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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Preparing for a New Start

So much has been said about this COVID school year, and so much preparing has gone into making our hybrid learning all that it has been. Now, as we prepare to welcome our students back to full-day learning, the planning and preparation continues. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you and your children prepare for this change too:
Start of Day:
1. First bell will be at 08:35 with the second bell ringing at 08:45. We will get our program off and running before we consider any tardies.
2. Dismissal bell will ring at 3:15

Morning Arrival:
1. Walkers and bikers should leave home so that they arrive at school no earlier than 08:35.
2. Car riders should plan the morning arrival no earlier that 08:35. Arriving earlier will mean that students will wait in the car until the 08:35 bell rings. We have lengthened the drop-off area so that students can leave their car along a longer stretch of Willow Tree Lane.

Afternoon Departure:
1. Walkers should cross at corners that are supervised by crossing guards.
2. Bikers should walk their bikes across all intersections, wear a helmet, and have a lock to secure their bikes to the bike rack.
3. Car riders will wait on the sidewalk and lawn adjacent to Willow Tree Lane, keeping socially distanced from their classmates with their masks up until told by the driver when to take their masks down. Please plan your trip to arrive after the 3:15 dismissal bell. We want to keep the carline wait to a minimum.

Snack Time:
1. Students should bring one healthy snack to have at their classes scheduled morning snack time. During snack, students will remain at their desks, facing forward, and talking while eating will not be permitted. You may be contacted by your child’s teacher with guidance on classroom food allergies. We may request that certain food items be omitted for the safety of others. Your cooperation and understanding is appreciated.

Lunch:
1. Each student should bring a lunch to school. Lunches will be kept in the student’s backpack until lunchtime (11:30 3rd grade and 12:15 4th grade). Students will eat at their desks, facing forward, no talking for the 15-20 minute lunch time. Lunch will be preceded by or followed by a 15 - 20 minute recess. Lunch should include a drink of some sort. Reusable/refillable water bottles are encouraged. Students do not have access to our water fountains but they do have access to the bottle fillers. We are not offering milk or juice at this time. All leftovers will be returned home in the lunch container that they came in. We are not recycling or composting at this time. While eating, students will have an opportunity to watch and listen to an educational video on the classroom SmartBoard. If there is a classroom that has less than six feet between students, that class will be relocated for lunch. We may request that certain food items be omitted for the safety of others. Your cooperation and understanding is appreciated. Parents who want to pickup their child for the 45-minute lunch/recess period may do so. Please coordinate this option with your child’s teacher. Pick-up and drop-off for lunch should be done in the carline on Willow Tree Lane. Third grade lunch: 11:30 - 12:15 and fourth grade lunch: 12:15 - 1pm.

Recess:
1. Each classroom will have their own supply of recess equipment (hula hoops, basketball, soccer ball, four-square ball, sidewalk chalk). Teachers will schedule ample recess time as we work to build full-class community during these next few weeks. We will ask that all students keep their masks on during recess until we are given guidance to relax this safety procedure. Our grounds have been divided so that teachers can reserve a recess area that allows students to remain separate from other classrooms. We will have hand sanitizer at all recess re-entry doors for students to sanitize their hands upon re-entry.

Activity Classes:
1. Art, Spanish, Music, and Library will be taught in the general education classroom. Students will not walk through the building for these classes. The exception will be gym. Students will leave their classroom and attend a socially distanced, masked, gym class with Mr. Sarubbi or Mr. Short. Gym will be taken outside when the weather permits. Hand sanitizer will be used both before and after gym class. Gym equipment will be cleaned between classes.

Outdoor Learning Options:
1. All classrooms (general education and activity) will have the option to take their teaching and learning outside. During spring break, the tents that we had used in the fall will be reinstalled for outdoor use.

Remote Learners:
For those who will remain in the remote setting, Ms. Leavitt and Mr. Lyon will continue as your child’s general education teacher. These teachers will be communicating the new format of the full-day schedule with you and your children. Activity teachers will live-stream with your children as they teach and interact with the in-person general education classroom.

Your Assistance Please:
1. Please reinforce the “socially distanced” message to your children.
2. Emphasize the message of keeping their masks on and up over their nose.
3. Talk to your children about the importance of each one of us doing our part to keep everyone safe and keeping school open.
4. Be sure to take your child’s temperature every morning and date the sticker that is to be shown upon entry to the school.
5. Keep children home who are not feeling well.

Finally,
Thank you for your cooperation, flexibility, and support throughout these past 12-months. In reflection, many things have changed and much has been learned. Each of you were partners in this journey and it is recognized and appreciated by each one of us. As we move through the week of March 22, and then beyond spring break, there will undoubtedly be updates in CDC and IDPH guidance that will alter the course as we have seen time and time again this year. First and foremost is the safety of your children and that of our staff.