Steve Hancock Written by  Mar 16, 2020

March 16 Update - Distance Learning, Material Pick-Up Plan

Dear PDS parents,

Thank you for the love and patience you have shown during this unique time. We have been working at PDS over the past several days as we ready the school for the start of distance learning. I hope this letter will answer many of the questions you might have moving forward.

As a faculty, we know the power of prayer and invite you to keep our community in your prayers as we move into this new territory. While PDS has never had to do distance learning, I did lead Princeton Day School through Hurricane Irene when we were out of school for over three weeks. I learned a lot during that time and look forward to utilizing best practices as we move forward together.

I hope the following questions and answers will help you in your planning.

How can I get the materials my son needs for distance learning?

Tuesday evening, we plan on distributing materials to students in SK–6th grade.

Please note: the building has been completely sanitized and will continue to be cleaned every time there are people in the building.

Here is the plan.

SK–3rd grade students will enter the main PDS lobby and proceed to the main gym where tables will be set up by grade level. Students and/or parents will come to the table where parents will sign out an iPad or computer and receive information that teachers have gathered for the student.

4th–6th grade students will enter the main PDS lobby where they will check-in and out with staff. Students can then go to classrooms and lockers to retrieve computers, school supplies (including Flight Plan and 7 Virtues), instruments, and items needed for home learning. We will ask our boys to not socialize during this time.

To limit the number of families on campus at one time, we ask that you arrive during these windows of time on Tuesday, March 17:

  • 5:00–5:30 pm - students with last name A-E
  • 5:30–6:00 pm - students with last name F-L
  • 6:00–6:30 pm - students with last name M-S
  • 6:30–7:00 pm - students with last name T-Z

If a family does not want to enter the school building, we will have staff who will deliver the material to the car. Let one of the coaches in the parking lot know that you need help.

Families unable to pick-up materials during the listed times can pick-up on Wednesday morning from 7:30–8:30 am.

If you can’t make any of these times, please be in contact with your son’s teachers.

Can we use our own device at home?

We would prefer you to utilize school-provided computers and iPads. These devices already have all the needed programs and preloaded passwords. Your sons are used to using these devices every day, and they are the only ones who ever use them.

If you are unable to retrieve a device from the school, you can contact Melissa Smith (, and she can assemble a document with all the needed apps or websites and passwords to continue learning at home.

Where can I go for tech help?

Delivering our online learning program will be dependent on you having access to the internet. Please check with your internet provider if you are having problems with the internet.

If you need help with PDS technology, we have established the following ways for support.

PDS Tech Hotline

901–842–4622 or 901–842–4648

These phone lines will be available between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm during regular school days. If you get the voicemail, please leave a message, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

This email address is available to provide technical help. We will be monitoring this address throughout the day and will respond as quickly as possible. Please provide as much detail, including screenshots, to help our experts respond to your questions. For any academic questions pertaining to the assigned work, please email your teacher.

We have established a new page on our website that will have all the information related to our school closing. We will also post answers to common questions as we begin this journey together. You may check the website to see if your question has already been answered.

How will online learning work?

The faculty will be working on Monday and Tuesday to be ready to start remote learning on Wednesday. We will begin slowly and make sure our systems are working correctly and that we can communicate with students. Please be patient with us as we work through the logistics.

If remote learning continues, you can expect to see more technology used to help students and faculty connect in real-time. We are making plans, but there is work to do for us to be ready.

You should expect both daily and weekly communication from your son’s teacher. Look for further information on Wednesday.

Distance Learning Info & Support

When will the decision about school opening and closing be made?

We have just been informed that the Governor has mandated that schools close through Tuesday, March 31. We will adhere to this policy and not have school during this time.

I plan to give families as much time as possible to help make family plans. At the same time, we want to be back in school as soon as this time of social distancing has ended and we believe it to be safe and wise to return . We will make a decision each Wednesday for the following week.

I recommend you create a new routine for your son during this time of remote learning. Continue to have a standard bedtime and wake up routine. Encourage your son to be active. Our PE coaches have some creative plans to help the boys stay physically fit. Stay tuned! Continue reading together, and limit the screen time after school work is complete.

I will provide more suggestions as we take this journey together.

I hope to see many of you this week as you pick up your son’s items.


Steve Hancock

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Steve Hancock

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