Sam Houston Reopening Plan


A Note From Dr. Cutter

Dear parents,

We hope you and your family are enjoying this unconventional summer so far. I can't wait to get to know your students and we are looking forward to the upcoming school year! While we can't wait to get back to helping our students grow socially, emotionally and academically, we believe wholeheartedly that their safety always comes first. Below is our initial Sam Houston Elementary Reopening Plan. We have been working for weeks on revising the plan with our district leadership team after closely reviewing the CDC's guidelines, a wide variety of resources, and feedback from our staff and community. We have prioritized putting together a plan that puts our students' safety first and foremost, but one that also helps our students return to a sense of normalcy. The plan provides them with the routines, love and high quality learning that they need.

We are confident that we have formulated a solid plan for our students, but the key thing to consider is that this is a "draft." As you know, things change daily in the midst of this pandemic and we need your help in letting us know how we can further strengthen our plan. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful feedback that will help us provide the safest and very best education for your Smokies this school year!


Dr. Cutter

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One Page Summary of Sam Houston's Reopening Plan

Click here to see the one page summary of Sam Houston's Reopening Plan

Sam Houston Detailed Reopening Plans For Parents

Click here to see a document with all of the information provided below in one printable document.

Plans For The Sam Houston Elementary 2020-2021 School Year

Important Information To Know

Our biggest goal is to reduce student interactions throughout the school day. We would like to do this by ensuring that students are around 50 or less students during the school day. We are doing this by pairing each class with a “Smokie Sidekick Class.” These Smokie Sidekick Groups will eat lunch, go to recess, and sit at arrival and dismissal together. The Smokie Sidekick Groups will help ensure student safety and lead to easy contact tracing, should a SHE student or staff member test positive for COVID 19.

Increased Cleaning/Practicing Prevention

  • Signage will be hung noting daily cleaning
  • Increased handwashing for everyone - ALL persons/students are required to use hand sanitizer when they enter our schools and when they exit the classroom
  • We will pay special attention to cleaning of door handles/light switches- “high touch areas”
  • Bathrooms-We will utilize assigned bathrooms and schedule bathroom breaks. There will also be an increase in cleaning of bathrooms during the school day
  • Training of staff and families of COVID symptoms/procedures to follow
  • Hand sanitizer units will be refilled regularly
  • Water fountains will be turned off to eliminate the spread of germs. Water bottle filling stations will be open and TAs will help students fill their bottles to ensure that germs are not spread. Students will be encouraged to bring a water bottle from home daily. We will encourage that water bottle goes home weekly for cleaning

Masks (Per District Guidelines)

  • Staff members will be provided masks and/or face shields based on requests/needs.
  • Face Shields will be provided and the district is ordering masks for every staff member with the Maryville City School logo on them
  • Staff members working with medically fragile students must wear a mask at all times. The CDC defines medically fragile as someone who has underlying medical conditions including: people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people who are immunocompromised, many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications, people with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher), people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis and people with liver disease.
  • Staff members are recommended to wear a face covering (shield/mask) when physical distancing is difficult - close proximity to a student (general guidelines of less than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes).
  • Staff members assigned to check temperatures must wear a mask at all times.
  • Staff members may elect to wear a mask at any time.
  • Masks will be available for students. Free health department masks will be provided to schools; schools may sell specialty masks
  • Students may elect to wear a mask at any time. Students are encouraged to wear a mask during transitions, arrival and dismissal.
  • The specific guidelines for wearing masks will be adjusted based upon current CDC guidelines, community cases, and risk analysis and large group interactions.


  • Staff and students are encouraged to wear masks during arrival
  • Parents will no longer be allowed to get out of the car to walk their students into the building.
  • Parents will not be allowed to walk students to the classrooms and will have to drop off their students at the front entrance.
  • Every student will have their temperature checked before entering the building.
  • Once students have had their temperature checked, they will either go to the cafeteria if they are eating breakfast or to the gym if they are not.
  • We will have additional staff members help in the morning to help take temperatures of car riders at the front entrance and take temperatures of bus riders at the back entrance.
  • All staff members checking temperatures will be required to wear face coverings.
  • Parents are asked to drop their students before 7:35 AM if they would like them to eat breakfast at school.
  • All students except bus riders must be dropped off at the front entrance. There is no drop off at Davis or behind the school due to construction and mandatory temp checks.
  • Any student that arrives at school after 7:35 AM will not be allowed to go to the cafeteria and will go directly to their classroom once their temperature has been checked. Special boxed breakfast arrangements will be made for students in need who arrive after 7:35 AM. If you want your child to be around the fewest children possible, eating breakfast at home and dropping off between 7:35-7:50 is the safest option. We will not count tardies the first week as we all adjust to the new procedures. After we begin our new arrival procedures, we will tweak or adjust as necessary if we need to extend arrival time in the mornings.
  • All staff members will be required to check their temperatures once they arrive at school.
Bus Riders
  • Buses will drop off in the back as usual and students will have to enter through the Kindergarten entrance due to the construction. There will be multiple staff members that will check the temperatures of students once they arrive at school. These staff members will then escort the bus riders that will be eating breakfast to the cafeteria and escort thye non-breakfast eating bus riders to the gym.
Car Riders
  • All Parents will be asked to drop their students off at the front entrance until further notice. Parents will no longer be allowed to drop off students at the back entrance. This is to ensure that each student’s temperature has been checked at Station A or B and because of the continued construction in the back area.
  • Multiple assigned staff members will check car rider student temperatures from 7:05-7:35 AM each morning. One temperature checking station will be located outside the entrance by the office (Temp Check Station A) and one will be located outside the entrance by the gym (Temp Check Station B). Students who are eating breakfast at school will go to Temp Check Station A and students who are NOT eating breakfast at school will go to Temp Check Station B.
Places for Students Between 7:05 - 7:35 AM
  • The assigned staff in the cafeteria and the assigned staff in the gym will be joined by the designated morning duty staff member to monitor the students from 7:05-7:35 AM. Students will be released from the gym to go to their classrooms at 7:35 AM. A SPED or Specials teacher will arrive in the cafeteria to monitor any students not finished with breakfast
  • Students in both the cafeteria and gym will sit in assigned seats with students from their Smokie Sidekick Groups. The Smokie Sidekick Groups will be spread out in each location to reduce interactions, certify CDC guidelines are being followed and ensure students are in groups of less than 50.
Teachers in Classrooms at 7:35 AM
  • Teachers will be at their doorway watching the hallways and welcoming students into classrooms, as well as directing students to use hand sanitizer

Office Staff

  • Any approved visitors will be asked to us hand sanitizer in the office upon arrival
  • The district is ordering plexiglass shields for the front office
  • All essential visitors will have their temperature checked in the office (maintenance, related services, or other providers)
  • There will be a drop off items (lunch boxes, mail, packages) designated outside area for any parents wanting to drop off lunches or student belongings. The visitors will ring the bell and leave the item(s) in the designated area. This is to reduce the number of visitors within the school for now.
  • The Air Phone Entrance System will be used to make a decision on whether the visitor needs to enter the office area


  • Should a student have a fever at Sam Houston above 100.4, the student will go to the back room of the clinic until a parent arrives to come pick them up. Should there be multiple students with fevers, the students will be spread out in the clinic or staff member will take them to the portable until a parent arrives to pick them up.
  • Any student or staff member that is sent home with a fever must follow the MCS guidelines for readmission to school through the school’s health clinic. Dr. Winstead will be sharing a specific MCS Response Plan for Positive COVID-19 cases
  • Teachers will be reminded to address low level nursing needs in the classroom. Teachers will be given classroom kits with Band-Aids, thermometers, q-tips with Vaseline, etc. This is being done to ensure that only students with fevers or COVID-19 symptoms visit the clinic.
  • Nurses will be encouraged to take meds to the classroom to decrease student traffic in the clinic.


  • Staff and students are encouraged to wear masks during dismissal
  • Siblings will no longer be allowed to ride the bus to SHE, walk through the building and wait out front for parent pick up as in years past.
Bus Riders
  • Kindergarten and 1st grade bus riders will be escorted by their bus number and picked up from their classes and taken to the benches out back. 2nd and 3rd grade students will sit with their Sidekick Groups and their bus number in the 2nd grade hall.
Car Riders
  • Car Rider students will be spread out on the covered benches out front and will wait to be called for buses and parent pick-up. Students will sit in their classes and next to their Smokie Sidekick Groups to reduce student interactions.
  • There will be two lines of cars in the front and a cone system. Student names and their cone number will be called on the walkie talkies to let the student know that their parents have arrived. Once the students name and number has been called, they will go to the correct cone number where their parent/guardian will be to pick them up. The number system will ensure that student interactions with students outside their cohort will be reduced. Each parent will receive two car tags for their rearview mirrors.
  • 2nd and 3rd grade Adventure Club students will be escorted to their designated area in the art room. K and 1st students will be escorted by an adventure club employee and picked up in their rooms when buses dismiss


  • Teachers to travel right/left sides of the hallway; encourage personal boundaries with students
  • Staff and students are encouraged to wear masks or shields during transitions


  • All cafeteria staff will be required to wear masks
  • The district will be purchasing cafeteria scanners so that the students can purchase school breakfasts without having to touch a screen. Students will be given lanyards that will have their barcodes on them.
  • Students will eat in their assigned seats by their Smokie Sidekick Groups and they will be spread out throughout the lunchroom. The tables will have teacher names posted. The Smokie Sidekick system will ensure that students have limited interaction with students outside their Sidekick Groups and only be around less than 50 students per day.


  • All cafeteria staff will be required to wear masks
  • The district will be purchasing cafeteria scanners so that the students can purchase school breakfasts and lunches without having to touch a screen. Students will be given lanyards that will have their barcodes on them.
  • Smokie Sidekick Groups will eat in the cafeteria once every three days to reduce the amount of students in the cafeteria. The other two days students will eat in their classrooms or at designated outside areas with a TA. The 3 day cafeteria rotation schedule will be shared with students, staff and parents. The students will be spread out around the cafeteria to ensure they are not close to the lunch line or close to other Smokie Sidekick Classes..
  • TAs and the custodial staff will thoroughly wipe down tables after each use.
  • The tables will be frequently cleaned by the TAs and custodial staff.


  • Teachers will have a system in place to limit the sharing of supplies in the classroom.
  • Students will not share iPads
  • Reinforce handwashing throughout the day
  • Reinforce cleaning throughout the day of “high-touch” areas. The custodial staff and TAs will be used to help with this
  • Families will be asked to send as few objects from home as possible-via teacher communication (i.e. stuffed animals)
  • Teachers will need to keep updated class seating charts if contact tracing will need to be done


  • Custodians, TAs and Specials teachers will be asked to sanitize high touch areas between Specials classes


  • Each Smokie Sidekick Group will share recess time. Only two Smokie Sidekick Groups will be on the playground at one time and each Smokie Sidekick Group will go to a different area of the playground to ensure that there are limited interactions between the groups. The Master Schedule has been modified slightly to add a recess time to each grade level for one group of Smokie Sidekicks to use at an alternate time.
  • Any outside water fountains will be closed


  • Only approved essential visitors will be allowed to visit until further notice. All essential visitors will have their temperature checked upon arrival. (i.e. maintenance, central office visitors, MUSE)
  • There will unfortunately be no classroom volunteers or parents at lunch at this time. We hope this will change in the near future and we look forward to the day when we get to have you back in the building.

School-wide Events Parent Conferences/IEP Meetings/After-School Events

  • Open House-We will be meeting with our leadership team in July to determine if we will hold our Open House on teacher-staggered nights or if we will have a “virtual” Open House.
  • PTO Fundraisers-Smokie Strut and-outside events schedule to be determined at a later time
  • There will be no in person assemblies/programs for now unless we are meeting with one Smokie Sidekick Group.
  • Field Trips will be limited in scope and size and approved case-by-case with the provision of following school level COVID-19 Established Guidelines.
  • Encourage virtual field trips/assemblies
  • High-School Visitors/Reading Buddies will not be allowed to visit until further notice
  • IEP’s and Parent Conferences will be held via ZOOM, unless deemed necessary to meet in person by admin.
  • The voluntary after-school activities that will still be held are Running Club, Art Club, Music, and Intramurals.

Student, Family, & Staff Support

  • The teachers and school counselors will pay close attention to the social-emotional impact of the virus on students and families and will do the best to support these needs.
  • Communication to parents-COVID resources-provided by district/admin communication
  • Parents have the opportunity to provide input on the initial reopening plan that will be released on June 29th via a survey.

Positive Cases of COVID

  • Central Office’s Response Plan outlines the steps that will be taken of there is positive COVID-19 case at Sam Houston.
  • The Health Department will take the lead and notify appropriate individuals that have been around the exposed student or staff member if there is a positive case.

Important Upcoming Dates

Important Dates

  • June 29th - MCS Parent Update #3 released with DRAFT PLANS for review
  • July 8-12th -SHE families complete school attendance survey for instructional choice option (DIGITAL or TRADITIONAL) for 2021
  • July 16th - Early Bird Registration
  • July 24th - Registration Day
  • July 30th -FIRST DAY of SCHOOL for grades 1-3
  • August 10th -SHE Digital Instruction begins/ FIRST DAY of SCHOOL for Kindergarten

Don't Forget To Join Us For Popsicles With The Principals!

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