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Direction in a Time of Crisis - The ASD Prepares for the Coronavirus Pandemic
Direction in a Time of Crisis - The ASD Prepares for the Coronavirus Pandemic
John Mask
Saturday, March 21, 2020

COVID-19 has rocked the world. We have learned to adapt to the ever changing environment around us. Change isn't such a bad thing when you are prepared to see it through. Luckily, the students, parents, and community members of the Alcorn School District are in good hands because the heart of ASD is alive and well.

This past week, administrators, teachers, and support staff have been reinventing the wheel in order to provide for the families of ASD. Many of them have worked long hours both in the office and from home. School doors may not be open, but that won't stop our educators from educating. As someone who has been able to work in this process and see the fruits of everyone's labor, I want to share with you what GREAT things are happening inside the Alcorn School District.

Superintendent Bill Brand put ASD families first when he made the decision to cancel school the week following spring break. At that time, there were many unknown factors, and he wasn't willing to put an employee, student, or family member of the Alcorn School District at risk during this pandemic. His leadership has shown very valuable as he has been in constant contact with local and state authorities as well as district education leaders.

As we learned about school closures, we automatically began working on a way to provide meals to students in need. Child Nutrition Director Peggy Bundy and her wonderful cafeteria staff prepared a way to serve meals to students during the school shut down. Breakfast and lunch is available for pickup outside the school cafeterias to reduce crowds and person to person contact. The most amazing part of the Grab-&-Go Meal Program is the amount of community support. Volunteers from churches, community organizations, and business have steadily stepped up to hand out these meals. We love to see members of our ASD community be a part of such a great initiative.

The positivity doesn't end there. Parents and guardians have been concerned about how their child will receive instruction during the school shut down. Although there are still many unknowns, we do know that many of our district leaders and classroom teachers have stepped up to the plate ready to swing for the fences. The technology department has been working diligently to create instructional videos for both teachers and students on how education looks on a digital platform. 

Our Federal Programs staff has been working in conjunction with curriculum leaders and technology leaders ensuring students have accounts set up and have a device to work with if needed. In the midst of securing student accounts and devices, the Special Education team has been preparing their teachers to develop a way to provide individualized instruction remotely. This is not an easy process, but our students are always first. Therefore, everyone in the ASD is willing to make sacrifices to protect the student's rights to a top tier education.

However, the hard work doesn't stop at the district office door; it extends far beyond each school campus into the homes our our top notch teachers. As they learned about the school shut down, their number one concern was their students. Several dedicated teachers took to YouTube and Facebook creating videos and activities for the students. Many of them have been inside their classrooms tirelessly working to prepare lessons and activities for the students during the closure. Teachers love their time off from school, but it is safe to say that they would really like to see and hear from their students right now.

ASD principals and support staff have done an amazing job staying organized during this time of crisis. Support staff members in the district office and in all the schools have been working with the public by phone and email during the closure. They have been on the front lines of providing the public with the answers they've been seeking. Our principals have continued to do a great job being instructional leaders by sharing critical information with our teachers. They have worked hand in hand with each department by sharing their needs and concerns.

District leaders have been preparing a plan to provide education to the students of the ASD during this pandemic. Many things have been discussed and considered. Those plans are being finalized and will be communicated to the ASD community Tuesday, March 24.

The Coronavirus will not stop the Alcorn School District from achieving excellence. We will weather this storm and will come out on top in the end. We should all be proud to say that we are members of ASD. Our strength during these tough times lies within our unity. Please continue to remember all those that have been and will be affected by this virus. Together, we will fight this. Together, we will get through this. Together, we will succeed.

Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." The Alcorn School District will continue to do its part in making change a reality.

ASD is Learning Today... Leading Tomorrow!