District Updates

Posted April 24, 2020

Our Plans For Summer
As we consider opening our schools for student use again, there are several new safety practices that will be put into place regarding group size, social distancing, health monitoring, surface cleaning and more. We will share details on our new procedures in the weeks ahead, but our plan is to start by reopening our Valley Kids program for elementary students, possibly as soon as May 26. Opening this program first allows us to practice new procedures with a smaller group of students and staff. Roughly 100 students are expected to participate in the program. Valley Kids is a full-day program through the summer, except for any weeks our elementary schools are hosting an in person summer school program. During summer school, Valley Kids shifts to a before and after-school program.

The dates for our in person elementary and middle school summer school program is being moved to July 6-31 and will be held at Prairie Branch Elementary (for Matthews and Prairie Branch students), Stony Point Elementary (for Sni-A-Bar and Stony Point students) and South Middle School (serving both middle schools). Roughly 1000 students typically participate in our summer school program. Making the decision now to move this program to July allows our families and teachers time to plan accordingly, and gives us a few weeks with new safety procedures for the smaller Valley Kids program before jumping to 1000 students at three schools in July.

Our high school summer school program will consist of online courses in June for courses in Personal Finance, PE, Health, and Drivers Education. Credit recovery for other courses needed by individual students will be considered for online learning in June and in person for July, if possible.

We plan to offer virtual programming for elementary and middle school students June 1-26 that is different from the flexible learning that has been underway as an extension of the school year these past few weeks. We will share more information on this virtual program soon so families can decide if it is right for them. If we are not able to offer an in person summer school program in July due to ongoing limits for group size, then another virtual program will be offered just for the month of July that has the same format as the June program, but with a new theme and different learning activities.

We are eager to get back into classrooms with our students and will continue to plan and prepare for these summer programs.

The first day of school for all students is Monday, August 24. At that time, we expect to welcome back roughly 4600 students in our eight schools. The new safety procedures we implement over the summer will help inform new procedures that will be in place next school year.

Student to Return School Items and Retrieve Personal Items
Each school will communicate their plans with families for the return of school items and to pick up personal belongings from school. These notices are expected to be shared with families by the end of next week. Families are urged to abide by the procedures that are shared by the schools.


Posted April 16, 2020

Flexible Learning Continues
Governor Parson has ordered school buildings closed, but for learning opportunities to continue, through the rest of this school year. The last day of school in Grain Valley is May 20. Our principals and teachers will continue to update families with instructional updates each week through May 20.

We are in our fourth week of supporting flexible learning for students and families and we have 4 ½ more weeks after this one. We commend our families for their patience with us as our teachers and leaders work to support learning for students at home. This is not anyone’s preferred way to do school but it is our reality at this time and together we will get through it.

Please do not hesitate to email your child’s teacher, school counselor, or school or district administrator with any questions or feedback. It is our goal to make the most of a very challenging situation.

Class of 2020
Commencement for the Class of 2020 has been rescheduled for July 23 at 7:00 PM at the Community of Christ Auditorium. If we are not able to celebrate in person on July 23, then we will produce an online graduation ceremony for the same date.

Senior Awards Night - We will honor our senior scholarship earners through a recorded presentation program that will be aired at 7:00 PM on May 4. Families with seniors who will receive an award will be notified by email ahead of time.

We are planning a “Salute to Seniors” to be broadcast on May 21. This is something new that is underway to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2020!

Sni Valley Graduation is July 16 at 7:00 PM in the Jan Reding Community Room and Lecture Hall, located at the northeast corner of GVHS. It will change to a virtual event for the same night if needed.

Grades for Middle School and High School Students
The grades that students in grades 6-12 were earning as of March 13 can improve by demonstrating growth in previously taught learning targets. Grades may go down for students who do not stay adequately engaged in flexible learning through the last day of school on May 20 (May 13 for seniors). School principals are sharing more details about grades with their families this week.

Student Personal Belongings At School
Medication Returned – All student medications have been transferred to Grain Valley High School from each of the other schools. Families with student medications at school may arrange to pick them up curbside at Grain Valley High School on May 6 from 1:00-6:00 PM. Call the health room at 816-847-5000 ext.2015 during the times listed to give district nurses a timeframe for your arrival or call when you arrive and medications will be brought to you. Please stay in your vehicle when you arrive at the main entrance at the north end of the school. Email Denise Beach (dbeach@gvr5.net) or Robin Wagoner (rwagoner@gvr5.net) if you do not wish to pick up the medications so they can be disposed of properly. If you would like to send someone else to pick up the medications, send an email giving consent to release medications.

Other Personal Items – We hope to be able to allow access to the schools in May for the retrieval of students’ personal items. We will share specific procedures once we are cleared to do so.

Meals Available For Students In Need
We continue to provide weekday lunches, with some food for the following morning, for any student who needs it. Families may enroll for this program under the COVID-19 tab on our district’s website.

Returning School Property
We hope to be able to receive library books and other school property sometime in May. We will keep everyone posted.

Chromebook Returns
Middle school and high school students will hold onto their Chromebooks through the summer. GVHS will communicate with seniors for the collection of their Chromebooks and meeting other obligations as conditions for graduation.



Posted March 27, 2020

We remain closed through April 24 due to the ‘Stay at Home’ order. State testing has been canceled.

Our teachers are engaging with students daily to help the continuity of the learning process. Our goal during this closure is to support learning goals through flexible structures, teacher-student interactions that are purposeful and as personal as can be accomplished given the number of families with limited or no internet access in our community, and supportive to the learning at home that is as authentic as possible. We are not trying to recreate school at home, continue with teacher-centered instruction, or assigning tasks to students just to “get through” the material.

New lessons will be added weekly. Teachers are sending daily messages to the email address on file for each child with morning greetings, helpful tips, and encouragement. All lessons can be found on the district website from the COVID-19 tab. Although we want to make sure our students have engaging learning activities, our main concern is that everyone stays safe and healthy.

Our teachers are working to adapt to a very new way of engaging with their students. It is fair to say that we miss our students and we miss having school in session. We look forward to getting back to business as usual once it is safe to do so.

We also commend our families for their patience. We have families of our own and recognize the level of change the ‘Stay at Home’ order has brought to everyone. A general rule of thumb is if you feel we are asking too much of you or your child, move on from that task and don’t sweat it.

Families can check out tips from our school counselors on our website, also under the COVID-19 tab. High school counselors have updates on AP testing and scholarships for seniors. Elementary and middle school counselors provide tips for talking with children about the coronavirus and other resources.

We are currently providing breakfast and lunch to more than 300 students who rely on us for meals, at no cost to families. More information on this program is available on our website.

The governor has asked us to consider providing childcare for families of first responders and medical professionals. We have heard from several families who are interested in such a program and are working to possibly put something in place. At this point our challenge is staffing such a program with enough personnel who would meet the necessary safety qualifications. We will keep these interested families updated.

Community resources are available. The Grain Valley Assistance Council and other area agencies are ready to help. Please reach out to your child’s school counselor if your family has new or additional needs and we will work to connect you with the appropriate resources. See our school or district websites for school counselor contact information.


March 21, 2020

Grain Valley Schools Families and Staff,

Our school closure is being extended through April 24, consistent with the “stay at home” order issued by Mayor Quinton Lucas this afternoon. This decision is made in collaboration between 14 members of the Coopering School Districts of Greater Kansas City and Mayor Lucas.

“The mayor also let schools know his new ‘stay-at-home’ order would have exceptions to allow school district employees to continue the important work they are doing to feed children and provide academic opportunities.” Dr. Kenny Southwick, executive director for the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City.

All school district facilities remain closed for student or community use for the duration of the school closure. All activities and practices are canceled during the school closure.

Our Valley Kids before and after school program remains closed. However, we are exploring the possibility of providing daycare for children of parents and guardians in the medical professions and other first responders in our community. These families should email us at news@gvr5.net if this applies to your family and you need assistance.

Our teachers and schools will continue to provide families with supplemental resources intended to keep students engaged in learning through April 24. Parents and guardians are not expected to keep their children engaged in school-type learning in replacement of a full school day. Each family is encouraged to manage learning in whatever way that makes sense for their circumstances.

Our Grab and Go lunch program for families whose students rely on us for breakfast and lunch begins on Monday and will proceed as planned. Any modifications that need to be made to this program will be communicated with those directly involved.

Mobile WiFi hotspots have been distributed to families who need them.

Other changes this spring include the cancellation of state testing (MAP and End Of Course exams) and the April election for school board members and the school bond issue ballot measure has been moved to June 2 by executive order of Governor Mike Parsons.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of our team with a need for help with a challenge you are facing. We are a part of a strong community and will work to make the right connection to help with your situation.

Sincerely,

Marc Snow, Superintendent of Schools
msnow@gvr5.net




Posted March 16, 2020

In a decision made this afternoon in collaboration with area school district leaders, Grain Valley Schools joins KC area school districts in shutting down through at least April 3 in response to the COVID-19 virus.

All school district facilities are closed for student or community use effective immediately and for the duration of the school closure. All activities and practices are canceled during the period of school closure.

Our Valley Kids before and after school program is canceled effective this Wednesday, March 18, so these families have an additional day to make other arrangements.

By the end of this week, all families will receive information through email from their child’s school on supplemental resources intended to keep students engaged in learning for the week of March 23. Resources for the week of March 30 will follow.

We are putting in place provisions to provide breakfast and lunch to students who rely on us for these meals. More on this program will also be shared later this week.

Kindergarten registration events, which are scheduled for March 26, are postponed until further notice. Families are encouraged to initiate the enrollment process for a new kindergarten student with instructions under the FOR FAMILIES tab of our website at GrainValleySchools.org.

This decision is being made considering many known factors, including the experiences of other regions in our country and in countries harder hit than we are at this time. It is also made with the confidence that together we can make adjustments to our lives that hopefully slow significant spikes in critical cases that may overwhelm regional medical facilities.

I am confident that our community will pull together and will look out for each other during this important time. We will continue to update our families during this closure.

Sincerely,

Marc Snow, Superintendent of Schools




Posted March 13, 2020

Grain Valley School District Families and Team Members:

Safety remains our top priority and the fast-evolving situation with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to think differently about how we operate as a school district. As we enter the start of a weeklong spring break, we wanted to give you an update on the steps we are taking, and are prepared to take, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and keep students and staff healthy and safe.

This is a rapidly-evolving situation and it is important to know that district plans could change or adjust as we receive new information from health, education and government officials.

District-sponsored student trips
We are canceling any non-essential area field trips.
We are reviewing any district-sponsored trips and applying guidance from Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The district will not permit district-sponsored trips to any area with a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisory and to U.S. states or regions that have declared a state of emergency.

Personal travel by Families or Staff Members

All students or staff members who plan to visit a country with a Level 3 CDC travel advisory will be asked to comply with the 14-day quarantine guidelines from the CDC upon return. As of the release of this update, these restrictions include travel to Europe, China, South Korea, and Iran. For more information click here. Anyone traveling anywhere else outside the U.S. is asked to practice enhanced precautions consistent with the worldwide CDC Alert Level 2.

Families or employees traveling outside the country for spring break are asked to notify their child’s principal (or their work supervisor) right away.

Preparing for the possibility of an Ordered School Closure
We intend to continue to have classes in all of our schools unless ordered to close by the governor/state agency, or under advisement by health department officials.

Today we are ensuring students and teachers take home with them any resources they may need to stay engaged with learning or teaching in an extended absence from school.

In the event of an ordered school closure, all families would receive communication of any ordered shutdown through all the usual school cancelation communication tools.

We are prepared to share supplemental instructional resources with students and families in the event of an ordered closure, and are prepared to provide internet hotspots to families if needed.

We will continue to update our families and team members of significant changes, even if changes occur during spring break, and on any potential ordered closure.

Our current circumstances are a time for preparedness and caution to protect the health of our school district family. This is a time for calm as we shift how we conduct ourselves. It is definitely not a time for panic.

We will keep an open line of communication about our plans as we navigate this rapidly-evolving situation. We are in this together and will get through this together. Email us at news@gvr5.net with any questions.

Sincerely,
Marc Snow
Superintendent of Schools

Posted March 9, 2020


School Re-entry Restrictions For Those Who Travel to Certain Countries

The safety and health of students and adults of our school community is our utmost concern, and we have been monitoring the spread of coronavirus and its implications for schools. There is no vaccine for the coronavirus at this time and the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure. Our best understanding of the incubation period (the time between exposure and symptoms) is between 1-14 days. As a public school district, we play an important role in slowing the spread of the disease by helping to ensure students have a safe and healthy learning environment.

Effective immediately, any student or district employee who visits a country identified as Alert Level 2 or Warning Level 3, according the Center for Disease Control (CDC), from now until the end of June, is expected to stay home from school or work for 14 days upon return to the United States. During these 14 days, students will not be penalized and will receive make-up schoolwork. Staff members will use sick leave.

Parents/guardians of students traveling to any of the countries mentioned are expected to inform the school principal of their travel plans right away. Any employee traveling to one of these countries is expected to inform their supervisor right away. Together, those impacted will work with school administrators to address make up schoolwork or to ensure coverage for the employee. During these 14 days, those impacted will not be permitted to be on school campuses or to participate or be present for any school activities, programs, clubs, etc.

As of today, Alert Level 2 and Warning Level 3 countries include China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan.


Posted March 3, 2020

Potential COVID-19 Outbreak Plan

Grain Valley Schools is working closely with the Jackson County Health Department regarding planning for, and monitoring of, the COVID-19 virus. The school district will take direction and guidance from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Jackson County Health Department on appropriate response measures; however, the district is preparing by taking the following actions:

  • An increase in hygiene reminders for students including hand washing before and after meals and covering noses and mouths when sneezing is being reinforced in every classroom.
  • Prior to the cancellation of school, if the health department is recommending the cancellation of mass gatherings, the district will consider what activities need to be cancelled and communicate with parents and students.
  • In the event that the health department is recommending the closing of schools, the district will communicate with parents utilizing the normal methods of communication.
  • The District is exploring alternative methods of instruction for all Pre-K-12 students.
  • The district’s Operations Department will institute sanitation measures utilizing appropriate virus destroying germicides and detergents, above and beyond standard cleaning procedures.
  • The Director of Health Services for the district will continue to work with the health department on any updates about the health and safety for the students and staff of the district.
  • In the event of a pandemic or other emergency, school counseling staff will assist with personal and emotional issues. The district’s crisis intervention plan will include methods for continuing counseling support even in the event of a long-term school closure.
  • A crisis intervention plan exists to help school district administrators and faculty deal effectively with crises that could interfere with the normal daily operation of the school.
  • The Director of Health Services maintains checklists provided by the CDC/DHSS to be utilized for pandemic influenza planning which are being reviewed.
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