KDES and MSSD to have an extended Spring Break

Clerc Center Community –

We will now begin an extended Spring Break on Monday March 16 for both KDES and MSSD.  Please see below for details.

First, we want to thank everyone for their continued patience and support for students as we all navigate this quickly changing public health situation.  As was communicated yesterday, Gallaudet University made the decision to transition to online education for the remainder of their semester. The Clerc Center Leadership Team met to review this decision and the impact on KDES, MSSD, and Clerc Center operations.  The team reviewed:

  • Considerations and legal requirements for special education students (students with IEPs).
  •  Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization
  •  Non-Instructional days already in our calendar (e.g. spring break, professional development days etc)
  • Quickly changing availability of flights and other modes of transportation for students in the event we need to close.
  • The challenge of balancing the impact of a closure on families, teaching and learning, with the health and safety of our community.

At this time, the following decisions have been made:

  •  KDES and MSSD will begin an extended Spring Break effective March 16. (MSSD will work with families who need more time to get their child home and will maintain operations until March 20 if needed).
    • Instructional Time: KDES and MSSD has 15 non-instructional days built into the calendar including unused snow days, spring break, and professional development days.  These days will be moved up to use now.  This creates a “grace period” to allow us to evaluate the ongoing and evolving pandemic, deep clean our buildings and plan for possible future scenarios.
    • Evaluation of Return to Campus: Our hope is to have students return as planned after Spring Break (April 20).  This will allow students to participate in state assessments, catch up on academics, complete course requirements, and join end of year events.  This decision will be evaluated daily based on the current data available about COVID-19.  We will be communicating with the community weekly to update you on our operating status and plans to either return students to campus or shift to an alternate learning plan.
    • MSSD Student Travel: Please contact Student Life staff  immediately to share travel arrangements.  Parents should:
      • First try to change travel arrangements themselves.  Many airlines have waived change fees due to COVID-19.
      • Communicate travel plans to Student Life staff at mssd.studentlife@gallaudet.edu
      • If there is a fee to change your child’s travel, please let us know.  We will work with government travel agents to explore options and/or work with you to reimburse costs.  Please contact us first.  We cannot reimburse you for costs unless pre-approved.  
    • Educational Resources: Teachers will be preparing a reading lists and educational resources students may use during this extended break to continue learning. Please watch for additional communication about this next week.
  • Athletics: Our athletic league just announced the suspension of all league play for the remainder of the season.  We know this is incredibly disappointing for our athletes.  If we are able to return students to campus, we will work with coaches and student athletes on what a closeout to their season could look like.
  • Shared Reading Project/Family ASL Classes:  At this time, we will also be suspending home visits for the Shared Reading Project and Family ASL Classes. Tara Miles will be in touch with families with more information, as needed.
  • Events:  Following is a list of upcoming events and the decisions known to date:
    • KDES Vocabulary Bee (3/13): Event will be held but will be closed to audience members.  The event will be broadcast on FaceBook Live.
    • Hoy Baseball and Softball Tournament: Cancelled by the host school
    • Berg-Seeger Track Tournament: Cancelled by the host school
    • RIT Math Tournament: Awaiting decision by RIT/NTID
    • National Academic Bowl: Gallaudet announced it is considering a hybrid online/in person model; Awaiting final decision
    • Battle of the Books: Announced online only event, more details to be communicated by Gallaudet Youth Programs
    • MSSD Open House 5/1: Event will be postponed, more information to be communicated at a later date.

These decisions were not made easily.  We recognize the impact of school closures on families and students.  We hope to be able to return to campus and will be working with students to ensure the remainder of their semester is productive and meaningful, especially for our outgoing seniors.

We appreciate your support and we are committed to regular communication with updates as new information is available or decisions are made.  We will be developing and sharing an FAQ that will be updated regularly.  As always, please email us or your school leadership team with questions or concerns. All staff are on standby to support students and families at this difficult time.

Thank you.

Marianne Belsky, Chief Academic Officer
Nicole Sutliffe, Chief Administrative Officer