Flint Lake Return to Learn

August 2020


Please Read All Information regarding return to school.

The following link will be referenced throughout this document.

VCS Return to Learn Plan


New Elementary Bell Schedule

For the 2020-2021 school year all elementary schools will operate on a 9:15 AM - 3:20 PM schedule. This will allow for teachers to plan and effectively teach both remote and in school students. See the schedule below:

  • 8:55 - 9:15 AM: School opens for those eating Breakfast

  • 9:00 School opens for all students

  • 9:15 AM - 3:20 PM: School Day

  • 3:20 PM: Dismissal

Level of Incidence

The “Level of Incidence” and decision of color status is a decision of collaboration between the Porter County Dept of Health and VCS Leaders. Please see page 7 of the Return to Learn Plan.

Remote Learning

A remote learning Option is being provided to any VCS student. Please see page 8 of the Return to Learn Plan for further details. Whether your child is a remote learner or an in-house learner, we are all part of the Flint Family Learners!

Before School/At Home Partnership & Screening

One of the most important roles in keeping our school community healthy and minimizing disruptive quarantines away from school is parents and families doing their best to keep the exposure rate low at home. As school resumes, please limit your child’s contact with others outside of school as much as possible, and assure that when they are in contact with others, physical distancing is maintained and masks are worn.

Students should be temperature checked daily by their guardians before they come to school. Any student displaying one or more COVID- 19 symptoms should be excluded from school. Please see page 4 of the Return to Learn Plan. If your child is exhibiting any symptoms, please call the school immediately.

Building Cleansing

In our multi-faceted approach to keeping the spread of the Covid-19 virus at bay and minimizing the risk of disruptive quarantines, our custodial staff is taking a systematic and proactive approach to cleaning and sanitizing our facilities. This approach has been developed and supported by the VCS Maintenance and Health Services Departments and includes routines during the day and after students leave with a focus on critical touch points. All cleansers that students and staff would use or be directly exposed to are certified safe for that purpose.

Hand Washing / Sanitizing

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to minimize the spread of germs and viruses and will be a major point of emphasis for all of us at Flint, particularly this year. There will be hand washing or sanitizing times scheduled into the day. In addition, students will wash or sanitize their hands at times such as around specials classes, lunch and recess, and when they’ve left/returned to the room.


Parents are asked to send at least one clean mask labeled with their child’s name to school each day with their child. Having an additional mask in case the first is soiled is a great practice. We will have extra disposable masks at school in case of emergencies. If assistance is needed with purchasing masks, please contact our school social worker, Mrs. Kristoff. We recommend being intentional about giving your child opportunities to wear a mask leading up to the time school begins to build stamina if not already doing so.

Flint Lake students will be issued a lanyard, courtesy of the Flint Lake PTO, to wear each day this year in order to clip the mask onto the lanyard when it must be removed. This will minimize the need to set the mask down and misplace it or further contaminate it. Parents may opt to purchase a lanyard for their children, as long as it’s school appropriate and features a “breakaway” style for their child’s safety.

Masks are required at all times for all staff and students grades 3-5. Per the Return to Learn plan, students in grades K-2 will wear masks at all times unless approved by the teacher or administration. Masks breaks will be scheduled for students throughout the school day. Understanding the impact this has on those involved, yet in keeping with recognized guidance, intentional “mask breaks” will be implemented (e.g. while sitting in a specific spot and eating food, during recess when physical distancing is maintained, when participating in a lesson outdoors and distancing is maintained, etc).

Masks will be required in some situations (e.g. when required by staff, when distancing cannot be achieved, when there would be exposure to other grade levels such as in the hallways, during arrival and dismissal, etc).

As with all plans, as executive orders and school district guidelines are adjusted, the Flint Lake plan for mask use will adjust accordingly.

Water Bottles

Water fountains have been retrofitted to make them into new, contactless water bottle filling stations. Parents are to send a refillable water bottle to school each day with their child. Please label the water bottle with your child's name. The water bottle should be cleaned each night and filled at home each morning before coming to school. The students will be provided specific times each day to refill their water bottles.


All bus drivers and students will wear a mask when riding the bus. Hand Sanitizer will be provided to students as they enter the bus.

Bus Riders: Arrival to School and Entering the Building

Students will be dismissed from the bus by grade level and enter the building through the Main Entrance Door A. Masks will need to remain on when entering the building. Hand Sanitizing/Handwashing will be done prior to entering the classroom or the cafeteria for breakfast.

Car Riders/Walkers/Bikers: Arrival to School and Entering the Building

All car riders and walkers/bike riders will enter the building through the back entrance Door E upon arriving at school. *Please note that this is a change in car rider drop off procedures as opposed to previous school years. This change was made due to the expectation of a larger influx of parents dropping their children off at school.

Food Service Information

We are trying to limit contact touch points for students and staff and prefer that parents pay for meals online. This is now a FREE service (we have waived the fees during the pandemic) and a quick tutorial is here: Parents – School Nutrition – Valparaiso Community Schools

We also have launched a very cool app for students and parents to check out the menu and nutrition information. We will not be printing paper menus, they will only be available online and through the app. Please see the additional information on school breakfast/lunch menus: Menus – School Nutrition

Elementary meal prices are $1.55 for Breakfast (.30 reduced, .00 free) and $2.65 for lunch (.40 reduced, .00 free)

Cafeteria Breakfast

All cafeteria tables will face the same direction and will allow for social distancing. Students will be required to sit in designated spots in the cafeteria. These spots will be designated by numbers on the seats. This will allow us to more efficiently perform contact tracing if necessary. Eating utensils, milk cartons and food will not be self-serve. Staff will hand items to students. While in line, students will wear masks and be socially distanced. As a child finishes breakfast, he or she is to report to class immediately. If we go to “yellow”, students will have a grab and go breakfast in their classroom.

Cafeteria Lunch

All food and utensils will be handed to students. There will be no self service items while in line. All cafeteria tables will face the same direction and will accommodate social distancing. Students will have assigned seats in the cafeteria by number. Their assigned seats will coordinate with the number that they are assigned in their classrooms and specials. All lunch periods will be limited to one grade level at a time. Masks are to be worn in the cafeteria, except for when students are eating. In order to minimize others’ handling student’s lunch containers when opening them, parents are encouraged to try to find lunch products / containers that their child is able to open without assistance. If we go to “Yellow” students will eat in their classrooms.


All students will be required to walk on the right side of the hallway with masks on and remain socially distanced while in line. All drinking fountains will be non-functioning and some will be replaced with water bottle filling stations. Floor stickers will be used to indicate where students should stand to be socially distant. All students are asked to come prepared with a refillable water bottle clearly marked with their name.


Upon entering or leaving the classroom, students will sanitize or wash their hands. All desks and tables will face the same direction in classrooms and all students will have assigned seats that have a number corresponding to the number in the cafeteria. Students in grades 3-5 are required to wear masks in the classroom. Students in K-2 are not required to wear masks in the classroom unless social distancing is not possible. Classrooms with tables will be equipped with plexiglass divider shields. Facemask breaks will be conducted throughout the day by the teachers in the classroom. Students will refrain from sharing supplies as often as possible. When required to share items, they will be sanitized between uses. Classroom teachers will have specific instructions for navigating the classroom and for sanitizing materials. Students may be asked to help sanitize items throughout the day. Please see page 9 of the Return to Learn Plan


Students will have recess daily. Recess will take place on the equipment, the pavement, and the green areas. Both playgrounds will be utilized. All recesses will be limited to one grade level. Students will be required to sanitize their hands before and after recess.

Clinic/Health Services

Flint Lake’s school nurse, Mrs. Kayla Praschak, will be actively monitoring the health of students and staff. Students with regular visits to the clinic (inhaler, minor injuries, etc) will be kept separate from students displaying symptoms of illness. Please keep all contact numbers in Skyward up-to-date for quick contact, if needed. It is helpful to have multiple emergency contact numbers for your child.

Restroom Breaks

All classrooms will schedule specific restroom breaks throughout the day, in addition to the lunch/recess restroom break. During these breaks, students will be able to use the restroom, and will be required to wash their hands and given the opportunity to fill their water bottles. Students will be allowed to leave the room to use the restroom outside of these breaks on an emergency basis and individual trips will be logged with the time and location.

Contactless Drop Off for Office

Items being dropped off for students during the school day may be placed on a table in the foyer with the student’s name and grade labeled.


No visitors are allowed in the school until further notice. This includes lunch buddies, mentors, and parent volunteers. Please refer to page 13 of the Return to Learn Plan.

Parent Meetings/Conferences

Parent meetings with staff or students will be by appointment only. All attendees will be required to wear a mask. When possible, other meeting platforms such as Zoom, should be utilized.

Seating Charts/Contact Tracing

Contact tracing under the guidance of health officials is an important part of returning to the school building. To the extent possible, seating charts and locations will be documented in all situations, including specials, cafeteria, bus, and lines to the extent possible.


We will still be having Art, Music, STEM, and PE. The specials schedule has been shortened to allow for sanitation between classes and to avoid classes crossing paths in the hallways.

Transportation Changes

As in the past, if you need to change your child’s transportation plan for dismissal, you will be provided with a notepad for making changes or you may provide a handwritten note. Your child’s safety and return home is our number one priority.

Snacks & Celebrations

Healthy snacks may be an option in some classrooms, particularly in those classes that have an earlier or later lunch scheduled. Please send only healthy snacks such as fruit, popcorn, crackers/cheese, cheese sticks, etc.

While birthdays are a wonderful part of a child’s elementary experience, if you and your child choose to bring in something for the class, non-food treats are required. Items such as pencils, stickers, small toys, etc. could be brought in. In addition, it is highly suggested that the item(s) are brought in three (3) days in advance in order to minimize risk of the virus spread. Another consideration would be to arrange with the teacher to donate games, books or similar items for the teacher’s classroom and all to enjoy.

KIDSTOP/Before and After School

Kidstop will still be operational for child care before and after school. Please contact the Boys and Girls Club for more information.