any increased risk or a quarantine period. Thank you so much for following this request.
 
FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS - ELECTRONIC AT HOME LEARNING:
  1. For K/1 students, teachers will send home a packet of materials, activities and assignments with each student. They will also directly email parents to provide additional information, activities and assignments.
  2. Each Intermediate student and Primary student already has a Chrome Book for learning. A folder, “At Home Learning Folder” has already been added to each Chromebook, and if school closes, teachers will add Day 1, Day 2, etc. of assignments, information, activities, and learning opportunities and resources to the folder.
  3. Lee Receveur, our Technology Specialist, has been working with teachers and students, providing training, submitting links, and creating folders. The Primary and Intermediate teachers and Mrs. Receveur will check to make sure that each student is familiar with how to navigate the folder and the documents.
  4. Elementary teachers (K-5) will include a daily checklist of activities and time for students and parents to initial or insert a checkmark to help them keep track of what they have worked on and what they still need to do. We hope this will be helpful with accountability and for parents to have a more structured plan they can easily follow.
  5. Chromebooks and chargers will go home with Primary and Intermediate students on Friday (although we have no plans to close school on Monday. We are doing this as a “just in case” situation.) We will use bins to transport Chromebooks down to carpool and hand the Chromebook to parents as friends get into their car. Chromebooks cannot go in backpacks because so much damage happens there.  
 
We will add this update (and last week’s) on our website news section (front page, scroll to bottom right) for you to access when you want. We will also include the updates in our weekly E-news. 
 
Please know that my goal is to do all we should do to keep our VCS family safe and healthy, to make decisions based on recommendations and directives, and to stay grounded and calm in the midst of a bit of chaos and confusion. Of course, as parents, you can also make the choice to keep your child home at any time during this Coronavirus outbreak. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
 
Devoted to your children,
Debbie Houston, Head of School
 
 
__________________________________________________________________________
3.10.20
Dear Parents,
 
As a school, we make the health and safety of your children our number one priority. We all want to be healthy so we can be at Virginia Chance School every day!
 
I want you to know that we are already discussing and planning in order to be proactive with the recent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). We have been keeping informed in several ways: 1.) by regularly keeping abreast and updated through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  website, 2.) by following their guidance in “Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”, 3.) by making sure we view their regular press conferences, 4.) by regularly keeping abreast and updated through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website and press conferences, and 5.) staying informed and abreast of both our state and local health agencies. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
 
Here are some general facts and guidelines that we hope are helpful to you:
  • Stopping transmission (spread) of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy. These are the hand-washing, covering your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze, disinfecting surfaces and objects, and staying home when you are sick or have a fever.  This poster from CDC on Stop the Spread of Germs provides guidelines:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-germs.pdf
  • To keep students healthy and free from ALL viruses, students should stay home until they are symptom free, without any fever, and no medication to treat fever for a full 24 hours.
  • From the WHO: The Current Situation Report
 
If it is recommended that Louisville schools close, the Louisville Metro Public Health Department will issue those directives.  We will follow those directives. If the coronavirus threatens the safety of our students, and CDC, WHO and/or State or local (Louisville Metro Public Health Department) issues a directive for schools to close, we will have plans in place and be prepared. 
 
We will be responsible and ready:
  • Faculty will have plans in place to continue the learning.
  • You will get communication about this prior to implementation.
  • We will continue to work closely with the local health department, the Commonwealth of KY, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) officials to follow their recommendations.
 
It is not only important to be informed, it is also important to be responsible. In addition to the plans, communication, and partnering with health officials, another way we can be responsible is to know the best way to help and communicate with our children. Children look to their parents for help in how to handle stressful situations. As parents, we want to be certain that we help our children with any anxiety or fears; therefore, it is important that we deal with our own anxiety and are careful to keep our anxiety from becoming theirs. There are guidelines for parents that Kristin Kephart, our School Counselor, and I found helpful and want to pass along to you. Please note these are for elementary students because preschoolers are to be shielded from this. A rule of thumb is also to answer their questions.
 
Here are some ways to talk to your elementary aged (and older) children about the coronavirus: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The following links provide more information and updates on the Coronavirus so you can be informed: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you for being attentive and intentional to stay healthy now during our influenza/flu season, and for being informed about the Coronavirus.  If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact me.
 
With gratitude for our VCS family,
Debbie Houston, Head of School