The Morris Minute

January 2021

Welcome to The Morris Minute!

This is the place to find updates for staff, parents, and families of Morris Elementary. Thank you for checking it out!

A Note from Mr. Anderson

Hello Morris Families!

As we navigate through the cold of winter, I am reminded of a couple of things:

1. Our presence on Facebook Live has been non-existent. Is that unacceptable?

2. I haven't authored a paragraph or two in quite some time.

So, here we are. 2021 is the year and we are still working our way through the strangest and toughest year in education. I continue to be impressed with how hard many people are working to make this current state of reality actually work! We know it isn't as optimal as having students here each and every day, but we continue to do the best we can to provide opportunities to learn both in person, and remotely. Please continue to do your best with your child at home on their virtual days. I know it's hard and we are all in different situations, but try your best to have your student work on the lessons and assignments provided by their teachers on their off-site days.

We are going to be working through our Winter FAST Screenings next week. These are the reading and math testing modules that all students take for us three times per year. You will be notified of your student's scores as soon as we get all of our students through the screeners. While we know that the statewide benchmarks didn't change despite optional learning last spring for all of our students, we will really look at the difference between fall and winter benchmarks to measure the growth of our students. They are making progress and we do need to remember that!

Please be sure to send your child to school prepared for the weather. We still see students coming in sweatshirts and they are not prepared for how cold it really is on the playground for their recesses. We appreciate the efforts!

I know that we are working as best as we can to forget many of the things that 2020 brought us. It can be tough to see the positives each and every day that are right in front of our faces! I know I am guilty of that for sure. Please, take the time to find something good in each day! I promise I am going to be better at that. Our kids deserve it!

Keep working hard and checking in with us if you have questions! May your 2021 be full of positive vibes and smiles, and hopefully someday soon it won't be behind a mask! Until then, use your eyes to show your happiness! We can tell!

Be well and stay safe!


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Important Dates to Remember

January 11 - B Group - 2pm Dismissal

January 11 - School Board meets to decide Learning Model for rest of January

January 12 - A Group

January 13 - B Group

January 14 - A Group

January 15 - B Group (also end of 1st Semester)

January 18 - 2pm Dismissal - Report Cards go home

January 22 - Tentative 100th Day of School

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Notes from Nurse Dori

THANK YOU to all of our parents for taking the time to assess their students health prior to sending them to school. It is an important step to keeping everyone healthy and the building OPEN.

As a reminder, here are common signs and symptoms of COVID19:


New cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or new loss of taste or smell - if your student has any one of these, please keep them home. Call your healthcare provider.


Headache, muscle/body aches, tired/lack of energy, sore throat, runny nose, sinus pain, congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever /chills - if your student has 2 or more of these, please keep them home. Please do not send your student to school if he/she has a fever over 100, regardless of other symptoms. Call your healthcare provider.

If you are sending an email about an absence due to illness, please include your child's teacher, Ms. Jen, and myself so we all have the same information. Be sure to include all symptoms your child is experiencing, and when symptoms began.

  • The IDPH (Iowa Department of Public Health) has identified the above as “high risk” and “low risk” symptoms. Please check in with your child every morning before they come to school. If your child reports 2 “low risk” symptoms or 1 “high risk” symptom, they should have a medical provider evaluation (in person or telemedicine) that can provide an alternate diagnosis (i.e. allergies, common cold, gastritis, etc) OR remain home for 10 days as if they have tested positive for COVID19. A negative COVID19 test alone is not sufficient to return to school. Your child must also have significant improvement or resolution of symptoms and be fever free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medication), before they can return, even with a doctor’s note. Once your child has been evaluated, please send us the note with the alternate diagnosis, or the plan of care.

  • The same guidance is followed if your child is sent home with potential COVID19 symptoms. If your child has a known pre-existing condition that we have documentation of (allergies, asthma, etc), that will be considered as a factor in determining whether they will be sent home.

  • The IDPH has provided these guidelines to assist with the safe reopening of schools. We are following their guidance, as well as that provided by the CDC. We realize these guidelines require additional work on your end to ensure that your child is healthy when attending school, but please know that the purpose is to ensure that ALL of our students and staff stay as healthy as possible. If you are unsure whether to keep your child home due to illness, you probably should. Contact their physician for guidance if needed.

Please send your child with a mask and water bottle every day. Our drinking fountains are allowing water bottles to be filled only. Please also remember to wash your child’s mask regularly.

Preschool and Kindergarten: Please make sure your child has an extra set of clothing available to them at school in case of accidents. (If they have used their extra set, please send a replacement.)

Please make sure your child is dressed for the weather - students go outside for recess starting at 9:30am - they will go outside if the feels like temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

Thank you for your assistance in keeping our MorrisJays as healthy as possible! If you have any questions, please email me at

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Click here to learn more about the free school lunch and breakfast program!


Nurse Dori is coordinating a few upcoming health screenings for our MorrisJays:

VISION - All Morris students will be screened beginning the week of January 25 and continuing into February.

HEARING - All Kindergarten students will be screened by Heartland AEA Audiologists the week of February 15. More detailed information will be sent home in February prior to the screening.

If you do NOT want your student screened for either Vision or Hearing, please contact Nurse Dori at

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Be sure to order your 2020-2021 yearbook - we usually have a few extra copies at the end of the year, but if you want to guarantee you will get one, it's a good idea to preorder. Click here for the link - you can also go directly to - just be sure that it says MORRIS ELEMENTARY in BONDURANT in the upper left hand corner (there is a Morris Elementary in Des Moines and we had a few families mistakenly order an Anderson yearbook last year too.)
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Did you know we have a school Facebook page?

The Morris Facebook page is Bondurant-Farrar Morris Elementary and the profile picture is the Bluejay head logo with the word MORRIS under it (in case you haven't found us yet.)

A few final notes from Ms. Jen

Well, we made it out of 2020. I don't think I have ever wanted to say buh-bye to a year so much as I did that one. I continue to be impressed with all of our Morris Jays and how well they are adapting and following all of the new precautions and methods to keep them safe and learning here in the building. Their smiles keep all of our staff going and makes it easier to face each crazy day.

I know not having all of the answers is frustrating. We are all right there with you. We appreciate all of the grace and patience you have shown as we switch between learning models and deal with conditions that change daily. We seem to have settled into a good routine and I hope it continues to get easier as we hopefully start to see cases decline.

A HUGE thank you to all of our awesome MorrisJays parents - we are a team and you are an important part in your student's (and really our whole building's) health and success. We appreciate you taking the time to read ALL of the emails and notes sent your way (I know it's a lot) and keeping us updated on situations at your homes too. It will get better and we will have all gotten through it together.

Here's hoping 2021 treats everyone well and we can all stay healthy! Take care - Ms. Jen

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