Update--April 30, 2020
Yesterday Governor DeSantis announced his plans to begin reopening the state. Although the stay-at-home orders and business closures were handed down quickly back in March, the reopening of our state will be a gradual, conservative process to ensure continued safety for our citizens.
Phase I of the reopening process lifted some of the restrictions on retail businesses and restaurants. However, the majority of the previous orders remain in place, including guidelines prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people in enclosed spaces. Given these continued restrictions, and guidance that individuals are “safer at home”, Holmes District Schools will continue to follow the remote learning/working model that we began in March. Employees will continue to work from home whenever possible for the coming weeks. We will continue this model through the end of the regular school calendar on May 28.
I could not be prouder of the way our employees, students, and parents have risen to the challenge of implementing this new method of learning and working. Our staff was given approximately 2 days to develop and submit an instructional continuity plan to the Department of Education. While our employees had plans for relaxation during Spring Break, the necessities of preparing for remote learning caused the vast majority of them to spend the week hard at work on the specifics of how they would begin teaching their students the following week. I am pleased that we were able to begin fully implementing our plan the week following Spring Break. We have been in contact with 100% of our student population. Our district has provided paper learning packets to approximately 41% of our student population. These numbers have caught the attention of lawmakers and provided us the opportunity to advocate for providing our rural areas with faster, more reliable internet connectivity. We have distributed technology to our students and teachers, including Chromebooks, laptops, and mobile hotspots, as we have been able to secure those devices. Additionally, we have worked to provide meals to our students. During this time, our staff has served over 45,500 breakfast and lunch meals to our students.
During times of trial, small towns and communities are known for pulling together, so it’s no surprise that has been the case during this pandemic. We’ve witnessed an outpouring of love from our employees who have gone the extra mile to connect with their students, whether by handwritten letters mailed home, Zoom meetings, YouTube videos or social media. Our teachers have come up with new and innovative ways to present content and have embraced the role that technology can play in teaching. As a result of this experience, I believe our classrooms and teaching will be transformed when we return to our physical school buildings. We’ve seen our schools and communities show creativity in honoring our graduating seniors, and we are committed to provide our seniors with traditional graduation ceremonies. More details on those plans will be announced on May 8. More than ever though, these challenging times have cemented the fact that our schools are truly families! I am confident that we will come through this pandemic stronger than ever! May God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America!
Update--April 18, 2020
Update--April 1, 2020
Update--March 17. 5:45 p.m.
Update--March 13, 5:00 p.m.
Based on guidance from Governor Ron DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, Holmes County Schools will be closed for students next week, March 16-20. All employees, with the exception of bus drivers, will still report to work on Monday, March 16 in order to develop an instructional continuity plan and conduct deep cleaning of the schools. Spring Break will continue as planned the week of March 23-27. As this is a rapidly developing event, more information will be forthcoming in the hours ahead.
All extracurricular activities for the time period of March 14 through March 29 have been cancelled. We hope to reschedule some of those activities at a later date.
There will be no WINGS program March 16-March 27.
Employees (except bus drivers) are to report to work on Monday, March 16.
March 12, 2020 Update
Based on the most current information from the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Holmes District School Board would like to provide an update regarding COVID-19, schools staying open, and Spring Break travel. First and foremost, the health and safety of our students is our priority. There are no reported cases of the virus in our community and we plan to follow our school calendar for the remainder of the school year. Friday, March 20th is an early release day, March 23rd -27th is Spring Break and we will resume classes as scheduled on Monday, March 30th. We will continue to follow our preventative everyday practices regarding cleaning, sanitizing, handwashing and staying home when students or staff are sick. Please refer to the Question and Answer guide (link is in section below) for more information regarding COVID-19.
The following guidelines will be implemented after today’s date, based on CDC travel recommendations:
According to the CDC, the U.S. Department of State recommends against cruise ship travel.
Any Holmes County School District student or employee traveling on a cruise will need to follow the CDC recommendations after returning from the trip. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/covid-19-cruise-ship
- If you were on a cruise in the past 14 days: Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If a case of COVID-19 was reported on your ship during the cruise, stay home during these 14 days and practice social distancing.
- Stay home if you have symptoms, such as fever, cough, or have trouble breathing and call ahead before you seek medical care.
Any Holmes County School District student or employee traveling to a Level 3 destination will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left the area.
Students and staff that meet the guideline requirements in the recommendation to stay home should contact the school administration for information regarding, missing assignments, testing, documentation for the absences, and completing leave forms as set forth in Holmes County school board polices.
• COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
• Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
• Recent reports have stated that on average, symptoms of COVID-19 develop in 5 days.
• CDC said most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults, and infection among children was relatively uncommon.
• CDC has said transmission of coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Current evidence suggests coronavirus may remain viable on surfaces for only two hours, made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.
• CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
The COVID-19 call center is available 24 hours a day 866-779-6121.