What's Happening At TRJHS!

From the Desk of Mr. Sturges, Principal

Parent Update September 11, 2020

Good Afternoon Parents and Families,

We are so close to the start of another school year! With the previous year ending so abruptly in March, we can't wait to get kids back in the building (even if it's in a hybrid or remote model)! There is a lot of information included here so please take the time to review the included information. Listed below are school updates pertaining to scheduling, student expectations, health information from the nurse and protocols for staff/students as we plan to open the doors next Wednesday!


Student schedules are being mailed out today, Friday September 11th. Students may have also received emails from their team teachers as google classrooms are being created. Be on the lookout for an email next week on the first day of school schedule as well as how remote/hybrid learners in Cohort B can be ready to access day 1 from home. This will go to students and parents.

I am excited to share that the board of health has approved the plan to maintain our traditional school schedule which allows us to maintain our courses the way we've created them to maintain a high level of academic rigor. This allows us to maintain honors classes, foreign language and even in a remote learning model we have a better opportunity to offer a feeling of being back to normal(as best we can these days) for our students. We will have our safety protocols in place to ensure all aspects of the day are keeping students and staff safe. Back in August when I hosted zoom meetings we did discuss cohorts and students sticking together. As I mentioned back then, plans were subject to change as we were early in the planning process. With the board of health's approval to our schedule, specifically with our safety protocols in place, I am confident in our plans to offer students a traditional school experience during unprecedented times. As always, please contact Mr. Sturges with any questions or concerns.

Email Accounts

All Tantasqua students have a Tantasqua issued email account. Students from the five elementary schools (or 7th entering 8th grade) will maintain the same login and password. All new students have access to their email accounts. Students can log in by using their full first name followed by middle initial . Last name @tantasqua.org (ex.John J Smith- johnj.smith@tantasqua.org. The password to enter is Welcome2020! It is recommended students attempt to log in before school starts as this is how information will be shared between students and school.

Nurse Information

The following have been set as the protocols for nurse response to student concerts (COVID and Typical Nursing responses to student needs):

  • If an individual student is symptomatic upon arrival to school, they should remain masked and adhere to strict physical distancing. Student will then be met by the nurse and stay in the medical waiting room (isolated from others but with adult supervision) until they are able to be dismissed. Goal is to dismiss within 45 minutes of notification to parents. (Continue with DESE protocols of 8/20/2020 for further guidance for testing, clearance, return to school, etc.).

  • Regular/routine nurse office visits: Visits to the nurse will be limited as much as possible. For non-emergency needs, staff will call the nurse’s office and nurses will triage the issue to determine the need for care. If nursing evaluation is required, a nurse will come to the student to evaluate them and/or escort them to the health office. (student confidentiality and privacy will be respected as always).

  • Staff training has be conducted by the nurse during the first days upon our return to school.

  • Strict enforcement of health restrictions and return to school policy and protocol including required medical documentation prior to student return.

  • All protocols subject to change before live and in-person learning resumes as per MA DPH, CDC and DESE recommendations and guidelines.

Technology Device Pickup

Families who have requested electronic devices for students to access their remote/at home hybrid learning will be available for pickup with the following schedule:

Monday and Tuesday (9/14/20 and 9/15/20) -9:00 am-12:00 pm each day. We will have a table setup outside the main entry door of the building. If you need to pick up outside of those hours please contact Mr. Kopka to arrange a pick up kopkac@tantasqua.org.

Many families checked off on their commitment survey if they need a device and others have emailed me directly. We will be providing a device whether it's an Ipad or Chromebook for your child to use.

General Safety Requirements

  1. All staff/students are required to wear a face mask at all times

*They have to be masks (no gators, bandannas etc.)

2. Students will have scheduled mask breaks into each day.

3. Students will be encouraged to access the bathrooms for hand washing at any time. Hand sanitizer will be available in wall fixtures located throughout the building as well as in each classroom.

4.. Teachers will be encouraged to take their classes outside. PE classes will be strictly outdoors pending weather conditions.

5. No large group assemblies or field trips will be allowed until further notice.



Students will remain on buses and in parent drop off until 7:20. Buses will be dismissed one at a time (per entrance) and parent drop off will be handled a couple of cars at a time. Students will enter the building in single file lines and spaced out 6 feet apart. All staff without assigned advisories will be present in the stairwells and hallways. Advisory teachers will be present in doorways so they can observe the hallways and their students as they enter their classrooms.

As students enter their classrooms teachers will make sure all students sanitize hands and each child goes to their assigned seats. If students prefer to use the bathroom to wash hands they will be permitted to do so.


Students will be dismissed at the end of the day by the following schedule:

We will assign numbers to all families so their students will be dismissed by their number. Mr. Kopka will relay car #’s in the back of the building and Mr. Sturges will dismiss students 2-3 buses at a time and parent pick up by their number. (ex. An announcement will be made “we need Sturbridge buses 1 and 7 and Brimfield 1 Holland 2 and parent pickup numbers 2, 17 and 67”). Students will then be dismissed to their assigned locations. We will continue this process until all students are dismissed safely. The final announcement will include students who need to go over to the HS where they will meet their siblings. They will meet Mr. Sturges out front and we will walk across 148 over to the HS for siblings and staff members who have students here at TRJHS.


We will maintain our plan for staggered transitions. Students on two teams (one grade 7 and one grade 8) will move at a set time. We’ve added markings on the floors in the center of the hallways where students will be expected to stay to the right. All staff will be asked to be present in their classroom doorways between every class. Administrators will be present in the hallways during transition time to assist with the process. Students traveling to/from mixed classes (PE,Music, Exploratory, FL and Reading) will dismiss their students by their assigned team transition times. Students arriving to their classes will enter their rooms and go to their assigned seats. Those students waiting to transition will stand on the designated spaces which are the 6 foot social distancing stickers until their team is dismissed.

Hallways have been marked down the center for students to walk on the right side. Stairwells will be identified as one way stairwells to start the year. The superintendent entrance stairwell and back stairwell in the A wing towards the gym will be the “up” stairs and the principals entrance and C wing back hallway will be the “down” stairs with the exception of arrival and dismissal. Signs will be present for students to have visuals of the expectations for travel in the building.

Bathroom Use

Stickers have been placed on the floors to clearly indicate where students are expected to stand. In the girls rooms, a sticker will be placed at the end of the entrance hallways so a student can enter and see if a stall is available. If both stalls are taken then the student will be expected to wait on the 6 ft. sticker. There will be stickers in line 6 ft. apart in the hallway. There should never be more than two students waiting in line. Boys bathrooms will have a sticker around the corner (in front of the sinks) and following that spot we will go into the hallways. Students will be expected to line up on their spots until there is an available stall/urinal. We will have to shut down bathrooms throughout the day for 10-15 minutes to ensure cleanliness. When custodians are cleaning we will run a "bathrooms closed" sign across the doorway.


We will go back to our two lunch schedule. Grade 7 will report to lunch at 10:50 and grade 8 will follow at 11:40. Students will be given 30 minutes for lunch. We will have 50-60 students eat lunch in the cafeteria. Students will be given an assigned seat for every single day. Lunches will be served from the stage area so no one will have to walk through the confined lunch areas. The remaining students will eat lunch in the classrooms. They will be assigned to eat in the same seats, in the same rooms every day. We will sit 10-12 students in each room minimally 6 feet apart. We hope to keep kids in the classrooms even further apart as they take their masks off. Assigned seats in the cafeteria are spaced at 8 feet apart. We will provide extra time between lunches giving our custodial staff a few more minutes to sanitize the cafeteria and empty classroom trash cans. Mr. Sturges and Mr. Kopka are in the process of finalizing assigned seats. Signage will be placed on the tables at lunch to clearly label seating. Students will be given tours on day 1 and be able to see their seat before the first lunch.

TRJHS provided lunches will be set up in front of the stage area for the students in the cafeteria. A traveling lunch cart will provide the students assigned to classrooms their lunches in the hallway by their rooms so they do not even have to enter the cafeteria. We will have entrance doors on the school store side and exit doors on the cafeteria side of the room directly across from the library. We are still working on recess.