Cougar Ridge Elementary E-news
COVID Info Update:
WHAT WILL IN PERSON SCHOOL LOOK LIKE AT COUGAR RIDGE THIS YEAR?
Thank you to all the parents who have taken the time to give us your thoughts about going back to school this year. We at the PTSA listened to your questions, comments, and concerns and brought them back to our wonderful school administrators, Mr. Terry, Principal, and Ms. Fields, Dean of Students, who have been so generous with their time to listen, respond to concerns, and explain the specifics of what Cougar Ridge will look like this fall for our kids. We are sharing those plans with you with the hope that it answers some of your questions as well. For district-level guidelines, be sure to read the ISD FAQs for 2021-2022 here. Like all schools in the Issaquah School District, Cougar Ridge will be adhering to those guidelines. The explanations here are meant to provide additional context of how those guidelines will look in our building.
School lunch will be free for all students this year, if they choose to get lunch at school. You are still welcome to bring lunch from home as well. There will be four lunch periods this year, instead of three, so that there are fewer students eating at the same time.
Parents have a choice of whether they want their student to eat indoors or outdoors. The default will be indoor lunch, so if you want your child to eat indoors you do not need to do anything. If you would like your child to eat outdoors, once you know your teacher assignment, please email your child’s teacher and let them know that you request outdoor lunch. Your message can simply read: “I want [YOUR CHILD’S NAME] to eat outside until further notice.” Email is preferred over other forms of communication so that there is a written record of your request. Please also be sure to tell your child that they are eating lunch outdoors regardless of the weather so they know what to expect.
The indoor lunch tables will be spread out over a much larger area to maximize space between kids, including up on the stage and into other overflow areas. Only six kids will be seated at each table, compared to the sixteen that used to be seated at that size table pre-COVID. Additionally, the occupied seats will be staggered so that no child is seated directly across from anyone. Everyone will be given an assigned seat to minimize the number of other students your child will come into close proximity with, and to aide in contact tracing should that be necessary.
The outdoor lunch area will be in the covered area near the basketball courts. The cement basketball area will be power washed regularly and spots will be painted six feet apart. Each child will sit at a spot on the ground. The weather in the early fall is generally temperate and the PTSA is looking into getting outdoor space heaters for use as we move later into the season. The cement basketball area is large and we do not anticipate this happening, but in the event that the number of families requesting outdoor lunch exceeds the number of spots we have, we will utilize additional outdoor areas around the school. Some of these areas might be uncovered. If it looks like this will happen on an ongoing basis, the Cougar Ridge admin and PTSA have already discussed some ways to potentially expand the covered areas around the school and will work together to create more covered outdoor space.
A new HVAC system was installed at Cougar Ridge during the remodel, so our ventilation system is one of the newest ones in the Issaquah School District. Per ISD guidelines, the air filters at Cougar Ridge have been upgraded to MERV 13 and the ventilation system will run at a minimum of 16 hours a day. The outside air dampers have been opened to maximize fresh air intake and classroom windows will be open where available. All regular grade level classrooms, including portables, have windows. Consider sending extra layers of clothing in your child’s backpack (such as a hoodie or sweatshirt) because windows will be open regardless of weather.
PE is held in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR), which does not have windows but does have doors that will be open. Additionally, the MPR has very tall ceilings so the total air volume in that space is much greater than a regular room.
The only classrooms that do not have windows are some specialists, including Music, Library, and PEP/Sage. Since singing can be an activity that produces more aerosols, additional precautions will be taken during Music. Medical masks will be provided for students when singing during class. These masks will be layered on top of their existing mask so they will not have to remove their original mask in class.
Additionally, Mr. KP is considering switching back and forth between two classrooms so that no groups will use the same classroom back-to-back. The HVAC systems in the school district are designed to exchange air in an interior space every 12-15 minutes, so this would allow for several air changes in a classroom after each music class. This part of the plan is still being discussed so it might change, but families will be updated when it is finalized.
MORNING ARRIVAL PROCEDURES
Morning arrival will look different than pre-COVID. One change is that students will not line up by class outside. This will reduce big groups clustering before school. Instead, staff will guide students to the one of the seven entrances to Cougar Ridge that is closest to their classroom. Starting at 9:05am, students will be allowed to enter the building through that entrance and go directly to their classroom. If students arrive before 9:05am, they will line up outside each door on dots painted six feet apart. This was the morning arrival procedure last spring when hybrid in-person school started and it was effective at creating a steady flow of individual students arriving, instead of clumps of students gathering and moving as blocks in the morning.
In addition, only students, staff (and, for the first few days of school, a limited number of parent volunteers) will be allowed on the sidewalk in front of the school. This will reduce crowding. Thus, parents that walk their children to the front entrance of the school are asked to stop at the painted yellow box and let only their children onto the sidewalk near the bus zone. As usual, driving parents are asked to stay in their cars while they drop off their children. For a picture of where these zones are, refer to page seven of the Cougar Ridge Parent/Student Handbook 2021-22 on the Cougar Ridge website.
If your child has any COVID symptoms, they will be sent home. This will be strictly enforced.
The only exception is if you provide medical documentation from your physician that your child has been diagnosed with some sort of medical issue (i.e. allergies), and that includes the specific symptoms your child may present with.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A COVID-19 CASE AT COUGAR RIDGE?
If there is a confirmed case at Cougar Ridge, anyone who is deemed to be a ‘Close Contact’ will be notified and will need to quarantine. The definition of ‘Close Contact’ is currently anyone who has been within three feet of a person with COVID19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more within a 24 hour period. This definition applies regardless of mask-wearing status.
If there is confirmed case in your child’s class but your child is not considered a close contact, your child’s class will be notified that there was a positive case, and all students were not considered a close contact. Students in this class will not be required to quarantine and, for confidentiality reasons, families will not be told who the positive case was.
For school-level data of confirmed cases, ISD maintains a dashboard that is updated every week for all schools in the district. You can access it here.
If only a few children in a class need to quarantine, the teacher will follow normal procedures for making up work. This might include sending packets home, posting work online through Clever or Seesaw, or simply working with the family to make up missed learning. If the entire class needs to quarantine, the teacher will teach live lessons online.
We hope that this information gave you a clearer picture of what Cougar Ridge will look like this fall, and that it gave you insight into the level of thoughtfulness that is going into planning for this school year. Be sure also to attend the Cougar Ridge Back to School COVID FAQ hosted by Mr. Terry and Ms. Fields this Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 6pm via Zoom to hear the latest information and get answers to additional questions asked by the community.
Cougar Ridge Back to School COVID FAQ hosted by Mr. Terry and Mrs. Fields
Hello Cougar Ridge Families! We would like to invite you to ask additional questions if they were not answered through the Bobcat Blast. Please click on the link below to fill out the survey. We will then see you see you on Wednesday, August 25th at 6:00PM through the following zoom link.