August 27, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Community Members,
It’s hard to believe there are only two weeks remaining before we begin the new school year. Our preparations continued last week with the release of our school reopening handbook for families as well as our COVID guide for staff that was developed as an addendum to our staff handbook. In-service is well underway and our staff have been busy participating in technology training, restorative practices, and excitedly prepping their classrooms for the arrival of our students. Even though this school year will look different than how it has in the past, I have complete faith that our students, staff, and families will make the coming year productive, engaging, and safe for all.
First Week of School
Many of you may be wondering what the first week of school will look like for you or your child(ren) given that it will be an abbreviated week. For your reference, I have outlined the cohort schedule for the first week of school below. It is important to note that there will not be any remote learning days during the week of September 7 due to the Labor Day holiday.
Kindergarteners, 6th graders, 9th graders, and all new high school students in the blue pack (last name A-K) will attend orientation at their new school September 8th. Kindergarteners, 6th graders, 9th graders, and all new high school students in the gray pack (last name L-Z) will attend orientation at their new school September 9th. All students in the blue pack will start the Hybrid Learning schedule Thursday the 10th. All students in the gray pack will attend school Friday, September 11th.
Then, starting Monday the 14th, the new schedule begins: Mon/Tues, A-K, Thurs/Fri L- Z. Wednesdays will be remote for everyone. While all schools have released their draft hybrid schedules, SBHS has also emailed the specifics of their students’ schedules this week. Tomorrow, the elementary school principals will be sending out their newsletter with details including information on staggered arrival and dismissal times, temporary homeroom placements, and first week of school schedules. The middle school principal will also be sending a letter tomorrow with further details around their reopening procedures and schedules to come early next week.
Recently, the SBHS Japanese Program found out they received a $10,000 grant from the Los Angeles arm of the Japan Foundation. According to SBHS Japanese Language Instructor Sinyoung Evans the Foundation has supported their program in the past and stepped up yet again when the program was at risk of being cut if the latest school budget had not passed.
School Level Communications
Individual schools have been doing a great job communicating with parents via e-mail, newsletters, social media, and video. In case you missed it, SBHS has been hosting webinars since late July on topics related to reopening such as health and safety, athletics, and the arts.
At the elementary level, principals recently collaborated to produce a video to answer parent/guardian questions related to reopening. Their next video will focus on health and safety and will feature South Burlington school nurses and guests who will respond to questions and concerns.
A gentle reminder that this year, all staff and students will be required to wear facial coverings while in school buildings as well as outside where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Cloth facial coverings or masks will be provided to any student who needs one. Students and staff can provide their own cloth facial coverings or masks as long as it covers their nose, mouth, and chin. The Vermont Department of Health has a facial covering/mask resource guide which provides links to where facial coverings/masks can be acquired locally and directions on how to make your own. In addition, Orchard School staff Aili Beeli, Nicole Bauman, and Abby Hill created this video on how to wear a mask. The video was designed with students in mind, but adults are sure to get some good tips as well!
In late July, we sent families the 2020-2021 school reopening and transportation survey via their Powerschool Parent Portal. This Monday, we sent a follow up specific to transportation to those who had not yet responded. In order to properly plan bus routes for the upcoming school year and to ensure an accurate schedule can be developed for release to families at the end of by close of business Monday, August 31, we need to know how your child(ren) will be arriving at school. Please note, due to health and safety guidelines that require physical distancing on our buses and the subsequent pressure that puts on capacity, we are asking that if you can drive or walk your child(ren) to school, that you please do so. If you did not respond to the survey and you are in need of transportation, please contact Gary Marckres at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathy LaRock at email@example.com.
Thank you as always for all you are doing to keep one another safe and healthy as September approaches. We are looking forward to seeing you!