Good morning, Parents.
I am pleased to inform you that our first couple of weeks of school have gone pretty well from a virus safety perspective. A very big part of the reason that is true is because our students, your children, have been really cooperative. I also think our success at implementing the safety procedures is also due to the efforts of our teachers to be consistent with our expectations.
Starting next Tuesday, Sept. 15, we would like to begin using our hallway lockers in a very limited manner as an intermediate step toward more locker use as the weather gets colder. The challenge we have to overcome in beginning to use lockers is to avoid students congregating in the hallways before school starts or for that matter during school. Currently, students arrive at school carrying their materials in a backpack, and they report directly to their first class. There is no congregating of students before school whatsoever without the use of lockers. It is our hope we can begin using the lockers on a minimal level, but maintain the ability to refrain from gathering in groups that are not distanced properly. Our first step to begin using lockers will allow students to use their lockers from about 7:10-7:20 before school, and then the only other time during the day they will have access to their lockers will be during lunch/homeroom when students can request to be released from homeroom one at a time to go to their locker. Lockers will not be available during passing periods between classes, so students will continue to use their backpacks, although maybe with a lighter load. Students who bring cold lunch will be released to get their lunch from their lockers when their homeroom is released for hot lunch.
Parents of virtual students, it would be helpful if you would remind your student that even though they are in our classrooms virtually, they are still in our classrooms, so normal classroom expectations apply. For example, we don’t allow students to bring their family dog to class, so virtual students should not have their dogs on screen either because it is distracting. Students in our classrooms cannot lay down and relax, they must sit and be attentive. Likewise, virtual students must sit attentively in our classrooms too. I won’t try to provide every possible situation but the bottom line is virtual students are in our classrooms and must behave in the same manner that we expect of our in person students.
Our first two weeks have gone well. Thanks for all you have done to increase the chances that our school can stay healthy and open for weeks and months to come.
Hello Oostburg Families!
…wanted to check in at the close of our first week back in school and say thank you. We have had a really good week. There have been adjustments – some more challenging than others – yet our students have been great. Areas where we were expecting concerns went well. I also want to give a shout out to our staff. The changes impact all of us, yet people just dug in and did the next right thing.
A portion of my first two days this week was spent communicating with the health department. We remain fortunate to have no known positive cases in our school at this time. We do have individuals quarantining, and that will likely be the case throughout the year. I wanted to update you on our communication procedures related to COVID cases which impact our school district.
-We will communicate rapidly in response to any positive case impacting individuals – staff or students – in our school.
-We are not able to provide specifics. We are not able to share if the individual is a staff or student, but we will communicate a positive case to everyone in the building involved.
-Those who are close contacts to the positive case will receive a separate communication stating they were a close contact.
-We will work with the County Heath Department directly in all of these situations.
-We will not communicate quarantine situations – only positive cases in school
I also wanted to share that we recognize that some of the measures we are taking are not popular…. I don’t like wearing a mask (although the new Dutchmen masks really fit nicely). I hope our families recognize that the steps we are taking are focused on keeping us on site for instruction. I had a meeting earlier today and learned that many schools in our area already have large numbers of their students and staff quarantined, and regional schools have had to delay openings or close segments of their building due to quarantines.
We want to be here – on site. We know in person learning is more effective than virtual learning. So we’re willing to deal with some “less than ideal” changes designed to help us stay together. We have over 93% of our students on site for learning. That requires specific steps so we can keep this going.
So thank you students, thank you staff, and thanks moms & dads. Even though we may see things differently at times, there is so much more than unites us, so much more we believe in together. The top of that list for us is a belief that having our kids learning together in our schools is the best way to reach our learning goals.
Have a great weekend and Go Dutchmen!