COVID-19 Communications

  • Update from Grand Forks Public Schools

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 10/20/2020 6:45:00 PM

    *-updated on 10-21-2020 at 2:40 p.m.

     

    GFPS Employees and Families,

    Earlier today, Grand Forks County Public Health officials updated their County COVID-19 Dashboard, which highlighted Grand Forks County moving into Red/Severe Risk.

    Grand Forks Public Schools’ Smart Restart plan states that all schools would be closed when the county is in Red/Severe Risk. We have been communicating with local public health about our plan and recognize:

    1. The COVID-19 positivity rate of students and employees continues to be low, <1%.*
    2. Shifting immediately to remote learning would be difficult for working parents/guardians.

    Our plan at this time is to:

    • Keep schools open on Wednesday, October 21st and the week of October 26th,
    • Continue to closely monitor our internal COVID-19 positivity numbers, 
    • Monitor Grand Forks County case numbers, and
    • Temporarily suspend spectators at extra-curricular events.

    We will review and update our Smart Restart plan and will provide additional information to you on Friday, October 30th.

    If you have any questions, please contact the main office at your building. Thank you.

    Comments (-1)
  • Face Covering Information

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 10/15/2020 11:00:00 AM

    October 15, 2020

    GFPS Employees and Families,

    Last week, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) made changes to some procedures related to COVID-19. Individuals identified as close contacts would not need to quarantine if both parties were wearing a mask during the time of exposure. 

    Effective Monday, October 19, neck gaiters will no longer be considered an approved face covering, as they do not meet the face covering requirements per the NDDoH.

    The graphic below indicates approved and unapproved face coverings. If a student does not have access to an approved face covering, they can visit the main office at their school where an approved face covering will be provided. These face coverings can be washed and reused. If someone wears an unapproved face covering and is determined to be a close contact, they will not meet the new NDDoH requirements and will need to quarantine for 14 days.

    If you have any questions, please call the main office at your student’s school. Thank you.

    graphic of face coverings that qualify and do not qualify for quarantine exemption

     

    TEXT VERSION

    Face Coverings Required for Quarantine Exemption

    These face coverings qualify for exemption:

    • Surgical face mask
    • Cloth face covering
    • N95 mask (no valves)

    These face coverings do not qualify:

    • Neck gaiter
    • Bandana
    • Plastic face shield (with no mask)
    • Any mask with outlet valves
    Comments (-1)
  • Close Contact Information

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 10/9/2020 7:00:00 PM

    GFPS Families and Employees:

    During Governor Burgum’s news briefing on October 1st, the ND Department of Health announced a change in guidance regarding close contacts. Individuals identified as close contacts would not need to quarantine if both parties were wearing a mask during the time of exposure. Instead, those individuals would be directed to self-monitor and only quarantine if they become symptomatic, and it is recommended they have a COVID-19 test 7-10 days following close contact. Close contacts who remain onsite will NOT be able to participate in athletics, choral and instrumental music, or other activities where high levels of respiration occur. This is an impactful change for the entire state and school districts in particular, as it now allows for healthy students following proper mask-wearing protocol to stay onsite and continue their education unless they begin to exhibit symptoms.

    Grand Forks Public Schools will continue to work with Grand Forks Public Health to conduct contact tracing in the school setting every time we are notified of a positive case. Close contacts (those that were within six feet for longer than 15 minutes) will be informed of their status and encouraged to self-monitor. If one or both of the parties is not wearing an appropriate face covering (a cloth reusable/washable or manufactured disposable mask that covers both the nose and mouth), identified close contacts will be required to quarantine.

    This guidance is retroactive and voids the quarantine order for anyone that public health identified as close contacts through the school setting. School administration will contact students and employees who can return to school/work starting Monday, October 5. Those who are not contacted should continue to quarantine.

    The aforementioned is an adjustment to the overall guidance on close contacts; all other provisions previously employed will continue (ie: physical distancing, mask-wearing, handwashing, hand sanitizer use, etc.).

    Please know that this change may also impact our Smart Restart Plan. Modifications to that plan on the website will be made the week of October 5th. 

    If you have questions about your ability to return to school/work or about the new guidance, please reach out to your building administrator.

    Thank you.

    Guidance for Quarantine and Mask Use” from the North Dakota Department of Health.

    Comments (-1)
  • Two Reminders from Grand Forks Public Schools

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 9/14/2020 3:10:00 PM

    Grand Forks Public Schools families,

    We wanted to pass along two reminders to you today - one related to COVID-19 and the other regarding our 2020-2021 school year calendar.

    1. In the event of a COVID-19 case in a face-to-face classroom: individuals identified as close contacts within the school setting will receive a notification, which will be sent by your student’s school/Grand Forks Public Schools on behalf of Grand Forks Public Health. If an individual is not notified, the individual was not considered a close contact. Close contact is defined by the CDC as, “anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.”

    2. There are 14 early release dates on the calendar for Kindergarten-12th grades this school year. We plan to follow those dates as outlined regardless of the learning scenario(s) we are utilizing (i.e. face-to-face, intermittent remote, remote learning). On those dates, middle and high schools will dismiss at 1 p.m., and elementary schools will dismiss at 1:30 p.m. Families who provided a mobile phone number during registration will receive an SMS/text message reminder of each early release at 7 p.m. the evening prior. The first early release will be on Wednesday, September 23rd. The full 2020-2021 calendar can be viewed on our website (www.gfschools.org), smartphone app (visit https://www.gfschools.org/Page/8832 for more information), and a PDF copy is available below.

    Thank you.

     

    GFPS 2020-2021 calendar

    Comments (-1)
  • Technology Information

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 9/10/2020 3:00:00 PM

    GFPS Families,


    We wanted to share some additional information regarding technology support at Grand Forks Public Schools.

    1. Our technology team is here to support families with Chromebook and iPad technical support. If you have an issue with a device, please call (you will be leaving a voicemail) or email and you will receive a response within 24 hours Monday-Friday.
      1. Phone: 701-787-4318
      2. Email: techsupport@mygfschools.org
      3. Please include the following information: student’s first and last name; device type (Chromebook or iPad); a brief description of the tech request
    2. Requests for passwords, questions about SeeSaw, Google Classroom, and/or Edmentum should be sent to your student’s classroom teacher. For generic information (ex: log in support), you can also visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uZ49RKwMB8-r_yCPSW4aYdIFzEDB_EV9/view.
    3. The Device Protection Plan (insurance coverage) is optional device insurance and available to families that wish to protect themselves from damage expenses for their student’s school-issued iPad or Chromebook. The Device Protection Plan covers 100% of all accidental damage, fire, flood, natural disasters, power surge, and vandalism to your child’s school-issued iPad or Chromebook with a $0 deductible. The Device Protection Plan will provide coverage on school grounds, at home, on the bus, and anywhere your child may travel. Insurance coverage is available for purchase through MySchoolBucks (When logged in to MySchoolBucks, select “School Store” – and then “Browse All Items”). You can also send a check with your student to school - $20 per student/device; $10 per device for students qualifying for free/reduced meal status.
    4. For students with Chromebooks, a protective carrying case is strongly encouraged and is available for purchase through MySchoolBucks (iPads (Grades K-2) have a protective sleeve around the device at the time of deployment). Purchased Chromebook cases can then be picked up at the main office at your student’s school. You can also send a check ($20) with your student to school.

    Thank you for your continued partnership and support.

    Comments (-1)
  • Grand Forks Health Officer encourages community members to take caution if traveling or attending a gathering during the upcoming holiday weekend

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 9/4/2020 8:20:00 AM

    NEWS RELEASE     |    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     |     September 4, 2020 

    Grand Forks Health Officer encourages community members to take caution if traveling or attending a gathering during the upcoming holiday weekend

    GRAND FORKS, ND - Grand Forks County Health Officer, Joel Walz, MD, encourages Grand Forks community members to take responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, Governor Doug Burgum announced that Grand Forks County will move from low risk (green) to moderate risk (yellow) under the ND Smart Restart color-coded health guidance. “Moving to a heightened risk as well as the increase of COVID-19 cases is of concern. It is necessary to prevent further spread by taking the simple measures to protect ourselves from contracting the disease. These efforts are especially critical with the upcoming holiday weekend.”

    Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. With the increase of COVID-19 cases you may want to reconsider travel plans to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other communities. Being infected with COVID-19 during travel poses a potential risk of bringing it back to your community as well. You may feel well and still spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. If you do travel, take the simple steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19: wear a mask when in public settings, stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household, frequently wash your hands, avoid contact with anyone who is sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Upon returning to the community, remember you may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others, along with monitoring your health and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

    It is recommended to avoid hosting or attending a gathering or cook-out. If you do choose to host or attend a gathering, take precautions: remind guests if they do not feel well to stay home, encourage social distancing, encourage guests to stay outdoors, wear a mask when less than 6 feet apart from people or when indoors, frequently clean hands, limit the number of people handling or serving food, and limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items.

    For questions related to COVID-19, the public can call the NDDoH hotline at 1-866-207-2880 from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Saturday or Grand Forks Public Health at 701-787-8100, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. For more information about COVID-19, please visit the NDDoH website.

    ###

    For more information, contact: Grand Forks Public Health

    Phone: 701-787-8100  |  Email: GFHealth@grandforksgov.com

    Comments (-1)
  • School Meals Update

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 9/2/2020 6:00:00 PM

    Starting 9/2/2020, breakfast and lunch at school are FREE to our PreK-12 students thanks to a waiver extension granted by USDA through 12/31/2020 or until funding runs out. 

    Please continue to fill out Free/Reduced applications as they may be needed later in the year. Federal funds and school-related fees are determined with this information. The failure to complete the application could result in the loss of millions of dollars to the school system which would negatively affect teaching and learning in a significant way. To access the application, please visit https://www.gfschools.org/Page/8333 or call 701-746-2436 for assistance.

    Funds can be held in student accounts for when charges resume. Please disable any automatic payments on MySchoolBucks.com if you do not anticipate purchasing any a la carte items.

    We will be getting more guidance from the state about meals already served and charged this school year and will keep you posted (https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/08/31/usda-extends-free-meals-kids-through-december-31-2020).

    Students will be allowed one free breakfast and lunch meal which includes the main entree, applicable sides, fruits, vegetables, and milk. Extra entrees, a la carte snacks, and beverages will be available for purchase at the secondary level. Milk alone is considered an a la carte item and will be charged accordingly.

    CURBSIDE

    A hot lunch will be made available by request for full-time remote learners and high school students due to the hybrid learning model.

    Please continue to order meals using this form on a daily basis. The entree will follow the general hot lunch menu which is posted at https://schools.mealviewer.com/

    A meal will include the entree, a fruit and vegetable, applicable sides, and the option of a milk. A Grab-n-Go Breakfast will be included so long as meals are free.

    Extras and a la carte items will not be available.

    Meal delivery is not available.

    Meals may be picked up at any of our school locations; please note the time frames below. 

    MEAL TIMES

    Meals will be available for pick up 10-10:30 a.m. at elementary schools, 10:15-10:45 a.m. at middle schools, and 10:30-11 a.m. at high schools.  

    Please contact Emily Karel, RD (701-746-2436) for appropriate accommodations if there is a special dietary restriction.

    Comments (-1)
  • Message to Families from Superintendent Dr. Terry Brenner

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 8/28/2020 11:15:00 AM

    Comments (-1)
  • 2020-2021 Technology Information

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 8/18/2020 10:00:00 AM

    GFPS Families,

    As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, students at Grand Forks Public Schools will be issued a student learning device. Kindergarten–2nd grade students will receive an iPad, while students in grades 3-12 will be issued a Chromebook.

    With these digital tools comes a variety of information for our families. Please carefully review the two attachments for information on:

    • the Acceptable Use Policy,
    • Receiving, caring for, using, and returning the learning device,
    • the Device Use Pledge,
    • the Device Protection Plan (DPP), and
    • Internet connectivity.

    As always, we appreciate your support as we work together to make the 2020-2021 school year a success. Thank you!

     

    Attachment #1

    Attachment #2

    Comments (-1)
  • GFPS Smart Restart Information

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 8/4/2020 2:00:00 PM

     

    GFPS Families,

    Grand Forks Public Schools continues preparations for the 2020-2021 school year. This school year, you will have the option to select face-to-face or remote learning for each of your students. 

    Information on both face-to-face and remote learning can be found at: https://www.smore.com/x8sm7. Please carefully review that information. 

    Tomorrow (Wednesday, August 5th), you will be emailed a survey to indicate the learning option (face-to-face or remote) for each of your students. The survey window will close on Monday, August 10th at 11:59 p.m.

    Additionally:

    • All students need reliable access to the internet at home in the event of learning remotely at any point during the 2020-2021 school year. For those families who do not have access, please visit www.Midco.com/Lifeline and apply for the Lifeline Assistance program.
      • This program makes the internet affordable for low-income households for as low as $5.70/month. If you’ve tried to get Lifeline assistance before and were rejected, please apply again.
      • If you do not qualify for Lifeline, you can sign up for Midco Internet Basics for $14.95/month, including a modem lease.
    • Ensure your contact information in PowerSchool is up-to-date. If your information needs to be updated, please contact the main office at your student’s school.
    • Stay up-to-date on student vaccinations. The North Dakota Department of Health reported a decrease in the number of vaccinations administered during COVID-19. You can find more information about which vaccines are required for school at health.nd.gov/immunize.
    • It is important to continue safety precautions throughout the summer, including social distancing, wearing masks in public settings, etc. Each of these steps helps to reduce transmission and keep the number of cases low.

     

    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work together to plan for the upcoming school year while keeping our students, families, and employees healthy.

    Comments (-1)
  • 2020-2021 Calendar Update

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 7/29/2020 12:00:00 PM
    The Grand Forks School Board passed a motion at their meeting last night (Tuesday, July 28th) to move the start dates for the 2020-2021 school year. Students in kindergarten-9th grades will begin on Monday, August 31st and students in 10th-12th grades will begin on Tuesday, September 1st.
     
    This move provides three additional days for our school employees to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.
     
    At the meeting, administration also shared that families will be given an option to select face-to-face or remote learning for the 2020-2021 school year. Information on those options is still being prepared. We are also preparing another set of surveys to be distributed to our employees and families regarding our learning scenarios. You can anticipate that information to be shared during the week of August 3rd.
     
    We are also creating a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) feature on our website, which we anticipate to also share next week.
     
    Finally, thank you to all of our families, students, employees, and community members for sharing your questions, concerns, and more with our Smart Restart team. We sincerely appreciate your perspectives and insight.
    Comments (-1)
  • GFPS Smart Restart - Family Survey Results

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 7/22/2020 3:00:00 PM

    Please see below for a link to the summary report of the GFPS Smart Restart - family survey results.

    Thank you to each individual who took time out of your busy day to reply to the survey. We sincerely appreciate your insight, ideas, and questions.

     

    LINK: GFPS Smart Restart - Family Survey Results

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Update on Preparations for 2020-2021 School Year

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 7/8/2020 3:05:00 PM

    As part of our state of preparedness, Grand Forks Public Schools has commissioned a School Reopening Plan Committee, led by Superintendent Dr. Terry Brenner. This group is creating a plan for the 2020-2021 school year based on guidance from public health officials, state agencies, and national organizations. It will continue to be updated this summer as the pandemic continues to evolve.

    What We Know

    • We are planning to hold elementary and middle school summer school in our buildings beginning in late July. Specific information will be shared with those families soon.
    • We plan to begin school in our buildings on August 26th, 2020 for Kindergarten-9th grades and on August 27th for 10th-12th grades.
    • Our scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year are adaptive depending on local and state conditions. We are planning for some level of restrictions to occur throughout the school year. As suggested by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), we are preparing for several possible learning scenarios, including:
      • Scenario 1: All students in our buildings.
        • There will be a large focus on safety, sanitation, and social distancing.
          • We will regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces according to industry-standard operating procedures.
          • Consistent times and procedures will be established throughout the day for hand hygiene.
          • Our Buildings and Grounds employees measured the space of each classroom. Using a formula, the maximum capacity for each classroom has been determined. 
          • The use of masks may be required when physical distancing measures cannot be maintained. More information will be provided when we receive additional guidance.
      • Scenario 2: Remote learning for all schools.
        • All students would learn virtually from home.
        • This scenario would be used if COVID-19 community spread is occurring in Grand Forks County.
        • We would transition back to Scenario 1 when conditions are deemed safe.
      • Scenario 3: Intermittent remote learning.
        • This may be needed if we have several cases of COVID-19 within a school setting and need to close the building for deep cleaning for some period of time. This may also be used if cases of COVID-19 increase in our community and it is not advised/ allowed to have school within our buildings.
    • Our first priorities for the 2020-2021 school year will be academic instruction and having a framework in place to address social and emotional learning (SEL). 
      • Additionally, we will address learning loss, prioritizing literacy and math skills; provide support services for students, families, and employees; teach students how to learn effectively whether face-to-face or remote; and ensure equitable access to technology if the need for remote learning arises.
    • We will ensure we have met the “Health and Safety Logistics” and planned re-entry based on North Dakota K-12 Smart Restart Guidance (dated May 2020).
    • We will incorporate future guidance from state leaders.
    • We will continue to monitor daily notices from the North Dakota Department of Public Health (NDDoH) regarding confirmed cases and spread in Grand Forks County.
    • We will continue to work with the Grand Forks Public Health Department to ensure we have safe and healthy learning environments for our students and families.
    • We will avoid large group gatherings.
    • We will maintain social distancing on buses by reducing the maximum number of riders.
    • We have implemented guidelines for coaches and students practicing this summer to adhere to.
    • We have developed COVID-19 reporting procedures for prompt identification and isolation of any ill employee. We will do the same for students.
    • We will work directly with the families of students who are medically fragile and have a higher risk of severe illness, in addition to students receiving special services, on a case-by-case basis to address their specific needs.
    • We will do our best to maintain programs and clubs that are vital to the physical, mental, and social well-being of our students.
    • Current district procedures for registration, enrollment, and transfer requests will apply regardless of the learning environment we are using.
    • Depending on future restrictions, students and employees may be screened for recent travel, which could require a 14-day quarantine.

    What We Do Not Know Yet

    • When we will receive future guidance from state leaders, and what that guidance will be.
    • If the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) will allow activities.
    • If we will allow facility rentals by groups outside of our school system this upcoming school year.
    • Some classes may need modifications if social distancing is not feasible or when there is an increased risk for spreading the virus (ex: band, choir). We will work with students and families to ensure information is shared and alternative options may be considered.

    What We Need You to Do

      • Please ensure you have access to a thermometer at home for student/employee health screening practices. More information will be emailed to you prior to August 26th.
      • As we prepare for the possibility of remote learning, all of our students need reliable access to the internet at home. For those families who do not have access, please visit www.Midco.com/Lifeline and apply for the Lifeline Assistance program.
        • This program makes the internet affordable for low-income households for as low as $5.70/month. If you’ve tried to get Lifeline assistance before and were rejected, please apply again.
        • If you do not qualify for Lifeline, you can sign up for Midco Internet Basics for $14.95/month, including a modem lease.
      • Ensure your contact information in PowerSchool is up-to-date. If information needs to be updated, please contact the main office at your school after July 27, 2020.
      • Stay up-to-date on your student’s vaccinations. The NDDoH reported a decrease in the number of vaccinations administered during COVID-19. You can find more information about which vaccines are required for school at health.nd.gov/immunize.
      • It is important to continue safety precautions throughout the summer, including social distancing, wearing masks in public settings, etc. Each of these steps helps to reduce transmission and keep the number of cases low, which would allow us to resume in-person learning in late August.

     

    • Tomorrow (Thursday, July 9th), our families will be emailed/texted a “Return to School” survey. Please complete the survey as soon as you are able, as it will assist us as we continue planning.

     

      • Our employees completed a “Return to School” survey this past week, and we are reviewing the information now.

    We will continue to provide updates this summer as more guidance and information becomes available. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work together to plan for the upcoming school year while keeping our students, families, and employees healthy.

    Comments (-1)
  • Grand Forks Public Schools to Continue Remote Learning for Remainder of School Year

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 5/1/2020 4:30:00 PM

    Per Governor Doug Burgum, all North Dakota school districts, including Grand Forks Public Schools, will continue remote learning through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This is a precautionary measure against the transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a respiratory illness that passes through person-to-person contact.

    There will be a wide range of emotions for each individual as they find out we will not be returning to our buildings this school year. This will be difficult for our students who will be transitioning to a new school next year, and especially hard on our graduating students. 

    What We Know

    • We will continue remote learning through the end of the school year, May 28th.
    • Our certified employees will have a remote clerical day on May 29th.
    • Packaged meals will be available at participating schools on regularly scheduled school days through May 28th. The packaged meals are available to all children 18-years-old and younger. Please visit https://www.gfschools.org/domain/27 for participating locations. 
    • This closure affects all activities at the school, including before- and after-school activities, practices, and weekend events.
    • It remains important for everyone to limit outside contact. Healthcare experts strongly recommend everyone not be in close contact with others.
    • If you must leave your home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using a mask or face covering. Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html for more information.
    • All Grand Forks Public Schools and Grand Forks Park District playgrounds are closed. We do not have the staffing to continuously disinfect playground equipment, which we know sanitizing is vital in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    What We Don’t Know

    • When or how we will hold elementary and middle school summer school programming. We will continue to work with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction on this.
    • When or how we will hold Summer Performing Arts (SPA) and behind-the-wheel Drivers Education.
    • How we will honor our Adult Learning Center, Community High School, Grand Forks Central High School, and Red River High School graduates. We are awaiting guidance from Governor Burgum’s office and will evaluate several alternatives in the event we are unable to safely hold graduation on the scheduled dates. A change in how we may celebrate will not diminish anyone’s achievements.

    Our collective efforts are making an impact at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work together to keep our students, families, employees, and schools safe and healthy. We will provide updates as more information becomes available. Please continue to monitor our website and social media for updates.

    Grand Forks Public Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • Elementary School Schedule Change

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 4/24/2020 4:00:00 PM

    Elementary School Families,

    First of all, thank you for all your support and dedication to student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Our principals and teachers have been soliciting feedback on how distance learning is working for families and students as we conclude the 3rd week in this new format.

    What we have heard is it's very challenging and stressful for many families to manage this 'new normal.' Based on that feedback we'll be making some adjustments to the weekly schedule starting Monday, April 27.

    Here is a summary of those changes:

    • We have reduced the number of required assignments in both Reading and Math.
    • We will move to a 4-Day Week, Mondays through Thursdays.
    • We have set aside Friday, now called Flex Fridays, for the following activities;
      • Complete an attendance task.
      • Complete any assignments still due.
      • Optional extension activities.
      • Specialists will continue to post their activities each Friday. Additional Physical Education, Music, and Spanish activities will be available - no assignments though.
      • A chance for students or families to check in with teachers if they have any concerns or need assistance.

    We hope these adjustments will ease some of the challenges and stressors you are dealing with.

    If your child needs any extra assistance or support, please reach out to your child's classroom teacher, school counselor, social worker, or principal.

    Thank you again,

    Mr. Jody Thompson, Associate Superintendent of Elementary Education

    Comments (-1)
  • Three Steps to Focus on Hope, Health, and Strength

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 4/20/2020 4:30:00 PM

    Three Steps to Focus on Hope, Health, and Strength

    PDF version is available here.

     
    Comments (-1)
  • Social Distancing Information

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 4/15/2020 4:30:00 PM

    GFPS Employees and Families,

    The North Dakota Department of Health announced earlier today an increase of novel coronavirus cases in Grand Forks.

    It is extremely important that we each do our part to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We would like to take this opportunity to reinforce key information:

    • It is extremely important for our students and families to limit outside contact. Healthcare experts strongly recommend everyone stays home and not be in close contact with others.

    • For those individuals who are working outside of the home, do not go out if you are feeling sick. Visit https://www.gfschools.org/Page/8919 for more information.

    • If you must leave your home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using a mask or face covering. Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html for more information.

    • All Grand Forks Public Schools and Grand Forks Park District playgrounds are closed. We do not have the staffing to continuously disinfect playground equipment, which we know sanitizing is vital in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    It is also important to reduce the risk of getting sick. The following steps can be taken to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus:

    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds before leaving home, on arrival at work, after using the restroom, before food preparation, before eating any food (including snacks), and when arriving back at home.

    • The use of gloves in public may offer a sense of false security. Please continue to utilize and reinforce frequent and proper handwashing.

    • The use of a cloth face mask when you are in the presence of others is strongly encouraged to prevent the spread of this illness. Homemade mask usage is acceptable and cleansing tips can be found at https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/09/how-to-use-and-clean-homemade-face-mask-to-prevent-covid19.html.

    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

    • Cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow or in a tissue.

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.

    For questions related to the novel coronavirus, call the North Dakota Department of Health hotline at 1-866-207-2880 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Altru has established a screening hotline, 1-701-780-6358, that is now open 24/7 (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week). Patients are asked to call this number prior to visiting an Altru location if they meet the following guidelines:

    • Experiencing symptoms, which include fever or signs of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath.

    • And have had close-exposure to persons with confirmed novel coronavirus in the past fourteen days.

    • Or have traveled outside the country in the past twenty-one days.

    Thank you,

    Grand Forks Public Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • Notice of Virtual Meetings for Synchronous Learning

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 4/6/2020 2:00:00 PM

    Grand Forks Public Schools is working diligently to provide students with the most appropriate and engaging distance learning program. In order to provide your student(s) with meaningful learning experiences, teacher(s) will likely be using online meetings (video conferences) using tools such as Zoom or Google Meet. The meeting may resemble actions that may have already occurred in the teacher’s physical classroom--whiteboard lessons, resource sharing, discussion, etc.. In the virtual classroom, during instructional time, actions may include:

    • Viewing a student’s webcam,
    • Hearing the student through their microphone, 
    • Reviewing student’s questions and answers,
    • Engaging students in peer discussion,
    • Asking students to share work.

    The benefit of these meetings for teachers include:

    • Creates teaching presence,
    • Helps build a rapport with students,
    • Allows a way to address different learning styles,
    • Engages students,
    • Encourages and motivates students to participate in group work,
    • Builds camaraderie among students,
    • Creates opportunities for students to present to one another,
    • Increases student satisfaction with the course and the instructor,
    • Helps eliminate student isolation and supports student social-emotional needs.

    These meetings may also be recorded to ensure students who miss the synchronous meeting can review the lesson(s) on their own. The recordings will be protected and only shared with students, parent(s)/guardian(s) of students, and/or district personnel with a legitimate educational interest. Note: Students/Families WILL NOT record nor disseminate the classroom session without consent from teachers and/or students.

    Recommendations:

    • Prepare a quiet and neutral area for students to engage in the meeting (i,.e. dining room table).
    • Ensure the student has dressed appropriately during the meeting.
    • Ensure the student understands ALL their behavior may be recorded and they can be removed from a session.
    • Review district Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy for acceptable behavior and consequences.
    • Prepare you and your students for online ethical behavior by reviewing Raising Digital Citizens.

    Please contact your teacher if you do not want your student to participate and an alternative assignment will be prepared.

    Comments (-1)
  • Remote Learning Starts April 1st

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 3/31/2020

    March 31st, 2020

    GFPS Families,

    Thank you again for your patience and understanding over the past several weeks as we work to implement remote learning at Grand Forks Public Schools. As we move forward with remote learning, there are a few things we wanted to call to your attention.

    1. Remote learning for all of our schools begins on Wednesday, April 1st. Your student(s) have/will receive information from their teachers via the packets you picked up last week and/or via Seesaw or Google Classroom (for our elementary school students) or through Google Classroom (for middle/high school students).
    2. We understand this change in learning may bring some anxiety. Our employees are ready to take on this opportunity and work with you as our partners in education. To help focus on the unique opportunities this brings, and to help create a positive memory of this time for your family, please feel free to use the First Day of Remote Learning signs we have created, which are available at bit.ly/GFPSremote.
    3. We will still observe the holidays / no school dates on our calendar, which are April 10th, April 13th, and May 25th.
    4. While we are remote learning, we will not have elementary early releases or high school late starts.
    5. We have created a Remote Learning page that will continue to be updated with more resources. This is available on the top toolbar of all of our websites and our smartphone app. A copy of our district Distance Learning Plan is also available here. Quick link: https://www.gfschools.org/remote.
    6. There are a number of new resources on our Mental Health Hub for you to check out at your convenience, https://www.gfschools.org/mentalhealthhub.

    If you have any questions, please contact your student’s teacher(s) or school administrator. We will get through this together.

    Thank you-

    Grand Forks Public Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • Mental Health Supports for Families

    Posted by Tracy Jentz on 3/30/2020 9:00:00 AM

    Families,


    This certainly has been, and will likely continue to be, a stressful time for many in our community. Without the routine that schools help to provide, many students and families are experiencing stressors these changes have brought about.


    There have been many communications recently...regarding your student’s belongings at school, their access to technology, and of course the plan to begin learning remotely. We also recognize the need to support our students’ mental health and overall well-being!


    As remote learning progresses, teachers will be communicating with families and they will find ways to support students from a distance. In addition, we want to remind you that our team of mental health professionals are here to help
    support you and your students too!


    The school social workers are already hard at work connecting families to resources in the community and helping to remove barriers to ensure that students will have the tools needed to continue their education!


    Our school counselors have been creating a structure to provide virtual school counseling through online platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. They are also preparing social-emotional lessons that will be made available to help students cope with the changes they are experiencing.


    In addition, our mental health specialists, such as our Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor, are available to help families who are in need of support. To find contact information for all of these individuals and learn more about supports that are in place during school closures, we ask that you click on the Unified Mental Health Team link on our Mental Health Hub,
    which can be found at www.gfschools.org/mentalhealthhub.

    Here you will also find a wealth of information and resources such as:

    • Mental health resources specific to COVID-19
    • An online mental health screening tool
    • Links to mobile apps & videos to increase coping skills
    • Student guides to mental health
    • Info regarding telehealth services available for students
    • Helplines and crisis text lines

    On our Mental Health Hub, you will also find information about a suicide prevention program known as Sources of Strength. We encourage you to learn more about this strengths-based program and we also suggest you download some of the at-home activities we’ve made available, such as QUINGO (Quarantine Bingo). I also feel it is appropriate to share insight from Sources of Strength founder, Mark LoMurray, who recently stated,


    “May we use our Strengths to remain physically isolated, but relationally connected. May we be creative finding and exploring new healthy activities that energize, calm, and balance our lives. Even in the midst of our difficulty, challenges, and burdens, may we be open to growth. May we share our own resources to those in financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual need. May we ask for help when we need it.”


    We are here to help! Please reach out to our mental health team for support. Again, contact information and resources can be found at www.gfschools.org/mentalhealthhub.

    Sincerely,
    Geoff Gaukler
    Mental Health Coordinator

    Comments (-1)