Letter from the Principal

Brandon Wojcik

For many of us, this time of the year is usually filled with enthusiasm and optimism for the start of a new school year.  Although that is still the case with many of our families, there is still an enduring fear of the unknown.  But I do know two things for sure, kids need to be back at school and the staff and I are excited to see our kids again after almost 6 months!  We continue to plan and evaluate procedures across the board in order to safely bring back kids and make their experience the best it can be.  As we embark on this adventure, it is important to remember that this will not last forever, we will get through this together.

For the physical, mental and academic health of our students and staff, it is necessary for a typical school day to look different than we are used to.  During the planning of our reopening, I worked with staff, parents and students to navigate between addressing all concerns and mandates while at the same time preserving some semblance of normalcy for our kids.  There will be the added element of social distancing, proper hand hygiene, sanitizing and mask wearing added to our existing curriculum, but beyond that we expect kids to recognize many similarities to a typical school year. 

To that end, it’s important to make you aware of some very important changes to the procedures here at the Jr.-Sr. High School and to remind you that our website will contain all of the information we have for reopening, including bell schedules and calendars.

Reduced capacity: In order to accommodate social distancing guidelines and safely get kids back into the building, it becomes necessary to start off the year at a reduced capacity.  We will evaluate the capacity as the school year moves forward and work to get our attendance back to normal.  Your household should have been notified by now that you have been assigned to one of two teams.  In a normal week, the Green Team will report to school on Monday and Thursday, while the Gold Team is educated remotely.  The Gold Team will report to school Tuesday and Friday, while the Green Team is remotely engaged.  All students will be engaged remotely on Wednesday The bell schedule will be followed every day school is in session, whether students are remote or in person.  A calendar will be published monthly for reference and will provide guidance on the weekly schedule during holiday weeks.

The school will be deep cleaned every day, not just on Wednesday.  This hybrid model allows teachers to see students twice before the remote day on Wednesday, and then twice again before the weekend.  Our task force felt this model was the most instructionally sound and did not compromise any health or safety standards for students or staff.  The added benefit is that it also allows us to have students take home breakfast and lunch for the days they are remote, instead of having parents pick them up each day.

Bell Schedule: The bell schedule has been modified to allow for staggered arrival and dismissal of students in an effort to keep crowding in the hallways to a minimum.  We have also increased the time between classes to be able to clean and sanitize workspaces.  The last period of the day, traditionally known as “10th period” has been designated as office hours for staff.  Every teacher will be available to meet with students via Zoom or Meet at that time for extra help or instruction.  This period is designed for those students who are remote on that day, so they can connect in smaller numbers or individually to get help with the day’s lesson or touch base about project work.  Teachers will communicate their preferred method of these virtual office hours within the first two weeks of the school year.

Building entry:  For those riding the bus, the building entry procedure will be as it always was, at the gymnasium doors.  Students transported by bus will be screened for temperature prior to leaving the bus.  Students not taking the bus will not be admitted to the building before 7:50 AM and can choose between two entrances.   The entrance facing Route 62, near the Family and Consumer Science room or the entrance by the athletic field, near the weight room.  Upon entering the building, temperature screenings will be conducted.  Student drop off is in the student and staff parking lot which is supervised by an adult.  Please do not pull into the bus loop, as it poses a significant safety hazard.

General Building Information: 

  • Hallways will function much like roads, traffic will always stay to the right side of the hallway in the direction you are headed.  Arrows will be posted on the floor for reference in an effort to accommodate non drivers and bad drivers alike.
  • Students should communicate with counselors regarding non-urgent issues via email, office hours will be limited to social and emotional issues for the first few weeks.
  • Placards and other reminders about hand hygiene and social distancing will be posted conspicuously throughout the building. 
  • Restroom capacity will be limited, so hall passes will be given only when necessary and the agenda will be used to monitor frequency of use.  No one will be allowed to leave a classroom without the agenda properly filled out.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be a combination of hot meals and grab and go type meals.  We will look to make the grab and go meals available in the cafeteria and elsewhere in the building.  Students may not always be able to eat in the cafeteria, they may need to eat in a classroom depending on schedule and capacity. 
  • Water fountains will be disabled, only the bottle fillers will be functional so reusable water bottles are highly recommended. 
  • Lockers will be color coded and limited throughout the day to avoid congestion between classes.

 We understand the impact these changes can potentially have on the social and emotional health of kids.  We will have staff throughout the building to help students get acclimated to the new procedures.  Our entire staff will be on the lookout for any sign of distress and as always, our counselors are available to deal with these things as they come up. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer and rest up.  We’re gearing up for an admittedly different, but nonetheless exciting and productive school year.

Respectfully,


Brandon F. Wojcik
Jr.-Sr. High School Principal


 

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