The Cub Hub
Notes from the Den | Volume 1 : Issue 14 - November 9, 2020
Happy Monday Bear Creek Cubs,
We really tried to make this shorter this week but to no avail. Please excuse the lack of brevity as we continue to try and have one single point of communication for our community.
We are truckin' along through the month of November. We hope everyone is doing well as we move towards 2021.
As always THANK YOU for your support and care.
AJ and David
Veterans Day Virtual Program (LAST CALL FOR PHOTOS/STORIES)
If you have anyone in your family that has served (or is serving) in our Armed Forces and you feel comfortable having them recognized please send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) their photo and a short blurb. We would love to have your family be a part of this.
Intent To Return Survey Results And Implications
We have 202 responses thus far which represents about 98% of our remote learners.
Currently of the 202 responses we have 153 students stating they will return on or before Spring Break and 49 students that will remain remote learners for the remainder of the school year.
What this means is that by the spring we will have approximately 443 students on campus. It will be very difficult to maintain social distancing which is why I have attached a letter below representing the district statement regarding classroom spaces. The average number of students in a classroom will be 20.5. The district office has ordered plexiglass shields for our classrooms and cafeteria based on our high in-person population. Currently we have (percentage wise) the second most students in-person than any other elementary school.
In addition we are in line to receive an additional first grade teacher and an additional third grade teacher. We are exploring options to use these teachers in the most effective manner possible while trying to maintain static class placement for your children.
As part of an empathetic and resilient community, we implement restorative practices across our campus. These include daily routines to build strong classroom communities and intentional teacher language to support student choices. When conflicts arise in our community, we work to restore relationships. This process includes hearing multiple perspectives and validating all voices. When harm is caused, we work to rebuild trust through open conversations and restorative circles. These restorative practices also include sharing concerns, seeking to understand underlying causes of conflict, developing agreements or an action plan, and celebrating success as relationships strengthen.
It is important for our culture, vitally important to resolve conflict. This will be a heavy lift as we have typically chosen to separate children, change teachers, and ignore the impact of the lack of resolution.
PreK-4 And Kindergarten Projections
It is hard to believe but the process for planning next school year starts now. We will be receiving our student projections (how many students the district thinks we will have determines the number of teachers we will be staffed) on November 18, 2020.
My concern is Prek-4 and Kindergarten. The district initially projected 63 Kindergarten students and we currently have 105.
What I need you to do is if you have interest in our Prek-4 program or have a Kindergarten aged child for next year please fill out this form.
Switching To Remote Learning For A Short Period Of Time Due To Illness
If your child is unable to come to school we are no longer going to allow in-person learners to be remote for the extent of the absence. The most common example is a student is not feeling well so the request is made for the child to be remote for the day. It is hard for the teachers to pivot on a dime as it impacts group dynamics, timing, and planning.
This also includes families wanting to travel during the school year. An extended period of time that you are out would be an official change from in-person to remote learning which means you would need to wait a full nine-week grading period before you can return to in-person learning.
I anticipate questions so please feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
What To Do If You Child Is Not Feeling Well
If your child is ill with symptoms consistent (cough, sore throat, stomach issues, headaches, fatigue etc ...) with Covid-19 then the following protocols must be followed:
Students May Return After
10 days have passed since symptoms started, and improvement in overall
symptoms, and 24 hours have passed without fever and use of fever-reducing
Provide doctor’s note to campus health room staff stating that symptoms
are not COVID-19-related and student can return to school
Provide a negative COVID-19 test
As an FYI the same holds true for staff members
Rapid COVID-19 Testing Becoming Available
ASID has entered into the world of rapid COVID-19 testing. Much more information will follow but please know no one will ever be tested without parent (for a student) or personal consent (for an adult.)
What are the three phases of the plan?
- Phase I (Starts Wednesday November 11)
- Week 1 (Starts Wednesday, November 11): Tests administered to individuals learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic while on-site.
- Week 2 (Starts Monday, November 19): Tests administered to individuals that have been learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic while on-site, and those who fail a health screening while offsite.
- Phase II - Date TBD
- Testing will now include asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) individuals who have been learning/working in-person and have had close contact with a confirmed positive case or have recently traveled.
- Phase III - Date TBD
- Asymptomatic campus staff testing is scheduled on a monthly rotating basis.
What will it cost? And do I need insurance?
The tests are free for on-campus students and staff, and health insurance is not required.
Will students need parental consent to be tested?
Students under the age of 18 will need parental consent before receiving a COVID-19 test. Consent to obtain a rapid COVID-19 test is required for all students and staff before administering a test. Consent forms are given and stored with health room staff in the campus health rooms.
Who will get tests?
Testing will start with on-campus students and staff showing COVID-19 symptoms or those who fail an on-site health screening. Testing will expand to symptomatic individuals who fail pre-health screening before arriving at the campus and asymptomatic students and staff as we progress through the three phases of our plan. Throughout the three phases, the tests will be prioritized for on-campus students and staff.'
Who do I talk to if I feel I need to get tested?
- In-person students or campus staff members on a campus show symptoms: Talk to your campus health room staff for evaluation and receive a COVID-19 test. (Starting Wednesday, November 11)
- In-person students or campus staff with symptoms that start while off-campus: Contact your campus to schedule a drive-thru testing time with health room staff. (Starting Monday, November 19)
- In-person students or campus staff who have had close contact with someone with a confirmed positive: Contact your campus to schedule a drive-thru testing time with health room staff. (Starting date TBD)
- Staff that serves students but are housed in a facility other than a campus should contact the Department of Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a test.
How is the test administered?
The test will be administered by campus health room staff, via a nose swab, just inside the nostril, and will be less intrusive than other COVID-19 tests. Students in grades seven and up and adults can also self-administer the cotton swab with a test administrator present.
Where will I get the test?
Testing will happen at the designated campus. The student or staff member is housed. Drive-thru testing at rotating campuses will be available. Students and staff who become symptomatic offsite will need to contact their campus to schedule drive-thru testing with their health room staff.
How will I know when to get tested?
- If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic while on-campus, the campus will administer a free, rapid COVID-19 test on the student or staff member and connect them to their primary care physician.
- If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic and fails their pre-health screening, they will need to contact their physician, and they can schedule a free, rapid COVID-19 test at their campus.
- New health guidelines recommend that testing after close contact should occur 7-8 days after symptoms begin. If a student or staff member comes into contact with someone with a confirmed positive case, they must quarantine for 14 days, and they may schedule a test at a campus for the seventh or eighth day after exposure.
- If a student or staff member comes into contact with someone with a confirmed positive case on AISD grounds, they will receive a letter stating when to take the test from the district.
Can I return from quarantine or self-isolation early with a negative COVID-19 test?
- Because the incubation period for COVID-19 is between 2-14 days, those who have come into contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case must quarantine for the entire 14-day period, regardless of a negative test result.
- Those who displayed COVID-19 symptoms but did not come into contact with a presumed or confirmed positive may return to school or work with a negative test. They must also have confirmation from a doctor that their symptoms are not COVD-19 related. Individuals must be fever-free without using fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours before they can return to campus.
How will I get my results?
Results will be delivered in as little time as 15-30 minutes and will be communicated in-person by email or by phone, as indicated on the consent form.
Remember that doors open @ 730am for walkers, bike riders, and car riders.
How you can help:
1 – The “GREEN CHECK” is absolutely essential – we will pull you forward if you do not have one so we can keep the line moving. Just show it when we approach and then we can take temperatures and get going with our days.
2 – Have your kiddo ready to go, I know some are not morning kids but it really has a pretty big ripple effect if we have to manage several exchanges. Because only one lane is used everything is delayed by the amount of time it takes to make each drop-off. We will not use two lanes in the morning because there are too many moving parts and I will not sacrifice your child’s safety at any cost. DO NOT GET OUT THE CAR.
3 – Your car heater raises your child’s temp and in some cases to a point where we have to administer an oral temperature check or ask you to do a drive around the block.
4 – You may only drop off using our parent lane – We will not allow any drop-offs anywhere else on property – the reason is that it will turn into a free for all which is not acceptable or safe.
Being mindful of these things as they will expedite the process significantly while we remain safe.
Meal Distribution This Weekend
Listed below are is the meals that will be a part of the meal distribution. Please email email@example.com if you would like your child to pick up a bag. These are for in-person learners only.
Saturday Breakfast: Cinnamon toast crunch cereal, milk, fruit, and whole wheat toast
Saturday Lunch: Toasted cheese sandwich, fruit, roasted cauliflower, milk
Sunday Breakfast: Rice Chex cereal, milk, fruit, whole wheat toast
Sunday Lunch: Either a sun butter and jelly sandwich or a turkey and cheese sandwich, veggie dippers, fruit, and milk
If a parent/ guardian has students that are remote learners please follow the link below which indicates where you can find locations doing free seven-day curbside meal bags on Thursday afternoons. The student must be present in order to receive the curbside meals.
AISD will be providing local farm fresh boxes from the common market on a first come first serve basis. This week the boxes can be picked up Thursday at 10:30am-1:30pm at Galindo Elementary, Linder Elementary, Lively Middle school and Travis ECHS and from 3:30-5:30pm at Dawson Elementary. For these boxes the student must either be present of there must be documentation showing that the student they are picking up for are AISD student(s).
School Zone And Traffic Infastructure Update
I am sharing (with permission) an email sent to me last week regarding our requests.
"I wanted to reach out and provide a status update. We’ve received a number of inquiries from the school community that we will be responding to. See detailed response below and allow me to summarize:
The full response below contains information on our process for establishing school zones and best practices for the conditions where they are established. To establish a school zone, an engineering study that includes pedestrian counts and observations of traffic operations near a school must be conducted. Therefore, it was necessary to wait until Bear Creek Elementary School was in session for ATD to evaluate operations and the appropriateness of a possible school zone. Based on our multiple observations near the Bear Creek Elementary and following best engineering practices, we will not install a school zone adjacent to the school or at the roundabout intersections at this time.
In addition to implementing improved signs and markings at the roundabouts as Amir mentioned previously, ATD is evaluating speeds and operations at the roundabouts to see if we can implement any geometric changes or other measures as initial steps to slow vehicle speeds and improve safety as current conditions do not support a school zone. We will monitor the effectiveness of our changes to then reevaluate whether a school zone would be appropriate.
I anticipate that improved signs and markings at the roundabouts will be implemented over the next couple weeks and any additional modifications will follow at a later date.
We’d be happy to discuss this further with you and/or attend an upcoming CAC meeting to answer questions.
Response regarding establishing a school zone with flashers, concerns about speed as well as signs and markings at roundabouts near the school
The Austin Transportation Department (ATD) is responsible for installation of signs and markings, including school zones, for traffic control within the limits of the City of Austin. To establish a school zone, ATD must conduct an engineering study that includes pedestrian counts and observations of traffic operations near the school. Therefore, it was necessary to wait until Bear Creek Elementary School was in session for ATD to evaluate operations and the appropriateness of a possible school zone. Based on our multiple observations near the school and following best engineering practices, we will not install a school zone adjacent to the school or at the roundabout intersections at this time.
Best practices include installing school zones at designated crosswalks that are actively used by pedestrians and are not controlled by a stop sign, traffic signal, or roundabout. Additionally, school zones should be kept at a minimum length to safely cover these uncontrolled crosswalks and not necessarily coincide with the entire frontage of the school. While these best practices might not be intuitive, research indicates they lead to the highest success of drivers complying with reduced speeds and yielding to pedestrians within a school zone. With safety as our primary goal, we strive to follow these best practices to ensure that any devices we install will be followed and respected by all street users.
However, we agree that crosswalk markings should be refreshed and signage for the roundabouts north and south of the school should be improved. School Ahead signs will be also be installed on Escarpment Boulevard. We are working with limited resources due to COVID-19 but will diligently perform this work as soon as possible.
We should also note that a roundabout is a type of intersection that by nature eliminates conflict points that are shown to significantly reduce high injury and fatal crashes. We are evaluating speeds and operations at the roundabouts to determine whether we can implement geometric changes or other measures as initial steps to slow vehicle speeds and improve safety as current conditions do not support a school zone. We will monitor the effectiveness of our changes to then reevaluate whether a school zone would be appropriate.
Response regarding existing sidewalk gap and crossing guards
The City of Austin Public Works Department is in the process of getting a General Permit for the missing section of sidewalk on the east side of Escarpment Boulevard south of the school. As soon as the permit is in place and we have a crew available, we will begin construction on the missing sidewalk segment. The closest intersections north and south of the school on Escarpment Boulevard (Trissino Drive and Bernia Drive) have roundabouts with complete pedestrian infrastructure (sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks). Additionally, the sidewalk has been completed along Escarpment Boulevard on the west side of Escarpment Boulevard between these two intersections; as is the sidewalk along the east side (with the exception of the segment noted above.)
With regard to additional school crossing guards, Safe Routes to School (SRTS) has been working to hire crossing guards for the last three (3) months. Michael Williams, SRTS Crossing Guard Supervisor, in that region has been posting flyers in local businesses, reaching out to contacts at surrounding schools. SRTS has posted notices on Next Door in the Bear Creek community to try and get applicants. SRTS would like to have two crossing guards for Bear Creek Elementary, one to cross at Bernia Drive at Escarpment and the other to cross at Trissino Drive at Escarpment Boulevard. In the meantime, SRTS has trained two (2) parent volunteers from Bear Creek Elementary to fill in until someone is officially hired."
Alison Mills, P.E.
South Area Transportation Engineer
Transportation Engineering Division
Austin Transportation Department
Student technology issues with a Chromebook or iPad please call the Student Help Desk at 512 414-4357.
Hello Bear Creek Families.
Friday is World Kindness Day. All week students will be hearing announcements, having classroom discussions, learning a new song, and listening to a book read by Mr. Crissey on what kindness looks like and how we can put it into action!
Want some ideas on how to encourage your student to share kindness? Check out this chart below.
In conjunction with Kindness week and encouraging inclusivity, Ms. Million is teaching the 4th and 5th grade students a piece called "Funga Alafia" in music class. Funga Alafia originated in Western Africa. It's a welcoming song which extends greetings and peace to all who hear it!
Friday we will celebrate World Kindness Day by honoring all people and all our uniqueness. We are calling it "Free To Be Me" day where students are encouraged to dress in a way that represents their true selves (dress code compliant, of course).
Also below you will find our Friday Flyer for "Free To Be Me" Day!
It is going to be awesome!
PTA Paw Prints
PTA Reflections-- Deadline extended to Friday 11/13
Good news-- there is still time to participate! Reflections is a program of the National PTA that provides opportunities for recognition and access to the arts. Reflections is open to all students grade K-5th.
The theme for the 2020-2021 program year is "I Matter Because....". Students submit their completed works of art in one or all of the available arts categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, Visual Arts.
For more information and to enter, visit:
We have extended our deadline one more week! All entries dies by Midnight THIS FRIDAY 11/13
SAVE THE DATE
Mark your calendar for our November PTA General Membership Meeting on Monday 11/30 at 5:00 pm via Zoom. We will be kicking off some service projects for our community to participate in together over the holiday season-- join us on 11/30 to find out how you can participate.