Things you need to know before the first day of school

Good morning, Parents.  
We are eager to get this coming school year started, and possibly our students are more eager than normal as well because we all missed so much school last spring.  I am guessing there would be a pretty strong consensus around the desire to be back in school face to face, and besides just “wanting” to be together again, we also know it is the best way to learn.  It goes without saying that in order to open school and be together again each day, our habits at school regarding distancing, face coverings and hand washing are going to be really important in allowing us to stay open and safe.  
In this message, I want to provide you with the general information that you will need before your children come to school so they can be fully prepared for some pretty significant changes.  I will not be able to provide all of the specific protocols that we will put in place but we plan to communicate those things to students with a video for all students to watch in their first class of the school year.  What I hope to share today are the things we think students and parents will need to know in advance.
Backpacks instead of lockers.  To begin the school year, we will not be using our hallway lockers.  (We will allow students to use the locker room lockers for PE classes.)  Instead we are asking students to bring all of their materials in a backpack that they can carry with them throughout the day.  We believe that if students use their lockers, there will be a lot of congregating and it will be impossible to maintain the necessary social distance between students in crowded hallways.  We will likely develop a plan as the weather gets colder to have students use their hallway lockers later in the fall but possibly just for their coats.  
Face coverings.  We will require all students in our building to wear a face covering at all times except when they are eating lunch.  We will have extra coverings on hand if students forget so we can quickly remedy the situation.  Since we cannot always fully distance from each other in the school building, face coverings are a very important tool in giving us the best chance to stay open as a school and safe while we are together.  As Mr. Bruggink said in his recent message, if you have any concerns about this expectation, please call me in advance so we can address it together before school begins.  Scott Greupink–920-564-2346 x4001.  
Arrival at school.  When students arrive at school, we will have four entrances available so that they can avoid crowded areas much more easily.  The buses will drop off at separate entrances in the front of the high school (main lobby and the door by Mr. Ehrhorn’s room) and there will be two entrances for the students who drive to school and use our west parking lot (the cafeteria and band room entrances).  The doors will open at 7:10 am each morning.  We will likely have staff greeting students at these doors and holding them open to reduce contact points as everyone enters the building.   We will also ask students to have their face covering on as they enter the school.   As students enter, we will ask them to go directly to their first block class and not congregate in the hallways.  We will also have staff in the hallways to monitor this process.  
Building-wide classroom seating charts.  In all of our high school classrooms, we will seat students alphabetically to reduce the scope of exposure if we do have a positive COVID 19 test.   If someone with a last name beginning with a “C” tests positive, we know that “A’s and B’s” and “D’s and E’s” may be exposed but the rest of the alphabet would have plenty of distancing to avoid direct exposure.   While we cannot be fully distanced in every class, we will maximize our efforts to space and this approach to seating will reduce overall exposure.  
Hand washing.  We will be asking students to use the sanitizer dispensers as they enter each classroom and we will provide wipes so that they can wipe down surfaces as they take their seat in the next class.  
We know there are a lot of new “rules” so to speak as we enter this new and pretty unusual school year.  That reality in total can feel frustrating at times for our students, and believe me for our staff as well, as we work to monitor and enforce the behaviors we feel are needed to keep our school safe and open.  We hope that we can make these needed changes with patience and kindness, and that our students will respond very cooperatively because they understand these are things we need to do to respond to the virus.  We also know parents can help their children accept and cooperate with these changes by supporting these expectations and discussing the rationale behind them at home.  Again, we are all eager to have our school open so that we can be in the best possible learning environment, and the changes we have in place are designed to give us the best chance to make that possible and allow it to last.  
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me anytime.  Scott