Meadow Brook Magic
Over the past few weeks I have spoken over the phone with several parents calling to ask clarifying questions about the reopening of our school. These have been great conversations! I recognize that some parents are wanting more detail and clarity in order to make the best decisions for their children. As some of you make final decisions, I thought it might be helpful to send out information based on the questions that keep coming up in my conversations with families.
If you still need to register, please do so by FRIDAY, July 31st at 10 am. If you any of the following information changes your mind about face-to-face vs. remote learning, please contact me. However, we are asking for a final decision by JULY 30th because we need to get kids assigned to classes, teachers need to know how many children they will be teaching, whether they will be a face-to-face or remote learning teacher and have sufficient time to plan for the needs of the students they've been assigned.
Keeping your students safe, happy, and learning is our number one priority and we want to get it right! We are being urgent but careful in our preparations. Your children deserve a well thought out, in-depth and vetted plan, which takes time and information.
I have hesitated about sending this out because all of these plans are subject to change based on directives that come down from the state! At this point, I don't think we will receive too many more directives, but with our COVID situation constantly changing it will require us to change with it.
If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to give me a call and I can give you more information. We can't wait to have students back!
3 Guiding Principles
2. Gatherings are limited to 50.
3. To assist in contact tracing, students need to have assigned seats everywhere they sit (classrooms, the bus, and the lunchroom).
- Wear masks (students can wear masks and/OR shields) if you can't physically distance. Teachers will be in shields most of the time so that students can read their lips and see facial expressions.
- Teachers will provide several mask breaks for students by using Plexiglas barriers, physically distancing desks, and taking breaks outside.
- No masks in the lunchroom.
- Students will physically distance while waiting in line to get their lunch and while eating lunch.
- Because students will not be in masks, they will have 15 minutes to eat their lunch in the lunchroom.
- Students will have opportunities to eat outside.
- Remote learning students pick up lunch in the office.
- Students will no longer have to punch in their lunch number on touch a keypad.
- No masks outside.
- Physically distance outside.
- Sanitize hands when coming in from recess.
- Have fun!
- Volunteers will need to go through the office to get a wellness check BEFORE going to classrooms.
- The governor has limited gatherings to 50. This means there will not be field trips and that assemblies are limited to 50 students.
District-wide schedule change
1st-6th grade: 9am-2:30 pm. The last 45 minutes of the day (2:30-3:15) will be used to provide educational services for students.
Kindergarten: 9am-11:15am and 12:15-2:30. The last 25 minutes of the day (2:30-3:15) will be used to provide educational services for students.
WHY is this change being made?
- Additional teacher time to meet the needs of students who cannot attend because of quarantine or illness.
- Greater opportunities for schools to provide additional support to students who are struggling academically or emotionally.
- Additional custodial time to clean and sanitize our classrooms and buildings.
- Increased flexibility in the requirement for in-seat “instruction” time recently granted by the State Board.
COVID-19 outbreaks in the school
Unless the governor mandates us to shut down all of our schools, the district has no plans or intentions to shut down our schools. The district is planning to handle any outbreak or positive cases on a school-by-school basis. If one teacher in a Payson school tests positive, it wouldn't make sense to shut down all the schools in Springville. Things will be handled by situation and location.
If we have a positive case, we will work with the Utah County Health Department through our school nurse and our social worker to contain, quarantine and support families who may be affected. We are planning to organize our classrooms and the school day to provide us reliable ways to do contact tracing. If we had an outbreak of COVID-19, there is a possibility that we would have to move to at-home learning for a few weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION: I want to send my kids back but I'm worried about the safety protocols. Is anything being done and if so, what will it look like?
ANSWER: We have been working round the clock since April and all summer long to put safety protocols in place.
Here are a just a few of the things we are working to prepare for:
- Sanitation stations are available throughout the school so children can sanitize upon entering. Staff will monitor, teach and train students how to properly sanitize.
- Signage has been created and will be placed strategically throughout the school to remind and teach children about safety procedures.
- Hallways will have directional pathways that will be taught.
- Teachers are planning handwashing into the schedule each day (at arrival, before lunch, after lunch, after recess, after a transition).
- We have purchased soap dispensers and hand sanitizer dispensers for every classroom.
- A fogger has been purchased so that we can fog/sanitize rooms at night to kill viruses and bacteria.
- Masks will be required upon arrival and while in hallways before and after school.
- All drinking fountains will be closed. All children are allowed (and encouraged) to bring a water bottle each day clearly marked with their name.
- Parents will be asked to assess their child before school each day to ensure there are no signs of illness. If parents do not have access to a thermometer, the school has purchased several no-touch thermometers and would be happy to take temperatures upon arrival for those who can't do it at home.
- A child with any sign of illness will need to stay home and can even work remotely on their school work until they feel well enough to return.
- We have created a quarantine room at the school where sick children can wait until parents are able to pick them up (away from the main office and other children).
- We have created a "skills room" for students who are nervous, afraid or having anxiety about returning to school. This will be supervised by a staff member and students will be taught self-calming and emotional regulation skills to help them feel better and get back to class.
- Custodial and administrative staff will be routinely cleaning and disinfecting the front office, playground, bathrooms, and other common areas.
- Parents are asked to provide a mask for their child each day. Children who come without a mask will be provided one for that day.
- We have ordered a few plexi-glass dividers for classrooms.
- We have ordered personal protective equipment for teachers and staff.
- Students will all have their own supplies (no shared supplies such as markers, scissors, art supplies, etc.).
QUESTION: Are you really going to require the students to wear masks for 6 hours a day? Will they ever get a break?
ANSWER: We are going to uphold the wearing of masks in order to reduce the risk to students and staff. But never fear, we are planning for breaks.
The governors office as well as the Utah County Health Department is requiring masks in school and we will support this directive. I understand that wearing masks is going to be difficult, but I also believe we can rise to the occasion.
Your children will absolutely get small breaks throughout the day and teachers are already thoughtfully considering how they will build in breaks where students can be socially distanced enough to take off their masks. We are building in additional recess breaks where students can get outside. Teachers are planning lessons that can be done outside or in different locations throughout the school where kids can spread out, be socially distanced and take off their masks.
We are designing areas in classrooms where students can go if they are having a hard time wearing the mask. For our youngest students (preschool, kindergarten) we understand that this will be a work in progress and that more breaks may be needed.
If parents are completely against having their child wear a mask, then the at-home learning option may be better for your family. Wearing masks will allow us to get students back in the classroom and moving forward with their learning. We will do all we can to make this bearable and doable.
QUESTION: We are too nervous to send our kids to school, but they didn't do well with at-home learning in the spring. How will this look different? What support will our family receive? What will remote learning be like? How many hours per day?
Answer: If you chose remote learning, it will look much different this time around. We will do all we can to help your child to still feel a part of the school.
An army of teachers, specialists, coaches and administrators from multiple districts have been working all spring and summer to design a better, more engaging, more comprehensive remote learning platform for families. That said, it requires a commitment on the part of families to make sure that students are getting their assignments done and staying consistent with school work so that children do not fall behind.
- The curriculum will be focused on the essential standards for each grade level. Students will complete learning modules focused on the most important skills to be mastered.
- If your child has an IEP, a meeting will be held with the IEP team to decided how to meet the goals of the IEP.
- The school can provide devices for all of your children that can be checked out.
- Your child will have access to all of our learning platforms (iReady Reading, Math, Imagine Learning, Nearpod, etc.).
- You will have access to an entire curriculum including lessons, activities and resources for your child to learn the core standards at home.
- All assignments and learning will launch from a single platform (Canvas) to make things easier for families.
- Your child will be assigned a Nebo District teacher to support, train and help your child with their learning. Please note that this won't necessarily be a Meadow Brook teacher, however, it will be someone who is good at navigating digital learning platforms and can offer a high level of support for your family.
- Your child will be given assignments and assessments and grades will count this time around.
- The at-home learning will take approximately the time listed below for each grade level:
Kindergarten/1st grades approx. 2-3 hours a day
2nd/3rd grades between 2.5 - 3.5 hours a day
4th-6th grades around 3 - 4 hours a day
***Parents who choose at-home learning will have to stick with it for an entire term. At the end of each term, we will open classes for your child to return if you are ready. Here are the term dates for this school year:
TERM 1: August 19th - October 29th
TERM 2: November 2nd - January 14th
TERM 3: January 18th - March 25th
TERM 4: March 29th - May 27th
*Many parents have asked about the difference between at-home learning and homeschooling. Families who chose home school will be seeking out their own curriculum, gathering their own resources and the children will be un-enrolled from Nebo School District and from Meadow Brook Elementary.
QUESTION: Is school going to be fun at all? I'm worried that my child is going to be unhappy with all the changes and expectations.
ANSWER: YES! There are going to be a lot of changes, but along with safety plans we are making plans to have a lot of fun! Student social and emotional well-being will be our top priority.
As principal at Meadow Brook, I can't imagine coming to work every day if it's not going to be fun. Along with the changes, we are also expecting and planning for a lot of happiness, joy and positivity.
As we have talked and brainstormed through scenarios, we have realized that we can do almost everything we were doing before, just in a different, more thoughtful way. For example:
Instead of assemblies we will have broadcasts. Events and performances will be pre-recorded or live-streamed through Facebook and viewed in individual classrooms. This will allow for parents at home as well as our remote learners to fully participate.
We care deeply about our students and are committed to making this year great!
What can I do in the next few weeks to help my child get ready to return to school? Is there anything I can do to help?
First and foremost, please be positive with your children. If parents are saying things like, "This is going to awful!" or "there is no way my kids are going to wear a mask", children will hear that and internalize it. This will only make the return more difficult and stressful for kids.
Parents will be asked to send their children with a mask. Several parents have shared how they are taking a positive spin by letting kids pick fabric and help sew their own masks. A parent told me she purchased some masks and her kids had fun matching their clothes to the mask they would wear each day. Another parent said she let her kids try out different styles of masks so they could chose and decide which ones felt the most comfortable and breathable. If you need help getting masks, please contact the school. I have volunteers willing to sew masks for students over the summer.
If you have the means, I also suggest finding your child a good water bottle that has a tight fitting lid and easy access to the water (ex: a flip lid). Choose one with enough capacity that your child may only need to fill it up once or twice throughout the day. Let them help decorate it and add their name in big letters. We considered buying water bottles for each child but decided against it because we didn't want 750 matching water bottles as it would be very easy to mix them up or drink out of the wrong one.
Please check our Facebook Page and website often. If there are needs at the school it will be posted there. I am so grateful for our awesome school community! So many have reached out to offer help and support and it means alot.
We are excited to welcome our students back to school and support those who are learning from home. I know we can rise to this difficult situation and we are planning on a great school year in 2020-2021!