COVID-19 Closure Updates (Week 1, Last updated 3/18, 8:30 am)

Update (3/18, 8:30 am): In anticipation of any distance-learning measures the district suggests (and also to check in about how you are doing, my dear students!), I’ve made a Google Poll that I’m asking all students to complete. I’ve also added a pair of videos to the Students/Families section below for some explanations for how a virus like COVID-19 spreads (InCA students will recognize one of them!)

Update (3/17, 2:30 pm): The ICSD has updated their Coronavirus page with a section of Frequently Asked Questions about the school closure. Of note:

  • Discussions about developing instruction are ongoing. There is a mandate from Governor Cuomo’s office that schools “need to devise a plan for alternative instructional options.” The district is attempting “to create a plan to provide students with supplemental learning opportunities through the lens of equity and access.”
  • The report card/progress report sequence is suspended. Your progress report grades are available in Schooltool, but paper mailings will not be going out anytime soon.
  • No student will be allowed access to any items they left at school until Monday the 23rd at the earliest.

I’ve also added a link to the AP Statistics section below for finding up-to-date information about Collegeboard decisions.

Update (3/17, 12:00 am): I’ve updated the list of links for students/families at the bottom of the post to include a Google document with a list of local restaurants and their current status.

Update (3/16, 7:30 pm): IHS will be going into “plant shutdown” mode at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, 3/17. This means that ALL school operations will be shut down, and teachers and students will not have access to the building until Monday the 23rd at the earliest.

Hello students!

Well here we are, living together in a moment of human history. In all likelihood, this will be one of those generation-defining moments, something that you will talk about for decades to come with those of a similar age, like 9/11 was for me, or the Kennedy assassination or Pearl Harbor was for prior generations.

Currently, all Ithaca City School District schools are closed until April 12, with buildings in “plant shutdown” mode (no entry for students and non-essential staff) from 3/17 to 3/23. I’ll be using this website to communicate updates as I find out about them so that you can stay informed. I realize that keeping up with your schoolwork may not be your foremost concern right now, especially if you have family in areas more significantly impacted with the virus, or have relatives who fall into high-risk categories. But I also hope you understand that we are not on vacation right now. Depending on what the district administration decides, you may be expected to put aside some time to work, study, and keep up with the school routine. Here are some initial thoughts and suggestions:

AP Statistics students:

Collegeboard has created a page for schools impacted by the Coronavirus. At this time, they are not cancelling any of their exams, but are exploring possibilities of at-home testing (update, 3/16). The page lists several windows for late testing that school districts may wish to take advantage of, and there’s a possibility we may have our test during a later week of May, or even June. I recommend you also follow Trevor Packet on Twitter. He is Collegeboard’s VP for Advanced Placement, and will be publicizing updates as they are available. For now, there is no change to our planned AP Statistics testing date of May 15.

I will most likely be making regular use of the tools in our online AP Classroom through this closure. Right now, I have opened Unit 5 Personal Progress Check: MCQ Part B for both sections. Per recommendations from Ms. Gray, the due date for this assignment will not be until after we return to school from this shutdown, but I will be expecting everyone to complete this PPC eventually for a homework credit. No rush.

As usual, please be sure to go back to the PPC after you’ve submitted to check your answers.

Introduction to College Algebra students:

We just completed a lengthy project on how a virus spreads through a population, and you saw especially how quickly it can start to spread once the graph passes the flatter part of the curve. I hope you and your families are taking the necessary precautions to do your part and help slow the spread of this disease.

Should instruction resume for us, I will be using a variety of online tools to interact with you and monitor your progress. One such tool we have used already is IXL, and I would like everybody to spend some time in this next week to work on the module Exponential Growth and Decay (TYQ), to a score of 80 or more. Remember that you’ll need to log in to your IXL account via to allow me to view your results. See this page for instructions on how to log in.

Per recommendations from Ms. Gray, the due date for this assignment will not be until after we return to school from this shutdown, but I will be expecting everyone to complete this practice module eventually for a homework credit. No rush, though.

All students and families:

We live in interesting times. As Michael Levitt, biophysicist and 2013 Nobel prize winner for Chemistry has said:


I invite you to read this message from concerned physicians for a calm, but very frank and urgent take on what the current precautions the ICSD and others are taking are meant to do. The Washington Post has some interesting simulations showing the impact of what social distancing can accomplish in the pursuit of “flattening the curve”

  • Please check the ICSD Coronavirus page (and the Tompkins County Health DepartmentCDC, and NYS Department of Health pages) for information and updates about the virus. The Ithaca Voice also has a comprehensive page of local closings and information.
  • Added 3/18: The online news site Vox has produced a useful short video about Why fighting the coronavirus depends on you. I also highly recommend this 3Blue1Brown video about the models mathematicians use to track the spread of a virus like COVID-19.
  •  If you need meals: Meals are available for any student Monday-Friday from 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. in the parking lots and bus loops at six locations: Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, Caroline Elementary School, DeWitt Middle School, Enfield Elementary School, Lehman Alternative Community School, and South Hill Elementary School (more information online here)
  • The leading local broadband internet provider, Spectrum, is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with children in grades K-12 or in college for those who do not already have a subscription. Families can call (844) 488-8395 to enroll. Installation fees will be waived for new student households, the company said. Spectrum said regular pricing will take effect at the end of the 60-day period if a customer doesn’t cancel or change the service. (from
    • AT&T as also vowed “Not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic” and “Waive any late payment fees that any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.” (from AT&T)
  • See this Google Document for a list of currently-open local restaurants and their delivery/take-out status. Many dine-in restaurants are offering curbside pickup.

As I find out more information that might be useful to you, I’ll post it here.

Please be safe.


Questions? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.