Communication to CASD Families
July 1, 2020
Good Afternoon CASD Families and Team Members!
The Spring of 2020 has been like no other. I appreciate your incredible support and hope you are enjoying your summer! I would like to provide a general update and ideas regarding the Fall 2020 Reopening planning process.
Your Catasauqua Area School District Administrative Team has been tirelessly reviewing research, best practices, medical-based recommendations, and the most recent stakeholder survey results. We have also led and participated in numerous Lehigh Valley Task Forces to determine the models and practices that result in the most valuable experience for our students.
We are in the process of creating the CASD Health and Safety Plan in preparation for a return to in-person instruction and expect to have the Board of School Directors consider approval during the week of July 20, 2020. We have begun the planning process with a goal of having all students physically present in school, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We are busy planning instructional models to include an option for families who prefer a robust virtual learning model that is tied directly to a CASD classroom. We will also plan for online instruction should the region enter a phase that prohibits in-person interaction. In order to work towards a successful return in the Fall of 2020, it is paramount that we work together as a community in providing a safe environment for our students, staff, and families.
At this time, it is our intention to provide a 5 day per week “Physical Presence” model for our students with a virtual learning option that allows for a direct connection to our physical classrooms and parallel resources. However, a drastic change in medical-based advice or regional conditions could change this model. Final discussions will take place with our stakeholders and our Planning Committee over the next few weeks. In order for us to provide a “Physical Presence” Instructional Model, there may be different requirements and adjustments to the traditional day. As you know, this is a monumental task, but I am confident that we will produce a plan that meets the needs of all stakeholders of our School District.
In preparation, here are some action items you may wish to consider:
- Purchase a mask for your child to be in their possession during the school day and worn in situations in which minimal social distancing guidelines cannot be achieved. It is our plan to offer bus transportation, but face coverings may be required in order to operate our district vehicles in a practical manner and provide this crucial service. All staff members will be provided with face shields and Personal Protective Equipment in order to provide protection as well as the ability to communicate effectively and meaningfully.
- Have a thermometer available at home for daily temperature checking prior to school arrival.
- Staff and Students are highly encouraged to bring a water bottle to school/work. We are installing additional water bottle filling stations in each school building.
- If daycare is an issue, please prepare for the possibility of a school day that may be slightly shorter (30 minutes) in duration so that our staff may be available for students in the CASD Virtual Learning Program or learning remotely due to illness.
- Brand new iPads have been purchased for every student, K-12. This device will be used in school and taken home, providing the flexibility of virtual instruction if conditions necessitate the transition or if a family illness causes a need for a student to connect virtually to his/her classroom for a short period of time. You may wish to establish a quiet location in your home for your child to perform school work and communicate with Teachers and fellow Classmates.
Upon approval of the Plan, I will communicate with you, and Building Principals will send detailed information regarding your choice of instructional model, transportation preference, school day schedules, procedures, and more.
We are all in this together and it will take our collective efforts to provide a meaningful and enjoyable school year for all. I have no doubt that our Catty community will rise to the occasion! Please have an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July! #CattyStrong
Robert J. Spengler
June 4, 2020
Dear Catasauqua Area School District Families,
I want to acknowledge the range of emotions that our students, staff, and families may be experiencing as a result of the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. These tragic events illustrate just how much work remains for all of us in creating an inclusive environment for our students and our community. As a safe and supportive school community, we value everyone and believe that our differences make us stronger and more resilient. Let us stand in solidarity against any and all acts of racism, disrespect and inequitable treatment of persons of color.
Our staff is available for you and your students. If you would like to talk with someone, please contact one of our School Counselors or School Psychologists. They are willing to speak with you and provide valuable resources. Topics surrounding equity and inclusion may be difficult conversations to have with children, but it is important for these conversations to take place. Please refer to the below links for resources and best practices related to equity and inclusion.
- Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice (Southern Poverty Law Center)
- How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism (NBC News Learn)
- Preparing Young Children for the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities into the Classroom (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
- Resources for Talking about Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids (Center for Racial Justice Education)
- Social Justice (National Association of School Psychologists)
- Talking About Race (Smithsonian)
- Talking Race with Young Children (National Public Radio)
- Talking to Kids About Discrimination (American Psychological Association)
- Anti-Racism for Kids: An Age by Age Guide for Fighting Hate (Explore Parents)
- Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents (National Association of School Psychologists)
Additionally, please know that The Catasauqua Area School District will continue to improve our own equity, diversity, and inclusion work, and we will continue to improve our efforts to ensure that our staff, our curriculum, and our instruction are a reflection of the community that we serve. The Catasauqua Area School District will continue to provide a safe and positive learning environment for all students and remain #CattyStrong
Robert J. Spengler