MARCH 27, 2020 UPDATE
Dear Clayton Community,
In my communication over the years, I have mentioned the power of collective efficacy. When individuals come together with shared beliefs and unified efforts, they can overcome challenges and make great things happen for students. Over the last month, our District has demonstrated collective efficacy at a level that I have never experienced in my career – overcoming a challenge that is completely new to everyone – the COVID–19 pandemic.
When the coronavirus first started permeating through all of our District discussions in February, I never thought we would be at the point of closing schools throughout the entire state. Although there were many unknowns, we had in-depth conversations about the “what ifs” and started developing a comprehensive plan. At certain points during that planning, I wondered about whether or not we were spending too much time on the worst-case scenario. I am thankful we did because it resulted in proactive plans that allowed us to make the best out of this unprecedented situation.
We are now living our new normal. As a District, we are embracing the challenge of this new normal and growing from it. Our Continued Learning with students launched on March 25. Our students are now learning and our educators are now teaching at home. I believe this experience has caused all of us to think differently and to be creative about learning. A focus of our new strategic plan is personalized learning approaches. I can’t help but think that this experience is actually going to help us be an even stronger District when we return and inform the work of our strategic plan. I look forward to the time when our schools are alive again with students and staff, because those personal interactions and relationships enhance learning.
You and your children’s health and well-being are the greatest priority at this time. A situation like this can also cause stress, which can impact you socially and emotionally. I would encourage you to be intentional about your mental health during this time and suggest the following:
- Be aware of your mindset about this situation. How can you reframe it as an opportunity to have extended quality time with your family?
- Take time to make a phone call to connect with people you don’t often get to talk to beyond text messages.
- Develop a “new normal” routine with your family that includes time for fun or physical activity with one another.
- Start an “I’d rather be…” journal. This can be something you refer back to once we get through this and use as a resource when you have more freedom with your time.
- Think about ways to express gratitude to another. Get into a habit of writing a hand-written note to people more often.
- If you have time, learn a new skill.
- This time can also be stressful financially and it is okay to ask for support. Use this link if you are needing support with meals or other issues.
- Check in with your children about how they are feeling. Although our students have many digital interactions with their friends, they are missing out on the personal interactions they would normally have in classrooms or through athletics.
I believe our community has the collective efficacy to not only get through this situation but also come out stronger on the other end. I am appreciative of the dedication of our AMAZING educators and the endless support from our parents. My hope is that our students look back on this time in their history as a time when their community did whatever it took to keep them safe and to continue their learning.
We want to continue to provide you with the latest information about the coronavirus. Our team of health professionals and District administrators is working to both monitor this situation on a daily basis and manage the District's response to this outbreak. We are also continuing to work with our local and state health agency partners.
Any calls for basic COVID-19 information should be directed to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The hotline opened and can be reached at 877-435-8411. The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
Anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 or if they are experiencing symptoms should call the St. Louis County Department of Public Health hotline at 314-615-2660.