#KSD Ready & Resilient
Update from Kuna Superintendent Wendy Johnson
Gearing up for a hybrid schedule & Possible change to the first day of school
We're working hard to open school. A friend shared this Nike video. It highlights for me that we can do hard things by working together like we are currently adapting our system to the requirements needed during the pandemic. We appreciate your patience as our plans evolve and change. We share your frustrations as we do things differently..
I have some important updates as promised. The first is a possible change in the first day of school for students.
Tuesday I will ask the Board of Trustees to consider moving the first day of school for students from Thursday, Aug. 27 to Monday, Aug. 31.
Why? Our teachers report back to work Monday, Aug. 24. The first three days of their week are filled with professional development activities to support online instruction. Talking with teachers, we've identified a need to spend more time on the new safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus among staff and students when we return to in person instruction.
If the Board approves the shift, those days would be dedicated to providing health training to staff with medical professionals and well as review the new protocols for cleaning, group size, eating meals, etc. and we will review protocols for when students and adults become ill. These additional days will also give our teachers time to ensure their classrooms are ready with the new protocols in place.
The Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The public may observe the meeting following the directions on our website with the Board agenda.
We will update you with the Board's decision after Tuesday.
Blue and Gold schedules for students set
Thank you to all who provided feedback on how to structure the two days in person & three days online learning schedules.
We've selected the top choice from the survey:
- Blue Schedule: Students with last name beginning with A-L will attend in person Mondays* & Wednesdays
- Gold Schedule: Students with last name beginning with M-Z will attend in person Tuesdays & Thursdays
- Fridays: E-days with all students at home*
- *Exception: Students on the Blue Schedule will get their second in person day on Fridays when a holiday - Labor Day for example - falls on Monday and school is not held.
Is your child on a Blue or Gold schedule?
Your child's school will share information with you. Here's how we are making decisions. We're dividing groups of students in half alphabetically by last name: A to L would be on a Blue Schedule and M to Z would be on a Gold Schedule. Our priorities are: 1. Reducing the number of students by 50% 2. Keeping siblings in the same household together. Given these priorities, we may need to adjust how we divide the days. Schools will be building class and teacher schedules next week and be in contact with parents.
Why is a hybrid schedule important?
We are putting in many prevention measures in our schools: masks, hand washing, sanitizing, and managing group sizes, etc.
In our fast growing district and crowded schools, reducing group sizes and physical distance is a challenge.
The hybrid makes physical distancing more "doable," when just half the students are in the building, in the cafeteria, in a classroom, on the bus, etc.
Our secondary schools are larger and still face challenges even with half the students present. We'd hoped Swan Falls would help Kuna High, but construction is delayed as COVID takes a toll on construction crews. We're looking at creative options to help support social distancing.
Chromebooks for students to support learning @ home
Using a school device -- rather than a personal device -- is preferred for these reasons:
- Filtering inappropriate content;
- Technology support--our team will be able to fix issues remotely;
- Software updates can be pushed out centrally; and
- Privacy - it's good practice to not mix personal and school use on the same device.
We also are learning lessons from districts that are currently providing devices for every student -- we are offering a low cost insurance for families. Accidents happen. This insurance will pay for the cost of replacing a device - once.
Parents will be asked to sign a waiver, if they do not want this insurance. Individuals without insurance will need to pay to help repairs or replace broken devices. Learn more here.
We have some Wifi Hotspots which will be available for families without internet to check out.
Schools will be sharing more about their process for checking out a device to your child.
About face coverings
As you know, the Central District Health Department issued an order for individuals to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the virus. This order applies to our schools.
All students, staff and visitors are expected to follow this order. We've added face coverings - cloth masks or shields -- to supply lists.
I want to address the most common concern I hear from parents about face coverings -- and that's the worry about children wearing a mask for hours. I want to assure you that we understand -- we are wearing masks, too! We are working to identifying ways to safely provide "mask breaks" or "no mask" areas.
We've included some tips to help younger students get prepared to wear a face covering and would be grateful if your family could work on this habit in the time remaining before school starts.
While we are legally required to wear masks, there is a far more compelling reason to mask up showcased in the video below.