Hello Falcon Families!
Hopefully everyone had a wonderful weekend and is excited for the fourth of July! Please remember that JPEC staff and administration will be off from June 29 - July 3. The district offices will be closed during this time, too. Faculty will pick back up support for students still working on Monday, July 5.
Fall 2020 & Reopening
This past week House and Senate legislators put forward a proposed plan for returning to school - Return to School One Page
There are positive supports for districts and students within this plan, and expected flexibilities. There are one time funding increases per student and stipends for teachers built into this plan, as well as the expectation of waivers allowing districts to put forward face-to-face and virtual learning plans. Please keep in mind that this still needs to go through the House and the Senate, and then ultimately be signed by the Governor. I do expect that elements of this plan will be included in the guidance that is put forward this coming week. Please see our planning below.
As I previously shared, we are preparing to run a hybrid schedule for our students.
- Student on Schedule A - Attends in-person classes on Monday & Tuesday and participates in live streaming classes virtually on Thursday & Friday.
- Student on Schedule B - Participates in live streaming classes virtually on Monday & Tuesday and attends in-person classes on Thursday & Friday.
We are also preparing so that families/students may choose to remain fully online/virtual if desired and needed.
Additional planning and preparation for this coming Fall...
- Daily health screenings will happen for students and staff prior to being allowed to enter a school building.
- Access to offices and common areas will be severely restricted.
- Directional indicators and foot traffic flow management will be in effect in all common areas and hallways.
- The College Prep and Early College will be providing more school-level details based on district guidance noted in our plan.
- We will be following CDC guidance for contact tracing, quarantining ill students/staff, and school closure due to COVID positive illness.
- Plans for 2021 graduates will be set early this Fall to ensure we are support these students.
If interested I encourage you to review the six key areas in our plan. Please keep in mind that we must be flexible and ready to modify our plan in the event State guidance requires us to do so. I will continue to update our community we receive additional information and as we get closer to fall. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions - email@example.com.
Graduation and Commencement
There have been a number of questions and frustrations shared regarding our commencement plan. While originally we had planned to hold commencement at JC, even if that meant each graduate walking across the stage with their family present for pictures, unfortunately that plan was no longer feasible. With the campus closure, social distancing guidelines, and furloughed staff, having any sort of commencement in the JC theater space was no longer possible.
I am aware that a couple other districts have scheduled ceremonies at JC, and I know that JC has expressed that these are tentative, the campus remains closed, staff are still furloughed, and social distancing guidelines are still in effect. Whether these ceremonies are able to happen is yet to be seen.
There are also significant barriers that exist with outdoor events. Currently guidance dictates that groups of 250 or more cannot gather outside. With the number of students we have expecting to walk in commencement, each student would only be able to invite one guest. We also face health screening, social distancing, and speaker system challenges.
For clarification, commencement is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, July 23. Currently we are planning to stream a virtual ceremony with speakers beginning at 6:00pm followed by an outdoor celebration at 7:00pm through (tentatively) Ella Sharp Park. Thank you to those that have sent me suggestions for outdoor locations, and I am looking into these.
With the college postponing their commencement ceremony indefinitely, the bookstore was not able to reach a suitable solution to provide caps & gowns to families. Students are welcome to wear a cap & gown of their choosing - a borrowed set from a friend or family member, or select a set from a variety of affordable options available via Amazon and other retailers. Students are welcome to wear various colors, too.
I will echo Mr. Marowelli's comments. We do sympathize and understand that a virtual ceremony is not what our graduates had hoped for, and there is a desire for that social gathering and commencement experience to commemorate your time at JPEC. Unfortunately we do not wish delay the scheduling and planning of a ceremony any longer in hopes of being in-person, as many colleges have decided to start the fall term early. Additionally, our graduates entering the military service have ship dates that have been set far in advance. Despite all of the challenges, we are looking forward to celebrating our graduates as best we can and saying farewell to a truly amazing group of students.
- Shane A. Malmquist
JPEC | Your Place - your purpose - your future