Message from Bradley : Spring recess & video conferencing

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Dear EVCS families,

I hope this message finds you all healthy and well. As we get ready to enter our third week of remote learning I want to check in with all of you on some big picture and DOE policy updates, and also ask for your input on our long term plans.

I’ll start with the headline. On Friday afternoon the Chancellor announced that our previously scheduled spring recess, including the days of Passover and Good Friday, is cancelled, and that remote learning should continue uninterrupted this week and next. My understanding of the intentions behind this policy shift is that the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City is expected to hit exactly at the time of our scheduled break, and the City is doing everything they can to encourage everyone to stay home and be occupied and safe. While I get the rationale, I know this information came as a surprise and was disappointing for many of our students, parents and staff, all of whom have been working really hard during this stressful time and were looking forward to a well-deserved and restorative break. The teachers and I will be meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss our plans for keeping students engaged during the break and I will update you soon so you know what to expect. My intention is to create a plan for that time that provides continuity for our students as well as a breather for everyone.

Since it is seeming more and more like remote learning will be our reality for the foreseeable future, we are starting to draft longer term plans and would like your input. Please take a moment to fill out this survey so we can understand from the student and parent point of view how this experience has been over the last two weeks and how it is working for your family.

Finally, it was announced on Friday that because of security and privacy concerns, the DOE is no longer allowing the use of Zoom as a video conferencing platform. They are reviewing other platforms including Google Hangouts – but for the time being the only approved platform for video conferencing is Microsoft Teams. Building the plane while flying the plane indeed! We designed our entire remote learning platform around Google applications, so before we pivot to adopt another platform, we are waiting for more guidance from the DOE, which should be coming soon. In the meantime though, I have advised our staff to hold off on all live teaching, small group instruction and individual conferences, including teletherapy – anything that requires the use of video conferencing. I believe this will be a very temporary shift, and we will be back to having video conferencing ability very soon, so please stay tuned.

Thank you all so much for your patience as we navigate these uncharted waters. Please tell your kids that I miss them, and that I am so proud of all the ways they have risen to these challenges over the last few weeks. More soon.

Yours,
Bradley