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Back to School Edition: July 24, 2020

A Note from Mrs. Johnson

Hello, Valley Mills Families!

We have missed you all! We have worked hard through the summer, and especially in the last several weeks, to create a plan for a safe re-entry to our school. You will find information below that will help you understand what changes have been made in order for our staff and students to be safe in school, beginning August 6. The district has also published their re-entry plan on the district website at Please continue to check the website for updates.

Please remember that at this time, masks are required on the bus for all students and at school for students in grades 3 - 6. Masks are strongly encouraged for students in grades 1 - 2. Students will wear masks when social distancing is not possible. Please write your name on your student's mask and, if possible, send a second mask in a sealed bag. The second mask will only be used if the first mask is lost or soiled.

Please feel free to contact the office at 317-856-6363 with any questions or concerns.

I can't wait to see all of your students on the first day of school, August 6! We are excited and ready to have a great year! I continue to be #DecaturProud of our staff and students. I am confident that this will be a fantastic year with lots of learning and teamwork!


Rebecca Johnson


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Dates to Remember:

7/13: Online Registration Reopens

7/18: Backpack Giveaway at DELC from 10am - 12pm

7/21: In-person Registration 9am - 12pm; 4pm - 8pm

7/29: Window closes for E-learning Option

8/6: First day of School

Re-entry Update from Dr. Prusiecki

Good Morning Decatur Township Families,

With the recent data from the Marion County Board of Health and the announcements from our State Governor Holcomb and Mayor Hogsett, MSD of Decatur Township has made changes to the start of the school year and some of our educational options. As you read this message, please follow up and review the district and school re-entry plans for further, more specific details.

The following are the significant changes to MSD of Decatur Township’s Re-Entry Plan as of today, Friday, July 24th:

As directed by the Mayor’s Announcement yesterday, our start of school for students will begin on Thursday, August 6th.

  • Per Governor Holcomb’s mandate this week, all staff will be required to wear face coverings. Students, grades 3-12 will be required to wear face masks. Students, grades K-2, are not required to wear face masks; however, it is strongly encouraged to do so.
  • Due to the recent increase of positivity cases in Marion County coupled with the recommendation by Dr. Caine, Executive Director of the Marion County Board of Health, MSD of Decatur Township will also begin an in-person “hybrid” model for our secondary level, which includes Decatur Middle School, Decatur Central High School, and Decatur Township School for Excellence. This will replace the full “in-person” option while the remote option will still be available. Please refer to the Re-Entry Plan for more details.
  • You can register online at and/or update your contact information.
  • The deadline for choosing the Remote Learning option or reverting back to in-person instruction is now Wednesday, July 29th.
  • Each building Principal has provided and updated their own specific re-entry plan for the 2020-2021 school year which are now located on their school websites.
  • All “Meet the Teacher” Nights will be done virtually, and information regarding these events will be sent out via your child’s Principal.

Please understand that changes may be made often. Working with the Marion County Board of Health, our Mayor, and our Governor, our goal is to provide the best instruction for our children within the parameters the above entities have provided. Thank you for your flexibility as we negotiate through these challenging times. Stronger together, we will achieve our vision of preparing our children to be Tomorrow Ready!

As always, together, we are Decatur Proud!


Dr. Prusiecki


MSD Decatur Re-Entry Plan July 24, 2020


Online is registration is available now. You can register from the comfort and safety of home by going to and clicking on the button to register your student. If you have any trouble or questions while registering, please call the school office at 317-856-6363 between the hours of 8am - 3:30 pm. We would be happy to assist you.

If you are choosing our COVID e-learning option, you must go to Skyward and make that selection on the form, even if you have already registered for school. The window for this opportunity will close on July 29.

Pre-Screening for Symptoms

Parents, please screen your children for symptoms prior to the school day. If they are sick, please keep them home. Attendance guidelines are flexible this year.
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First Day of School

Please make sure you take your Back to School pictures before your student arrives at school. Due to Covid restrictions, no adults will be allowed in the building. We will have staff on hand to make sure your student makes it to the correct place in the building and also to give out masks to those who do not have them. We will not count tardies the first week of school since we will need time to adjust to our new procedures and make sure everyone can enter safely.

All first grade students will go to the cafeteria to meet their teachers and eat breakfast on the first day. This way, they will learn how to walk through the halls and how to get to their classroom with assistance.

All other students will enter either through the car rider door or off of the bus and head directly to their classrooms, while social distancing. We will serve breakfast in the classrooms.

Car riders

Students will need to wait in their cars until a staff member motions for them to exit the car. Once the staff member, in a safety vest, motions for them to leave the car, students will exit with their masks on and enter door 6. Please pay attention to the safety cones and the directions of staff members as we will pull cars into the parking lot into 3 lines in the back. This will allow for quick and efficient unloading, while social distancing, as well as an easy exit for the drivers.

Bus Riders

Students will need to wear their masks on the bus. Students will be dismissed by grade level through a walkie talkie.

  • First, Fourth, and Sixth grades will enter through door 3.
  • Second, Third, and Fifth grades will enter through door 2.

All students will need to enter with their masks on, walking, social distancing, and head directly to their classrooms.


At 3:30, we will begin dismissal announcements.

Car Riders and AYS students:

Car riders and AYS will be dismissed by grades. Car riders will need to head directly to the cafeteria, where they will be seated by grade, waiting for the radio call to go out to the cars. AYS students will head to the media center. Please ensure that you have your students’ first and last name written on a piece of paper in the front windshield. We will give you the car rider slips to display on the first day. After the first day of school, please display the car rider slip in your window.

Several teachers and staff will be present to make sure students stay orderly in the halls as well as in the cafeteria.

Dismissal order is the following:

  • 6th and 1st
  • 2nd and 4th
  • 3rd and 5th

Bus Riders:

Bus riders will be escorted by their teacher to each bus. Bus riders will exit out of the designated door and remain in single file line on the right hand side of the sidewalk.

Dismissal order is the following:

  • 1st
  • 4th
  • 3rd
  • 6th
  • 2nd
  • 5th

Reminder about Transportation

Students who ride the bus will need to wear masks and will have assigned seats on the bus. Siblings will sit next to each other. Parents who wish to drive their students to school may do so.


Visitors are prohibited from entering the building this year. Parents and others will not be able to eat lunch with students or volunteer in classrooms. Field trips and guest speakers are also canceled this year. Convocations and celebrations will be virtual on WebEx.

When dropping a student off after 9 am, use Door 3. Only the student will enter the building. To pick up a student, the adult picking up the student will need ID to show at the door for verification. Your ID will be taken inside the building, scanned, and then returned. Once verification is completed, students will be released to the adult.

It is imperative for you to call ahead to the office at 317-856-6363 if you need to pick up your student before dismissal. Any transportation changes need to be communicated before 2:30.

If additional information is needed, please call the front office or use the speaker option on the bell to convey this information. No student will be released after 3:15, due to preparations for dismissal.

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Protocols for a Visit to the Nurse

If you need to drop off medication, please call ahead at 317-856-6363 and schedule an appointment with the nurse.

There will be two areas in our clinic: one for well children and one for sick or symptomatic children.

Sick Children:

  • If children are sick or symptomatic, the teacher must call the nurse with the information.
  • The student will then be sent to the nurse's office with a mask on.
  • The nurse will meet the student outside the clinic to take the student's temperature and check for symptoms.
  • If the student has a temperature of 100 or more, they will be sent him. Only the nurse can take temperatures and use the thermometer.
  • It is important for families to have established contacts who are able to pick students up within 30 minutes during the school day.
  • Children that are determined to go home will stay in the sick area of the clinic until they are picked up.
  • Other major illnesses or injuries will be addressed by the nurse.

Well Children:

  • Teachers will be provided with a bag of bandages, tooth carriers, etc so that students with minor scrapes, minor headaches lasting less than 20 minutes, minor stomach ache/nausea, splinters, paper cuts, picked scabs, or loose/lost teeth will not go to the clinic.
  • Students who have restroom accidents or clothing issues will go to the Communities in schools representative.
  • Medication will be administered through the clinic but children will have to knock on the locked door and wait in the seats next to the door to be seen. The nurse will administer those medications one student at a time.
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Meet the Teacher Night

Meet the Teacher Night will be virtual this year. Teachers will send parents and guardians an invite through Parent Square to participate in pre-recorded WebEx sessions. These sessions will introduce Valley Mills Administration, PTO, New Teachers, and also will cover new processes/procedures for this school year. It will also include a Title 1 presentation as well as introducing you to the your student's teacher along with information specific to your student's classroom. These invitations will be coming your way soon.
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Water fountains are closed at this time. We will have two water bottle stations installed. In the meantime, students will have a water bottle delivered at breakfast. Students may bring in their own reusable water bottle. During lunch, water will be made accessible to students in cups, through the lunch line. All water will be dispensed by staff to help with contact tracing.


Students will sit with classes, every other seat. Colored dots will be placed on the seats to help students know which seats to sit in. Students will have assigned seats in the cafeteria. All classes will enter into the "enter door" to go through the lunch line. If there is already a class in line, the entering class will go to their assigned seats to wait their turn. Bathroom breaks will be given in emergencies only. Adults will collect the trash and trays to limit movement in the cafeteria. All classes will stay together to aid in contact tracing. Sharing food will not be permitted. Additionally, no outside food from restaurants will be allowed to be brought in. Students are allowed to bring in their own packed lunch. Classes will exit, by class, through the exit doors.

All tables and seats will be disinfected between lunch periods. There will be a 10 minute break between classes to allow for disinfecting and cleaning to take place.

No visitors will be allowed to come in for lunch at this time.

Restroom Breaks and Transitions

Classes will have assigned restrooms and times. Students are permitted to go to the restroom for emergencies and will need to sign out for safety and contact tracing purposes.

Classes will travel through the halls in single file line on the right hand side. During transitions, students will wear masks and social distancing will take place. Fifth and Sixth grade teachers will travel to classrooms instead of the students switching, to limit movement. Students will still go to special area classes for those class times.

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Classrooms will be assigned a buddy class. These classrooms will stay together to help with contact tracing. One group of students will utilize the playground/grassy area and the other group of students will utilize the grassy track area. These groups will rotate days. Class levels that have 5 classrooms will have one class playing on the blacktop.

There will be no basketball, football, or other contact games permitted during this time. Jump ropes, kickballs, and other equipment will be disinfected after use.

Hand sanitizer will be available before and after recess to make sure all students have clean hands and to eliminate sharing of germs.

Playgrounds will be disinfected between uses to help keep all safe.


Specials classes will look differently this school year. Please see the following changes:

STEAM: Students will sit as socially distant. Supplies will be cleaned between classes and not shared when possible. Tables and chairs will be cleaned after each class.

PE: Class will take place outside as much as possible. If not possible, class will take place in the gym. Activities will include dance, exercise videos, and activities that do not require sharing equipment. Equipment will be disinfected after each use.

Music: Students will socially distance while seated on stools. The teacher will have a portable plexiglass barrier. Students will continue to wear masks while singing. If any music equipment is used, it will be cleaned after each class along with the chairs. Recorders will not be used at this time.

Media: Class will continue to take place in the library while students socially distance from one another. Students will not be checking out books at this time. Students will use MyON as a replacement for checking out books and will complete digital literacy lessons.

Classroom Protocols

Students will be socially distanced with masks on. All students will face the same direction. All students will have assigned seats.

Supplies will not be shared. Please send in supplies with your student. Those who are not able to provide supplies will have supplies provided for them.

Backpacks and other belongings will be either hang in cubbies with trash bags around them or on the back of chairs, if there are no cubbies in the room. Please make sure there is nothing attached to the backpack with the exception of an individual container of hand sanitizer, if applicable.

Unnecessary decorations as well as excess furniture will be removed from the room.

Students will have individual bags of books that they can access for their reading time. Any books that are returned will be wiped down and quarantined for 72 hours before being shared with another student.


Cummins therapists will still work with students and families. All family meetings will be held outside of the school, either in the home or another place in the community.

In Our Community

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2020-2021 Calendar

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Valley Mills Elementary

Principal: Rebecca Johnson

Assistant Principal: Stephanie Werner

Lead Teacher: Jennifer Keller

Treasurer: Thuong Crouch

Secretary: Toni Leedy

CIS Coordinator: Kiersti Binette

Nurse: Tracy Bieler

From the Board of Education:

It is the Board’s commitment to provide a safe, positive, productive and nurturing educational environment for all of its students. Any individual who believes a student has been or is the victim of discrimination, bullying, or harassment should report the situation to the building principal or designee or complete the School District’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying report form, which is available online at