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UCF District News MARCH 2020

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER TO THE UCF COMMUNITY:

Make sure you are regularly visiting the UCFSD COVID-19 Resources webpage for updates and helpful information from the District.

WHAT CAN YOU FIND ON THE UCFSD COVID-19 WEBPAGE?

UPDATES FROM UCFSD

Click on Updates from UCFSD on the COVID-19 homepage to view an archive that includes all email messages that have been sent to our families regarding COVID-19 from the District along with additional content, such as infographics and upcoming schedules, that the District has shared.

DISTANCE LEARNING RESOURCES

Click on the Tech Resources for Distance Learning button to access technology support, resources, and tips that can help minimize the disruption to students and their education during the closure.

The Distance Learning FAQs address many of the questions that our families are asking regarding distance learning and the current COVID-19 closure.

COVID-19 RESOURCES

The UCFSD COVID-19 Resources page has been continually expanding as we strive to provide our community with tips, information and activities. The COVID-19 Resources page is home to the following pages:

  • RESOURCES FROM HEALTH AGENCIES • View helpful information from the CDC, PA Department of Health, and more.
  • THINGS TO DO • Check out the videos featured in our Wellness Activity Series or spend some time enjoying a free online activity from our list of suggestions.
  • TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19 • It may be difficult for children to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides resources on how to effectively talk with your child about COVID-19 and help to reduce fear.
  • TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY • This page is dedicated to preventing illness in our UCF community by providing our families with tips, infographics and videos.
  • PUPIL SERVICES FAQS • The Pupil Services Department has put together a list of FAQs to provide families with information in regards to meeting the needs of all students during the current COVID-19 closure and distance learning.

How Unionville students are learning at home during coronavirus crisis

By: Rachel Folmar, UHS Senior

Originally published in the Southern Chester County Weeklies

In light of recent school closures due to COVID-19, Unionville High School has adopted a system of flexible distance learning to make up for missed class time.

Distance learning began on Monday, March 16 after several emails’ worth of explanation from administration. Several teachers in the building had handed out worksheets and resources in the days leading up to the closure, and many had explained how they planned to run their classes.

Each day, teachers posts announcements to Canvas, an online classroom that every teacher had already been required to use throughout the school year. Besides assigning daily work, teachers have office hours on Zoom, a video-conference service.

Teachers have two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon during which they are on call to answer student questions, lead discussions, or review problems. While teachers can not require attendance to Zoom meetings, they can encourage students to attend and participate in discussions. Teachers can also use Zoom to record their screen as they work through a practice problem or explain a graph, and the program has proven a valuable resource in this first week of distance learning.

A typical day of work varies from student to student, with some finishing their work in half an hour and others taking the majority of the day to finish.

Throughout this process, the district has made it clear that students’ mental health is a priority. Most teachers have released a statement explaining that should students have trouble completing any work, they should reach out to their teachers to work on a plan that would work better.

Overall, the message is clear: mental health comes first, schoolwork comes second. On Friday, students were encouraged to take a “half-day” and log off their computers around 11.

Furthermore, administration has scheduled to meet weekly with the Principal’s Advisory Council, a group of students who meet with administration to discuss student concerns and clarify confusion about school policy. Through this group, administration will remain up-to-date with how students are dealing with the change.

The school closings have been especially difficult for the Class of 2020 For seniors, the closures mean missing the chance to captain a sports team, play the lead in the musical, and potentially even celebrate the end of their high school careers.

Administration has been supportive in emphasizing efforts to offer the Class of 2020 the same experiences as other senior classes, including events like the Senior Stroll, Senior Dinner Dance, and even graduation. After Friday’s announcement that schools will remain closed until further notice, however, it is difficult to predict whether these events will even be possible. As college decisions are released, seniors will be unable to visit college campuses or attend accepted student events, which will only make the decision more difficult.

Despite the difficult circumstances, the students of Unionville High School, with the support of the administration and teaching staff, are making the most of the situation. Students have found creative ways to spend their quarantine. Between drive-by birthday celebrations and group Facetime calls, this generation is making the most of the technology available to remain connected and engaged.

On social media, students advocate safety measures to prevent the spread of illness, and a recent Instagram trend encouraged users to post photos of themselves in which they felt most beautiful and to tag their friends to do the same. In the midst of a general sense of panic, a familiarity with technology and a slightly nihilistic sense of humor will equip students to weather this storm.

BOARD MEETING RECAP

MARCH 23, 2020

Click here to view the full agenda and all documents. All board meetings are filmed and may be viewed on the District’s YouTube channel.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Sanville shared that we are waiving the requirement of Policy 006.1 and asked Mr. Hellrung to share the details. Mr. Hellrung shared that the board has chosen to waive the requirement of a quorum to be in the room due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Sanville recognized the UCF community for all that they have accomplished. He shared that everyone is participating from home and expressed his deepest gratitude for all they are doing.

Dr. Sanville congratulated Dr. Clif Beaver, Pocopson Principal, for recently earning his doctorate.

Dr. Sanville shared that the District is still focusing on returning to school on April 14, based on the Governor's additional two-week shut down and our Spring Break. He noted that there is a chance that the April 14 date may not happen in which case the District will adapt and continue distance learning.

Student Representatives' Report

Ms. Evanko shared that Mr. Conley held his Principal's Advisory Council (PAC) meeting on Thursday, March 19, 2020 via Zoom, where students discussed their transition to distance learning. Ms. Evanko shared that students are adjusting very well and that they are using teachers' office hours.

Ms. Elvin spoke of a survey she sent to the student body measuring attitudes toward Blended Learning courses and School Start Time. She discussed the results from the blended learning survey, noting that it was relatively popular amongst underclassmen but that there were responses reflecting a neutral perspective but not really any negative feedback.

The School Start Time survey asked five questions measuring students’ feelings on the current start time, past start time and any changes to the start time in the future. Ms. Elvin shared that the majority of students approve of or feel neutral about the current start time. When asked how they would feel if the start time was later, the student body was split: 27% strongly approved while 27% strongly disapproved (the remainder fell in the middle). When asked if they felt like they got more sleep since the change, 40 percent of the students answered yes, 35 percent answered no and 25 percent answered “somewhat”.

She shared that she believed it was valuable to present these survey results to the School Board because it’s important to move forward with things other than COVID-19. She also added that the PAC meeting went very well.

Action Items & Committee Reports

Curriculum and Instruction

In Curriculum and Instruction, the board approved the formation of a committee to study school start times. Dr. Sanville shared that he believes given the framework presented at the Work Session regarding the style of the committee that the District can get this done and noted that we'll update the board monthly as we adjust to our changing circumstances.

Technology

Ms. Anderson shared her gratitude to the technology team for how quickly they evolved with distance learning.

Wellness

Ms. Brown shared that there will be one more Wellness Council meeting this spring. Ms. Anderson shared that she was able to participate in the recent Penn Consortium meeting and how she was impressed by the team's work.

Facilities

Mr. Day presented the following items for board approval: Toilet Room Renovations at Unionville High School, Library Modernization at Chadds Ford Elementary and Hillendale Elementary, Summer Painting at Chadds Ford Elementary and Unionville Elementary School, and Gym/Cafe Flooring Replacement at Hillendale Elementary. All four items were approved by the school board.

Finance

Dr. Akki shared that the bid awards for Kitchen Equipment at Patton Middle School will be tabled as recommended by legal counsel. The District will rebid utilizing an online bid service to send and receive electronically.

Dr. Akki proposed a motion to authorize the Superintendent to maintain hourly support staff employees on current wages and benefits as the District explores utilization of a continuum of educational approaches to the extent school remains closed due to the Coronavirus Crisis. In authorizing the Superintendent, it is understood he will remain in direct consultation with Board Leadership and any decisions by the Superintendent will be ratified by the Board of Directors at a subsequent meeting under the School Code. This resolution sunsets at the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year. The school board approved this motion.

Personnel

Dr. Simonson shared that items were discussed in the Executive Session and moved to approve Personnel Items 9.1 through 9.8 and 9.10. Summer Staff Hourly Rate was approved with New Summer Staff at $12/hour and Returning Summer Staff at $13/hour.

Communications

Ms. Talbert shared an update on the Wall of Honor program, reporting a record number of nominations have been received. The Nomination Committee has met, and a group of nominations will move onto the Selection Committee. Ms. Talbert also thanked the communications department for their recent work and pointed to the new COVID-19 web page on the UCFSD website as a outstanding resources for the community.

Policy

There were no policies up for vote this month but Mr. Murphy brought attention to policies up for vote next month including: Policy 200 Enrollment of Students, Policy 200-AG-1 Enrollment of Students - Proof Administrative Guideline, Policy 220 Student Expression/Distribution and Posting of Materials, Policy 610 Purchases Subject to Bid/Quotation, Policy 611 Purchases Budgeted, Policy 711 Small Unmanned Aircraft, Policy 815.1 Social Media, Policy 913 Nonschool Organizations/Groups/Individuals.

Legislation

Ms. Talbert proposed to approve the Charter School Funding Resolution. The school board approved this motion.

Ms. Talbert also shared that legislation could waive the District’s 180-day requirement and that the Commonwealth has waived PSSAs and Keystone tests for 2019-20; AP testing will take place online.

CCIU Report

Mr. Hellrung noted that there were a few significant action items beyond routine business passed at the regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, March 18, 2020. These items included: refinancing of the 2015 Bond Issue was passed which is now expected to save over $990 thousand to the CCIU, core and occupational budgets, and a motion for the Executive Director to be authorized to make administrative decisions on behalf of the CCIU during the closure period. A memorandum of understanding to pay CCIU employees was also passed. Mr. Hellrung noted that this is similar to the UCFSD motion passed earlier in the evening.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Curriculum & Instruction Meeting - April 14 at 4:30 pm
  • School Board Work Session - April 14 at 7 pm
  • School Board Meeting - April 20 at 7:30 pm

Distance Learning

Students continue to learn and staff continue to provide meaningful education throughout Unionville-Chadds Ford despite being at home! Take a look at what our students and staff have been up to over the last two weeks!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

In an effort to help Families with planning for the weeks ahead - below is the ucfsd schedule through spring break:

UCF Community Scholarship Fund

A Message from the UHS PTO
Together, we can help our graduates during these uncertain times!

Amid all of today's uncertainties, we will still be able to award the UCF Community Scholarships. For over 50 years, the UCF Community Scholarship Fund has provided scholarship aid to outstanding graduating seniors at Unionville High School. And this year we will be able to award the scholarships to our 2020 graduates.

Funding for the scholarship relies upon annual contributions made by members of our UCFSD community, including families, staff and the PTOs from all of the district schools.

With over 40 applicants, we need your help urgently to maximize the number of grants we can award to our qualified seniors. Understanding that many families are under financial strain due to the current circumstances, please consider donating any amount - no amount is too small.

Make your contribution via credit/debit card by using the following link - UCF Community Scholarship PayPal. Please indicate how you would like your name to appear in the 2020 Graduation Program in “Write/Add a Note” when using PayPal.

Alternatively, you may send a check made payable to UCF Community Scholarship Fund to the High School Office:

UCF Community Scholarship Fund, UHS c/o Carolyn Barr, 750 Unionville Road, Kennett Square PA 19348

If you have any questions or issues using the above links, please contact Karen Dempsey (kmcdemp@aol.com).

TIPS FOR MANAGING COVID-19 RELATED STRESS

FOCUS HAS OFFERED THE FOLLOWING TIPS TO HELP FAMILIES WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY DURING THIS uncertain TIME.

Tip #1 - REMAIN CALM

  • Remain calm and deal with your own worry and anxiety
  • Use coping skills to calm yourself
  • Children will follow both verbal and non-verbal reactions
  • Watch your response to the news…and your own media consumption
  • Let your children talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective

TIP #2 - LAY A FOUNDATION

  • Keep talking, let them know that the lines of communication will be open
  • Find other topics to talk about. It’s a great time for teachable moments
  • Invite children to talk about the issue- find out what they already know or what they are learning
  • Remember that not talking about something can increase worry
  • Don’t minimize or avoid concerns- listen and let them know that it’s OK to be scared or worried
  • It is okay to say “even though we don’t have answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, we will let you know”

TIP #3 - BE REASSURING

  • If true, emphasize to children that they and their family is fine
  • Remind children that adults are there to keep them safe and healthy
  • Reassure children that the coronavirus is still relatively rare and that most people who have the virus have only mild to moderate symptoms
  • Remind them that children seem to have much milder symptoms

TIP #4 - CREATE A PLAN FOR SAFETY

  • “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” –Jamie Howard, Child Mind Institute
  • Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe and emphasize precautions you are taking
  • Review and model basic hygiene, e.g. basic handwashing

TIP #5 - STICK TO ROUTINES

  • Structure each day- even if your district is doing virtual learning
  • Balance schoolwork and play/relaxation time
  • Don’t push children if they seem overwhelmed
  • Discuss the new rules at home
  • Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes
  • Manage screen times

To view the full webinar and slide presentation on Supporting Student Stress, Worry & Mental Health During COVID-19 (originally from Effective School Solutions) for more information on how FOCUS is helping our families and community, please visit:

ONLINE Activities FOR STUDENTS

We have compiled a list of activities and resources that you and your child can access online that will help add adventure, excitement, education, and productivity to any free time at home! The following list is also available on our website!

Wellness Activities

The Wellness Activity Series playlist on our YouTube channel includes a variety of wellness activities that are occurring throughout the District. These have been collected and shared by a group of dedicated UCFSD Wellness Ambassadors so that our UCF families have access to some Wellness activities they can do during their free time at home!

Below are just a few of the wellness activities featured in our Wellness Activity Series!

Please remember to continue to practice Social Distancing! Here are some guidelines:

If there is ever a question of whether something is safe or should be avoided, don't take the risk!

Stay Home • Stay Safe • Stay Healthy