April 2, 2020
Dear Students and Parents of Decatur County,
First, let me begin by saying how devastated we all are to not have the opportunity to end our school year with our students. Educators do what they do because they love children and this has been a tough situation for us all. The springtime in a school district is filled with great programs awarding student achievement and growth, crowded ball fields cheering on the last competitions of the year, and school field days full of cheer and laughter. It breaks all of our hearts that many of those things will not occur at the end of this school year. For our Seniors and their parents, we fully understand the gravity of the situation. Not only are you missing the end of the year ceremonies of a normal school year, your most precious year of all, the Senior year, is being cut short. We all share in the sadness of times missed among your friends. School is all about preparing our students for the real world and this situation will certainly do that for our Seniors. It will teach them how unfair life can be at times. It will teach them how to always be prepared for hard times because every household has them. But most importantly it will teach our Seniors how to overcome adversity, because you all will overcome and conquer this situation a better person. We cannot always control the things that life throws at us but we can 100% control how we respond and react. Continue to be positive. Continue to move forward towards your hopes and dreams. Continue to be the best you that you can be. COVID-19 may have interrupted your Senior year but it cannot stop you from achieving great things. Know that the entire faculty and staff of Decatur County Schools loves and supports you all and we will continue to support you and help in any way we can.
I know there a ton of questions from all of our parents so I have tried to answer a few of the most common and most pressing in this letter. Know that this is an ever-changing situation and we will continue to update as things change and as we have more information.
Will this negatively impact my student?
NO. This situation is totally out of the control of anyone. We will not allow it to negatively impact any of our students. The work that is being sent home via packets or online methods will be used to help our students only.
What does it mean that schools are done for the year for face to face instruction?
It means that for the remainder of the year your student will be evaluated through online learning modules and/or paper packets sent home. Teachers have been reaching out to all of their students and will continue to do so to work with them to make sure they have the necessary instruction to help them move forward and to be ready for next year.
How long will we continue to do distance learning?
That answer is still yet to be determined. It is likely most students will continue to work until the normal end of the already scheduled school year. We will update you as this situation evolves and if something changes.
Does this mean Graduation is cancelled?
NO. It is our plan to have a Graduation at some point even if that means moving into June or July. We will do everything in our power to have a Graduation to honor the class of 2020 in some fashion. It may be a little different than in years past or at a different time, but we want to do this ceremony at some point when it is safe for us to do so. We will continue to update you on this as time moves on.
Will there still be a summer school?
Yes, if possible. It is our wish to have a summer school to help any student that needs additional help or support moving into the next school year. This decision will obviously be impacted by when we are able to begin getting back on a normal schedule.
Will there be any end of grade or end of course GMAS testing or finals?
NO. The state and the federal government has already cancelled all GMAS testing for this year and have been very clear they do not want this to negatively impact any of our students.
What are we doing about lost instruction?
First, as our teachers ramp up their digital teaching it is our hope that much of the lost time can be regained. Most of the curriculum covered in grades K-8 is usually covered prior to spring break so the students are prepared for state testing after spring break. So, the timing of this disruption hasn’t really impacted K-8 as negatively as it possibly has with grades 9-12. With the absences of the GMAS testing this will allow our teachers and students in K-8 to continue reviewing and preparing for the upcoming year. They should be in good shape moving into next year. In grades 9-12 online and home packets will allow our teachers to continue to cover the material needed for mastery and course credit. We will not allow this opportunity to negatively impact any student’s GPA. In areas like mathematics that build upon each other our teachers are working to get the essential lessons in to have our kids prepared for next year’s courses. We, of course, want to have a summer school for any students that still feel they need additional remediation.
How long will the feeding program continue?
We will continue to offer meals as long as it is safe for our staff to do so. We will continue to update you if this situation changes.
We will continue to put out information to keep you all informed as we can. There are many things that we continue to work through and as the situation evolves it may change our plans. Just know that we love all of our students and we will do everything in our power to take care of them. DO NOT WORRY, all of our students will make it through this stronger and more resilient. I have said it many times that there is nothing we cannot overcome as a nation or a community if we take care of each other and this situation is no different, we will overcome.
Continue to take care of your families and your neighbors. We will update you as we can. God bless you all,
Tim Cochran, Superintendent
Decatur County Schools
March 13, 2020
Dear Parents, Faculty, and Staff,
Due to the increase fear of spreading COVID-19 and at the guidance of the Governor’s Office, Decatur County schools will suspend all school activities and classes beginning Monday, March 16th for two weeks. This two-week suspension coincides with Spring Break so students will not return to school until Monday, April 6th.
It is the hopes of the Governor’s Office that keeping individuals isolated over this time period will better allow public health to identify and treat those infected with COVID-19 and reduce the spread.
During the time away from school our system has provided online resources for parents. Students can continue their active learning by visiting our web-page at www.dcboe.com. There students can find more information and links to online learning activities. Please note, these resources are certainly not required but are available for your student at your pleasure.
This continues to be a fluid situation and we will keep you updated as the situation evolves.
Tim Cochran, Superintendent