From Principal Tom Korta
Today seemed like a big day of news. It seems every time I send an update, I wish I had said a few more things, all the while feeling that my emails are too long. As I made my list of things to cover tonight, I couldn’t believe how long the list was getting. Please read through the information carefully; especially the explanation at the very end of the email.
Here are some quick-hitter items:
· Today at 3:30, Governor Ricketts held a press conference in which he asked schools to do what it takes to be ready to provide distance learning by Friday. He stopped short of officially announcing that schools across the state will be closed next week, but it sure sounded like that is where he is leaning. Of course, I will keep you posted.
· For the next two weeks, the governor is asking people to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
· Last week I said that your kids aren’t quarantined, and that I thought having friends over was okay. I have to change my tune—I think we are all being called to stay home as much as possible for the next two weeks.
· The spring musical has been postponed, with hopes to reschedule if school resumes before the end of the semester.
· NO STUDENTS WILL BE PERMITTED TO GATHER AT PIUS X UNTIL MARCH 30 AT THE EARLIEST. Initially I had permitted some teachers/coaches to meet with small groups of students, but in light of the governor’s press conference today, I am no longer permitting it.
· Students CAN still come to the school to pick up school work/textbooks/supplies that are left in their lockers.
· Bishop Conley announced today that, effective immediately, all public Masses and communal celebration of the sacraments or other liturgies are indefinitely suspended in the Diocese of Lincoln.
· The NCAA Informational Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th has been postponed.
· The Incoming Freshman Uniform Try-on, scheduled for March 28, has been postponed.
· PLEASE remember to call Pius or email Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org if your child is sick. NOT just coronavirus sick, but if your child would have likely stayed home from school due to illness, we want to know!
Things to know about our attempt to (quickly) implement online instruction:
· Today, over 60 faculty attended training sessions today to learn tools for online instruction. I am so proud of their dedication to your kids. They want to do right by your kids. We won’t be perfect, but we will be passionate and use every weapon in our arsenal to allow your students to continue learning to the extent possible.
· One of the main staples for us, PowerSchool Learning, was having some issues today. I believe that very many schools across the state and country are suddenly beefing up their online presence, and I am not sure the infrastructure can withstand all of the additional activity. If your son or daughter expresses frustration, please let them know that there are issues and we will work together to resolve them.
· Some teachers are already posting things in Powerschool, but I have asked them to not make anything due until after Wednesday.
· We will continue to have people working at Pius during the day; please call the school if you are having technology issues and we will try to get you some help.
· Your students each have an Office 365 account. Our accounts allow us to download Microsoft Office applications on up to 5 computers!
· Allo has announced that it will also provide free internet access for 60 days to homes currently without internet.
· If you do not have a computer in your home, you can request a loaner computer at this link: https://www.piusx.net/covid19/parent-request-for-device/
The city of Lincoln is stepping up to help the most needy in our community:
· Granite City announced on Facebook that they are offering a free lunch of a turkey sandwich, chips and fresh fruit to every child. No purchase necessary.
· LPS Nutrition Services will provide a sack lunch and breakfast for any student at any of the locations below beginning Monday, March 16. The student needs to be present to pick up the meal. One meal per student will be available between the hours of 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. while supplies last.
o Belmont Elementary School (3425 North 14th St.) Door 8
o Arnold Elementary School (5000 Mike Scholl Street) Door 10
o Hartley Elementary School (730 North 33rd St.) Door 8
o (NEW) Calvert Elementary School (3709 S. 46th St.)
o Park Middle School (855 South 8th St.) Door 5
o Northeast High School (2635 North 63rd St.) Door 35
o Lincoln High School (2229 J Street) Door 44
The Pius family is also doing its part to provide food to families:
· Any family can request a week’s worth of groceries by visiting this link: https://www.piusx.net/covid19/request-week-of-groceries/
· We need others to help by donating food packages. Please consider putting together a food package in one or two shopping bags, in a box, or in some other container. Each package provides a week’s worth of groceries to a family of four, and should include the items below. Pius X will receive packages from 7:30 am to noon each day in the Pius Commons (enter Door 4). If you are unable to deliver the package to us, we can pick up if you call the school.
Here is the suggested list of items for each food package:
1 box of cereal OR 1 box of oatmeal OR 1 box of complete pancake mix with a bottle of syrup
1 jar of jelly
1 jar of peanut butter
1 loaf of bread
4 boxes of macaroni & cheese
2 packets of microwaveable popcorn
4 cans of soup
1 box of crackers OR 1 bag of oyster crackers
10 packets of kool aid/or powder drink mix of your choice
10 packages of ramen noodles (not spicy)
2 package of spaghetti OR 1 box of pasta
2 jar of pasta sauce
2 cans of tuna
1 box of tuna helper
4 cans of cooked pasta (example: spaghetti o’s)
4 canned veggies
4 canned fruits OR apple sauce
1 bag of rice
1 bag of dry beans
1 package of cookies or animal crackers
1 box of fruit snacks
1-2 other snack items of your choice (please nothing that requires refrigeration/freezer or will spoil very fast)
I will end this email with a plea: I ask you to talk with your kids and resolve as a family to strictly limit your activity away from home. I continue to read and learn about this, and one of the things that came clear to me today is that our goal is to “flatten the curve.” This means that we want to keep the peak number of cases at any given time to stay as low as possible. If the peak gets too high, it will overwhelm our health care system. We will endure this pandemic together if everyone does their part to limit potential exposure to the virus, thus limiting the spread of the virus. That is what is behind the closing of schools and other large gatherings. If only ten people are gathered and one is infected, the worst that can happen is nine other people get the virus. If 250 people are gathered and one is infected, many more people risk exposure.