Update for Families 17 March 2020
Dear Academy Families,
This letter will be the last one of my daily communications. I will begin regular weekly communications starting this Friday. I will be sending an email to all students tomorrow morning as we start gradually rolling out our online education, getting ready for full implementation for Monday, March 23. Students should have received some communication from their advisors and from each of their teachers by the end of the day tomorrow. Should students have difficulty receiving work or sending messages, they should contact our Help Desk at IThelpdesk@stjacademy.org. It will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day Monday through Friday.
Learning support is available through several channels. Special Services support will be discussed later in this letter, and students receiving such services should be contacted by their teachers and case managers. Every teacher will be holding virtual office hours from 7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, to immediately answer student questions, and many teachers are extending those hours significantly. That information will be shared with their students this week. Finally, the Learning Center will be offering their support at the following email address: email@example.com.
Right now, our main concern remains getting every student access to course content. Some teachers have contacted their students to know they have left course material in the front of Colby Hall to be picked up as soon as possible. While many have come by to get that material, several have not. Someone will be available to hand out that material until the end of the day for the rest of this week if parents or students come to the front of Colby.
Internet access is harder to guarantee. I want to mention that local organizations like the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, while not open to the public, have made their wireless access available. We understand that some of you have robust bandwidth at home, some have limited bandwidth, some have inconsistent bandwidth, and still others—who will not get this email unless at work or in town—have none. This week, we want to determine the extent of internet access for our families and start making arrangements for those who do not have the requisite access.
All but 70 of our boarding students have gone home, and those who remain will receive meals delivered to dorms. We will consolidate our boarding facilities, and as of tomorrow, all of our other campus buildings will be closed.
Some other information I think some of you will find helpful:
Meals: I encourage you to contact your local school district to get the details of meal distribution. While we know some of that information (e.g. St. Johnsbury School District will drop off breakfast and lunch in eight locations, CCSU is reaching out individually to families), some districts are still sorting out their plans. Please see the attached flyer regarding the St. Johnsbury School District food distribution sites.
Career and Technical Education: Our Career and Technical Education Department recognizes that the hands-on part of their program is not accessible to most students, and therefore, they are focusing their online education on helping students gain industry credentials.
Blood Drive: Because our fieldhouse is closed, the Red Cross has moved its Blood Drive to the VFW on Eastern Avenue in St. Johnsbury. The Red Cross badly needs blood donations, but they also need to control the number of people donating at any one time. Therefore, they ask that you go to the following web address to sign up for a slot: www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=rescue.
Finally, all of the letters that I have published for families over the past few days are available on our website in case you missed one or want to review it in the future. They can be viewed here.
Once again, I want to express my thanks for your support, patience, and trust as we roll out this new system of education for the next few weeks. I will update you again on Friday, as we will have more of a sense of how things will go when all classes are up and running on Monday. Please do not hesitate to ask questions to us directly or to reach out through your child's advisor or teachers.
Thomas W. Lovett