Important Information and Updates

Posted by Valerie Burleigh on 11/16/2020

Hello Panther Pfamilies!
        What a great week on campus! Although we all continue to face adversity and challenges, I am grateful for every day I get to work in public education. Your kiddos and our students have been a pleasant reminder that resiliency is a key part of living a full and happy life. Over the last few months, I have heard so many people assume things they believed would be true during the pandemic. However, over time, these assumptions have been proven false. I’ve now seen students wear masks throughout the day, reply respectfully to new requests of safety, adjust to learning in different modalities and treat their peers and teachers with compassion during a frustrating time in history. I am very proud to work with our panther families, teachers and staff each day! Panther Pride is alive and well. 😊
 
Please review the important information below regarding services and information pertaining to your child and PfMS.
 
First Positive COVID-19 Tests and Campus Contact Tracing Protocols
We did learn of a positive COVID case from two different students this week. Although this was unfortunate, I was very pleased at how our team worked together to respond quickly and appropriately. Below are the steps we take as soon as we are notified of a positive case on our campus.
 
Step 1: We become notified of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Step 2: We talk with that individual and their family and inform them they must be isolated for 10 days (and no symptoms).
Step 3: Administrative staff talk to each teacher who directly teaches that student to assess if they will be quarantined.
Step 4: We perform contact tracing to determine if any staff or students had “direct exposure” (came within 6 feet for a total duration of 15 straight minutes, within the last two days, with or without a mask on). If yes, that individual will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Step 5: Communication is developed and distributed directly to each staff member and student who are required to quarantine due to direct exposure.
Step 6: Communication is developed and distributed to all stakeholders (parents and staff). 
 
If you have any questions concerning the policies or procedures regarding COVID protocols, please contact me.
 
Schedule Changes
We are working intentionally to reduce the amount of hybrid classes your child is attending and teachers are teaching. Hybrid classes refer to teachers on-campus facilitating virtual learning to students at home and instruction in the classroom. We will be working with counselors to have each teacher teach sections that are either all virtual or all in-person as we move toward the second semester and in to the spring semester as well. The adjustment to pure virtual and pure in-person classes will require some schedule changes, or in some cases, just a teacher change. It is our belief that pure methods of instruction will yield a stronger performance from the learner and the teacher throughout the process.
 
Free breakfast and lunch reminders
Beginning Monday, Nov. 2, Aramark Food Services started providing free breakfast and lunch meals to students at all PfISD campuses, Monday through Friday, as allowable by the USDA and Texas Department of Agriculture, for the 2020-21 school year. This offering includes on-site meals for students participating in in-person learning, as well as curbside services for virtual learners, and meals for qualifying afterschool care programs. 
 
All children under age 18 may receive free USDA reimbursable meals regardless of economic status. PfISD encourages all parents/guardians to apply for free or reduced price meals through its online application, available at www.pfisd.net/meals.
 
Automated Calls about Attendance
PfISD has started automated calls for absences again. Unfortunately, it appeared the system glitched a bit on the first round. Thank you for your patience. “What should I as a parent do if I get one of those calls?" – simple, just talk to your child about the class period and the “absence” if they are virtual. Please make sure they are logging into Canvas or Google Classroom during the day and access the materials for that class so the Teacher can mark them present.
 
Integral Care
Parents and Caregivers,
We know that our students are facing many new challenges. We want you to know that your child’s campus has a therapist from Integral Care available to provide ongoing counseling at no cost. Counseling can be provided by video conference using their laptop, phone or tablet.  Signs that you child may benefit from counseling  include: frequent crying and sadness, frequent irritability, worrying to the point of it affecting their daily living, panic attacks, increased outbursts and aggression or other symptoms that are concerning to you. Please talk to your child's school social worker/counselor if you have concerns or fill out the referral on your own:  Student Referral Form for Integral Care School-Based Counseling   In the link, please fill out pages 1-3 and leave page 4 blank.   
 
Click here to contact our school's counselors.
 
Canvas Transition
Many of our teachers have begun using Canvas as the primary way for students to receive virtual instruction. Some teachers may continue to link from Canvas to Google Classroom for specific assignments until January. Students will log in to Canvas directly using Clever (Clever Support) or by going to pfisd.instructure.com and logging in with PfISD Google Account.
 
We want to remind you all about our Canvas training course that can help you learn more about how you, as a parent, can observe your student's classwork and how students will access their assignments in Canvas. To access the training courses for parents and students, please read the Instructions for Parents and Instructions for Students linked below in English and Spanish. 
 
Canvas Training Course Instructions for Parents: English | Spanish 
Canvas Training Course Instructions for Students: English | Spanish 
 
Parents and Guardians will need to have an account and be an observer to log in and access the training course. Instructions on how to create your parent observer account in Canvas are linked below. It is suggested that you create your account using a desktop or laptop. These instructions can also be found on the Pflugerville ISD Return to Learn page or parents can click to watch this video in English to set up a Canvas account to observe their students. 
 
How-To Set Up Parent Canvas Account: English | Spanish 
 
If you have any questions or problems with setting up your Canvas account, please utilize our Let's Talk system (www.pfisd.net/letstalk) and click on the Canvas button.
 
Link to Zoom Open Community Mtg and brief recap,
We held a virtual public community meeting last Wednesday and it was great to speak with those of you who joined. We reviewed our campus accountability ratings, Title 1 programming, Campus Improvement Plan and other important areas needed to keep improving our campus. If you missed the meeting, the link is below. Please know that your time is important to me and if you have questions about any campus information, please call me directly at (512) 594-2011 or email me at philip.clayton@pfisd.net.
 
Click here for the meeting link.
 
 
Philip Clayton
Principal (512 594-2011)
Pflugerville Middle School
“Panther Pride”