Letter to our DCS Families: 2019-2020 Academic Continuity Plan Update
April 1, 2020
To our valued Dothan City School students, parents and staff,
On March 26, 2020, as directed by Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama State Superintendent of Education, Dothan City Schools along with all K-12 public schools across the State of Alabama will close all school buildings and in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. With that closure, all public schools must implement a plan to complete the 2019-2020 school year using alternate methods of instruction as established by the State Superintendent of Education.
On April 3, 2020, Dothan City Schools submitted to the Alabama State Department of Education their 2019-2020 Academic Continuity Plan for Dothan City Schools. Dothan City Schools has selected to offer a blended method of Distance/Virtual Learning and Learning Packets.
Dothan City School’s timeline for instruction will begin on April 13 giving our teachers and staff an opportunity to instructionally plan beginning Monday, April 6 for a week.
Our goal has a system is to provide students with the opportunity to practice skills already taught during the face to face part of the 2019-2020 school year. DCS will use a blended approach to include familiar online resources and hard copy materials to include answer keys.
During the transition into the alternate route of learning, Dothan City School teachers will be tasked with contacting every parent of every child in our district via phone call to determine home resources for online learning, personal preference for online versus hard copy resources and the ability for an adult or sibling to assist with assignments.
Each of our Dothan City Schools will organize hard copy resources to distribute to students for the remainder of the year. It is important that our parents and students continue to communicate with their school during this time. Dothan City Schools will continue to provide students continuity with opportunities to practice skills and strategies learned during this school year. Practice materials will support retention of skills and strategies while being away from the traditional classroom.
In addition to our general education teachers, we are ensuring our children are still in contact with their guidance counselors, English language teachers as well as our special education teachers. Each child where ever they are will continue to be supported by our DCS team.
Additionally, our Child Nutrition Program will continue to offer curbside meal service for lunch at our selected locations across the district. With this service, we are able to continue to provide bagged lunches and snacks for many of our children aged 18 and under. We continue to offer these meals regardless of a child’s school or district. This program will continue until our last day of the school year on June 5 and will not operate on school holidays. EVERY child deserves a healthy meal as well as a great education. More information regarding the meal service can also be found on our virtual learning website.
For the remainder of the year, Dothan City Schools has established a website dedicated solely to offering resources for our families during this untimely closing. This website can be found at sites.google.com/dothan.k12.al.us/dothancityschools/home or clicking At Home on our DCS website.
We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our families and stakeholders as our leadership and educators work together to provide an instructional connection between our schools and our students.
We hope our families continue to stay safe and healthy at this time. In the coming days, please be on the lookout for communication from your schools and if you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your schools.
Dr. Phyllis Edwards
Read our Academic Continuity Plan
MESSAGE FROM DCS
March 26, 2020
Dear DCS Families and Stakeholders,
As directed by Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday, March 26 at 4pm, Dothan City Schools was informed that beginning at the start of school on April 6, 2020, all K-12 public schools shall implement a plan to complete the 2019-2020 school year using alternate methods of instruction as established by the Alabama State Superintendent of Education.
We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our families and stakeholders as our leadership and educators work together to provide a plan of action for the success of all Dothan City School students as well as provide additional guidance and communication.
As it is made available, DCS will continue to keep our community informed. Additional information and resources can also be found on Dothan City School’s Urgent Update Center including links to internet resources and enrichment activities.
IN THE NEWS: GOVERNOR IVEY AND STATE SUPERINTENDENT MACKEY PRESS CONFERENCE
March 26, 2020
When a state of emergency was signed on March 19, state and school officials had hoped to get students back into the classroom by April 6. But with the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread topping 500 confirmed case in Alabama and growing, it became clear that date was no longer feasible.
Dothan City Schools will continue to update families as more information is made available.
IN THE NEWS: Alabama Students Won't Have to Take Standardized Tests
March 20, 2020
UPDATED WITH DCS STATEMENT:
Dothan City Schools continues to monitor developments provided by the ALSDE and the US Department of Education in these unprecedented times of educating our students and other related issues with regard to the COVID-19 virus. Per the press conference held by President Trump and the US Department of Education DeVos, the waiver request process has been expedited to allow states to suspend state assessments. Dr. Eric Mackey, Alabama State Department of Education Superintendent hosted a press conference this afternoon to announce that Alabama has participated in the waiver request for suspending state assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. This waiver would freeze all accountability i.e. state, district, school report cards at the 2018-2019 report. In addition, Dr. Mackey responded to questions relating to several items (i.e. graduation requirements for 12th graders, promotion and retention, possible extension of school closures) that are in conversations and review by the Task Force. They plan to submit findings to Governor Ivey by March 30, 2020.
State Superintendent Eric Mackey announced Alabama students will not have to take standardized tests this year because of the continued spread of coronavirus.
In an impromptu press conference Friday afternoon Mackey explained that the U.S. Secretary of Education has created an expedited process to waive the assessments and related accountability reporting.
That, he said, is great news. He anticipates the waiver to be granted within 24 hours.
The assessments serve as a measure of student performance, teacher performance, and school performance. The state was set to launch a new test this spring.
"This will relieve a lot of work on our staff," Mackey said.
The standardized test scores are used by the state in various ways, including identifying which schools are put on the states 'failing' school list. Students attending those schools are eligible for scholarship vouchers to attend private schools — paid for through $30 million dollars that would normally go to the Education Trust Fund to fund public education.
IN THE NEWS: State Superintendent Eric Mackey Meets with COVID-19 Education Task Force
March 20, 2020
State Superintendent Eric Mackey met with his 11-person task force for the first time Thursday, charged with guiding education decisions for the state amid the increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout Alabama.
Friday, all superintendents will receive a survey developed by the task force with questions regarding their operations, Mackey said. The questions include whether or not their high schools operate under a block or traditional schedule and what technology capacity their district has.
The scheduling questions, Mackey explained, is important because it is the difference between having completed 50% vs 75% of the year's coursework.
Mackey stressed that parents of senior students should not worry. Regardless of whether or not schools re-open on April 6, his department and task force are committed to figuring out how to ensure those qualified graduates.
IN THE NEWS: State Superintendent Eric Mackey Establishes COVID-19 Task Force
March 18, 2020
State superintendent Eric Mackey has formed an 11-member education task force to consider whether or not to keep Alabama public schools closed past April 6.
Meeting Thursday morning, Mackey says the group will make a recommendation to Gov. Kay Ivey by March 30 if they decide schools should remain closed in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
If the schools stay closed, Mackey said he has established four priorities for the task force to tackle.
Dothan-Houston County Emergency Management Agency Press Conference
March 17, 2020
Local officials came together and held a press conference and outlined information concerning COVID-19. There will be more press conferences as more information is available.
Also call 211 for information.
THE MESSAGE: remain calm. All information will be funneled via the Emergency Operations Center for Dothan-Houston County, There a lot of rumors circulating so please check these web sites. One voice of information that is accurate information.
Present today were representatives from Southeast Health & Flowers Hospital, Dothan and Houston County governments, Dothan and Houston County School Systems, and Alabama Department of Public Health.
THIS IS THE PLACE FOR ACCURATE INFORMATION. Do not depend on rumors.
Click here to watch the Dothan-Houston County Emergency Management Agency Press Conference Facebook Live
DCS Meal Distribution
March 16, 2020Dothan City Schools Child Nutrition Program (CNP) will provide lunch and snack meals during the COVID-19 school closures. Meals will be served via a curb-side method at six locations throughout the district beginning Wednesday, March 18. Meal pick up will take place between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.CNP sites will be:· Beverlye Intermediate School - 1025 S. Beverlye Road· DCS Head Start - 900 W. Powell Street· Jerry Lee Faine Elementary School - 1901 Stringer Street· Kelly Springs Elementary School - 1124 Kelly Springs Road· Morris Slingluff Elementary School - 4130 Westgate Parkway· Selma Street Elementary School - 1501 W. Selma Street*Lunches can be picked up from any site regardless of zoning*CNP Service Dates:· March 18-20 (Wednesday through Friday)· March 30 – April 3 (Monday through Friday)*weekdays only - not served during scheduled spring break
DOTHAN CITY SCHOOLS CLOSURE UPDATE
March 16, 2020Effective at the close of school, Monday, March 16, 2020, Dothan City Schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17 & Wednesday, March 18 in addition to the Alabama State Department of Education’s directive of closures for all Alabama K-12 schools from March 19 until April 6. These changes are due to new guidance in social distancing and dropped attendance for Monday, March 16, 2020. Teachers and staff are expected to report to work on Tuesday, March 17. Prior to April 6, 2020, Dothan City Schools will consult with Alabama State Department of Education as they continue to work with Governor Ivey’s COVID-19 Task Force to evaluate and decide whether continued closures will be needed and will continue to provide necessary updates.Dothan City Schools Child Nutrition Program (CNP) will provide lunch and snack meals during the COVID-19 school closures via the USDA Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be served via a curb-side method at six locations throughout the district beginning Wednesday, March 18. Meals pick up will take place between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.CNP sites will be:· Beverlye Intermediate School - 1025 S. Beverlye Road· DCS Head Start - 900 W. Powell Street· Jerry Lee Faine Elementary School - 1901 Stringer Street· Kelly Springs Elementary School - 1124 Kelly Springs Road· Morris Slingluff Elementary School - 4130 Westgate Parkway· Selma Street Elementary School - 1501 W. Selma StreetCNP Service Dates:· March 18-20 (Wednesday through Friday)· March 30 – April 3 (Monday through Friday)*weekdays only - not served during scheduled spring breakAdditional information and resources can be found on Dothan City School’s website at Dothan.k12.al.us/covid19Dothan City Schools will continue to provide guidance and communication with parents and the community during this time of uncertainty and we appreciate your cooperation.
Update from State Superintendent Mackey
March 14, 2020
Under this state of emergency, any students who are absent from school Monday, March 16, 2020 through Wednesday, March 18, 2020 will be excused.
Alabama State Department of Education Press Release
March 14, 2020
Alabama K-12 School Closures
Montgomery, AL - Today, Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency and announced that all K-12 public schools will be closing at the end of the day Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and will reopen Monday, April 6, 2020. Dr. Erick Mackey, State Superintendent of Education, will continue to work with Governor Ivey's COVID-19 Task Force to evaluate and decide whether continued closure will be needed and will continue to provide necessary updates.
The Alabama State Department of Education will work with state health officials, local districts, and other stakeholders to support local communities with continued planning efforts as the COVID-19 situation evolves in Alabama.
Also, the Alabama State Department of Education has submitted a waiver to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow eligible schools to serve drive-through or grab-and-go meals to qualifying students during this closure. We will provide updates and also work with schools to assist them with those plans. Parents and guardians should anticipate receiving specific details regarding meal distributions from their local districts.
We appreciate your collaboration as we work together to deal with this difficult issue.
March 13, 2020
Per Governor Kay Ivey, Dothan City Schools along with all Alabama public K-12 schools will close at the end of day on Wednesday, March 18 until April 6 to help stem the spread of the illness.
As Dothan City Schools continue to work with state agencies and our schools, we will provide additional guidance next week.
Guidance from State Superintendent, Dr. Eric Mackey
March 13, 2020
Based on guidance issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on March 12, 2020, I am revising my guidance to you to include the following components:
As soon as possible, and no later than March 20, 2020,
- To cancel or limit any event where it would be expected to have 500 or more people gathered. This would include performances, plays, athletics, conferences, etc. Please note that amended activities may still be appropriate if you can limit attendance.
- To postpone or cancel any and all field trips, whether inside or outside of Alabama.
Please consider this guidance as applicable through April 30, 2020. We will re-assess at that time based on guidance from ADPH.
Letter to Our DCS Families
March 11, 2020
Dothan City Schools is in close communication with the Alabama Department of Public Health and will continue to follow their guidance and recommendations regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. At this time, there are no confirmed or suspected cases in Houston County or Alabama, and the risk for COVID-19 remains low for Houston County.
Although the risk is low, we would like for Dothan City Schools to remain vigilant and prepared for the safety of our students and staff. The US Center for Disease Control recommends the following precautionary measures to reduce risk:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The practices identified above are taught as part of our health curriculum to help protect students from common illnesses such as cold and influenza. Our teachers will review these strategies at school, and we encourage parents/guardians to review these strategies with your child as well.
If your child is ill, keep them home from school and notify the school of your child’s absence. A child with a heavy cough and cold, vomiting, and/or fever should stay home. A child must be fever-free, without fever-reducing medication, for 72 hours before returning to school. We encourage parents/guardians to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional should your child have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.
Additional measures are taken by Dothan City Schools include:
- Canceling all out-of-state school-sponsored field trips and sporting events
- Temporarily discontinuing student self-service and ‘share tables’ in participating cafeterias.
We will continue to watch the developments surrounding COVID-19 with the assistance of the Alabama Department of Public Health and related agencies. If needed, we will communicate additional steps necessary to protect the health of all of our students, families, and staff. Dothan City Schools has also established an Urgent Update Center at dothan.k12.al.us/covid19
The safety, health, and well-being of our staff, students and school community will, as always, continue to be our priority. We will continue monitoring the development of COVID-19 and plan accordingly in partnership with local, state, and federal health and government officials.
Learn More about COVID-19:
Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Phyllis Edwards
Dothan City Schools Launches Urgent News Update Center
March 11, 2020
Welcome to the Dothan City Schools Urgent News Update Center, a dedicated space on our district website designed to keep parents, staff, and the entire Dothan City Schools community informed about the potential effect of the Coronavirus.
While the impact the virus may have on our schools is still unknown, we know that you and others may have questions. We have created this centralized hub of updates and links to additional resources, including FAQs, policies, and resources such as links to the Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC.
This Update Center serves as an ongoing reliable resource for the entire school community, demonstrating proactive and transparent access to critical information. We will continue to update this with news and information as it becomes available. It is our mission to keep you informed on how we are preparing to cope with Coronavirus and any other potential health-related or time-critical topics. We hope you'll find it useful.
Dothan City School Addresses Coroavirus (COVID-19)
March 3, 2020
As coverage of the Coronavirus outbreak in China, other international locations and subsequent positive cases in the United States continues, our school system is fielding an increasing number of questions from anxious parents and residents. Please know that, as we do in all health-related cases, we are working closely together and receiving additional guidance from the Houston County Health Department, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama State Department of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is also important to understand that as of this writing, we have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Houston County or in Alabama. However, this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and one which we are monitoring closely. We are encouraging our schools to plan proactively. The best way to address anxiety and stress is to stay informed.
What you need to know:
Coronavirus spreads like other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and common cold, primarily through coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms. There have also been rare reports of spread from an infected person with no symptoms to a close contact.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends any individuals who have returned from China within the last 3 weeks that are feeling ill with symptoms of a fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing, to please contact your health care provider and notify the Houston County Health Department at 334-678-2800 for further guidance.
As a system, we have issued prevention reminders to school administrators on what they can do to help ensure a healthy school environment. Since children aren't always as vigilant as adults about healthcare precautions, we want to be sure we enlist your partnership in encouraging their health habits. Practicing good hygiene can help to limit the spread of viruses in our schools. The virus may live on surfaces such as desks and doorknobs, so as a safeguard; custodial staff will continue to regularly clean classrooms and common areas.
Since this is the height of cold and flu season, we encourage all students, parents, and staff to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases.
- Encourage students and staff to stay home when they are sick.
- Those who have a fever at school should go home and stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- Separate sick students and staff from others, ideally in a separate place, until they can be picked up to go home.
- Promote hand hygiene among students and staff through education, scheduled time for handwashing, and availability of soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Teach and encourage proper cough etiquette--cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm (do not use hands).
- Perform routine surface cleaning.
- Be vigilant when attending large gatherings, as this is where respiratory viruses often spread. If you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, stay home to avoid spreading germs.
- Flu vaccine. It is not too late.
We will be continuing our partnerships with public health experts and updating you when new relevant information is available.
- Encourage students and staff to stay home when they are sick.
Will students work from home be graded?
Will State and Federal mandated testing be suspended?
How will DCS determine when it might be necessary to close a school(s)?
What if my family does not have access to the internet outside of work/school?
What measures are you taking to prevent the spread of illness?
What should I do if my child is sick?
Will my student or I be penalized for staying home from school sick?
Are students given opportunities to wash their hands during the school day including before lunch?
Can and/or should students and staff wear masks at school?
If my student travels outside of the country, will DCS restrict their reentry into school?
At what point might you take additional measures if needed?
How will DCS handle an outbreak of illness in our community and/or schools?
How can my child and family stay well?
What To Do If You Develop Symptoms
How could a school closure affect Child Nutrition Programs?
Provided by the Alabama State Department of Education:
- ALSDE: Novel Coronavirus(COVID-19) in K-12 Schools: A Parent Guide
- ALSDE Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update Center
Information from our Local Healthcare Providers:
Provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health:
- COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 02/27/20)
- AL Public Health Guidance to All Day Care Centers and Head Start Programs
- AL Public Health Guidance to All State Post-Secondary Schools and the State Department of Education
Provided by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Preventions: