Dear ALH Family,

We all continue to be heartbroken and deeply affected by the devastating loss of our daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, classmate, student, Chyna Forney, who was taken from us much too soon. We are all struggling to understand and cope with the shock of her tragic and untimely death. Many of us may be confronted with a variety of emotions, including shock, sadness, and confusion. I want to assure you that your Albany Leadership family cares about you and the feelings you may be experiencing. Please know that we want to continue to support you during this time.

We have a plan in place focused on helping our students and their families transition back to regular learning and everyday activities over the next several days. This plan has evolved from our own experience with similar situations and the advice of mental health professionals from the community. Our Crisis Response Team will continue to be available for the foreseeable future to meet with students and staff in designated support spaces in the building and virtually to assist you in dealing with any feeling you may be having, or you may wish to share memories with one another that you have of Chyna. Crisis response team members and grief counselors will also be available throughout the day to help you if you feel a more urgent need to talk with someone. Students should feel free to let a teacher or other staff member know if and when they need to talk and/or just need a safe and secure place to be. I want to encourage those students who may be particularly upset, perhaps even struggling with a death in their own family or of a friend, to talk with crisis response team members and/or grief counselors.

Parents, if you feel your child is in need of special assistance or is having a great deal of difficulty coping, please do not hesitate to call the school. While it is important to deal with grief, loss, anger and fear reactions, we do believe it is essential to begin the transition back to as normal a routine as possible regarding school activities. In order to support and facilitate coping strategies for all students, we will be following our CLEAR Day schedule, tomorrow, Thursday, 5/6, and Friday, 5/7. Starting Monday, 5/10, all regular schedules and routines will resume.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our school community as we work together to cope with and process our grief together. Please feel free to call if you have any concerns or questions.

Cariña D. Cook

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