Geneva Family Gnome News

COVID Mitigation Special Edition

A note from the principal...

Hooray, it's almost time!

We have lots to look forward to at Geneva next week. We look forward to seeing you at our "Peek and a Popsicle" on Tuesday, August 31st anytime between 2:00-3:00. You will receive a School Messenger call and/or email (depending on your set preferences in Skyward) that will share your child's teacher and room number on Monday, August 30th by 3:00 P.M.

Throughout the Peek and a Popsicle event, please be respectful of other family's personal space, wear a mask, and avoid this event if you or your child have any symptoms. This will be a crowded event, and although outside, we recommend a mask when not eating a popsicle.

Our first day of school for first through fifth grade is Wednesday, September 1st. Remember that we do not have Early Release until September 9th.

This edition of the Gnome News has ALOT of information! It is organized by frequently asked questions to help you determine which information is the most pertinent to your particular questions. If I have missed information about one of your questions, please send me an email, or call the office. We want to hear from you!

As always, please don’t hesitate to connect with me if you have questions or ideas, or if your family has a need that our school district may be able to help with.

Courage, Brain, Heart Gnomes!


Sharece Steinkamp

District COVID-19 Information and Guidance for Schools and Families

What will this look like at Geneva?

Before School

Before school will be the only time Geneva students will see their friends and neighbors will see one another on the playground. This will be a crowded time on the playground. With this in mind, please prepare your child for:

  • Masks are on at arrival
  • Goodbyes will happen in the car or for walkers at the fence. (At this time we are only able to welcome screened and vaccinated volunteers and staff inside the school in learning spaces during times where children are present.)
  • Parking is very limited for staff due to our private vehicle arrival and dismissal procedures. We ask that you do not park and instead use the drop off routine described below.
  • When students arrive by bus, they will continue to wear their mask and walk through the building out to the play shed door to enter the playground.
  • When students arrive by car, they will be dropped off behind the school and enter the playground. (See videos for detailed descriptions of these procedures)
  • Temperatures will no longer be taken at arrival, please do not send your child to school if they have a temperature or any symptoms of illness.
  • Free breakfast will be available in cafeteria between 7:30-8:00 through a grant from the USDA due to COVID.
  • 7:55 the bell will ring to let children know to begin moving to start the learning day

Again, at this time, we request all adults not employed or volunteering at Geneva to remain in your vehicle and not enter campus with your child. Our children are not yet able to be vaccinated, and one of our mitigation strategies at school is to limit opportunities for possible exposure.


At Geneva, we are passionate about this age and stage of learning and development. We all deeply value in person learning because we believe learning happens best through play. Peer relationships and social emotional learning are critical skills in a child's development.

Children will engage with one another for brief periods every day. We will explicitly teach into expected safety strategies such as maintaining at least three feet between one another during longer periods of time over fifteen minutes. Students will engage in side by side play such as playing a math game, reading a book together, building, or engaging in a cooperative learning activity. Play is the important work of childhood.

We are not yet able to have families congregate outside classrooms or inside the school building. However, we ARE able to welcome volunteers who have gone through the district volunteer application process, which includes proof of vaccination. There is a link below if you are interested.

Hand hygiene continues to be be a strong mitigation strategy for schools. Children will be guided in hand washing routines throughout the day including all transitions in and out of the classroom and before eating. Soap and warm water is the most effective way to wash off germs, so we prioritize hand washing over the use of hand sanitizer which can dry out little hands.

Although we will no longer be taking temperatures at the door of busses and private vehicles this year, we will continue our approach of "all adults screening, all the time". Children who look unwell will be sent to the office to be screened. Every teacher has a digital thermometer available in the classroom.

Children are welcome to bring a water bottle to school, or use a water fountain. Our PTA purchased filtered water fountains two years ago. The fountains also contain a water bottle filling station as well!

School will look closer to what we would expect during a previous typical school year before the pandemic. Learning at Geneva is fun, full of friends, adventure and will be an important year of learning and growth.


We are thrilled to share that this year grade level cohorts will be able to play together outside. Unlike last year, friends get to play together even if they don't have the same class!

We will highly recommend mask usage at recess although the Health Department now recommends rather than requires outdoor masking. If your child needs a mask break during recess, we encourage you to speak to your child's teacher to create a plan.

Recesses and the Importance of Weather Wear

Please help your child prepare for periods of time outside every day by bringing coats, hats, and shoes that match the weather. Kids will go outside for recess rain or shine. We do not have an indoor space large enough to safely accommodate an entire grade level at recess. If this guidance from the Health Department changes, we will update you and your child.


Music, PE and Library are back to full sessions of 40 minutes 4 times a week. Students are going to be very excited to hear this.

Children will be required to wear a mask in all settings inside the school. Music will provide a KN95 mask that offers more protection during activities such as singing, chanting, etc.

PE curriculum will be intentionally designed to reduce heavy exhalation that increases the chance of transmission. We also want to ensure children are comfortable while wearing their masks in PE.


Bellingham voters generously have provided our Central Kitchen which allows our children to have fresh, local and scratch made meals. We are excited to be able to again serve high quality, nutritious meals. Through COVID funding through the USDA, we are able to offer breakfast and lunch at no cost to all children who wish to eat at school.

Children will be directed to a handwashing station after recess before they eat lunch. Masks will remain on until the child is seated and ready to eat. Once done eating, masks will go back on. Children will be seated with at least six feet of distance from classmates while eating. To accommodate all children eating lunch with the distancing requirements, we will have lunch in both the cafeteria and under the Play Shed. If your child refers to their "Play Shed Picnic" you will know what they are talking about.

Children are always welcome to bring lunch and snack from home. Snacks will be eaten in the classroom with six feet of distancing, or right outside the classroom. We encourage you to send a healthy snack because we are back to full school days, and working brains and bodies need food throughout the day.

Teachers will share if there are any food allergies in your child's classroom so you can be aware when you pack a lunch or send a snack. Thank you for caring for all Geneva children!

After School

If your child rides a bus, they will be walked from their classroom to the bus line by a staff member. All children and adults will be required to wear a mask while on the school bus.

If you are choosing to transport your child in your private vehicle, we are using a similar procedure to last year with a couple of adjustments. If you are picking up or dropping off, please take a couple of minutes to watch the video below.

One notable adjustment are the grade level dismissal locations. Students in Kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade will be dismissed from their classroom for parent pick up in the parking lot off of Geneva street where cars enter off of Spring Street.

Students in second, third and fifth grade will be dismissed to the pick up line behind the school on Lakeway Drive where cars will enter off of Lakewood Lane.

The video below is helpful for anyone new to the process.

I am planning to transport my child in my private vehicle, how does it work?

Are you picking up your children in your private vehicle, but they have two different pick up locations?

Contact the teacher of your youngest child to co-create a plan for parent pick up location.

How do I update our Emergency Contacts? The More the Better!

We are requesting that you review the contact information you provided for those individuals who can serve as an emergency contact should your child become ill, and we are unable to reach you. Please ensure the phone numbers are accurate, and that you have a minimum of two contacts provided. The link below will take you to our student information system

Need to update Skyward?

This is the system where you can set your communication preferences for School Messenger, and where you can update emergency contacts.

How can we work together to keep school open for our children?

We recognize that to be able to learn in person, our family "pods" are going to expand a bit. Your child's classroom cohort will become very much like an extension of your family. Your child's class will eat, learn and play together. Classroom teachers have redesigned their classroom spaces to allow for social distancing, mask use and frequent hand washing. Your child's teacher will teach into the routines, and support what the Health Departments recommends as best practice.

We are following guidance from the CDC, State and Local Health Authorities to maintain social distancing and masking inside the school building and on school busses.

Although daily temperature check and quarterly health attestations are no longer required, please do not send your child to school if you have any doubt about their symptoms or overall health. Please call the school and let us know your child is ill so we can assist you with the next steps for returning to school.

We are all counting on one another to collectively look after our children and our families. As you make choices for your family, please consider the larger extended Geneva family with whom your child spends their days.

Want to volunteer?

What happens if my child gets sick?

What happens if a child in my child's classroom test positive for COVID-19?

Here are the steps we follow for confirmed cases of COVID-19.

  1. When we learn of a case of COVID-19, we first confirm the case is associated with our schools.
  2. Our schools each have COVID site safety teams who help initiate contact tracing. If there are close contacts of a confirmed case, we notify staff and parents/guardians that there has been contact with a confirmed case.
  3. Next steps may include recommendations for COVID testing, isolation and/or quarantine. We communicate directly to impacted staff and families and share resources according to the guidance of the health department.