Westside Schools To Remain Closed For Remainder Of School Year
Posted April 2, 2020
Governor Ricketts issued an order Wednesday night requiring Nebraska schools to operate without students in buildings through May 31. With that, we now know that we will NOT be able to physically come back together this school year; Westside Community Schools will remain closed with our extended campus learning format to continue.
While we held out hope we would be reunited with our students this school year, we have also been preparing for this worst case scenario. Administrators are meeting throughout the day today to begin finalizing plans we have been discussing since closures began.
We will continue our Extended Campus Learning Plan as we have done these past three weeks. With that in mind, we are going to adjust our school calendar slightly due to these unusual circumstances. The last day of school for students is now going to be moved up to Wednesday, May 13th. Teachers will work on May 14th and 15th to finalize grades, etc.
Assignments will continue to count. Our heavy emphasis is on learning, staying academically and socially engaged, and reviewing key concepts. We want to continue to focus on learning as opposed to grading. We just want everyone to simply do the best they can.
We take great pride in our robust and viable curriculum. Our Teaching and Learning Team is evaluating how to scaffold additional learning opportunities at the beginning of the next school year to support possible learning gaps for students.
We will continue to work through ‘end of school year’ procedures:
- iPad / Laptop Turn-in: We are not sure yet what our iPad and laptop technology collection process will look like. We will share details from our Technology team as soon as those plans are finalized.
- Lockers / Library Books / Instruments / Show Choir Costumes / PE Clothes: We are discussing how to handle the return of instrument rentals, textbooks, library books, costumes, school supplies, etc. These discussions also include how we can clean out lockers and classrooms, and make sure all families and staff get anything left in our buildings. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
We will also continue to support the needs of our students and families, especially regarding food availability and mental health/emotional support.
- Free Meals for Students: Unless the health department tells us we can’t, or we are placed on a statewide lockdown, we plan to continue to provide FREE meals to all 1-18 year olds each Monday from April 6th through May 18th at least using the schedule below. We will send home 5-days worth of breakfasts, lunches, and milks for each child that needs it.
- 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
- Westbrook Elementary at 1312 Robertson Drive
- Prairie Lane/Swing School at 3534 South 108th Street
- Westside Middle School at 8601 Arbor Street
- 4:00 – 6:00 PM
- Westside Middle School at 8601 Arbor Street
- 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
- Westside Support Hotlines: We know this is a stressful, challenging time for all of our students, families and staff members.
- If you need help for yourself or your child regarding behavior, mental help support, or how you can access help, please call the Westside Support Hotline at 402-390-2109. Your information will be kept private and used to connect you directly with help from Westside officials and our partners. This line will be activated by the morning of 4/3/2020.
- If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names.
- Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life threatening situation, always call 911.
Closing our schools for the rest of the year also impacts several high-priority events:
- Spring Activities/Sports: The spring activities season has officially been cancelled by NSAA.
- Warrior Walkabout: Warrior Walkabout and 6th grade Information Nights for incoming 7th graders and their families will be rescheduled before school starts in the fall. We want all soon-to-be 7th graders to feel welcome and confident about their great days ahead at WMS and will keep you updated on these important dates as soon as we know more.
- Kindergarten Round-Up and Incoming Parent Meetings: We will look to have these important gatherings over the summer as we are excited to welcome these new learners. Stay tuned for more info.
- Honors / Awards Assemblies: Honors Nights and Awards assemblies scheduled for April/May at WHS will now be conducted over social media. We will have some duplication of this to honor major award winners in the fall at school assemblies and other district events.
- We hope to be able to have a Non-Formal Prom/Dance on June 6th: This is dependent upon county/state mandates for large gatherings and if events of this nature will be allowable by then. This event would take place at WHS. Stay tuned for more info.
- Graduation, scheduled for May 17, is being formally postponed. We continue to work on possible graduation plans (including virtual graduation ceremonies) for the Class of 2020. We have alternate dates of June 20th and 27th at 2:00 set up if large group gatherings are available by then. Again, please stay tuned for details. We hope to know by May 29th if we can hold a ceremony and will share the pertinent info at that time.
- Try-Outs @ WHS: Stay tuned for more info on WHS Try-outs (Show Choir, Cheer, Dance Team, etc). Sponsors and coaches will decide and communicate by April 16th what virtual tryout plans will look like for their respective programs.
- Summer School & Camps: At this point, we are not sure what our summer is going to look like regarding summer school, camps, etc. We hope as we move into May and receive further guidance from state leaders and health officials, we can plan for June and beyond. We will communicate plans with you as they become final; stay tuned.
We realize we are using the phrase ‘stay tuned’ quite a bit. That is the common theme for us as we work through these new changes and plan for additional developments as our community, country and world continue to respond to this pandemic
We will continue to iron out details as we work through this and will follow up with you through email over the next 10-20 days. We do not want to overwhelm you with communication, and our goal is to share as much as possible with you to keep everyone on the same page. We encourage you to continue checking our COVID-19 Reference Guide for families for daily updates, and topics that may specifically affect you and your family: https://www.smore.com/0j172-covid-19-reference-guide
REMINDER — we will observe Spring Break April 6th – 10th with no school assignments.
Thank you for your support, engagement, and patience – we are all in this together. Just keep doing your best. We appreciate all that you’re doing. Better days are ahead.