Star News

July 2, 2020

Principal News: Reopening of School Edition

Greetings Simpson Parents,

It has been a busy closing of the school year and summer at Simpson Elementary! I know that it was extremely challenging ending the school year in the midst of a pandemic and not having the chance to see staff prior to the end of school. Now, we are embarking on new territory with school reopening as we face similar challenges. In spite of the challenges, we remain steadfast and consistent with ensuring that safety measures are in place for a healthy and safe return for both staff and students. I want to once again commend all of our Simpson families for your exemplary work in quickly transitioning from in-person to digital learning in March. As a result, I am confident that we will have an outstanding school year whether it is in-person or digital! As we prepare for the reopening of school, I want to continue communicating information to you as I receive it. Please see the CDC and Health Official Guidelines below that are guiding our plans for school safety. I am sharing information with you as it stands today. However, as a disclaimer, this information is subject to change as the weeks get closer to our return to school. Please continue to look forward to updates from me, as well as the district office, as they become available. As a gentle reminder, students will report back to school (whether digitally or in-person) on Wednesday, August 5th. We are looking forward to seeing their smiling faces! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Proud to be your principal,

Dr. Connery

Parent Questionnaire

Gwinnett County Public Schools will open the school year with in-person instruction, along with an option for digital learning, for students in pre-K through 12th grade. If are designated as an enrolling parent or guardian of a GCPS student, an email has been sent to you so that you can select the option that you prefer for each of your children. The deadline to complete this questionnaire is July 10th. Students of families who do not select an option by July 10th will be assigned to in-person.

For some of our enrolling parents, we DO NOT have accurate to complete contact information. If you have not received this information via email, please go to the district website at On the main page, you will see a section that says "Parent/Guardian Verification Form- Fall 2020." Once an enrolling parent completes that information and the verification process is complete, the link for the questionnaire about Fall 2020 options will be sent to you. Please do not hesitate to contact the main office if you are in need of assistance.

Returning Back to School

Local School Updates:

Our Simpson administrative team is working diligently to ensure that students have the utmost care, safety, and social distancing measures in place PRIOR to their arrival. When students return to school, we will follow CDC guidance by maintaining a distance of six feet, not sharing materials (i.e., pens, pencils, etc.), washing our hands frequently, and sanitizing surfaces routinely. In addition, please see the safety measures below that will guide our steps towards a healthy school environment. If students are feeling sick, please allow them to stay home. In addition, if your child or anyone in your home is sick and has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact Dr. Connery, immediately.

Staffing Plans

All registered GCPS parents were issued a survey to indicate their desire for their child (children) to return to school in-person or digitally for the entire 1st semester. The survey deadline is Friday, July 10th. The data from your survey results will inform our school staffing plans (percentage of how many parents desire one choice over the other). For example, if 80% of our parents desire for their children to have digital instruction and 20% of parents desire in-person, then out of 6 teachers on a given team, 4 may be digital instructors and the other 2 may teach in-person. Again, our staffing plan will be based upon the parent survey outcomes. Please know that there are several uncertain factors right now, but I will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.

Safety Plans

We will establish reasonable and precautionary practices within the school to minimize the risk of infection and/or spread of the virus by making sure the following is in place:

* Teachers will schedule times for restroom and frequent handwashing opportunities.

* Each common area and classroom will have hand sanitizers available for use.

* Custodial schedules will be in place to ensure the cleaning of high touch areas during the school day.

* Health guidance posters will be displayed throughout the building.

* Desk arrangements will support social distancing among students.

All staff and students are encouraged to follow precautionary practices:

* Masks are HIGHLY encouraged (per CDC guidelines) in public for staff and students, (especially for students riding the bus). In addition, if you are not planning to have your child wear a mask, please notify your child's teacher.

* An isolation room will be established to separate students with symptoms consistent with Covid-19. However, if a student or teacher comes in contact with a potential COVID case it will be handled on a case by case basis.

*Protocols for reporting COVID-19 diagnosis and contact exposure will be followed and reported immediately to administrators/district health officials.

* Students should not come to school if they are sick.

School Operations

We will establish guidelines to maximize student achievement through efficient processes and operations:

* Washing and sanitizing posters will be visible throughout the building.

* Hallways will be one way where practical.

* Traffic flow in the hallways should not allow for crossing over from one side to the other.

* Desks should be facing the same direction.

* Cafeteria seating will be limited to students sitting on one side of the table, utilizing every other seat.

* An alternating schedule will be made among grade levels to determine indoor and outdoor lunch rotations for social distancing.

* Outdoor seating will be available during lunchtime.

* Student IDs with barcodes and scanners should be used in place of keypads.

* We will limit the number of visitors in the building until further guidance is provided from health officials.

Curriculum & Instruction

Digital Learning Instruction - This may look similar to the Spring with engaging digitally with the homeroom teacher facilitating, recording, and small group conferencing in all content areas (ELA/MA/SC/SS). Connections (specials) will be an assignment one day a week.

In-Person Instruction - This will consist of a traditional school schedule with the homeroom teacher providing in-person instruction in all content areas (ELA/MA/SC/SS), connections, lunch, and recess with CDC guidelines in place (e.g. social distancing, cleaning protocols, etc).

Staff- It is our intent to have the same homeroom teacher for 1st-semester digital learning continue in the 2nd semester. As a disclaimer, this plan may depend upon the number of parents that decide to transition to in-person instruction in the Spring.

Simpson Elementary students will receive a high-quality education from all of our teachers, regardless of which option our parents select on Friday, July 10th. Administrators and staff are highly engaged in collaborative teaching, planning, shared resources, and materials. Our staff is here and ready to support all of our students!

Open House - Meet Your Teacher Day

Simpson Elementary will have in-person Open House-Meet Your Teacher Day for the 2020-21 school year. This will be conducted with limited parents in the building with staggered times by last name. In the near future, parents will receive an Open House SAVE THE DATE postcard in the mail with the following information (see below in bold). We will have an open house with social distancing to allow for three families at a time (with 15 min. intervals each) in one classroom to meet their new teachers. Parents will have an opportunity to sign-up for a time slot (e.g. similar to early release conferences). In addition to meeting your teacher during this time, parents may also receive transportation and PTA information. A Zoom session will be provided for parents who desire to attend a digital Open House-Meet Your Teacher Day. Details for this option will be provided at a later date. Teacher assignments will be determined following the July 10th parent survey deadline.

Simpson Elementary - Open House-Meet Your Teacher Day will be held on Friday, July 31st from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Last Names: A-F (12:00-12:45 p.m.)

Last Names: G-L (12:45-1:30 p.m.)

Last Names: M-S (1:30-2:15 p.m.)

Last Names: T-Z (2:15-3:00 p.m.)

Media Services

We will establish reasonable and precautionary practices in the media center and computer labs to minimize and clean surfaces touched by students.

* We will establish a process for Media Center visits and checkout of materials that allow students to check out and handle their own materials.

* We can explore a variety of options that allow students the opportunity to self-select reading materials without the normal handling of books. Possible suggestions include:

* Books arranged on table for browsing.

* Mobile libraries taken to classrooms.

* Students creating a “wishlist” of books from the media catalog for delivery to the classroom.

* We will establish book return processes that would limit the handling of books and student traffic inside the Media Center.

* We will establish processes for Computer Lab and device use.

* We will consider arranging computers to face the same direction and spaced out when possible.

* Hand sanitizers will be available in the Media Center and Computer Labs.

* Masks and gloves will be provided to Media Center staff.

* A cleaning schedule for the Media Center and computer labs will be used after student use.


* Buses will run as normal with traditional maximum capacities.

* Buses will be cleaned/disinfected after each morning and afternoon route


* Arrival – unloading of buses will be one at a time to reduce the number of students entering the building at one time. Students need to unload upon arrival.

* Car riders may potentially increase and we will prepare for overflow.

* Dismissal – we will consider dismissing students from individual classrooms or by limited bus numbers at a time.

* GCPS SRO Office will be communicating with local municipalities and GCPD the anticipated increase in traffic/congestion around schools.

Device and Internet Access

Access for students (devices & internet) in the digital platform is important as more students engage in the digital learning resources.

* Each child will need his/her own device in order to fully participate in digital learning. If students are in need of a device, please contact your child's teacher.

* For those identified families in need, a device distribution will be developed using the same process as we did this Spring. If additional devices are needed with multiple students in one household, please notify your child's teacher. We may have a limited number of Chromebooks for checkout to families based upon need and many community organizations are also offering devices as well.

* GCPS encourages families to take advantage of existing no-and low-cost internet services provided by commercial carriers. The district maintains a list of these providers that is available on the GCPS website. If there is a family in need of these services, please seek support from your child's teacher.

Summer Book Mobile Events

GCPS is excited to announce the Book Mobile Books 2 Kids program as part of a GCPS summer reading initiative. The emphasis is on getting books into students’ hands that they will enjoy reading!

Books 2 Kids Events:

  • At each Books 2 Kids event, every student who attends will select 2 free books from a variety of new, popular books. Students must be present to pick their books.
  • July 23rd for Norcross Cluster Schools @ Pinckneyville Middle from 1-5 pm.

Please share this information with your neighbors and friends because we want as many students as possible to go home with great summer reading!