School Reopening Letter to Parents from the Superintendent

August 11, 2020

Parents,

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates made a statement that has roughly been translated “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”   With all the political unrest, protests, riots, shutdowns, quarantines, unemployment, business disruptions, etc. these are certainly desperate times. We have all heard descriptions of the situation we find ourselves in right now including “unusual”, “unprecedented”, “uncharted”, “strange”, and even “crazy”.  These truly are unique times.

To address these crazy times, over the past several months, the school board, community members, parents, administrators, teachers, and other school personnel have worked to put together the USD 405 School Reopening Plan. The plan is based on guidance from the top health officials in the state. The plan will be posted on the school website and linked to our school Facebook page.  The principals of each of the attendance buildings will be sending you more information about reopening school.  We will be seeking additional input from you as well, including your plans to send your children back to school or to keep them at home for remote learning.

Regardless of what the future holds, the teachers and staff at Lyons schools will offer a first-class education to all students whether they are working in the school building or from home.

We will be following the state and local requirements to ensure that all students and staff are in a safe and healthy environment. The most significant changes are shown below.

First Days - School will begin on Thursday, August 27 for PK-6 and 9th graders.  Grades 7-8 and 10-12 will start on Friday, August 28.

Friday Schedule - The normal one-hour early dismissal on Fridays will not happen this year. Friday dismissal time will be the same as the other days.

Dismissal Time – To meet the minimum number of hours required for the school year, five minutes will be added to the end of the school day.

Safety & Health – Governor Kelly’s Executive Order 20-59 requires everyone to wear a mask while in a school building. There are a few exceptions, but they require a note from a doctor that a student or employee should not wear a mask for health reasons. Visitors will not be allowed in any school building until the pandemic label has been lifted. Students and employees will wash or sanitize their hands hourly. Commonly touched surfaces will be disinfected multiple times daily. Social distancing will be maintained. Students and employees will have their temperatures taken daily prior to entering a school building or school bus and will be asked to answer questions concerning Coronavirus. Employees will stay home, and parents are being asked to keep children at home who are exhibiting any of the following symptoms.

o Fever (100.4 or higher)

o Muscle or body aches

o Headache

o Sore Throat

o Cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing

o New loss to taste or smell

o Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting

 

Attendance and Grading – Schools are required by law to keep attendance, even if a student is learning from home (remote learning).  Your child’s school will provide parents with the form that is required to log remote learning hours.  Your child’s school will also provide parents with guidance on what remote learning is and the difference between remote learning and the “continuous education” model used last spring.  The greatest difference that you will note is the amount of time students will be required to be actively engaged online each day with their teacher and the rest of the class. The state’s truancy law will be enforced as well, meaning that if a student has chosen remote learning instead of on-site learning, any absence from required virtual meetings must be reported to the school by a parent or guardian. This is the same law and same expectations as for students who are attending school on site. Grading will resume as normal and students will be expected to complete and return assignments regardless of their on-site or remote status.

 

Three Models – Three different models have been developed for continuing school this fall. The best model is always on-site with a teacher in the classroom. That is how we are starting the school year.  If local COVID numbers become too high, we may be forced to go to full remote learning, similar to what happened last spring, but with a higher level of expectations and accountability.  There is also a third model called “Hybrid.” Hybrid learning will take place if the COVID numbers are increasing significantly but are not considered as high incidence yet.  Hybrid learning will involve drastic changes in scheduling.  Your child’s building principal will be getting you additional guidance about what those changes will be in their building.

 

I know from talking to numerous teachers, administrators, and other school personnel that we are excited to get the kids back into the buildings.  If it means we are required to do all these extra things to keep everyone safe and healthy, then we are going to do them. Look for a letter from your child’s building principal outlining more details.  We are all looking forward to working with you to make this year healthy, happy, and productive for everyone!

Thank you for all you do,

Bill Day