COVID-19 Updates

ATTENDANCE STATUS: NO IN-PERSON SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS/STAFF THROUGH APRIL 17.

March 24

Mississippi Department of Education Compiles Learning-at-Home Resources

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has compiled a host of learning-at-home resources for students in pre-K through grade 12 to support student learning during the extended school closure. The resources are available online at www.mdek12.org/LearningAtHome.

The learning-at-home resources do not replace what children have learned at school, but instead help students practice the skills and strategies taught by their teachers. The resources are intended to help parents and caregivers engage students in continued education.

Resources include learning activities, example videos and digital resources that support the Mississippi College-and Career-Readiness Standards to continue and reinforce children’s education.

MDE content specialists have selected all resources, which include dedicated webpages for students in pre-K-grade 1, grades 2-3, grades 4-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Also, resources for students with visual or hearing impairments are available and guidance on social emotional learning.

During this unusual time of extended school closures nationwide, it is important that students continue to read, write, and engage in social studies, science and math activities.

The MDE learning-at-home webpages will be updated periodically with additional resources.

PREVIOUS UPDATES

Governor Tate Reeves has canceled all in-person school until April 17th. The Mississippi Department of Education made it clear that school buildings are to be closed but the educational process of students shall continue. The New Albany School District will be conducting virtual school until we return to in-person school. Students have been participating in classes all week and will continue to do so. We are very excited to continue to provide our stakeholders with quality online instruction.

We will begin to provide daily updates regarding our school situation and the national pandemic emergency.  These updates will be emailed to our district staff and posted to our district’s Facebook & Twitter, as well as our school district website.

All official updates from the school district are now posted to our website.  Go to https://www.newalbanyschools.us/covid-19/ to view these archived messages and to receive new information as it becomes available.

I would like to extend a huge “THANK YOU” to our administrators, leadership team, and teachers.  As we have embarked on making virtual school available to our students, these people have worked hard to do what’s right for our students and ensure that student learning continues.

Yesterday, I met with pastors from churches in our city to develop a plan regarding feeding our students.  Beginning Monday, March 23, “Grab & Go” meals will be available at New Albany Middle School Cafeteria each weekday from 8:30-10:30 a.m.  The “Grab & Go” option is available to all children and the meals will include breakfast and lunch.  Our churches have agreed to partner with us each Friday to make available weekend food bags so our children will have meals over the weekend. Thank you to our churches.  It is wonderful to live in a community where the partnerships are so evident between schools and churches.

Our district has a 1:1 iPad initiative in place; however, our students at the elementary school do not carry them home daily.   We are currently working on a plan for the elementary school students who need a device.  This would include students who do not have any access to a smartphone, iPad, or computer in their home.

Our school offices are staffed daily from 9 am – 1 pm to answer the phones.  During this time, school staff can answer questions that parents and students may have.  Please only use phone calls during these hours rather than face-to face visits.  We want to stay in accordance with CDE and state recommendations to adhere to the idea of social distancing.

Parents, please encourage your students to stay involved with our virtual school and online learning activities.  This gives them the opportunity to continue their education and to stay in contact with their teachers and peers.

Our leadership team is continuing to develop ideas how to best serve our students, their families, and our community during this trying time.  Stay tuned for our daily updates.  Stay safe and healthy.  Use good handwashing techniques.  Practice social distancing.

March 16, 2020 – Media reports have continued to increase about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in recent days.  The New Albany School District (NASD) has been very diligent in following the recommendations and guidelines of both the Centers for Disease Control and the Mississippi Department of Education.

School administrators, nurses, and custodians have continually met to implement plans to ensure that staff and students are kept as well as possible by increased cleaning efforts and educational awareness. 

“Our custodians have been instructed to clean with virucidal disinfectant cleaner and to also use an industrial grade disinfectant to spray surfaces such as doors, door handles, and areas that are frequently touched at least twice during the school day.  Teachers have been advised to clean their classrooms and work spaces with disinfectant wipes. Cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers are being furnished to teachers by the school district if needed and are available through the nurse’s office on each campus,” explained Dr. Lance Evans, Superintendent.

“We have asked our teachers to remind our students regarding effective illness prevention practices and would appreciate these practices being reinforced at home to keep our students healthy,” said Tammie Reeder, BSN, RN, NCSN Health Services Coordinator for New Albany Schools.  These practices include: 

  • coughing into the elbow
  • using tissues and disposing of them properly
  • washing hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • avoid sharing personal items with others
  • avoid eating or drinking after others
  • stay home when sick

Please visit this link for facts from the CDC. This resource is full of many interesting things regarding COVID-19, including its origin and symptoms.

Click here for more information from the CDC

March 16 – Administrators and central office staff in the New Albany School District (NASD) have been meeting daily since Friday, March 13 to develop a plan that is in the best interest of our students’ health, safety, and educational progress.

Our administrative team and our school board want to ensure that the health and safety of our students and staff remain a top priority during this time. At this time, the decision has been made to extend the school closure by one additional week.  Schools will be closed to students and staff from March 16 through March 27.  Per the direction of the Mississippi High School Activities Association all sporting events and sporting practices are suspended through March 29.  All other school sponsored events and activities are also cancelled through March 29.  

Dr. Lance Evans, Superintendent of New Albany Schools, addressed the employees of the New Albany School District in a formal letter that was issued through district email on Monday morning (March 16).

Evans stated, “The past few days have certainly been history in the making for our nation.  These are unprecedented times for our school district, our state, and our nation.  We have always been known for being a leader in education in our region.  We are certainly known as a staff and a school district that takes care of our students and each other.  Because of the innovation and our available technology, our administrative team has made the decision to embark on utilizing virtual education during these times of uncertainty.  I am personally asking us all to come together to do what’s best for our students and show our community the strength and resilience of Bulldog Nation.”

New Albany School District will be delivering instruction through our 1:1 iPad initiative.  The school district will utilize multiple platforms to deliver content in all grades K-12.  These platforms include:  Google Meet, Canvas, Explain Everything, School Status, Mastery Connect, & Group Me.  

Administrators have been instructed to conduct virtual faculty and staff meetings on Monday, March 16 or Tuesday, March 17, to provide all details needed to successfully continue the educational progress of our students.  All teachers will provide virtual instruction for students on a daily basis.  As a part of that time, each teacher will keep virtual office hours at least one hour per day each week day. Office hours will be established between the principals and teachers in an effort to prevent time conflicts for students.

“While we realize all students will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity, we have asked all of our teachers that quality instruction be available for all,” Evans explained.  “I urge parents to assist us with the unique opportunity we have in our district because of our technology.  If you have reliable Internet, please encourage your students to use their school devices or other devices to complete school assignments and participate in online school learning opportunities.”

Online instruction will begin on Thursday, March 19.  Instructional content will be available online for student access online by 8 pm on Wednesday, March 18.  In addition, online office hours will begin on Thursday, March 19.  Content will be review and remediation.  Graded work may improve a student’s average, but will not negatively affect a student’s grade.

The administrative staff at NASD is continuously monitoring the situation and seeking guidance from the local medical community, the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Department of Health, and the Mississippi Legislature. 

Evans ended his letter to the faculty and staff by saying, “Please understand that this is a fluid situation and is continuously being monitored.  We appreciate your understanding and support at this time.  During these uncertain times we want to be remembered as those who did all we could for the success of all students and for our school district.  I appreciate what you do as we work together to Prepare ALL for Success.”

March 13, 2020 – Administrators and leaders from the New Albany School District have been meeting throughout the day (March 13, 2020) to determine the best course of action for our students and staff members. Our school board and administrative team are committed to making safety and health a top priority for our students. This afternoon, President Donald Trump issued a national emergency for our country. After learning of this information, the decision has been made to close school for students and staff during the week of March 16-20. In addition, all school events, athletic events, and athletic practices have been suspended until at least March 23. Next week, the administrative team will continue to meet and work to make informed decisions regarding our students, their education, and their health and safety. We plan to provide an official update on Tuesday, March 17. Please follow New Albany School District on Facebook and Twitter for important announcements.

March 12, 2020 – We are currently monitoring the situation regarding the COVID-19 virus. Our administrative team and our school board want to ensure that the health and safety of our students and staff remain a top priority during this time. Using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, we have had a plan in place for several weeks regarding cleaning and disinfecting, as well as educational awareness. We will consistently seek guidance from and follow the direction of the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi High School Activities Association, and the Mississippi Department of Health. In addition, we will be in close contact with our local medical community for advisement. We will continue to make updates and post any important announcements on our social media outlets throughout the weekend.