At 98.7 Jack FM, we love being a part of your life in the crossroads. We love real Texas livin', a great mix of music, and having fun with our listeners.

The events of the last week have us really focused right now on helping pass along information that you need here in south Texas as the coronavirus continues to change our lives. While we #SlowtheSpreadTexas, in the next several days we will likely be getting several important updates. 98.7 Jack FM, and our sister stations at Townsquare Media are right here on the ground with you, and we will use all of our resources to help keep our listeners informed and up to date. We will deal with all of this together.

With many schools on spring break, Victoria ISD has announced steps for the weeks ahead. Those instructions got passed out to parents in a letter from VISD Superintendent that detailed plans to suspend face-to-face time in the classroom, continue free meals for students, cancel afterschool activities and district events, and STAAR testing.

You can read the letter in full below:

Dear Victoria ISD Parent/Guardian:

 
Please be assured that Victoria ISD continues to actively monitor the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in conjunction with local and federal health authorities. While information is rapidly changing, Victoria ISD is now operating on a LEVEL 2 status.
Face-to-Face Instruction Suspended 
As a proactive measure to ensure proper health guidelines are followed and to reinforce our message of social distancing, Victoria ISD has suspended face-to-face instruction for an undetermined amount of time. This is a situation we have never faced before. We will be developing what this will look like for our students. It could be instructional materials and packets sent home, online instruction, or a combination. During the week of Monday, March 23, through Friday, March 27, our staff will work diligently to plan. We will provide additional information on this in the coming days.
Free Meals for Students        
Victoria ISD will be providing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals for all students, starting Monday March 23, at Aloe Elementary, Crain Elementary, Hopkins Elementary, Rowland Elementary, Shields Elementary, and Stroman Middle School. Breakfast will be available 7:30-9:30 and lunch will be available 10:30-12:30 Monday through Friday at the listed sites. Additional details on meal pick-up will be provided later this week.
District Events and Extracurricular Activities Cancelled      
Effective immediately, all district events and extracurricular activities are cancelled until the District returns to face-to-face instruction or further notice. This includes all district-sponsored UIL, athletics, fine arts, clubs, and group events or ceremonies.
STAAR and End-of-Course (EOC) Testing      
Governor Abbott has announced requirements for STAAR and EOC testing for students will be waived this year. However, districts must determine guidelines for student grade level advancement and graduation requirements in the absence of the state testing. Additional information on this will be provided when the District has finalized those details.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 information from VISD and local, national, and federal health officials on our website. visd.net/apps/pages/health-services/COVID19

As always, the safety of our students, staff, and families remains our top priority and we will act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone's health and well-being.

 

This powerful statement was then followed up by Dr. Shepherd with a letter addresing the students of Victoria ISD. That letter appears in full below:

Students,

I am sorry. As I have watched the events over this past week unfold and levels of concern (and fear) grow at an increasing rate, I have tried to think of what we could say to you. I write this on behalf of your Trustees, your administrators and your teachers. We know many of you look to us (your teachers, counselors and administrators) for guidance. We know you also look to parents, your families and your community in times of crisis. The truth is, we are trying hard to find concrete answers and we are learning as we go. I am sure you have heard and seen the experts who are saying "close schools" and why we need to "shut down." Other experts are saying not to close until we have more concrete information. You have heard everyone say we are making decisions with your safety as our highest priority and that remains true.

What you have not heard is an apology. This apology is in recognition that you are sacrificing so much that you have worked so hard for. You work hard in practices, games, programs, performances, events and of course - school. You do not want these things to be put on hold, I know that. There are things you will never again get to do and I know this. We feel your sorrow deeply in our hearts and share in your disappointment.

There is no greater joy for a superintendent, a teacher, an administrator and a District Trustee than to see our students excel at what they love to do.

So, I am asking you to just sit tight and be strong. Your teachers and parents have worked hard to teach you about leadership, how to deal with adversity, how to persevere and how to be resilient. Right now, we are asking you to put all of what you have learned into practice. In life, we grow the most when we struggle. We do not grow when times are easy. Struggle gives us the chance to reach new levels. Are things going to remain the same moving forward? No. Will we have the same goals? No. Do we know the path forward? No. Is this going to be easy for anyone? No. We will be better, stronger, smarter, more resilient in the end... Yes.

Know this... we are, and always will be, VISD Proud of you. Hang in there. We've got this.

Q. Shepherd

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families of Victoria ISD as we all start to see the impact this will have on our lives over the next few weeks. Please lend us an ear, visit our website, stay up to date with our mobile app and know your friends on the radio are never far away. Like you, we don't have all the answers. Lots of questions are being asked. While we wait out the answers, we will keep the information coming. Stay positive, support your neighbors, lend a hand to someone in need. Be the great Texas community that the crossroads has always been. We all got this.

The latest updates from Victoria ISD on COVID-19 are available here.

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