COVID-19 News & Updates
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