Union Center Elem: Return to School

Principal Fuller's Updates and Thoughts

August 5th, 2020

Good afternoon, UCE Families:

As all of our wonderful UCE Staff prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, I wanted to share with you a variety of different items happening in not only our building, but all throughout the corporation:

Change in Elementary Virtual Learning Model

At the beginning of this process, UTSC announced that they would be able to provide a Virtual Teacher for each grade level whose responsibility was to focus on virtual learning for only those students who choose the virtual option.

Due to enrollment, we have made changes that we feel will support both virtual and in-person students together with one teacher the entire school year. Your child’s teacher will have both virtual and in-person students in their classroom. As a result, this model will allow for our students to build strong classroom relationships with their teacher and peers, regardless of in-person or virtual. In the likelihood that a student, classroom, or building would need to become virtual, your child’s classroom teacher would remain the same throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

What Does This Mean?

Your child’s teacher will provide virtual students with a weekly schedule in advance to follow during the school day.

The daily learning schedule will be the same for both virtual and in-person students as much as possible; students will have regular assignments, support, feedback, and accountability built into their learning each day. Students are expected to complete assignments daily and participate in virtual learning activities when assigned by the teacher.

More Information Tomorrow

On August 6th, our UTSC district office will be sharing specific guidelines to confirm your child’s registration as a virtual student due to the above change in model. Included in these guidelines will be more information on the expectations, responsibilities and attendance.

If at any point you would like your child to have a change in their placement (in-person to virtual OR virtual to in-person), you must contact Principal Fuller in order to make that change (pfuller@union.k12.in.us or 219-759-2544, ext. 2).

In-Person Elementary Safety and Guidelines at Union Center

To ensure that our students and staff are safe every day at Union Center, there have been several changes to how our building will operate on a daily basis.

Our Re-entry Plan, Frequently Asked Questions and other related COVID-19 Information is available at the district website:


  • Masks are required for all students (K-5) and staff when inside the building.

  • Masks are required for all students while riding the bus.

  • Students ​are required​ to hand sanitize or wash their hands when entering the classroom, entering and exiting the cafeteria, ​and​ entering and exiting the playground. ​Students will wash or sanitize their hands at least once per hour.

  • There will be ​no visitors ​allowed into the building until further notice, which include lunch and classroom visits.

  • Classroom desks or tables will be social-distanced throughout each classroom of at least 3 feet.

  • All PTO and school/classrooms events (​i.e., classroom parties, Fun Fair, etc.) are postponed indefinitely.

  • Both car riders and bus riders will be staggered into and exiting the building.

  • Bathroom breaks and various hallway activities have been scheduled and staggered to avoid large groups.

  • Art, Computers, Social Emotional Learning, and Music will push ​into ​the classrooms, and students will ​not ​visit those classrooms. Physical Education (PE) will continue to be held in the gymnasium or outside.

  • Meetings with teachers will be by appointment only.

  • Meetings with teachers (​i.e., IEP meetings, parent/teacher conferences, meetings with principal), should be held virtually, when possible. If not, a scheduled meeting will be created, ​if preferred.

  • Students will have their own school supplies, and any shared supplies will be sanitized between use.

  • Lunch times have been staggered so that proper sanitization can occur between lunch periods.

  • Water fountains will be replaced with touchless bottle refill stations. Please send a refillable water bottle with your child that can be kept at their desk for the week.

  • High traffic areas such as restrooms will be sanitized multiple times throughout the day.

  • Social Distance and Healthy Hygiene Signs as well as floor decals will be added to support our kids and staff.

We understand that there are a lot of new changes to how we operate, but in order to properly ensure the safety of all our students and staff, these changes must be made and we appreciate your understanding!

Arrival and Dismissal Changes at UCE

  • Arrival:

    • Building doors will open to all students beginning at 8:30 AM (CHANGE)

    • For car-riders, students will not be allowed to cluster underneath the awning at the front of the building; instead, students should remain in their vehicle until ushered out by a school employee. For bus riders, dismissal into the building will begin at 8:30 AM, and only one (1) bus will be allowed to enter at a time.

    • All students entering from 8:30-8:50 will either be in their classroom or the cafeteria, but only if they eat breakfast.

    • School will still start at 8:50 AM.

  • Dismissal:

    • The car-rider process will begin at 3:00 PM (CHANGE)

    • Students will still be called to exit the building through the front entrance as parents arrive.

    • Bus riders will be called in the order that busses arrive (approx. 3:15 PM). Staggering of bus dismissal will occur and two exits will be used to ensure social distancing as students walk to the bus.

Breakfast and Lunch at Union Center

In order to properly social distance our students, our tables have been spread apart in the cafeteria and only 4 or 5 students will be allowed per table. Students will have assigned seats for the foreseeable future, after the first day of school.

We are asking that lunches be funded through check or credit card. You may find information at this LINK to create an account or add your child to your Mealtime account. Please make sure the check is in an envelope marked with your child's name and indicate amount. Our kitchen manager, Kim Camplan, will get all Kindergarten and new student families their lunch account information the first week of school, should you choose to create a Mealtime account, this will be needed information. Please contact Mrs. Kim Camplan at kcamplan@union.k12.in.us for more information.

The Free and Reduced Price Breakfast and Lunch Application may be completed online through your Harmony Family Portal Account or picked up in our office anytime. Applications need to be completed each year. Families who applied and qualified last year will need to reapply at the start of school. If you would like us to send a copy home with your child during the first week of school please call the main office.Our school serves breakfast at 8:30 AM and lunch each day, and an August menu can be found on our website HERE.

Ice Cream Friday and Snacks: These will be available to students after we get our school year started. More information will be communicated in an upcoming newsletter.

Lunch Visitors: To start the school year, we will not be allowing visitors during our lunch periods. Thank you again, for understanding the changes in place to support our safety measures this school year..

Lunch Times:

10:45-11:10 (KG Lunch/1st Recess)

  • 5 Min Clean Break

11:15-11:40 (KG Recess/1st Lunch)

  • 10 Min Clean Break

11:50- 12:15 (2nd Lunch/3rd Recess)

  • 5 Min Clean Break

12:20- 12:45 (2nd Recess/3rd Lunch)

  • 10 Min Clean Break

12:55- 1:20 (4th Recess/5th Lunch)

  • 5 Min Clean Break

1:25- 1:50 (4th Lunch/5th Recess)

  • Cafeteria Cleaned/Closed

More Information to Start the New Year

As of today, Wednesday, August 5th, all Union Township Schools will be starting in 'Green', which means that school will be open in one week, on Wednesday, August 12th!

  • Student Placement: For those wondering about who their child's teacher will be this year, that information will be available on Friday. The staff and our IT Department have been working diligently to adapt with our change in instructional models, so please bear with us as we complete this process: Please note that while the requests from May were taken into consideration, some changes may have needed to be made: All roster placements will be final.
  • Beginning of the Year Events: We realize the importance and value of the events that we hold at the beginning of each school year to welcome students and families to Union Center. This year, these traditional back to school events have been canceled in order to limit building access to students and staff according to our re-entry plan. After registration, all visitors to our building will be by appointment only. Our intent is to still provide opportunities for families to feel welcome, connected, and more at ease as we transition into a new school year. While these events will not be in-person, grade levels and individual teachers will work to create some form of virtual Back to School event for their students and families :)
  • Virtual Chromebook Supply Pick-Up: We plan to have a Chromebook pick-up for Virtual Students 'only' on Tuesday, August 11th from 1:00-5:00 PM at the front entrance of UCE. The goal is to have textbooks distributed to these students, as well, depending on their availability.
  • Student Items: In order to keep our building as safe as possible, parents will not be allowed to enter the building to walk their children to a classroom on Wednesday, August 12th. While we would normally have an in-person Back to School Night where parents could drop-off supplies, that too is not happening this year. We recommend only sending your child on the first day with items they will need, which include a mask and any cleaning supplies (i.e., wipes, sanitizer, etc.). If they can bring their normal school supplies, GREAT, but we don't want too much on their plate for that first day back :)

Building Construction Update

You may or may not have noticed that a large fence has been placed behind our gymnasium! That is because our new addition to Union Center is starting to become a reality!

Architects and construction workers have been frequenting our building, and the plan is that they will begin breaking ground sometime in early to mid September.

This is VERY exciting for all our UCE students, teachers, and staff, and I hope exciting for our families, as well!

As we inch closer to the beginning of construction, I will share updates about our plan for safety, pictures, and hopefully some early renderings of what the new addition has to offer :)

Job Openings at Union Center

If you or someone you know is interested in any of the below job openings at Union Center, please contact Principal Fuller at 219-759-2544 (ext.2) or at pfuller@union.k12.in.us:

  • Evening Custodian (12:00-8:00)- Responsibilities include cleaning of individual classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, etc.
  • Lunchroom and Recess Aides (10:30-2:00)- Responsibilities include supervision of lunchroom and recess students.

COVID-19 Student Guidance

  • The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has released some wonderful tips to parents about how to begin having the conversation with your child regarding wearing a mask. Please click HERE for more information.
  • For a look at the difference between Quarantine and Isolation, please take a look at the attachment HERE.
Why Do People Wear Masks | Little Ones Version | Jack Hartmann

Click Here to Register for the KidStop Program

Please click HERE to register for the before and after school program, KidStop.
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Virtual Student Chromebook Pick-Up

Tuesday, Aug. 11th, 12-5pm

Union Center Front Entrance

Chromebook pick-up will only be for those students choosing the Virtual Option to start the school year.

First Day of School!

Wednesday, Aug. 12th, 8:30am-3:30pm

272 North 600 West

Valparaiso, IN

Welcome back, everyone! We've missed you! :)

Principal Fuller's Thoughts

UCE Families, I realize this is A LOT!

Reading through this may seem daunting, but please trust me when I say we are doing all of this for the safety of your children and our awesome staff :)

School will be back soon, and your kids will come running home, filled with excitement, wanting to tell you everything that happened in school that first day...and we definitely miss those days!

However, we must do so with safety as our top priority. We will continue to plan, and adjust those plans as necessary, with the help from our wonderful staff and community.

Your child's classroom teachers will be reaching out next week to welcome you to the 2020-2021 School Year, and bus rosters will be distributed next week as well.

I am genuinely excited for your children and their teachers to meet, whether that is in-person or virtual! :)

If you have questions about any of the items above, please send me an email at pfuller@union.k12.in.us or call me at 219-759-2544.

Thank you and have a blessed night!