COVID-19 News & Updates
July 31, 2020 VCS Return to Learn Status Update
Dear VCS Community,
The events and conversations over these months of living in a pandemic environment should leave little doubt as to how critical public schools are to the Valparaiso community. Schools are often at the foundation of family life each day. Once upon a time, the primary function of school was to offer an academic experience. Over the years, our schools have evolved into so much more. Public schools are a source of critical services for students and families in addition to offering opportunities for academic excellence. Public schools provide meal programs, health interventions, social, behavioral, recreational, and mental health assistance to name just a few of the critical services for students and families. School closure interferes with the delivery of these important services and hinders the development of both peer and student-teacher relationships.
When schools are prepared for occupancy, it is important they be open and available for in-person learning and for critical services to be effectively delivered. With the support of the Porter County Department of Health, and through the implementation of the VCS Return to Learn Plan, our schools are prepared for occupancy. On Wednesday, August 12 the Valparaiso Community Schools will reopen in Green Status, and staff will welcome students for in-person learning and participation in critical services. Those families who choose the remote learning option will be welcomed as well.
Understand, reopening school and returning to classrooms and critical services in a COVID-19 environment will require discipline and strict attention to the protocols defined in the VCS Return to Learn Plan as well as to individual school plans designed by principals and staff. Keeping schools safe and open will depend on the behaviors and use of protocols by people in the entire community. The African Proverb “It takes the whole village to raise the child” is very relevant in the reopening of school. Since schools have been closed,the incidence of COVID-19 reported by the Porter County Department of Health has originated outside of the school walls, with most cases tracked to the absence of protocols, including not wearing masks and unacceptable physical distancing. We will be able to keep school safe and open only if the entire community, in and out of the schoolhouse, regularly deploys these safety protocols.
The decision to open schools and offer learning in-person is made with educational as well as professional health input. Professionals representing the Valparaiso Community Schools and the Porter County Health Department have collaborated regularly over these months, resulting in data and information supporting the return to learning. As one example of this collaboration, please reference the attached document from Dr. Maria Stamp, Porter County Health Officer.
The reality is, we will most likely have cases of COVID-19 occur in our schools. School personnel will work quickly to identify impacted people and deploy actions including quarantine and remote learning. Some extracurricular and other activities may need to be paused from time to time to address exposure. A class, school, and even the district may need to close in order to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. Remote learning may be required of some or many students should the Department of Health determine it necessary. We can increase the probability of keeping our schools open for learning and keeping one another healthy and safe when we all deploy the actions in the Return to Learn Plan and adhere to the advice of the Health Department.
Public education and public health are both critical to our community and interdependent upon each other. COVID-19 has impacted the schools we love and the health we cherish. In response, our schools can assist in teaching new habits such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and keeping our hands clean to make a positive difference in ending this virus. The success of keeping our schools open for learning and critical services is dependent on all of our actions.
Michael J. Berta Jr.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
July 30, 2020 Handwashing 101
July 28, 2020 Cloth Face Covering Guidance
Dear VCS Community,
As the 2020-21 school year approaches, our school district remains committed to the development of the whole child. Now, more than ever, it is critical for VCS, in collaboration with families, community partners, and other stakeholders, to intentionally promote not only academic development, but also physical, social, and emotional health. In the coming weeks, you will receive resources to assist with the return to teaching and learning in the current pandemic environment and to promote the growth of the whole child.
Today we would like to begin this resource share with attention to physical health and guidance for cloth face coverings. This document includes best practices for proper use and care of these face masks. Please take a moment to read through the document below and begin using this information to prepare your children.
As always, we appreciate your support and partnership in education.
July 24, 2020 Daily Schedule Changes for the 2020-21 School Year
Dear VCS Community,
As you are aware, Valparaiso Community Schools has created an option for families to participate in Remote Learning for the 2020-21 school year in order to meet the needs of our families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The addition of the Remote Learning model creates an added responsibility for teachers. A collaborative effort by teachers and administrators produced a new daily schedule for the 2020-21 school year for all students regardless of Remote or In-Person status. To that end, the new Instructional Times for all students are as follows (see the attached document for a more detailed look at the daily schedules):
2020-21 School Day
Middle Schools: 8:19-2:50
Elementary Schools: 9:15-3:20
The new, School Board approved schedule will enable our teachers to have more time dedicated toward Remote and In-Person Learning initiatives while maintaining adherence to the statutory requirements for instructional minutes. Additional time will better serve both remote and in-person learners by providing teachers extra minutes dedicated to video creation and uploading, student conferencing, activity curation, and enhanced lesson design. Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 20, 2020 Registration Reminder & Update
Valparaiso Community Schools Parents and Staff,
Registration for the 2020-21 school year is open now in Skyward Family Access. As you participate in the process to register your child for the 2020-21 school year, please know much thought and effort has been dedicated to design quality learning experiences. In addition, attention has been directed to meet and exceed safety standards given the COVID environment we all live our lives in. There is no guarantee COVID related problems will not occur. However, protocols are in place to keep our staff and students healthy and safe.
Opinions regarding the reopening of schools are being expressed across the country. Here in Valparaiso, I have received many emails expressing opinions about the reopening of schools. For each opinion on a reopening topic there is often a completely opposite opinion on the same topic written by another person. I chose not to respond to each email received as doing so would consume time better used for the work needed to meet the responsibilities of educational leadership. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the VCS website as this resource addresses much being communicated.
The use of masks/face coverings in school has received much attention from adults. Please understand that wearing masks in school is required and not an option when conditions exist. Examples of such conditions include when appropriate physical distancing does not exist, the teacher has a health condition that would possibly be compromised, or a student in the class has a health condition that may be compromised. The teacher is the authority in the classroom and has the responsibility to direct students to put a mask on when the teacher determines the conditions require it. This is a necessary and non negotiable element of maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment. Should you find this unacceptable for whatever reason, choose remote learning as the registration option.
It is my unwavering belief that public education is at the heart of our nation. Students experiencing teaching and learning in our classrooms as well as their participation in relationship development with adults and one another cannot be duplicated. These months we have just experienced when schools were not available should teach us just how necessary in person education is for our young people and also reinforce how vital the skilled and talented educator is in the life of children. Schools are not just a place for our kids to go. Schools are places where dedicated adults in a variety of roles nurture the academic, social, physical, and emotional development of our future.
Daily, local COVID-19 data as provided by the Porter County Health Department is monitored for the decision making process of what “color” status in which school will reopen. Simultaneously, a model is being designed to better use data for these decision making processes. Parents and staff will be informed of school reopening status on our website, with e-mail, and via automated phone call. The information regarding COVID-19 changes rapidly as medical and science professionals learn from their work. We are positioned to change the Valparaiso Community Schools reopening plan and relevant protocols should the medical and scientific results require changes.
Michael J. Berta Jr.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
July 14, 2020 Return to Learn FAQ
Dear VCS Families,
Thank you to those who submitted questions and comments about the VCS Return to Learn plan. Your feedback helped us to develop our frequently asked questions (FAQ) document with relevant information and clarifications for our school community. The FAQ document is available now on the VCS website here: Return to Learn FAQ
We have included a short, one-question survey regarding your current preference for in-person instruction or remote learning. Your response to this survey will assist us with critical planning for the 2020-21 school year. Please take a moment to fill out the short survey linked below by 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, 2020.
We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that registration for the 2020-21 school year begins next week. For more information on registration, please click the following link: Registration Information.
July 6, 2020 Return to Learn Plan 2020-21
Dear VCS Community,
We are pleased to release the proposed Valparaiso Community Schools Return to Learn plan for the 2020-21 school year. The purpose of the Valparaiso Community Schools “Return to Learn 2020-21” plan is to provide guidance to parents and staff as preparation is made to return to teaching and learning in the current pandemic environment. As conditions, medical knowledge, and general knowledge of COVID-19 continue to evolve, so will the actions to keep students and staff safe and healthy in our schools. The elements of this document will be revised and updated as more is learned about COVID-19.
Below you will find three links. The first is to an introductory video from Interim Superintendent Mr. Michael Berta outlining key points of the plan. The second link is to the VCS Return to Learn plan, and finally there is a link for the community to provide comments regarding the plan. Comments submitted prior to July 9, 2020 at 12 p.m. will be shared with the Valparaiso Community Schools Board of Trustees for their consideration.
Thank you for your support as we continue to work through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your partnership in education.
July 1, 2020 - Return to Learn Plan to be Released on July 6, 2020
Dear VCS Community,
Please accept our sincere appreciation for your support and patience as we continue to work through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward to the 2020-21 school year, we understand that many of you are awaiting the release of our Return to Learn plan. We are pleased to announce that our plan will be released on July 6, 2020.
Our re-entry team, with over 25 members including administrators, directors, elementary and secondary principals, teachers, and other staff, has been meeting virtually on a weekly basis to discuss and design the Return to Learn plan. Our return to school decisions are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), and the Porter County Health Department while considering parent and staff feedback.
At this time, VCS will follow our previously Board approved 2020-21 school year calendar. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all of those working toward a safe return to learning for students and staff. We are looking forward to sharing the VCS Return to Learn plan with you on July 6, 2020 via email, the VCS website, and VCS social media.
May 18, 2020 VCS Update
May 18, 2020
Dear Valparaiso Community Schools Families and Community,
As the weather begins to warm and the school year wraps up in a very non-traditional way, please accept our sincere appreciation for the resilience and innovation on display from students, teachers, parents, and the community. “We are Valpo” takes on a special meaning in the face of adversity, and 2020 has been exceptional. The remote learning model has driven our teachers and students (and parents!) to think outside the box and grow outside their comfort zones. The feedback via surveys and emails has been invaluable, and it helped to guide our continuous improvement in eLearning in the form of more Zoom meetings, more recorded lessons, checklists for parents/students, and the focus on everyone’s mental health. Furthermore, the Food Distribution program every Friday at VHS has distributed almost 10,000 meals per week and the Dressed for School program continues to provide clothes for students in need. “We are Valpo” indeed!
The Governor’s “Back on Track” plan will guide many of our activities this summer and beyond. Although our Class of 2020 will not participate in a traditional commencement until July, we will be celebrating their success with a series of activities which will include:
an individual photo opportunity on the commencement stage in cap and gown.
a car parade the morning of May 31st which will go through downtown -- come out and cheer them on! Exact time dependent upon the train schedule and will be communicated soon.
a virtual ceremony at 3 pm livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.
20 booming fireworks to signify their accomplishment that evening at around 5:30.
We are so proud of this class and they are worth celebrating!
In addition to postponing the traditional commencement ceremony, Governor Holcomb’s plan as well as our own discussions with Health Services have driven the decision that all students returning to VCS in the fall will be able to exchange their textbooks and other instructional materials as well as electronic devices in July. At that time, they will also be able to retrieve any personal items they may have left in their desks or lockers. Given our size and the focus on keeping everyone as safe as possible, the prudent course of action is to wait until July. More details will be communicated for this event in the coming weeks.
After the summer activities, the next question on everyone’s minds has been “What will the future look like?” Many models are being discussed nationwide, and our administration team is investigating the models as well as their impact on all operations (teaching & learning, food service, transportation, custodial services, maintenance, etc.). As more information becomes available from federal and state officials, we will engage the community in the conversation in what school can look like in the fall. Until then, please enjoy the summer months, enjoy each other, stay safe, and be well!
April 17, 2020 VCS Update
April 17, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We would like to begin by thanking you for your participation in the recent eLearning parent survey. While the results were overwhelmingly positive regarding this extended time of eLearning, we also want to acknowledge the suggestions for improvement that were shared through your comments. Rest assured, our teachers and administrators have already begun shifting practices to improve everyone's experience as we continue with eLearning through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Your continued partnership with our teachers is greatly appreciated.
We have a lot of information to share in this letter as we endeavor to keep you updated. It is important to us that we provide you with accurate and timely information. Please take a few minutes to thoroughly review this message. Should you have any questions on the information below, please contact your child’s principal.
- All VCS schools will follow the revised school year calendar on our website. We ask that families adhere to the e-learning schedule as closely as possible so that all students stay on track for the remainder of the school year.
- May 22, 2020 will be the last day of school as approved by the VCS school board on April 16, 2020. To see the updated calendar, please visit the following link: VCS Calendar
- Please note the following highlights from the updated calendar:
- Continuation of the established M-W-F pattern of eLearning for the duration of the school year.
- The May 5, 2020 eLearning day has been converted to a waiver day.
- The May 15, 2020 weather make-up day has been converted to an eLearning day.
Our focus during this time will be to provide feedback to students. To ensure we are grading in an equitable manner we will do the following:
Grading Information for Grades 8-12 (Credit Bearing Courses)
- All students are required to continue participation in their classes to earn their 4th quarter grades.
- Grades 8-11 Credit-bearing courses: Failure to participate may result in an “I” for incomplete and require participation in future credit recovery opportunities.
- Seniors: Failure to participate may result in an “F” for fourth-quarter even though the IDOE will allow schools to grant credit for enrollment.
- Teachers will continue to provide instruction, activities, and feedback to students.
- Teachers will establish the fourth-quarter grade for each student’s previous body of work in the course as outlined by guidance from the IDOE.
- Students will continue to participate and earn grades through the end of the semester and may improve upon their established grade, but this grade may not be negatively impacted by these unique circumstances.
- Final Exams
- Instead of a traditional final exam, students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will complete a summative assignment for each course in which they are enrolled in order to demonstrate an understanding of essential topics from the second semester of the 2019-20 school year. This will allow teaching and learning to continue through the end of the semester and remove the pressure of studying and preparing for a traditional final exam.
- All seniors, as well as any students who will be participating in AP, IB, or Dual Credit exams, will be exempt from their respective summative assignment.
*Although seniors are exempt from summative assignments, some seniors may be required to complete a final exam that is associated with another institution in order to earn dual credit.
- Per the IDOE, all seniors have been exempted from the ISTEP+10 Graduation Qualifying Exam.
Grading for Grades 3-8 Non-Credit Bearing Courses
- All students are required to continue participation in their classes for the remainder of the school year in order to earn their 4th quarter grades.
- Failure to participate may result in not receiving a grade for the fourth quarter and a comment added to the report card stating, “Did Not Effectively Participate in eLearning”
- Grades for the fourth quarter will be based on the grade assigned to students at the end of the third quarter.
- Students will be “held harmless” for their fourth-quarter grades so long as they continue to participate in their designated classes. This means that students will not be penalized for the outcomes resulting from the eLearning experience.
- Students will be given an opportunity to improve their fourth-quarter grade (based on third-quarter results) through continued participation, feedback, and reflection in areas of deficit.
Grading for K-2
- All students are required to continue participation in their classes for the remainder of the school year in order to earn their 4th quarter grades.
- Failure to participate may result in not receiving a grade for the fourth quarter.
- Grades for the fourth quarter will be based on the following:
- If adequate progress is being made in a skill area, a grade will be provided for the fourth quarter report card.
- Students will not be negatively impacted by the extended school closure, therefore, if student performance results in a lower grade for a specific skill area it will be left blank on the report card.
- Any blank area on the report card will be explained through the narrative comments on the report card. Narrative comments relating to blank areas on the report card may state:
- “Did Not Participate Effectively in eLearning to receive a grade in (list content area).”
- “Any space left blank during the fourth quarter denotes that the skill could not be measured through the remote learning environment.”
- There will be no summer school for elementary or middle school students.
- Options for high school summer school are still being explored and information will be sent at a later date to those students who had previously enrolled in summer school.
- Please visit our website for Kindergarten preregistration information. Preregistration for the fall needs to be completed by May 1, 2020.
School and extracurricular activities
- All activities, camps, and programs have been canceled through June 30.
Graduation and Prom
- The graduation ceremony will not be held in its traditional form. It will be held virtually. Details will be sent out in the near future. We know this is not the outcome we had hoped, but the Governor's directive and social distancing requirements make a traditional ceremony impossible at this time; however, we plan to organize a celebration of our seniors as soon as we have more information and a timeline about Indiana’s release from the current restrictions. We understand the importance of celebrating our seniors and allowing them a chance to say goodbye to their peers and teachers. Please note: Graduation supplies ordered from Jostens will be available for curb-side pick up only on Wednesday, April 29th at VHS. Specific information will be distributed soon to seniors and their parents.
- Unfortunately, prom has been canceled for the 2019-20 school year.
Returning Materials and Pickup of Items Left at School
- VCS leadership teams are continuing to work out the details of collecting textbooks and devices at the conclusion of this school year. Much of this information is dependent on timelines provided by the Governor as we progress through this extended period of school closures.
- Gathering of all non-essential personal items left behind will also be coordinated at a later date. Please continue to monitor communication from VCS and the FAQs on the website for updates.
- Please continue to utilize the eLearning FAQ on our district website for important information. This is a living document and will be updated when appropriate.
Again, thank you for your continued partnership and support. Please know we will continue to do our best to keep you informed with the latest information. Take care, and stay healthy!
April 9, 2020 Meal Distribution Moved to VHS
Dear VCS Community,
Our Free Meals for Kids Program has been moved to Valparaiso High School every Friday from 11:00-1:00 beginning this Friday, April 10, 2020 to accommodate more families in need.
This food distribution will continue to serve Valparaiso children 18 and under with 10 free “take and bake” meals including 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches. Children should be present to receive meals.
Again, these meals are available on Fridays from 11:00 A.M.-1 P.M. at Valparaiso High School. Vehicles must enter the VHS parking lot through the Vale Park Road entrance only. Please review the traffic map linked here: Meal Distribution Traffic Map April 2020
The Backpacks and Snacks Program weekend meals for participating families will also be available for pickup on Fridays at the same time and location. This information can also be found on the VCS website, valpo.k12.in.us
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
April 8, 2020 VCS Calendar Updates - April 2020
April 8, 2020
We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for all you are doing to adapt to this new learning environment with us. We are encouraged by the collective efforts of our school community during this extended eLearning period. We ask that you review the following updates carefully so that all students stay on track in the coming weeks.
All VCS schools will adhere to the following April calendar updates:
- In adherence to the 2019-20 school year calendar, there will be no eLearning instruction on Monday, April 13, 2020. Assignments for the week of April 6, 2020 will be due on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 by 8:30 a.m.
- New assignments for next week will be posted no later than 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. This will be a shortened week of eLearning and these assignments will be due on Monday April 20, 2020 by 8:30 a.m.
- Friday, April 17, 2020, previously scheduled as a half day, will be a regular eLearning day. You may receive communication from your child’s teacher regarding adjusted office hours for this date.
- The normal pattern of M-W-F eLearning will resume on Monday, April 20, 2020.
April 3, 2020 Update from VCS Superintendent Dr. Julie Lauck
Stalwart Viking Parents and Guardians:
Let me begin with a heartfelt thank you for all you are doing to help our professionals continue teaching and learning in this new environment. Please know that we are fully aware of both the personal and professional stressors you are experiencing, and to add the monitoring of eLearning to that burden is no easy task. As we all venture together into this new way of doing business, I take comfort in knowing our school-home relationship can truly benefit from the partnerships we are building. I continue to use two words with our professionals, grace and flexibility. Grace allows us to make mistakes and find gaps in our processes as we work toward perfecting eLearning, and doing business remotely. Flexibility gives us the freedom to try new things, be mentally agile, and respond easily, albeit differently, to the many changes coming at us daily if not hourly.
To that point, we learned yesterday afternoon that we will not be returning to the buildings this school year. Although many anticipated this announcement happening, our hearts sank upon hearing the words. I have been privy to many school-based communications and have been watching Canvas activities; I can tell you honestly, our teachers and staff really miss seeing your children in their classrooms!
So, at this point, you are most likely wondering how the closing of schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year impacts graduation, final exams, obtaining student belongings left behind in classrooms and lockers, the calendar, scholarships, and a myriad of other items of importance. I do not have answers to all of your questions right now, but will be providing details on our website as our team gathers information.
Dr. McCormick and Governor Holcomb indicated very clearly in their messaging that adjustments to commencement must happen. With that edict, we do know our traditional graduation ceremony will not be happening as planned. Our creative and competent VHS leadership and staff will develop a plan to celebrate the achievements of our graduating seniors, but what the ceremony will be exactly is yet unknown. Please watch for communications from Dr. Tobon and her team as plans develop.
Our eLearning will continue with a M-W-F schedule. We are working on posting an updated school calendar for April and May on our website next week. We are in discussion of what summer school might be for this year, but again, those details will be forthcoming once finalized.
In order to ensure we are providing your children with the best educational experience possible, as well as support you as parents/guardians, we are asking you to please complete the following survey by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. The survey is accessible here: eLearning Parent Survey April 2020
I can't stress enough how much I appreciate everything you are doing and now we know definitively, we must continue to do it a bit longer than anticipated. I know we can do this, and do it together as we build upon the important school-home relationship.
Dr. Julie Lauck,
Superintendent Valparaiso Community Schools
April 3, 2020 Meal Distribution Change
Dear VCS Community,
VCS School Nutrition is moving from daily meal distribution to once per week distribution beginning on Friday April 3, 2020 to improve safety and convenience for families and staff. Every Friday, children ages 18 and under will receive 10 free “take and bake” meals including 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches. Children must be present to receive meals.
These meals are available on Fridays from 11:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. in the parking lot between Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary.
The Backpacks and Snacks Program weekend meals will also be available for pickup on Fridays at the same time and location. This information can also be found on the VCS website, valpo.k12.in.us
March 19, 2020 VCS closed through May 1, 2020
March 19, 2020
Dear Valparaiso Community Schools Families,
As we continue to work through the logistics of our new normal, we wanted to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of you who are stepping up and assisting your children during this extended school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your partnership is how we will get through this unprecedented situation.
Governor Holcomb ordered today that schools will be closed until May 1, 2020. The governor acknowledged this date may change, but as of now May 1, 2020 is the date. We will continue our eLearning process and keep families and staff updated as further communication becomes available from local, state, and federal agencies.
We wanted to provide you with updates to assist you as we move forward:
- Beginning March 23, 2020, the administration building will be reducing hours of operation from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. If you need to come to the administration building, we are asking that you set up an appointment ahead of time by calling 219-531-3000 and leave a message.
- The state has canceled student participation in state assessments for this school year. These assessments include IREAD-3, ILEARN, ISTEP+ (grade 10), I AM, and the WIDA Screener. More details from the IDOE can be found in this memo.
- The state is working on providing information regarding other assessments, such as AP, IB, and SATs.
- Families of seniors: The IDOE will be providing guidance to local school districts to ensure our seniors graduate on time. Please look for further updates in the upcoming weeks.
- Elementary families who are in need of a device may pick up tomorrow, Friday, March 20, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. You will not need an appointment for device pick-up tomorrow.
- If you experience an issue with logging in or accessing programs for the extended eLearning window, please contact your child’s teacher for assistance.
- If you experience a broken device or a device that needs repairs, please go to the VCS website to complete a device repair form to request assistance.
- The device repair form is located on the website under COVID-19>Device Repair.
- If a device replacement would be necessary, the exchange would be made by appointment with the technology department after they contact you.
- Please review the VCS website under COVID-19 for resources and information regarding eLearning and other important information.
- Please visit the IDOE COVID-19 Remote Learning This page has curated some excellent resources for families.
- FREE MEALS FOR KIDS: VCS School Nutrition will be providing families with an opportunity to obtain two free grab-and-go meals per child daily for children ages 18 and under. These meals will be available at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Monday through Friday, from 11:00-12:30 P.M. starting March 17, 2020 through May 1, 2020.
Meal Pick Up Procedure:
- Use south parking lot between Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary. 1600 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, IN 46383
- Children must be present to receive the meals.
- Parents and children must remain in the vehicle.
- Staff will distribute two meals per child drive-through style.
We are committed to providing your children with the best educational opportunities possible during this extended eLearning experience. Given the fluid nature of this unprecedented situation, please continue to visit our website and check your email for regular updates. Our goal is to support our families, students, and staff through any means necessary during this time.
Superintendent, Valparaiso Community Schools
March 16, 2020 Resources for Families
March 16, 2020
Dear Valparaiso Community Schools Families,
As we find ourselves in a time that is confusing and challenging for all of us, please know that the Valparaiso Community Schools social services team is here to support you. Now, as much as ever, it is critical that each of us attend to the social, emotional, and physical well being of the children in our care. As we collaborate in that endeavor, we would like to offer the following resources to you.
Parent Resources for Talking to Children about COVID-19
- Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource - National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses
- Talking with Children about Coronavirus 2019: Messages for Parents, School Staff, and Others Working with Children - Center for Disease Control
- HealthyChildren.org - American Academy of Pediatrics
- To access local services dial 211 or go to 211.org.
Current Food Resources
- Valparaiso Community Schools Free Breakfast and Lunch: Valpo Schools will be serving a free “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch to all children 18 and under. To participate, go with your children to the parking lot between Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School between 11:00-12:30. This service begins Tuesday, March 17 and will then run Monday through Friday. (Backpacks and Snacks will be available at the same location on Fridays.)
- Hilltop Food Pantry: This pantry is open Thursdays and Fridays 9:00-11:30 a.m. at 606 Union Street. Direct questions to (219) 477-4222.
- First United Methodist Church Christian Food Pantry: This pantry is open Mondays and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at 7 Chicago Street. Please bring an I.D. Direct questions to (219) 465-0207.
- Immanuel Lutheran Food Pantry: This pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at 1700 Monticello Park. Please bring an I.D. Direct questions to (219) 462-8207.
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) - March2Success
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) - Tutoring
Crisis Support Services
- Text Crisis Hotline (text HELLO to 741741)
- The Trevor Lifeline (866-488-7386)
- Suicide Hotline (800-273-8255)
- Porter-Starke Services (219-531-3500)
- Valpo PD (219-462-2135)
- If you are experiencing a true emergency, call 911.
We also understand that you may have questions about how to proceed with school affairs while your child learns from home, and we want to reassure you that counselors and social workers will be doing their best to accommodate you in the coming weeks. During this time of extended eLearning, our team will continue with student scheduling, Naviance planning, junior class meetings, and other student touch points via technology. We will be available by phone and email Monday-Friday during regular school hours, and we will continue to contact parents immediately with any concerns. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us using the contact information linked below.
We are committed to supporting you during this time. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we may do so.
Director of Social Emotional Learning
Valparaiso Community Schools
(219) 531-3070 ext. 5306
Click here for VCS social services team contact information.
March 15, 2020 Extended eLearning Information
March 15, 2020
To: All VCS Families
Re: Extended eLearning
As we transition to eLearning due to extended school closure, we want to ensure that we are providing our families with information that will assist them in making this as positive an experience as possible.
Please access the Parent and Student eLearning Guidance here. This document will provide you with details concerning the expectations and delivery of digital instruction. This information will also be on our website under Departments->Academics->eLearning.
We also want to ensure our students and families are provided with the tools necessary to complete work and participate in digital class activities.
- All middle and high school students should have brought their devices home.
- Elementary students who need devices may contact Mrs. Brandie Muha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Elementary devices may be picked up Monday at your child(ren)’s school after notifying Mrs. Muha. If you are unable to pick up on Monday, March 16, 2020, the option for pick-up will be available at the Administration building beginning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
- Please be advised that parents are able to access the building on Monday, if needed, to gather any forgotten or needed belongings or to pick up medication.
- Comcast is currently offering low-income families who are new customers 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service. More information can be found here.
For this extended eLearning experience, our district will be running eLearning days on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday. This means that your child will have access to their teacher on these days. Teachers will be spending Tuesdays and Thursdays preparing lessons, providing feedback to students, and grading assignments. Your child is still able to access and complete work any day or time during the week.
We appreciate you and your partnership in your child’s education. We know that it is a difficult scenario for all families to navigate this many days of online learning,, but working together we can make this a meaningful experience for our students in order to ensure the outcomes necessary for their continued growth and development.
Nicholas Allison & Brandie Muha
Directors of Education
Valparaiso Community Schools
3801 N. Campbell St., Valparaiso, IN 46385
March 13, 2020 VCS closed March 16-April 10, 2020
March 13, 2020
Dear Valparaiso Community Schools families,
As new information and recommendations have been emerging rapidly concerning COVID-19, Valparaiso Community Schools will be closed for all in-person instruction from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, April 10, 2020. Spring break will remain as scheduled for the week of March 23, 2020.
Students will participate in eLearning during the weeks of March 16 - March 20, 2020 and March 30 - April 10, 2020. Updated eLearning guidance will be forthcoming.
Valparaiso Community Schools will have a tentative reopening date of Monday, April 13, 2020. We will keep the school community informed of changes as we move through this unprecedented situation. Continue to monitor your email and school website for updated information.
We reached this decision after consulting with state and local officials in an effort to adhere to Governor Holcomb’s recommendations to curb the advancement of COVID-19. We understand that closing our schools will have a significant impact on our families. We will continue to work with our community partners to identify support services and resources.
In order to ensure our students are prepared to participate in eLearning activities beginning next week, our staff have taken the following actions:
Students in grades 6 through 12 have been reminded to bring home their school-issued devices, chargers, and any necessary books and materials to continue learning.
Elementary students who have opted-in to receive a device to complete eLearning have received a school-issued device and charger to take home and use for e-learning assignments.
Elementary families who need to opt-in to receive a device during this period may contact Mrs. Brandie Muha, Director of Elementary Education at email@example.com.
Teachers will provide students with any additional curricular materials they may need, including, but not limited to, workbooks, novels, packets, etc. Additionally, students have been encouraged to bring home anything else they may need from their lockers or desks.
Please be advised that parents are able to access the building on Monday, if needed, to gather any forgotten or needed belongings or to pick up medication. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 buildings will not be accessible during the period of school closure. If access is needed, you need to contact Dr. Lauck directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE MEALS FOR KIDS:
VCS School Nutrition will be providing families with an opportunity to obtain two free grab-and-go meals per child daily for children ages 18 and under. These meals will be available at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Monday through Friday, from 11:00-12:30 P.M. starting March 17, 2020 through April 10, 2020.
Meal Pick Up Procedure:
Use south parking lot between Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary. 1600 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, IN 46383
Children must be present to receive the meals.
Parents and children must remain in the vehicle.
Staff will distribute two meals per child drive-through style.
Please remember that the following items will remain in place through April 10, 2020:
All scheduled field trips, including curricular, extra-curricular, and athletic trips, have been cancelled through April 10, 2020.
All activities, programs, and performances have been cancelled through April 10, 2020.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association will host the Gymnastics State meet with no spectators. The Boys Basketball Regional competition planned for this Saturday in Michigan City has been postponed. Please visit their website at www.ihsaa.org for details and the most up-to-date information.
We will continue to remain in contact with public health officials, city and county leadership, and neighboring school districts to keep you updated with new information pertaining to school operations. We can work together to protect each other and slow the progression of COVID-19.
We thank you for your support and partnership in this effort.
Dr. Julie Lauck
Superintendent, Valparaiso Community Schools
March 13, 2020 Closing of Porter County Schools due to COVID-19
March 13, 2020
Dear Porter County Community,
Closing of Porter County Schools due to COVID-19
On March 12, 2020, Governor Holcomb released new directives to protect Hoosiers from COVID-19. As part of these steps, Governor Holcomb has provided schools with a 20-day attendance waiver to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus throughout our state.
After careful consideration and in consultation with Porter County Health Department and other Porter County Government officials, all seven Porter County Superintendents and Porter County Education Services are taking prudent and proactive measures to avert COVID-19 taking a foothold within our schools and community. As a result, all Porter County schools will exercise an option to conduct eLearning starting March 16, 2020 through April 10, 2020. The situation is extremely fluid and the date may be extended as we reassess the situation during the duration of the closure. Porter County administrators, in consultation with the Porter County Health Department, will reconvene on April 3, 2020 to reconsider future plans.
In an effort to continue educational instruction, eLearning assignments will be posted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Teachers will clearly communicate office hours and expectations with students/families.
Sports/Extracurricular Activities (as of 3/16)
- All extracurricular activities and sporting events, including rehearsals and practices, are immediately postponed until school is reopened
- All activities/performances are postponed
- Re-scheduling of events will be determined on a case-by-case basis
Community Use of School Facilities
- All school facilities, including sports courts/fields, will remain closed to the public during the school closure
- All facility rentals are cancelled or postponed until schools reopen
During this closure, we ask that if you or a member of your family are asked to self-quarantine, or if you or any member of your family tests positive for COVID-19, please contact the Porter County Health Department.
Closing school is never an easy decision. It is, however, a recommended strategy to protect the health and safety of our entire community from COVID-19, particularly the more vulnerable members of our community. This decision has been established to prevent the spread of the virus by social distancing. For this reason, we strongly recommend students and staff refrain from large gatherings or congested public settings during the closure.
As always, Porter County schools strongly encourages all students, families and staff to continue practicing good health hygiene to prevent the spread of any illness, including viruses.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we will continue to keep our constituents updated via email and school websites. Please watch for further communication from your school corporation.
Message from March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020
Dear VCS Parents/Guardians and Community,
Valparaiso Community Schools is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. We understand that information about COVID-19 has been developing rapidly and from multiple sources. In some instances, all of the facts may not be present which may cause panic or concern.
Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Porter County at this time, VCS will continue preparing for any precautionary directives issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Indiana State Department of Health, the Porter County Health Department, and the Indiana Department of Education.
To that effect, an announcement was made to students at both middle schools and the high school to begin the practice of bringing their Chromebooks, chargers, and essential classroom materials home beginning tonight in the event that outside agencies call for the immediate closure of schools. This announcement was made out of an abundance of caution. In the event of a school closure, elementary parents will receive information regarding school issued devices for students who are in need of one.
As the scope of this situation changes frequently, Valparaiso Community Schools has been taking proactive measures to maintain a safe learning environment for our school community. Our custodial staff is conducting deeper cleanings and disinfecting frequently touched areas in our usual cleaning regimen.
Below are the CDC recommended precautionary measures to know and share with your child:
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
We will continue to communicate with you as we receive updates from the CDC, the Indiana State Department of Health, the Porter County Health Department, and the Indiana Department of Education that impact our schools and community.
Message from March 4, 2020
February 25, 2020
February 25, 2020
Preventing the Spread of Flu
As you are probably aware, Flu season has officially started in Indiana, with emergency departments and outpatient provider clinics reporting influenza-like illness in their patients. There are many strains of influenza that are currently present during this time of year.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring developments around an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. While the CDC considers this a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general American public and Porter County is considered low at this time. We will continue to work closely with the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Education will share information with the school community if the risk level increases.
In an effort to prevent the spread of any illness or flu, please remember to:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth;
- Avoid close contact with those who are already sick;
- Get plenty of sleep;
- Eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids;
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or into the crook of your arm. Then throw the tissue in the trash;
- Clean commonly touched surfaces; and
- Stay home if ill for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. (fever free without any fever reducing medications)
Contact the school if your child will not be in attendance. Please inform them of symptoms or diagnosis of your child. This way we can track attendance related to illness within buildings.
Thanks for all you do to help keep your child healthy and ready to learn.
Feel free to contact your building Nurse or Joy Sunday BSN, RN Director of Health Services. 219/531/1447 or email@example.com