Getting back to school
I would like to begin by offering a huge THANK YOU to everyone. All the staff members, students, and parents have been extraordinary in promoting our efforts to offer summer school to the students of the Loyal School District. Having this valuable time has allowed us to work through some new procedures and find the areas we need to improve as we look forward to starting the regular school year on Sept. 1.
About 100 students have participated in classes that range from math challenges to making slime. If you haven’t already done so, please look on the District Facebook page to see how much fun the students and teachers are having.
Some of the procedures that we have been practicing are guidelines given by the CDC, DPI, and the Clark County Health Department. Even though I love seeing the parents as they bring their children to school, only the students and staff have been allowed in the building; a change that will continue for the whole school year. This is a hard change but everyone has adjusted well this summer. After that, the students have their temperature taken and are asked a couple simple questions about how they are feeling. We have streamlined this step a lot and we are able to get the students into the building quickly and to their first class in a matter of minutes.
Because we are a public building, we must follow the guidelines where everyone wears a mask at all times. Most students are wearing masks that they have picked, which allows them to express their personalities. Extra items have been removed from the classrooms so that more frequent cleaning can be done by all staff members. Desks have also been moved to allow for social distancing among the students. Since all of this is going so well, I have great hope that we can maintain our current plan for reopening in the fall.
When we start school, there will be some more new procedures that we will need to follow. First is a slight change to the Open House schedule on Sept.1. Staff will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on that day. Time slots have been adjusted to reduce the number of people in the building at one time. The school photographer, Paul Tishim, will also be available for those longer hours. He will be set up in the elementary gym to again provide more room for social distancing.
A big change is that no students will be allowed into the building until 7:45 every day. As the students enter, the same procedure of taking a temperature, answering health questions, and masking will be required. From that point, students will need to go directly to their classrooms. All of this has been planned so that we eliminate areas where students are together in large groups. Also, only elementary students grades 4K-6 will be allowed to enter and exit the building by the elementary office. Students in grades 7-12 must enter and exit by the junior/senior high school office. At the end of the day, the elementary office doors will not be open until the students are released. The front entrance is another area we need to keep clear so that we can practice social distancing. To reduce the number of students on the busses, some parents have decided to transport their children to school this year. This means that the elementary parking lot will be busier at the end of the day when students are released. Please follow the arrows that have been painted on the lot and make a single file pickup line. Faculty members will be present as students exit the building and will escort children to their parents as quickly as possible. No children will be allowed to walk across the parking lot unattended and students who ride their bikes will need to walk them to the corner before they begin riding them. Please pick up elementary students by the elementary office and then move to the visitors parking lot by the junior/senior high entrance to pick up older students. Hopefully this will reduce the congestion in both areas.
As you are purchasing school supplies this year, Clorox wipes are one of the items on the list. I realize that these are hard to find, so do your best but do not worry if you can’t find them. One thing to consider adding to this year’s list are masks for your children. The ones that the students are wearing for summer school have been great. Parents have been able to get smaller sizes to better fit their children. Some students are also wearing gaitors. These are acceptable and from my standpoint do allow a little more comfort. One note, -- if your child suffers from a medical condition that makes wearing a mask difficult or impossible, please let us know at registration or Open House. We are willing to work with all parents to make this change as smooth as possible for everyone.
The plan right now is to start school on Sept. 1, five days a week, in person. Hopefully this is how we can operate the whole school year. Some parents, however, may not be comfortable with this option. If this is the case for you, please contact the elementary office and tell us you are interested in our all-virtual option. The teaching staff is going to be doing training to make this possible. Our hope is to give all our students, no matter where they are receiving the instruction, a quality education. Signing up for this option does mean that you are making a commitment to do this for a quarter at a time. Watch the school web page as more details become available.
There will be a lot of changes this school year and I would like to thank you ahead of time for your kindness and patience. We will all need to be as flexible and understanding of each other as possible, keeping in mind that all of us have the same goal -- educating the young minds of the Loyal students.