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All Ithaca City School District schools are closed until April 15, 2020. Learn more>>

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School Closure and COVID-19

All ICSD schools are closed until April 15, 2020.
 
 
Letter to Families: ICSD Distance Learning 2.0
March 31, 2020
Greetings ICSD Families,

Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration in these unprecedented times. I continue to be amazed by the selfless acts of kindness our community is showing one another. Also, my humble “thank you” to parents and caregivers who have offered their thoughtful insight on ways our school district (teachers, principals, counselors, support staff, and others) can help support students’ learning and social/emotional needs during this extended closure.

Currently, our educators are engaged in planning for our next phase of instructional delivery, ICSD Distance Learning 2.0. In the event that school is closed for an extended period of time, our goals for this next phase are: 
  • to provide our students with a truly engaging and empowering academic distance learning experience;
  • to ensure our students have access to appropriate social & emotional content, skills, and strategies;
  • to support our educators so that they have the ability to manage their own lives while planning and teaching through a distance learning approach.
ICSD staff will offer opportunities for students to learn together in a virtual classroom at the same time (synchronous) as well as provide assignments to be completed with or without educators present (asynchronous). This combination of instructional delivery will allow for all students to learn and connect through a variety of methods.  Depending on your student’s grade level, you will see: 
 
Pre-K-1
Instruction:
  • Assignments and materials (books, workbooks, etc.) will be delivered to your home. We will be recommending supplemental digital resources as well. Students will be learning around 1 hour to 1.5 hours each day, doing work and connecting with their teachers.
Connection:
  • Daily contact (by a teacher - classroom, specialist or aide/TA) via phone, email or digitally as appropriate.
  • Weekly office hours hosted by Master Educators of Inclusion will be available should you have questions or concerns.
 
Grades 2-5
Instruction:
  • Chromebooks, along with print materials (books, workbooks, etc.) will be delivered to your home. Students in grades 2-3 will mostly use software, SeeSaw, and students in grades 4-5 will mostly use Google Classroom. Students will be learning 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours each day, completing assignments and connecting with their teachers.
Connection:
  • Daily contact (by a teacher - classroom, specialist or aide/TA) via phone, email or digitally as appropriate.
  • Weekly office hours hosted by Master Educators of Inclusion will be available should you have questions or concerns.
 
Grades 6-8
Instruction:
  • Chromebooks, if not already, will be delivered to your home. Grades 6-8 will continue the use of Google Classroom.  Students will be learning around 2.5 hours to 3.0 hours each day, doing work and connecting with their teachers.
Connection:
  • Each teacher will connect at least twice per week/per course through office hours and/or direct video lessons.
  • Weekly office hours hosted by Master Educators of Inclusion will be available should you have questions or concerns.
 
Grades 9-12
Instruction:
  • Chromebooks, if not already, will be delivered to your home. Grades 9-12 will continue the use of Google Classroom.  Students will be learning approximately 2.5 hours to 4.0 hours each day, doing work and connecting with their teachers and classmates.
Connection:
  • Each teacher will connect at least twice per week/per course through office hours and/or direct video lessons.
  • Weekly office hours offered by Master Educators of Inclusion will be available should you have questions or concerns.

During the week of April 6-10 we will continue to deliver meals, as well as connect with and provide learning opportunities for students. If an extended school closure is necessary in response to the New York State Disaster Emergency, we plan to transition to the more robust ICSD Distance Learning 2.0 plan beginning on April 13, 2020.

Thanks for your kindness, patience, and engagement.
 
Regards,
 
Luvelle Brown Ed.D.
Superintendent

 
Letter to the Community: School Closure Updates
March 27, 2020
Greetings, ICSD Community,

As our world grapples with the challenges due to COVID-19, I am reminded of the strength and culture of love present in our community. I am humbled and honored to craft our new path forward together. Thanks to all who have shared their time, perspectives, and expertise as our school district moves forward without students being physically present in our buildings. 

Today, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that schools in New York State will be closed through April 15, 2020. Many in our community are watching the news and the national conversation about what may be next as our state and country respond to the pandemic. 

Please know that the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) educators are actively planning for the possibility of school closures that extend beyond April 15th. ICSD teachers, aides and teaching assistants, and administrators collaboratively designed our current plan, and we are now forming working groups to specifically design the what and how of the next phase of distance learning. This next phase, or ICSD Distance Learning 2.0, would include much more student/teacher interactions, along with more direct instruction provided by our educators. For our younger learners (grades 2-5), this enhanced teaching and learning approach would include the distribution of mobile devices and internet access. We will keep our entire community apprised of developments in this area, and we continue to partner with school district and union leadership, as well as community partners.

While continuously improving our instructional delivery, we are at the same time providing food services to many young people in our community. We are currently delivering approximately 2700 meals each weekday. Thanks to all who are responsible for making this extraordinary feat possible. Our new order form allows us to offer different menu options and attend to allergy needs and preferences. Folks can also order by dialing 2-1-1. Please order before noon on Sundays to receive meals beginning on Monday of that particular week. 

Additionally, if students or families are experiencing issues with technology (how to log on, device not working, missing charger, etc.), please call the Family and Student Technology Support Line any time at (607) 882-9850. Please leave a voicemail and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

We are thinking of those in our community who have been coping with sickness; we wish folks health as quickly as possible and thank those who are caring for them. As I’ve noted in other communications, we must partner in unprecedented ways to navigate the current unprecedented challenges. 

Sincerely,

Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
 
Letter to the Community: First Confirmed Case of COVID-19
March 21, 2020
Dear ICSD Community, 

I write again in hopes that our children, staff and families are well during this difficult time. Throughout the last several weeks, we have partnered with local health officials to guide our responses to this virus. On the evening of March 20, 2020, the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) confirmed the first case of COVID-19 within the Ithaca City School District school community.
 
This news may generate anxiety and concern. Many experts remind me that we knew this day would come, and that there will be many more cases in the coming days and weeks. We continue to work collaboratively with the TCHD to support students, staff and families. As partners in this effort, we share information with local health officials so they can communicate with people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. 

As you know, privacy is critical when it comes to students, personnel and health care. We are notifying each school community when the first case at their school arises, as promised. However, I am asking our entire community to respect and protect the right to privacy these members of our community are afforded under the law. Again, the TCHD directly contacts those people who are at risk. 
 
I continue to urge our community members to adhere to physical distancing practices to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cuomo recently signed executive orders closing schools, restaurants, and mandating that only essential staff travel to work with good reason. Physical or social distancing decreases the number of interactions each of us has, and in turn decreases the chances for COVID-19 to pass between people. Because of this, our meal service will be delivery-only soon. We will also continue our deep cleaning protocols.
 
This extended closure also necessitates distance learning for our students.  We’ve received much feedback from community members who’ve shared their ideas, questions, concerns and support. Please look at our updated FAQ page to learn more details about the why and how of our approach. We are committed to partnering with our fabulous educators to ensure that our plan grows in ways that help our entire community. 

As more cases are confirmed throughout ICSD, the TCHD will continue to communicate with anyone who needs to be notified, and we will notify school communities. Please refer to our website for all past and future communication at www.ithacacityschools.org/coronavirus. Thank you for all you are doing in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. I wish you all safety and strength.

Sincerely,
Luvelle Brown, Superintendent

Letter to the Community: ICSD Closure
March 13, 2020
Dear ICSD Community, 

Thank you for continuing to care for our children during this challenging time. As a district and community, we remain committed to a culture of love. COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on all of our lives, and we know how difficult it has been.

Over the past few weeks, we have been in constant communication with our local health officials, along with community organizations and state agencies. The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) and all other school districts in the county will close effective immediately through April 12, 2020. 

Meals are available for any student Monday-Friday from 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. in the parking lots and bus loops at six locations: Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, Caroline Elementary School, DeWitt Middle School, Enfield Elementary School, Lehman Alternative Community School, and South Hill Elementary School. If you do not have access to transportation or cannot leave your home, call 2-1-1 to arrange food delivery. Details will be available at each site in print and on our website: www.ithacacityschools.org.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of someone in your care, please call the Tompkins County Health Department at 607-274-6604. The Tompkins County Health Department is providing daily updates on its website: https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health. You can also call 2-1-1 if you have non-medical questions about COVID-19.

We will continue to communicate additional details in the coming days. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in this difficult time for our community. 

Sincerely,
Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
Robert Ainslie, Board of Education President
Sean Eversley Bradwell, Board of Education Vice President

Previous Correspondence
 
Presentations on COVID-19
COVID-19 Update to the Board
March 10, 2020
Discussion of COVID-19 FAQs  
March 5, 2020