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Distance Learning Extended to End of School Year

Get the latest information regarding the coronavirus and EMS ISD updates at emsisd.com/coronavirus.

Updated 4-17-2020 at 1:04 pm

Spanish Translation PDF

Today at noon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott amended his Executive Order calling for all school buildings to remain closed to the public through the end of the school year. The EMS Distance Learning Plan and daily meal service will continue; however, all EMS ISD facilities will remain closed and all events/activities will be canceled through the end of the school year. 

This order prompts many individual questions for students, parents, and staff. We do not yet have all the information, and we are waiting for further guidance from state and local health officials. District leaders will be discussing summer school and other camps/activities in the coming days, and we will share information with you as decisions are able to be made.

Today Texas has 17,371 reported cases of COVID-19 in 192 counties with 428 deaths and an estimated 4,190 recovered. A total of 169,536 Texans have been tested. In Tarrant County, there are 1,093 confirmed cases. Health officials say the social distancing restrictions are working to flatten the curve, and that physical distancing measures should still be practiced to continue preventing significant spread of COVID-19. 

The district has closed its playgrounds and encourages families to stay home, avoid contact within six feet of other people and follow physical-distancing directives for essential activities only as outlined by the mayor, county, and state officials. For more information about EMS ISD’s response to the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 resource hub on the website.

We will provide more information once details are available. Thank you for your continued support and participation during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Jim F. Chadwell, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Update 3-31-2020 at 3:18 pm

Spanish Translation

On Tuesday, March 31, Texas Governor Greg Abbott amended his Executive Order calling for all schools in the state to remain closed to the public until May 4. In response to this newest extension, this means EMS ISD facilities will now be closed and all events/activities canceled until May 4. EMS Distance Learning and curbside meal service will continue, and campus and administrative personnel will continue to be accessible through email, voicemail, and the online Let's Talk! system on the district website.

Governor Abbott was joined by Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD; Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd; and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath. The Executive Order for Texas mirrors an announcement recently by President Donald Trump.

“Now is not the time to let up our distancing efforts,” Governor Abbott said. “Now is the time to redouble our efforts to make sure we do more to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The Governor reported that, as of today, Texas has 3,266 confirmed cases in 122 counties with 41 deaths. A total of 42,922 Texans have been tested, which means less than 10 percent have tested positive. In Tarrant County, there are 273 confirmed cases, eight people who have recovered and one death. The US now has more than doubled the number of COVID-19 cases as China and leads all other countries with 163,539 cases. 

District leaders encourage you to please continue to follow social distancing guidelines of avoiding contact within six feet of other people, not gathering in groups larger than 10, and following directives for essential activities only as outlined by the mayor, county, and state officials. For more information about EMS ISD's response to the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 website at www.emsisd.com/coronavirus

Update 3-27-2020 at 5:01 pm 

Spanish Translation

Dear EMS ISD Families,

After consulting with Tarrant County Health officials, EMS ISD is joining other area school districts in extending our emergency closure. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, EMS ISD buildings will remain closed to the public through April 17. Distance learning and curbside meal service will continue throughout the closure, and district office personnel will be responding to emails, voicemails, and Let's Talk messages. We will continue to assess the appropriate timing to re-open our facilities on a weekly basis and will coordinate with the appropriate authorities in doing so.

As of today, Texas has more than 1,700 confirmed cases of the virus in 105 counties, and the United States has surpassed both China and Italy in the number of COVID-19 cases. It’s clear that our communities need more time to flatten the curve and prevent rapid spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Please join all of us in EMS ISD as we follow the emergency disaster orders and social distancing restrictions set forth by our city, county, and state officials. Together, we believe we can slow down the virus and make a difference for our health care system.

Schools are not supposed to have empty hallways and quiet classrooms. I know I speak for our more than 2,800 teachers, support staff, and administrators when I say we truly miss your children! We are doing everything we can to provide meaningful distance learning lessons and counseling resources to ensure continuity of services for our students. Our employees in the technology and child nutrition departments have been incredible in their efforts to make sure students and staff remain connected and well-fed. Our staff in custodial, maintenance, and safety and security are managing the monumental task of taking care of our buildings in your absence, and our curriculum and instruction personnel and our teachers are working overtime to make sure your children's academic goals are met. The pictures and posts being shared online tell a story of a community that is resilient in the face of adversity and committed to helping those in need.

During this time of closure, we are required to use up our bad weather days that are designated on the school calendar and built into our school day minutes. This means the bad weather days scheduled for April 10 and May 22 will now become work/school days. The State has indicated that we may be able to apply for waivers for days missed beyond our bad weather days. We do not have final information yet about the end of the school year, but we will share that with you once we receive State guidance.

Thank you, parents, for your patience and support during these difficult times. We are proud to be a part of a community that steps up to help and support one another when it’s needed most. We pledge to keep you informed about any new developments during this extended school closure. We look forward to the day when we can reopen our doors and welcome your children back with a smile and a hug.

Sincerely,

Jim F. Chadwell, Ed.D.
Superintendent  

 

Update 3-27-2020 at 12:53 pm 

Spanish Translated Message

Dear EMS ISD Families,

The focus of my work as Deputy Superintendent of EMS ISD centers on student learning. That focus has required a different approach with distance learning, and I am writing today to share information about our instructional plans moving forward and how we are working to streamline communications. My hope is that this update will relieve some of the concerns and demands that are being made during these unprecedented times.

First, I want you to know that we hear your voices. You have been kind and patient with the District as we have coordinated, planned, communicated, and worked to implement distance learning for ALL 21,000+ children in EMS ISD – in a week. While a process is never perfect, I believe our staff here in EMS ISD has done an incredible job and I commend you, our family partners, for all the extra work you are doing to continue supporting your child(ren) at home.

As we created our distance learning approach, we intentionally planned for a two-phase system of implementation. This week has been focused on enrichment, providing activities and resources to support prior learning. Additionally, we have worked to provide multiple resources on our distance learning website, which can be found at www.emsisd.com/emsdistancelearning. As we move into this next week, teachers will transition to new learning that directly connects to our curriculum. The enrichment exercises, called “Choice Boards” and found on the distance learning website, will continue to provide students opportunities to support, extend, and enrich their learning.

Distance learning is not always easy for students or parents, or even teachers. The amount of communication to keep everyone connected can be a bit overwhelming. Now that we have a week of experience to pull from, we are making the following commitments to help streamline communication and provide a single resource for parents to know what the coming week holds for learning. Starting today:

  • Parents of elementary students will receive an email from their child’s homeroom teacher on Friday afternoons that includes links to lessons for the coming week.
     
  • Parents of students in grades 6-12 will receive an email from their child(ren)’s school principal every Friday afternoon notifying them that lessons for the coming week are uploaded into the teacher’s Canvas or Office 365 account. Middle and high school students should access their accounts using the Single Sign On Portal (SSO) found under the Students tab on the District website. Parents can access these resources using their child’s SSO.
     
  • Students grades 6-12 are asked to utilize either their District email in Office 365, OneNote, or Canvas to communicate and submit assignments to the teachers throughout the week. Students should check their email daily, at a minimum, to ensure they receive all messages from their teachers.

Our goal with distance learning is to move your child forward in his/her growth and development to help them master the standards outlined in the curriculum. The expectation is an elementary child should spend a minimum of two hours a day doing academic work. A secondary student is expected to spend a minimum of 3-4 hours a day of academic work. It is vital that students attempt the work and show progress. Parents, we need your help to reframe this time of distance learning for your child. This is NOT an “extension of spring break.” According to the State and District, school is back in session and students must participate in the lessons provided by teachers to get credit for their courses and advance to the next grade level. While grading may look different (and we are hoping to have information for you about grading standards very soon), the expectations that students continue to learn remain steadfast.

In addition to curricular lessons, we have online resources for character education development, social/emotional support, and academic growth. Please use them as you need. Additionally, if you have questions or needs, please contact your child’s teacher first. If you still need help, please reach out to your principal. All of our teams are here to support the learning while not overloading the work. 

I hope your family stays healthy during this time. I also hope you know that here in EMS ISD, we seek to follow our mission of “creating a culture of excellence that instills a passion of lifetime achievement in every student.” We appreciate you and your partnership during our EMS Distance Learning.

EMS Proud,

Dr. Linda Parker
Deputy Superintendent

Update 3-25-2020 at 8:43 am

Dear EMS ISD Families,

In my letter this afternoon, we inadvertently suggested that families could continue to play on playground equipment at our schools. This was misstated; our intent was that families could continue to use outdoor areas at our school sites for exercise. Playgrounds in Saginaw are closed by order of the Mayor and the Mayor of Fort Worth has advised against the use of playgrounds because of the concern of the COVID-19 virus living on metal and plastic surfaces. We do encourage you to continue using tracks, fields, and other outdoor areas for exercise while abiding by the county order to limit the gathering of groups in one area to 10 or fewer. Read the March 24 Letter to Families

Additionally, the new Stay At Home Orders take effect tonight at 11:59 p.m. and remain in effect until April 7, 2020. This means the school closure will be extended through April 7, 2020. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and your continued support.

Sincerely,

Jim F. Chadwell, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Update 3-24-2020 at 5:11 pm

March 24, 2020

Dear EMS ISD Families, 

Our first week of distance learning is underway and we appreciate all you are doing to support your child(ren) with connecting with their teachers and encouraging their work on enrichment activities. I am incredibly impressed with the work that our staff has done to provide engaging work to our students and their response to meet these challenges. Thank you, parents and guardians, for all you have done to support our teachers and your child(ren). I encourage you to continue to reach out to your child’s teachers and/or principal for questions and guidance. 

Today, Tarrant County and the City of Fort Worth have both taken a more restrictive approach to socializing with new Stay-At Home Orders. What does this mean for EMS ISD?

  • We are able to continue to provide free breakfasts and lunches weekdays from 11 am-1 pm because this service is deemed essential. Curbside meal locations are Dozier Elementary, Gililland Elementary, Northbrook Elementary, Saginaw Elementary, High Country Middle, and Marine Creek Middle schools. As a reminder, students must be present to receive their meals.
  • Most of our employees, such as principals, teachers, and central office administrators, can and are working from home.
  • Campuses and district offices are not open to the public, but staff is available via email, voicemail, and Let’s Talk! through our websites.
  • There is a smaller group of people in a few departments, such as technology services, custodial, child nutrition, maintenance, safety & security, and key business office operations, who must be on-site to support our students and facilitate operations. These employees are deemed essential personnel by the county, state, and federal governments. I thank each of them and their efforts to support our work for children.
  • We are closely monitoring the district’s facilities and are using our safety & security team to monitor them.

Please do your part to follow the Stay-At-Home order and only go to work if you are required to and to the businesses you need in order to live such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurant take-out. The order does still allow families to get outside and exercise, and we encourage you to do the same! Please continue to use our tracks, outdoor areas, fields, and outdoor spaces, but please respect and abide by the county order to limit the gathering of groups in one area to 10 or fewer. We cannot stress this enough – our outdoor facilities are available for taxpayer use but social distancing rules still apply. This means that if there are more than 10 people at an outdoor area, please make the decision to try back another time. Please do not have pickup basketball games on our courts or full-team soccer scrimmages on our fields. Bottom line – be proactive and protective, and comply with the 10-or-fewer guideline.

Although school buildings are closed, the business of school is still going on and – as always – we are here to serve you. Teachers will be checking their emails daily and responding to your questions. Please take a moment to visit our Distance Learning microsite, www.emsisd.com/emsdistancelearning, where you will find learning activities for each week provided by grade level and/or subject area. Additionally, all communication updates and information related to the coronavirus closure can be found at www.emsisd.com/coronavirus.  Also, if you do not already like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, please join us. We have a lot of information as well as engaging posts we are planning while we aren’t physically in school. 

I want you to know that we miss your children. Teachers are nurturers and teaching remotely is hard for us. We know there are going to be days that you struggle. We will struggle too. It’s important to know that during times like these, we can all be flexible. Please know that you are free to work this new at-home education schedule in whatever way it works best for you and provides the most peace in your home. We also will be sharing tips and suggestions to help families create the best distance learning experience for your children.

Take care of yourselves and your children. We can’t wait until we are all reunited again.

 Sincerely,

Jim F. Chadwell, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Update 3-22-2020, 5:10 pm: EMS Distance Learning Begins Monday

Starting Monday, March 23, EMS ISD teachers will begin distance learning activities to keep students on track with their learning and connected with their teachers and classmates. I want to commend our teachers, instructional staff, technology personnel, and others who have moved mountains to create a strong distance learning plan for all grade levels in such a short amount of time. They have been working tirelessly for you.

This first week of distance learning is designed as review and enrichment of concepts previously taught. The activities consist of varied learning approaches, including digital and non-digital options. For most grade levels, the week is structured so that students have choices on which activities to complete. For others, such as advanced high school courses and career and technology classes, there may be specific lessons. Either way, your teachers will be contacting you (if they haven’t already) with details and expectations.  

Our expectation is that all of our students continue to learn and grow academically during this time of distance learning. Your partnership with teachers will play an important role in helping our students maintain a high level of academic success now and into the future.

A new distance learning microsite, www.emsisd.com/emsdistancelearning, has been created on the EMS ISD website to keep parents informed of instructional expectations for their child(ren). The information on this site is to give families an overview of the next week’s learning and serve as a resource throughout the week. It does not replace direct contact and instructions from teachers.

The distance learning microsite will be updated at 5 pm every Sunday with the next week’s learning goals for as long as the distance learning plan is in effect. Here are a few additional items to remember as we move to distance learning:

  • For technology troubleshooting during distance learning, please contact the EMS ISD Help Desk at 817-847-2990. The Help Desk will take calls from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm weekdays.
  • The best way to access applications available to students and staff is through Single Sign On, https://sso.ems-isd.net/.
  • Teachers for students grades Pre-K through 12 will communicate through parents via email and Remind messages.
  • Students grades 6-12 have district-issued email accounts they can use to communicate with their teachers. The format is STUDENTID@s.ems-isd.net and the password is the same as their Canvas login. If parents do not want their child(ren) to have a district email account, please contact the EMS ISD Help Desk to opt out.
  • Teachers will communicate directly the method(s) students will use to submit and share completed activities.

While our physical buildings currently remain closed through April 3, our teachers and district personnel stand ready and willing to serve you. We understand how challenging this whole situation is for everyone involved. We appreciate all the support and encouragement that has been shared with us, and we thank you for your partnership in the continued education of your children. Please know we are in this together and we will work to support each EMS ISD student and parent. 

Please continue to follow our information hub for updates and communications.

Update 3-19-1:16 pm: District Closed through April 3, Governor Declares National Health Disaster

Governor Greg Abbott has declared a public health disaster due to COVID-19 -- the first of its kind in Texas since 1901. All schools will be closed through April 3 per the Governor's order. The state will review reopening at that time, depending on the spread of the virus. Visit www.emsisd.com/coronavirus for the full district letter to families.

Update 3-18-2020, 3:09 pm: Student Meals and Technology Resources/Savings for Families

EMS ISD leaders are working diligently to finalize plans for continuation of services during the extended closure period. We will share details with you once decisions are made next week. Meanwhile, we have an update on student meals and technology resources for families.

Student Meals

EMS ISD will be serving “grab and go” meals for students throughout the closure. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, EMS ISD Child Nutrition will be providing breakfast and lunch meals for students ages 18 or younger. Meal bags will be served as a curb-side pickup at the following locations:

  • Northbrook Elementary
  • Gililland Elementary
  • Saginaw Elementary
  • Dozier Elementary
  • Highland Middle School

To allow for more social distancing and fewer instances of interactions, Thursday, March 19, will be the last morning that breakfast can be picked up between 8-9 am. Beginning on March 19, we will bundle lunch and breakfast together for pick up between 11 am- 1 pm on weekdays so that students get lunch for the current day and will already have their breakfast for the next morning. There will be no 8-9 am breakfast pickups starting Friday, March 20. 

Due to federal program requirements, a student must be present to receive a meal. Additionally, the health department requires school-based meals to be prepared and served by certified child nutrition personnel, and our EMS ISD Child Nutrition staff is fully prepared to make sure the children in our community are well fed during this school closure.

We know that families may have additional needs and we are grateful for other community organizations such as Community Link Mission and local churches and faith-based agencies that are providing meals, food, and other necessities. If you have questions or recommendations for support, please contact any of these organizations or the EMS ISD Child Nutrition Department, 817-232-0880.

 

Technology Resources

Several technology companies are offering free/reduced internet service to support families during school closure periods. The purpose is to ease burdens of connectivity costs and reduce barriers to online learning. EMS ISD is finalizing a plan for ongoing instructional support for home-based learning and we will be sharing details with you next week. Meanwhile, we wanted to pass along these offers for internet service and savings to our families:

Charter/Spectrum:
Beginning Monday, March 16, Charter Communications commits to the following for 60 days:

AT&T:

  • Late fees are deactivated and AT&T commits to not terminate any of its services if customers are unable to pay immediately.
  • Low-income households can still sign up for “Access from AT&T” to obtain wireless service for $10 per month.
  • AT&T also lifted data caps for customers with broadband internet, letting them get online without limitations.
  • Hotspots operated by AT&T are now open to the general public as well.
  • AT&T supporting resources: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html

T-Mobile:

  • ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming).
  • Providing T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot / tethering service for the next 60 days – coming soon.
  • Working with Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB per month over the next two months.
  • Offering free international calling for ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers to Level 3 impacted countries.
  • Supporting the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge focused on ensuring residential and small business customers with financial impacts do not lose service.

Sprint:

  • Sprint signed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge. For the next 60 days, they will support residential and small business customers by:
    • Not terminating service if they are unable to pay their Sprint bill because of the coronavirus, and
    • Waiving late fees incurred because of economic circumstances related to the pandemic.
  • Starting on Tuesday, customers with international long distance calling plans will receive complimentary international calling rates from the U.S. to countries defined by the CDC as Level 3.
  • By next Thursday:
    • Customers with metered data plans will receive unlimited data per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost.
    • Customers will be provided with an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost.
  • Coming soon:
    • Customers with mobile hotspot-capable handsets who don’t have mobile hotspot today will now get 20GB as well per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost. 
    • Sprint’s Support of 1Million Project Foundation - http://www.1millionproject.org/parents

Additionally, many education companies are offering free subscriptions to their products to help support student learning at home. You can access those resources at the website: amazingeducationalresources.com.

Please continue to check email, the district website, and social media for updates.

 

Update 3-13-2020, 1:54 pm:

Due to the recommendation of Tarrant County Health Department for a two-week school closure, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD will be closed March 16-27. As a result, the scheduled administration of the SAT test on Saturday, March 14 is canceled and will be rescheduled for a future date. Additional details regarding the reschedule will be shared directly with students who are registered for the March 14 test. This applies to the SAT and ACT exams scheduled on March 24-25 as well. Should students not be available to take the test on the rescheduled dates, refunds will be issued by College Board. The health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority. We appreciate your understanding of the need to cancel the testing.

 

Posted 3-13-2020, 10:30 am:

Friday morning, EMS ISD participated in a phone conference with Tarrant County Health Department, which recommended a two-week school closure following spring break to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. After collaborating with state and county health officials and other education leaders this morning, a number of public school districts in North Texas, including EMS ISD, have decided to follow the TCHD recommendation. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD will be closed March 16-27, along with the cancelation of all extracurricular activities and school events during the same period. We will reevaluate the situation at the end of this closure before making any other long-term announcements. 

 The health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority. The goals of this announced closure are to help prevent the spread of disease and to give our staff additional time to plan for continuity of services (online learning) should it become necessary for public schools to close for longer. We ask each of you to do your part to help prevent the spread of disease by limiting your attendance at social gatherings and large public events. Wash your hands regularly and isolate yourself if you begin experiencing symptoms like fever, coughing, or shortness of breath. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tarrant County Health Department is available on our website. The cancellation of mass gathering events can dramatically help flatten the curve for the spread of the coronavirus disease.   

We acknowledge that an unexpected school closure creates a hardship on our parents and staff because of work, childcare, and other considerations. We hope you know our efforts coming to this decision have been done based on facts and with the best interests of everyone involved. We also know and understand that for many students, school is the one place that they can count on for meals and support. Our staff will be planning and preparing to assist students who might need support during this extended closure. 

 EMS ISD employees need to be available to work when requested during this extended closure period. We will communicate directly with staff members regarding their specific roles and responsibilities in our prevention planning. Staff should plan to remain home on Monday and Tuesday until contacted directly by your supervisor.  

 We are still working through questions regarding course credit, attendance, upcoming STAAR and accountability exams, and other details. Please be patient as we identify plans to move forward and be assured we will communicate those details with you as they are finalized. 

Thank you for your understanding and support of district leaders as we navigate this unprecedented situation and work through additional details. We will keep you updated on decisions affecting your child, and we ask that you help us mitigate the spread of this virus by staying home, avoiding group activities, and practicing proactive health measures. Social distancing is one of the best ways to slow the spread of illness and we all must do our part to ensure the safety and well-being within our community. 

Please visit our website for resources from CDC and Tarrant County public health, and watch for district updates on our website and social media.

In addition, more information is available from the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html and at the TCPH website at https://www.tarrantcounty.com/en/public-health.html.