March 27, 2020: Notice for Virtual Learning
During this difficult time, the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 is committed to making a good faith effort to provide continuity of education, planned instruction, and appropriate and reasonable services for students while our preschools/school districts are closed due to COVID-19. One method of doing so is providing instruction and related services, to the extent it is appropriate, through video conferencing and other virtual/online platforms. Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 has made reasonable efforts to ensure that such conferencing is confidential and access is limited to students in the assigned groups. However, some of these services will be provided in a group format and when this occurs students/parents will be able to see other students/parents in the group. In addition, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 is unable to control who else may be in the room in which a student is receiving these services remotely, including other family members or others who are living with the other students, who may observe the session and what other students are in the group.
Therefore, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 expects that all families will review and implement the following guidelines and expectations to ensure the confidentiality rights of all students are protected during instructional methodologies which will include group communications, and/or video conferencing.
1. Neither Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 nor parent shall make or maintain recordings of the course content or classroom activity or other group communication that is conveyed via the virtual attendance services. Recordings may be maintained of the live classroom instruction with the teacher present in the recording only for students who are unable to receive the instruction during the virtual instruction time period. Students will not be recorded.
2. Parent shall make every effort to ensure that no one other than the student scheduled to participate in a virtual attendance service can see or hear the virtual attendance service.
3. If parental or other third-party involvement in a virtual attendance service is necessary to enable a student to participate, the individual assisting the student shall not re-disclose any personally identifiable information about any student involved in the virtual attendance activity.
4. If the parent’s electronic equipment malfunctions in any way, the planned virtual attendance services will continue as scheduled.
March 25, 2020
On Monday, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for seven counties in Pennsylvania (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia). In addition, the Department of Education (PDE) announced yesterday that all schools in the commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6, as a result of the COVID- 19 response efforts. However, due to the established two-week break on the Early Intervention calendar, children will return on April 20, 2020, unless extending the closure is mandated by the Governor.
As stated in my previous letter, the Early Intervention Administrative team has begun working with teachers and therapists in preparing to deliver Tele-Intervention, via Zoom, other online platforms, or via phone. Our target date to begin is Monday, March 30, 2020. We will be spending the remainder of this week, planning and preparing to work with as many students as possible. Please watch for an email or phone call from your child’s teacher and /or therapist(s) providing scheduling information and details about this shift.
I ask you to please be patient as Tele-Intervention is a new endeavor for many of our staff. It will require hands-on support and involvement from you, as the parent. While we may be physically distant, your gracious emails have been evidence of the support from your homes. Through this closure, please know that we will continue to keep the community informed and continue to make resources available on our website.
One amazing new resource that we have available is a video that could be used as a Social Story or Informational Resource for you to use with your children. Mrs. Ashley Lee teamed up with PTS (one of our preferred contractors) to develop the attached resource, which aims at explaining COVID-19 to our youngest learners. You will find that link here…Corona Virus Social Story a resource and for reference in using the Zoom platform.
Understandably, this is a great deal to digest, but we will get through these challenging times together. We look forward to beginning this new endeavor with you and your child
Holly W. Acosta, Ed.D.
Director of Early Childhood