We are going to have a great year! It might be a bit more of a challenge, but one in which we are going to meet. I want to give you some information as we begin a new school year. This will be the first of a couple of emails you will receive outlining different procedures here at Arrowhead Elementary. This information can also be located by going to our school website:
I know that first and foremost on everyone’s mind is, “What will school look like?” I want to help ease all of your minds that we are going to do our very best to make school as normal and safe for all who attend. You will receive a copy of the Washington County School District’s Reopening Plan as soon as it is approved by the WCSD School Board, hopefully around July 27th. I want to share some of our school specific information when dealing with COVID in our schools:
- Before School & After School– 1st-5th grade students will report to the back of the school and play as normal. We would ask that parents again remind students of personal space. We would ask that if you are sending your students to school try and time it so that they arrive at 8:45. This will give them a short time to play and then go straight into class. Upon hearing the bell, students will directly enter their classroom from the outside. The classroom doors will be propped open so students will not line up but directly enter the classroom (outside door), have their hands sprayed with hand sanitizer by their teacher, and take their seats. Kindergarten students will play at the front of the school on their designated playground. After School, all students will exit through their outside school doors to go home. If older brothers and sisters are picking up younger siblings, please have a pre-arranged spot for them to meet.
- Hand-washing and hand sanitizer– We would ask that you review with your children the importance of washing their hands. We will develop a schedule in each classroom for hand washing. Before and after lunch, recess times, computer lab, special classes, and anytime our students leave the classroom and return, they will be washing their hands or their hands will be sprayed with sanitizer.
- Lunch- Class lunchtimes will be spaced so each grade level will be in the lunchroom by themselves. Food will be pre-prepped in a clam-shell Styrofoam tray. Students will pick-up their food and go to their assigned seats. Students will seat with more spacing and only on one side of the table. This will allow us to comply with the district requirement of being able to “trace” who students are in contact with during time in the classroom, lunchroom, and at special classes. Once they have finished eating, students may go outside to play for the remainder of their lunch. We are figuring most students will finish eating in 10-15 minutes (if you have a slower eater, they will still be able to finish) and have 15-20 minutes to play which is typical for school lunch.
- Transitions– We are going to limit our transitions around the school. When we do move to a new learning area, classes will be staggered to avoid large groups of students standing in the hallway. Students will also be asked to distance an arm’s length apart as they move through the hallways. Students and staff members will also need to wear masks when moving around the building.
- Bathrooms– We will encourage no more than three students in the bathroom at one time. We will have dots outside the bathrooms where students may wait to use the restroom. We will be instructing and encouraging students to wash their hands after using the bathroom. We will have posters with clear hand washing instructions. Masks will need to be worn in the bathrooms.
- Cleaning– We will be developing a schedule with the custodians for the cleaning of high contact areas and all areas in our school and bathrooms. We will be asking students at the end of the day to wipe their desk down with a wipe. We will also have them wipe down any equipment they have been using such as computers and manipulatives. Students will be asked to help wipe down their workspace when entering and leaving special classes.
- Common Touch Areas– We are trying to eliminate as many of the common touch areas as we possibly can. Please send your student with a water bottle. This will decrease our need to use the water fountains. We have also ordered doors stops to prop open as many doors as we can.
- Recess– We will schedule recess times by grade levels. Recess time will be 15 minutes. We will sanitize hands before and after recess. Students will be staggered by class on the playground in order to help prevent large crowds of students in any given area.
- Pick-up procedure During School Hours- Parents are going to love our new “Curb Side” pick up plan. Parents will pull into the parking lot by the front entrance of the school, call the office phone number on the sandwich board sitting on the sidewalk, and one of our lovely office personnel will call your student out of class and bring them to meet you at your car. At this point, we will check them out of school for you. After school pick up will remain the same with cars coming through the side parking lot and students reuniting with parents.
- Assemblies -There will be no assemblies until further notice. Special announcements and information will be provided through Mr. Andersen and Mrs. Heki’s videos.
- Sick Individuals– If your student has a fever, or has other symptoms please keep students home. More information will be coming from the school district regarding symptom checking. If a student has a fever or is saying they are sick we will call and ask that you come to pick them up, as we have done in the past. The health department has asked that we designate a room at our school where students can wait until they are picked up. We have designated our nurse’s room as this area.
- Visitors and Volunteers– At this time we have been asked by the district to have NO VISITORS and NO VOLUNTEERS. This is not going to be easy as we have many wonderful parents who like to come and help out in the classrooms and during lunchtime. If you do need to visit with the office staff, please wear a mask and remember to social distance. Please contact your child’s teacher and see what types of things you might do to assist outside of school for right now. We are only going to be allowing school personnel past the front window in the office until further notice.
- Late Check-in -Students coming late will follow the same procedures as they have in the past. Students will come to the office where the secretaries can check them in, give the student a tardy slip, and then send them to class.
- Masks – Not in my 30 years as an educator did I ever think we would need to wear a mask to school. Had I wanted to wear a mask I would have followed my sisters into the medical professions. That being said, for the next little while it will be our reality so we will start the year with a “positive mindset” and “mask up”. The school will provide each student with two masks, but you are welcome to find something that your child will be comfortable with and enjoy wearing. I have been looking for “fun masks” that I can wear that will make the students smile and hopefully from my example see that needing to wear one is not so bad. Masks will need to be worn when working with teachers in small groups, moving around the building, in bathrooms, and while sitting close to friends in special classes or during carpet time when students will be together for longer than 15 minutes. Students will not need to wear masks outside, while eating lunch, and if they are spaced far enough away when working independently. I will be working with teachers to have a location in each room where students might go for a “mask break” if needed.
- Back to School Night – We have been asked to not have any events for the time being that would bring large groups to the school. For this reason, we will not be having a “Back to School Night” this year. Instead, teachers will be emailing home a video tour of your child’s new classroom as introducing themselves. Parents will officially get to meet teachers during the first week of school when you come in for your student’s testing appointment.
We are anxious to have your students come back to school. We completely understand how nervous everyone is about getting us all together again. We want all to be safe, and we will do all we can to mitigate the spread of any kind of virus.
I know this is a lot to take in. I want you to know that above all we want your children to feel safe and cared for here at school. This plan is our first step in getting things back to normal. We may have to adjust our plan as we go. Please know that we are here working and making every effort to get the school year off to a great start.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or ideas you might have. This really is uncharted territory for the educational community, but we are planners, builders, and problem solvers. We hope that you won’t hesitate to send your children back to school. We are going to be doing our best to ensure their safety, and we really would love to have the opportunity to have them back at school with us again.
Kim Heki, Pricipal