A Newsletter for Parents
August 6, 2021
Dear Hollymead Families,
We are so excited to be welcoming our families back to in-person, full-week school at Hollymead this year! While everything is certainly not back to "normal", what is normal is the activity in the building right now. The building is humming with activity, as teachers are visiting and setting up classrooms, and you can sense the excitement from the students and community as the start of school gets closer. For families new to Hollymead, welcome! This newsletter will have some useful information for the beginning of the school year.
This year, as a staff, we will be focusing on helping students transition back to a more regular routine, have a great sense of belonging in our school community, expand o thigs learned in the last year, support them in any gaps that may have occurred in their learning, and continuing to challenge them to be curious and passionate. We will use student choice and relevance as areas that will drive the work in which students engage. Creating an environment where students feel inspired to be curious and creative problem solvers and critical thinkers is an ultimate goal.
We will also focus on keeping students and the community safe during this continued pandemic. Here is a link for the Albemarle County Page with a lot of information about our Covid strategies. The highlights and most pertinent information is that everyone regardless of age or vaccination status will wear masks during the day except when they are eating or outside. We will keep students distanced during lunch, and have them masked during indoor PE.
We will be cleaning surfaces often, and having student groups and grade -levels stay together. There is a HEPA filter in every room, and each classroom has it's own HVAC recirculation system. These strategies kept us very safe last year, as we didn't have a case that was transmitted in school. We will continue to implement these strategies with fidelity.
We are welcoming several new teachers:
Ms. Lily Ha is a kindergarten teacher coming to us from Fairfax. In addition to her experience there, she has previously worked at Woodbrook.
Ms. Angel McGhee is going to teach second grade. She did her student teaching at Scottsville, and is passionate about relationships with students and supporting families.
Mrs. Kathy Anish will be teaching third grade. She has been a classroom teacher, ESOL teacher, talent development teacher, and special education teacher in Florida and most recently at Stony Point.
We are excited to have all these teachers join us!
We are always interested in the thoughts, questions, and expertise of all of our stakeholders. The Hollymead community is very diverse, and we want to take advantage of all the knowledge, creativity, and enthusiasm of our entire community. Let us know how we can better help you, and how you could help us!
We will send another newsletter in 2 weeks before the start of school, with more details, information, and introductions. For now, please enjoy the last couple weeks of Summer!
Please contact me if for any questions or concerns. You can reach me by phone, 434 973-8301; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or in person at school.
Principal, Hollymead Elementary School
We would also like to officially welcome our new Lead Custodian, Yves Kodjovi. He has been here since last year, and is taking care of the building very well, but I wanted to officially welcome and recognize his hard work and leadership!
Teacher Assignments in Parent Portal
If you don't have a parent portal account you can get your account information in two ways -
1. You may pick up your enrollment letter between 8 and 3:30 Monday through Friday beginning next week.
2. Due to the continued pandemic, we are willing to mail these letters to you. If you'd like that, please call and let Mrs. Mitchell, our office associate know. We are happy to do this, but even we cannot control the mail delivery....
Open House and Kindergarten Orientation
We have decided to split these two events into three time blocks in order to limit the total number of families/people in the building at once.
The time blocks will be 8:30-9:30, 12:00-1:00 and 3:00-4:00 on Thursday, August 19th. For Kindergarten Orientation, you can plan to spend the first 45 minutes of these blocks in your child's classroom for a presentation and Q & A by your child's teacher.
For 1st through 5th grade please sign up for a block of time, and you can come at any point during that block. Like most open houses - you should plan to stay in a class for 15-30 minutes or so.
For Kindergarten, please plan to be in class at the beginning of the block, and at the end you'd have time to visit a sibling's class. As a family, if you need to sign up for more than one block, you can.
All people older than age 2 should be masked regardless of vaccination status.
If you have an extenuating circumstance - please contact your child's teacher once they're announced on the 16th.
Here are the links:
Popsicles with the Principals
10 am Hollymead Elementary School Playground
1 pm Hollymead Pool
1:30 Forest Lakes South Pool
Arrival and Dismissal
We are going to have a more normal arrival and dismissal this year - while still planning for COVID protocols.
The current plan is:
School arrival begins at 7:40 and ends at 7:55 when all students are expected to be in their classrooms.
We are planning on using three entrances again, but will not check temperatures. Walkers will enter and be dismissed from the door by the auditorium. Bus drop off will be in the bus loop, and car drop off will be along the front. In order to promote distancing, please wait for a staff member to open your car door, but again, we will not be taking temperatures.
At 7:40 we will begin opening car doors, opening the side door for walkers, and unloading the buses. If you arrive after 7:55 please walk your student to the front door and ring the bell.
Dismissal begins with car pick up and buses. We hope to have walkers dismissed by 2:35 each day. If you are picking up by car in the car lane, please be here at 2:25. If you are supervising a bike rider or walker, please arrive by 2:30. ALL KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS MUST BE MET AT THE BUS STOP OR AT THE SIDE ENTRANCE IF THEY ARE WALKERS. Thank you for your support to make arrival and dismissal run smoothly.
A reminder that we will be allowing e-mails and phone calls to change dismissal plans. E-MAILS ARE BEST and you should send the e-mail to email@example.com before 1pm. If you need to make a phone call- please call 973-8301.
Medication at School
We want to make parents aware of the main points of Albemarle County School Board Policy JGCD-E regarding student medication at school, which is included in the Parent-Student Handbook.
Here are the highlights:
· Whenever possible, medication should be scheduled outside of school hours.
· If prescription medicine must be dispensed during school hours, a medication form (see the Student-Parent Handbook) MUST be filled out and signed by a parent/guardian and the prescribing physician. Forms are available in the school office.
· Parents/Guardians may complete the medication form for school personnel to administer non-prescription medication during school hours if necessary.
· No more than one month’s supply of a prescribed medication shall be stored at school.
· Medications are housed in a locked cabinet in the clinic and administered by the nurse or a designated staff member.
· Medication cannot be dispensed to a child without the appropriate form.
If you have any questions, you may contact our nurse, Eileen Gomez at 973-8301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are still working on finalizing the lunch schedule and plan. We will get this information out to you in the next Buzz.
However, we will be eating outside and in the cafeteria. For students inside, they will be seated no more than 3 to a table, and we will assign seats for at least a week at a time to help with any kind of contact tracing we may need to do.
We will clean and sanitize tables in between groups.