Letter to CoaH Families – March 17, 2020

Dear CoaH Families:

I am writing to provide an update on City on a Hill’s response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a follow-up of the messages you’ve been mailed and/or robocalled about on March 4, March 11 and March 13.

We know that there continues to be many questions that you may have about how we are preparing as a community. The Senior Leadership Team has extended our FAQ to help address your questions:

How long will CoaH be closed?

CoaH will be closed through April 7, in accordance with Governor Baker’s directive to close all schools in the Commonwealth. 

As you know, Boston’s Mayor has ordered all Boston Public Schools closed through April 27. As a charter public school, City on a Hill operates independently from traditional districts, like BPS. We have not yet committed to remaining closed through April 27, but will be evaluating our decision whether to remain closed beyond April 7 on a week-by-week basis. 

Our highest priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, so we certainly don’t want to jeopardize your health, theirs or the well-being of our families and extended families. We do have a responsibility to educate our students and we take that responsibility seriously, hence the reason we will be carefully evaluating the situation as new information becomes available.

How often can families expect to hear from CoaH?

In an effort to make our communications more predictable, families can expect to hear from me twice per week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, via email and robocall. The Tuesday message will contain any updates we have about our response to COVID-19 and the Friday message will answer questions raised by families that have been submitted to covid19@cityonahill.org that week. As our coronavirus response is a fast-moving, incredibly fluid situation we hope predictable communications will help ease anxieties.

What about Distance Learning during the shutdown? BPS is providing technology for students; what is CoaH doing?

CoaH students in both Boston and New Bedford have been given packets to complete during the school closure period. If your student has not received theirs or does not have access to a printer, please email covid19@cityonahill.org with your students’ name(s), grade(s), and mailing address so that we can make arrangements to mail them to you. 

In anticipation of the possibility that schools may be closed for a longer period, we are researching opportunities to provide chromebooks to our students. As noted above, charter public schools operate independently from traditional school districts so we will not have access to the technology that BPS is providing. There are still a number of logistical hurdles we will need to tackle before we move forward with a distance learning option including (a) how the chromebooks will be paid for; (b) if purchased, how and when they will be distributed; (c) reliable access to internet for all students; and (d) how virtual learning could be delivered by our teachers, among other considerations.

What can I do to prepare my student for Distance Learning?

Currently, we are providing distance learning through downloadable or physical packets. Our goal is to ensure that everyone, regardless of whether you have a computer or internet, can access learning materials. 

In anticipation of that possibility, we recommend that you look to ensure that you have reliable internet access setup in your home.  Comcast/XFINITY is making free internet available for two months for those who qualify. Visit www.internetessentials.com/ for more information. 

Other schools are providing meals during the school closure; will City on a Hill do the same?

In Boston, we are working with our food vendor, City Fresh, to accommodate serving meals as soon as possible, likely only from our Circuit Street location given that it is located in a residential neighborhood. The start date is not yet known. I hope to have an update in my Friday, March 20 communication.

In the interim, the City of Boston has compiled a list of meal sites for children and youth. You can also call Project Bread’s foodsource hotline at 1.800.645.8333 for food assistance. 

In New Bedford, we are partnering with the New Bedford Public Schools where they are providing ‘Grab and Go’ meals during district closure.

We recognize that this is unprecedented and that this closure will be a significant burden for a number of our families. Please know that we remain committed to supporting you to the greatest extent possible during this time.

Thank you once again for your help to keep our community healthy and safe. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email covid19@cityonahill.org.

Sincerely,

Kevin T. Taylor

Chief Executive Officer


To read our most up to date information, please visit the Our Response to COVID-19 page.

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