The Maryland State Department of Health and Human Services will make the decision as to whether schools can remain open should the corona virus reach Maryland. If we discover a case at The Nora School we will preemptively close and shift to distance learning.
In the unlikely, but possible, event of long-term school disruption, The Nora School will continue to operate remotely until conditions are such that normal operations can resume. To prepare for such an eventuality, teachers are setting up Google Classrooms
and Google Hangouts
for each of their classes. Students will need to use their s.nora-school.org
account to access their classes. Students will be expected to attend every online class, and attendance and grades will continue to be reflected in PlusPortals. Students will be expected to do homework and projects beyond the class day, and to submit their work electronically. If you do not have reliable high speed internet access please let Dave know.
Following an announcement that schools will be closed, we will email the specific
details of our plans. The basic version is that we will take two weekdays
off from instruction while teachers revamp their curriculum and instruction to be able to offer classes online. Students will then be able, via their Nora School email, to join each of their classes online. We expect that there would be a day or so notice of closures beforehand, but if not, Dave will open the building at a specified time for parents or students to pick up materials.
We will publish a class schedule, running roughly along Wednesday school hours. Classroom time will be used for instruction, discussion, sharing ideas, and raising and answering questions. This will happen in the Google Classrooms
and Google Hangout Meetings
. Students will be expected to do homework and projects beyond the class day, and to submit their work electronically via Google Classroom, Sheets, Docs, Drive, and Slides.
Teachers will be available online for questions and extra help outside the classroom hours, and asynchronously in their Google Classroom and via Email.
We are working to put the systems in place over the next two weeks. We have an online Faculty Meeting Classroom
and Morning Announcements Classroom
up and running. We tested Google Hangouts/Meetings
remote video chat for announcements with one advisory group last Tuesday. Once teachers' online Classrooms are set up and we've finalized a schedule we will send specific instructions. Keep in mind that with a fluid situation like this we will be tweaking our plan once it's in operation.
What To Do Now
1) Be sure that your student has a Nora School email address, and that they can log in to Gmail with it. If they need a Nora School email address (seniors) or need help logging on they should see Christina this week.
2) All students (and teachers) will need a Montgomery County Public Library card, which is free if you live, work, or attend school in Montgomery County, or live in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or the District of Columbia. Teachers will be using a variety of online resources beyond their own videos, lectures, Khan Academy and YouTube. You can get one online or in person at any branch with a photo ID. The Nora ID should be sufficient for out-of-county residients to show that they go to school in Montgomery County. Let Dave know if you have any problems with this.
Getting a Montgomery County Library Card
Montgomery County Library Locations
Montgomery County Library Online Resources
Montgomery County Library Ebooks
Montgomery County Library Films
Montgomery County Library Digital Assets
Montgomery County Library Online Education Resources
Gale Courses through MCPL
Lynda Courses (tech stuff) through MCPL
Great Courses through MCPL
Please get a library card over the coming weekend
, as there's a likelihood that libraries will close if schools close. There may also be a backlog of requests if schools close.
3) Bring home all your textbooks, school materials, and laptop every Friday
, in case there is a sudden closure.
Caring for Yourself
and Your Community
1) Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing Happy Birthday to yourself) after using the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, and after touching public surfaces.
2) Use hand sanitizer gel (there’s a lot around the school).
3) Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by using a tissue or by covering your face with your elbow if you don’t have a tissue (every classroom has a box of tissues). Don’t cough/sneeze into open air or your hands.
4) Stay away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
5) Get a flu shot. The flu is more dangerous and widespread than the corona virus.
6) Stay home if you’re sick! You can check PlusPortals to keep up with missing work. This is particularly important if you are coughing, sneezing, have a runny nose, or a fever.
7) If you travel to an area experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 and have symptoms of respiratory illness we will send you home and contact the Montgomery County Department of Health. We will also notify other parents of possible infection.
8) Please follow the CDC travel guidelines
over Spring Break. You can find those guidelines at this link
. We may require a 14-day self-quarantine upon returning from a country or area under CDC warning.
9) Let us know of any travel to restricted areas, or of any respiratory ailments.
In Time magazine
there’s a good article about coping with the anxiety surrounding the corona virus. Doctors note that most people who become ill have the flu, not the corona virus. “Both of those illnesses result in symptoms similar to COVID-19 (cough, fever and shortness of breath), and both are currently circulating in far greater numbers in the U.S. An estimated 29 million people in the U.S. have gotten the flu this season, compared to 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19. ‘Look at probability versus possibility,’ (Dr. George) Zgourides says. ‘We have to put this in context.’”
The Childmind Institute has an article
discussing how to talk about the virus without increasing anxiety, though aimed at younger children. Healthychilren.org
has a good article on hygiene and prevention.
For scientific information, the Centers for Disease Control website
is the source of the most up-to-date information on the illness and staying safe. The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
also has information, likely gleaned from the CDC, as does the Maryland State Health Department