Dear ASF Community,
I was on campus this morning to prepare some papers for the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP). ASF is an eerily quiet place these days. I am grateful to members of our operations, safety, security, informational technology, and finance teams and to many others who continue to work on-campus at ASF and keep things running. We received news this afternoon that PowerSchool has made upgrades and changes to their system, so we hope to see improvements in teachers' ability to upload, and students' abilities to access, learning materials.
Now we are preparing for the (brief) return of students and parents to campus tomorrow and Friday to pick up essential items.
REMEMBER: All students (or parents) who come to campus on Thursday or Friday MUST print out this form and bring it with them to campus. This is non-negotiable, as completion of the form is required by the SEP to access any campus when they order schools to close. If any student has a device which is being held in a division, contact your head of school before Thursday to work out the return of that device.
The overall schedule will be:
- Thursday (March 19) - Families with last names A-LEON, according to the schedule published yesterday.
- Friday (March 20) -Â Families with last name M-Z, according to the schedule published yesterday.
As some of you noted in messages to me last night, in our attempt to spread out visitors on campus and promote "social distancing," some last names were left off our initial list. If that was the case for your family, please come at the time that most closely corresponds to your last name.
Before I close this evening, I just want to make some brief comments about challenges with "social distancing." We are aware, and truly empathize (as many of us have children of our own), that this is a difficult and stressful time for families. We are doing our best to help create routines and meaningful learning experiences for our students. At the very least, we all hope for the SEP's approval of our online work so that we can end the school year, as planned, in early June.
Yet for all of us working now in the virtual world of home office for parents and administrators, home learning for students, and home instruction for teachers, there is a new reality and that is that the virtual day never seems to really end. Whereas in the past we could leave the office and classroom behind, now it is ever present by our side with the laptop and the cell phone and it can be exhausting. We shouldn't forget that too much screen time and too much connectedness isn't always to be desired.
So if an assignment doesn't get back to us one day, or a teacher doesn't answer an email sent after 3:00 p.m. until the following day, or something routine takes even 48 hours, let's all be patient with each other. Remember, many of our teachers are trying to be mother or father (or both) to their own child while teaching a virtual roomful of students. We'll remember, too, that many parents are now providing childcare along with their regular jobs. It's a challenging world for all of us, but one made easier and happier by all the encouraging and appreciative emails that many of you have sent to teachers, administrators, and to me.
I know that there are many other questions that our parents and students are asking at the moment. We will start publishing our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) this evening on the COVID-19 website. If you don't see your question appear immediately, wait a day and then send it again to: email@example.com.
Mark Iver Sylte, Executive Director