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2020-2021 Back to School Update - 6/29/20

First of all, I want to apologize for the length of this post, but there is a lot of information to cover. Even with this amount of information, there is still a lot unknown and that could change between now and the start of school. Things continue to move quite rapidly as they have been since March, but we felt it was very important to get some information out about what we know right now as it pertains with the start of school. 
• We believe the best and most effective place for instruction and learning is here at school, face to face with a live teacher. We also know that might not be possible all the time this year because of students and family’s individual situations or because of changing situations in the state. We will offer the face to face setting but will look at other alternatives as well. 
• As you all probably know by now, the governor has required masks to be worn at school when social distancing is not possible for student’s first grade and up. Our goal in all of our schools will be to limit mask times as much as possible, especially in the classroom, by maximizing our space as much as possible. They will be required during times when we can’t be six feet apart of course, but we plan to limit that time as much as possible. 
• The technical term is face coverings. These do not have to be masks, they can be any kind of cloth face coverings. I encourage you to find a washable face covering that your student finds as comfortable as possible and for them to hopefully get comfortable wearing it during the times it is required. We will supply masks for those who come without one on occasion, but one your child is familiar with will ease anxiety I believe. 
• Face coverings will be required on the bus for student’s first grade and up because temperature checks are not safe to do while students are loading. 
• As of now, our starting day is still August 5th. We are looking at the possibility of a later start, possibly August 24th, to take advantage of some flexibility from the state. We will make that decision soon and will communicate it. With either start, fall break is still included in the calendar.
• Regardless of when we start, the state has told us to be ready for a flexible schedule this year. Hopefully there will be no virus outbreaks, but if there are, we may have to turn to NTI for a few days or possibly up to weeks if the situation warrants it. The key word this year is flexibility, for our staff here as well as parents. We will rely heavily on our local health department for guidance on what to do in these cases. 
• Temperature checks will be performed every morning. Please make sure you check your student’s temperature before you send them to school this year, especially if they ride the bus. Students with a temperature above 100.4 will have to be sent home. If your student has a temperature of 100.4 or above, please do not send them to the bus. There will be no attendance awards given for the upcoming school year.  We know that some students work very hard and are motivated by those awards, but we don’t want anything to cause a barrier to keeping your child at home should they have a temperature.
• Hand washing and sanitizing will be extremely important this year, and we will limit access to campus as much as possible by non-students and staff.
• One of the main points of this communication today is to get an idea of parents who do not plan to send students this year, either because of a medical situation in your house or other issue, and plan to learn remotely by NTI or another platform. Once again, we believe the best place for students to learn is here on campus, but we will look at other avenues for learning when necessary. What this will look like we are not completely sure yet, but we are working on it daily. A survey will be distributed by email, and also will be on our Facebook page and website. If you plan on sending your student, you do not have to do anything. If you are not, we need you to respond with your child’s name(s) and grade only. We do realize that this is June 29th, and things could change before August 5th that could change your decision, but this will help us with our planning at this point.  
• Finally, again I want to stress the changing nature and the need for flexibility this year. The staff cannot wait to see your children this year(!!), but as we all know things are going to be different, hopefully just for a while. If you have any questions about any information, I encourage you to call the board office for further clarification, we will not be responding to individual questions on Facebook. Thank you so much for your support, this community works together so well and I know we can make this a successful year!

Jay Simmons





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