Westside Update 9/10

A message from Dr. Mike Lucas

Hello, Westside families, students and staff members,

Things have gone pretty well through our first 16 days of school thus far. Since school began on August 18th, we have had 5 staff members throughout the entire school district and 5 students (all at WHS and includes two sets of siblings) with confirmed cases of COVID-19. All confirmed cases were contact-traced back to non-school buildings/activities. We’ve also had a total of just 27 staff and/or students (.004%) out on quarantine due to exposure outside of school.

We stay in constant communication with the Douglas County Health Department and they continue to report that there are low numbers of confirmed cases within all K-12 schools in Douglas County that are in session, many that have been in GREEN Mode for several weeks now.

Factors we continue to weigh to help drive our decisions include the number of confirmed cases of staff and students within our school district, number of quarantines of our staff and students, confirmed cases/quarantine impact on our staffing needs, and rate of community spread.

Unless we have a large breakout in the next week, we plan to move to our 4-Day GREEN Mode at all Westside schools beginning on Thursday, Sept 17th.

  • All willing students will come to their campus on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week beginning Thursday, September 17th.
    • We intend to kick off GREEN mode on a Thursday due to the way orientation activities took place at WMS and WHS. ‘Day One’ of their weekly schedule fell on Thursday, and it makes sense to follow that model through the rest of 1st Quarter. In addition, as we adjust from our YELLOW to GREEN model, we have to account for ‘increased capacity transportation days’ and ‘increased capacity food service’. It also worked better to have these aligned to begin on Thursday, September 17.
    • Most Wednesdays will remain at-home/extended campus days through the end of 1st Quarter on October 14th. This allows our teachers to work with small groups on Wednesdays and to continue to plan and prepare for the challenges of conducting both in-person and at-home instruction. These Wednesdays also allow our building services staff extra time to clean and disinfect mid-week.
      • Wednesday, September 16, Wednesday, September 30, Wednesday, October 7 and Wednesday, October 14 will continue as extended campus model days, in which all students will learn from home unless invited to school by their teacher for small group work, etc.
      • Wednesday, September 23: students WILL come to school if they have chosen our in-person/on-campus model of instruction. That means during the week of September 21-25, we will have students in school on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday since there is NO SCHOOL on Monday, September 21.
      • CLICK HERE for a color coded calendar to view/print at home.
    • Students will NOT have school of any kind on Thursday, October 15 or Friday, October 16 due to Parent-Teacher Communication.
    • We will continue to emphasize social-distancing, staggered dismissal bells, de-densified lunchroom settings, and more as outlined in our Pandemic Plan. (CLICK HERE to view: Westside Community Schools Pandemic Plan)
    • We will continue to wear masks, wash our hands, and watch our distance in all classrooms with non-essential classroom furniture being removed to allow for as much distance between students as possible. We are NOT letting up on the protocols that have helped us get off to a good start. Our safety measures will now be more important than ever. We’ve improved filtering systems, added plexiglass barriers, re-directed hallway traffic, and much more as guided by medical experts.
    • We will continue to limit visitors, non-school groups, etc. as outlined in our Pandemic Plan.
  • In October, after we’ve been in 4-Day Green Mode for a few weeks, we will re-visit the ability for our various schools to host Community Club functions, etc.

**** If all goes well with our 4-Day GREEN Mode from September 17th – October 14th, we will transition to our 5-Day GREEN Mode for all of 2nd Quarter, which begins on Monday, October 19th.

We are thankful we’ve been able to offer in-person/on campus learning AND at-home/extended campus learning options for our families so they have a choice to do what they think is best for them. About 20% of our students have opted for at-home/extended campus learning for 1stQuarter. We sent out an updated “survey” for families on September 4th allowing them an updated choice to pursue in-person/on campus OR at-home/extended campus learning for 2nd Quarter. CLICK HERE to view: Extended Campus Learning - Intent to Participate 2nd Quarter

  • This survey is due September 15th as we need as much time as we can to prepare staffing on our end. Please understand that some classrooms and homerooms may be reconfigured as we manage staffing needs to meet the needs of our learners.
  • We wish we could allow families more time before the survey expires but we can’t. It is tough to juggle in-person and at-home learning options for our staff and we want to make each the best they can be for our students.

At this time, we do NOT plan on offering at-home, extended campus learning opportunities for our 2nd semester from January 5th – May 27th BUT will make necessary adjustments as needed based on updated conditions throughout our community and school district as we get into late November/early December. Final decisions about what will/will not be available for January and beyond will be made and communicated by early December.

We continue to need EVERYONE to do their part to help battle COVID-19 so we can stay in school.

Please stay away from others if you exhibit any symptoms.

Please help us be CHAMPIONS in the 3 W’s: Wear a mask -- Wash your hands often -- Watch your distance

We remain optimistic that we can conduct in-person classes in a safe manner. With about 20% of our learners being at home with our extended campus option, we will have approximately 5,600 students and staff combined on our 13 campuses in our GREEN Mode. We will monitor possible cases, confirmed cases, and quarantines on a daily basis as we have been. We will adjust as needed. It is important for everyone to understand that situations can change in a day. GREEN, YELLOW, and RED Modes all remain viable possibilities.

REMINDER as you plan ahead -- Monday, September 21st is a NO SCHOOL DAY due to district-wide professional development for all of our staff.

REMINDER For WHS on Tuesday, September 22nd, only Seniors will report as this is an ACT Testing Date for the Class of 2021. All 9th, 10th, and 11th graders do NOT have school on Tuesday, September 22nd.

REMINDER – Thursday, October 15th and Friday, October 16th are NO SCHOOL DAYS for our students. Our teachers will be conducting Parent-Teacher Communication those days. We will not have traditional, in-person Parent-Teacher Conferences this semester. More info to come.

Mike Lucas

QUESTIONS? Email feedback@westside66.net.