By Sara Stankus
Upshur County Superintendent of Schools
Good evening, this is Sara Stankus, Superintendent of Schools and I am calling to hopefully lower the stress levels of both our students and their parents.
Let me begin by saying how much we miss our nearly 4,000 students! We are all concerned about our students’ health and well-being, as well as that of their families.
Yesterday, Governor Justice announced that schools will be closed at least until April 20th. As educators, and members of the Upshur County community, we want to do everything we can to prepare our students to be lifelong learners and help them to grow socially and emotionally.
We were just beginning our 4th 9-week period when the schools were ordered closed. Our teachers and administrators worked to develop meaningful lessons that our students could work on at home, both through google classrooms and other applications used by teachers. We have also provided paper packets for students without computers or internet. Recently, we were given guidance by the West Virginia Department of Education that we should discontinue the use of paper copy packets and that we should not collect those that the students have already completed due to the threat of contamination.
We are all learning! So again, I want to thank you for your patience as we meet each challenge together. Please know that we want our students to continue to learn without the pressure of grades. We do not want to add more stress to our students and their families.
Going forward, we want to encourage our students to continue working on their assignments. We will continue to provide opportunities for our students to learn. For those without computers we would like you to read, write, problem solve, get outdoors, take walks with your families and do something each day to stay active and engaged. Those students who have computers, should continue to work on their assignments, and also do those things that we recommended for the other students. We will be grading the assignments, but they will only be counted if they can increase your child’s grade. No student will have their grades decline based on their work completed at home.
We will also give teachers flexibility in working with students on credit recovery and we will do everything we can to make sure this disruption will not jeopardize any student’s chances of graduating on time.
Please, do not stress about your child’s schoolwork and grades. We are going to do our best to provide schoolwork to keep our students’ minds moving forward. But you are the parents and they are with you, so you have control to adjust as needed for your child/children. You know them best! We ask for your patience and understanding as we travel in this new territory. Families are the first and most important teacher in a child’s life. The contact of a caring adult and a positive relationship is what can truly make the difference.
Blessings to you and your families during this challenging time. We are here for the children and families of Upshur County and we will pull together to overcome any challenge in order to support our students. We are together and we will continue to be UpshurStrong!