September 20, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

We have been enjoying some lovely early fall days, and on most days it appears our Lower School is outside learning at several times during the day. Please make sure your children bring sweatshirts and/or jackets to school daily as it can be cool in the shade, especially if they are sitting at one of our 15 outdoor learning areas.

As you read in Friday’s letter from Mr. Lee, school photos are coming up. No lower school photos will be taken this upcoming Monday, September 21st, and that evening you will receive the schedule. There are many changes to school photos this year, so please be mindful that there may be some last-minute changes based on how it proceeds.

The morning dropoff and afternoon pickup times are improving -- thank you. We are actually back to our normal ending time for morning dropoff. Children have quickly learned how to say their goodbyes before pulling up, putting on their masks in the car, opening and shutting their own doors and heading into the building. In the afternoon, we still have delays but expect them to also improve once we are using the SchoolPass app. If your children still require your assistance during pickup in the afternoon, please park and walk your children to the entrance. We continue to use the paper-and-pencil method for our Health Screening Form. All students entering the school must have this form completed before coming to school. If you forget, we will provide forms and take your children’s temperatures in the carline.

A few questions have come up recently about recess and the playground equipment we are using. Our nurses, Beckie Hoagland and Janet Fireman, along with our Director of Facilities and Grounds Doug Bennett, have been in frequent communication with Franklin County Public Health in regards to their recommendations for schools. We will continue to follow their recommendations to ensure the safe use of our playground equipment and recess recommendations.

  • Recess will be spent with their homeroom pods or cohort. This is the same for how we organize the day inside the building.
  • The installed playground equipment is being used by a different classroom each day (this includes the early childhood playground, the lower school playground and the middle school playground). It requires sanitizing each structure when the day is done, which is the reason why only one class may use it each day.
  • Students playing games in which they kick a ball to another person or throw an item (football, frisbee, etc.) must keep their masks on while outside.
  • All games involving touchless tag (there are some very creative ones that involve not physically touching another person) require the participants to wear their masks.
  • We are recommending that students who wish to throw a ball with another student or other shared objects purchase a pair of athletic gloves that will remain at school. These can be found online or in sporting good stores for approximately $10-$15 (see example). If this is a financial hardship, please email me so the school can provide a pair for your child. These gloves will be labeled and kept at school.
  • Students are required to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands when they come inside from recess.

The dates for the Lower School Back-to-School Nights are October 5-6. Both nights will be on Zoom and begin at 6:30 p.m. An opening general session will be followed by homeroom class presentations. Links will be sent closer to those dates.

6:30 p.m.   Welcome from Mr. Hansen, General Information and Introductions
7:00 p.m.   Homeroom Teacher Information
Back-to-School Night Schedule
We will continue with our Parent Book Club this school year. Our first book is entitled There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk. Our book club will be virtual on Zoom, and we will meet on Tuesday, September 29, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. to discuss chapters 1-3 (pages 1-108). If interested, please complete this form -- we already have 14 parents signed up!

This week’s parenting article is from the University of California, Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center and is entitled Seven Ways the Pandemic is Affecting Our Mental Health.

Please note that there will be no school on Monday, September 28th, so we hope students enjoy the upcoming three-day weekend.

Be well,

Head of Lower School