Covid-19 Updates

All Portage Township Schools buildings will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year per order of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. In order to promote the continuation of learning during this time, Portage Township Schools students and teachers will participate in a combination of e-learning days and waiver days granted by the State.

CALENDAR
All PTS students will participate in e-learning every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through May 20, 2020, and they must adhere to this schedule as closely as possible thought this date. Class participation at this time is vital to their progress in their current classes and will set them up for success in the future. Teachers will be available to answer questions and accept assignments until Friday, May 29, 2020. 


E-LEARNING: HOW TO HELP IN A VIRUTUAL CLASSROOM
We understand that extended e-learning due to the school shut-down presents a number of new challenges for our families, and we are here to help. Click here to visit our e-learning page, where you can find information on our learning management systems and how your child will be conducing e-learning.

Internet access
Portage Township Schools offers sidewalk to sidewalk wifi access at each PTS campus. Additionally, Comcast is offering free internet for families who qualify. Visit https://www.internetessentials.com/ for more information and to apply.

Contacting school personnel
All school personnel are available to answer your questions. As our buildings are currently closed, we ask that you contact our staff at their school-issued email address.

Monitoring student progress
Single-day e-learning days allow us to give students three days to turn in assignments; however, this unprecedented situation requires us to follow normal classroom expectations during e-learning. Teachers will set deadlines for students, and we ask that they adhere to those deadlines so they may progress in their learning. Families can monitor student progress by contacting their children's teachers and logging into the PowerSchool Parent Portal.

Monitoring student device use
Families can set up children for success by instituting e-learning rules and routines. We recommend the following practices that encourage children to complete their work in a safe online environment:
- Devices should be used in a common area of the house.
- At the end of each e-learning day, charge the devices in a safe place.
- Ask your children to show you their progress on their e-learning assignments.
- Give your children "brain breaks" during e-learning. Scheduling time where they can be creative and/or active not only gives them a break but serves as a reward for working hard on their assignments as well.


END-OF-YEAR INFORMATION
Portage Township Schools has made provisions for students in elementary, middle, and high school regarding grading procedures for the end of the current school year. 

Elementary school students
• While learning must continue to take place, our students will not see a negative impact on their quarter 4 grades. This sudden change in learning has been a challenge for us all, and our educators have been implementing lessons that continue to academically challenge our students; however, we will hold our students harmless during this unprecedented situation.
• Communication with your child's teachers will be vital to your child's success. If your child is struggling academically in any subject, please reach out to your child's teachers so they can provide the necessary support.
• Teachers will assign a summative assignment instead of end-of-term assessments for each class. Your child's teacher will post the details of this assignment as the school year progresses. No new content or assignments will be presented after May 20.
• In lieu of a traditional report card, teachers will be providing feedback in an alternate format at the end of the school year. Please watch for communication from your child's principal for more information.

Middle school students
• Quarter 4 grades will be based upon the grades your child earned in quarter 3. While students may improve upon this grade by continuing their hard work in quarter 4, their grade will be no lower than their quarter 3 grade as long as they continue participating in their classes.
• Communication with your child's teachers is going to be vital to your child's success. If your child is struggling academically in any subject, please reach out to your child's teachers so they can provide the necessary support.
• Teachers will assign a summative assignment instead of end-of-term assessments for each class. Your child's teachers will post the details of this assignment as the school year progresses. No new content or assignments will be presented after May 20.
• These provisions also apply to students taking courses for high school credit.

High school students
• Quarter 4 grades will be based upon those earned in quarter 3. While students may improve upon this grade by continuing their hard work in quarter 4, their grade will be no lower than their quarter 3 grade as long as they continue participating in their classes.
• Communication with your child's teachers is going to be vital to your child's success. If your child is struggling academically in any subject, please reach out to your child's teachers so they can provide the necessary support.
• Teachers of students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will assign a summative assignment instead of end-of-term assessments for each class. Your child's teacher will post the details of this assignment as the school year progresses. No new content or assignments will be presented after May 20.
• All senior and any student enrolled in a dual credit or AP course will be exempt from completing a summative assignment. (Students enrolled in dual credit or AP course may be required to complete a final exam associated with another institution in order to earn the dual credit.)
• All seniors have been exempt from the ISTEP+ 10 graduation qualifying exam.


STATE-MANDATED TESTING
Per the Indiana Department of Education, all state-mandated testing for the 2020-2021 school year has been canceled. High school seniors who were scheduled for an ISTEP retake have received a waiver for this assessment. More information on state testing can be found here


GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR SENIORS
More information from the Indiana Department of Education regarding graduation requirements for the Class of 2020 can be found here. All seniors who were in good standing in their classes as of March 19, 2020 will be able to earn their high school diploma. Seniors should continue to work and excel in their current classes, as grades earned during e-learning will affect transcripts and grade point averages.



PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Each of us play an important role in stopping the spread of the coronavirus by participating in social distancing. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has made mandates to assist with this mission; all Indiana schools will remain closed through May 1, and individuals are to adhere to a Stay at Home executive order until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020. (Click here to view the governor's Stay at Home executive order.)

We encourage all of our families to participate in social distancing and follow the governor's executive order. The more closely we follow this order, the sooner we can rid our state and country of the coronavirus and return to school. Here is what social distancing may look like:

- Staying home. (Avoid inviting others over to your home.)
- Playing outside in your yard. (Avoid gathering in groups or going to a public place, such as a park.)
- Participating in video conferences. (These can be used for more than work! If you miss your friends, set up a Google Hangout, Zoom conference, FaceTime, etc. so you can see each other.)
- Limiting your travels to obtain essential goods and services only. (Grocery stores, restaurant pick-ups, school meal programs, and doctors visits are considered essential services.)

We understand following this mandate is challenging and difficult for our children to understand. This article from The Child Mind Institute provides helpful guidance in talking to your children about the coronavirus and the importance of social distancing. The health and safety of our entire community is the first priority.


PTS MEAL PICK-UP PROGRAM

Portage Township Schools is proud to host our Meal Pick-Up Program every Monday through the end of the school year. PTS students are invited to pick up a week worth of breakfasts and lunches. In order to maintain safe social distancing, we ask that you stay in your car while a staff member brings the meals to you.
Email ptscommunications@portage.k12.in.us with questions.


SCHOOL-SPONSORED EVENTS

In accordance with the governor's order that all schools remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, all school-sponsored events will not take place until it is deemed safe to do so. PTS staff is discussing contingency plans for a number of these events and will have more information to students and families once it is available.


INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL BY STUDENTS, FAMILIES, OR STAFF

We are asking that all families and staff report their out-of-country travel to our school district. Families and staff traveling within the United States will not need to report. We are following the recommendations of the U.S. government and may require all individuals who travel outside of the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days following their return. Click here to report your international travel. Questions? Email us at internationaltravelreports@portage.k12.in.us.


SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS

The Portage Township School Board of Trustees will conduct one virtual meeting per month during the coronavirus shutdown. A recording of each meeting and notes will be sent to all PTS families and posted to our public Facebook page. 

Click here to view the minutes and notes from the April 13, 2020 meeting.


OTHER RESOURCES
 
U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
Indiana State Department of Health: https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm


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