September 11, 2020 - Issue #56
Welcome sights and sounds: buses and classrooms with children!
We did it! Parents, students, staff, and community-- we made it through our first week of school during a pandemic. Social distancing, masks, alternating bell schedules, extended class periods, synchronous distance learning, added lunch schedules, hand sanitizer stations, and many more adjustments have been met with determination and grace by all. We are so proud of our staff and students who have accommodated to this situation, and to our parents and community who continue to offer us grace and patience as we muster through these challenges.

The coming weeks and months bring more uncertainty as we tread these new waters. We will keep updates on our district News page as we learn more, as well as the district Facebook page.
First -- the Nurse...
REMINDER: Screen your children each morning!
Notes from the Nurse: Please remember to screen your children each morning before coming to school--see below for guidelines. Please call/email the school nurse with any questions or if you are unsure. If not done so already, complete the online health form.

We are updating our confidential health forms to an online version so we can quickly and easily access your child's medical history and current needs. We need this form filled out for EACH child in your home attending Pierz Schools, PK-12, regardless of their medical history. Click here: Confidential Health Form - one per child.

For more information, please visit the District Nurse webpage.
When to Stay Home from School
Please notify the school that your child will be absent and include the specific symptoms your child has. The nurse will follow up with you. Children should be kept home from school if they have any of the following symptoms:
They are exhibiting ONE of these symptoms: New or changing cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, fever of 100 or higher, recent contact with confirmed positive case of COVID-19, household members with symptoms of COVID symptoms.

They are are exhibiting TWO of these: Fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, congestion or runny nose.
Parent Pick-Up Review
Parent Pick-Up: Parent pick up has gone well so far this week. We have improved transfer of all children to parents from about 30 minutes the first day of school down to 20 minutes the 3rd day. This coming week we'll start over a bit when we add all of our PK and K students to the mix. But, we'll learn as we go and get better every day until all of us (students, parents and staff) get into a routine. No matter how much planning and preparation goes into it, these kinds of messy coordination efforts occur every school year with lunch, recess, busing, student pick and drop off, etc. This year we just have to add a few more wrinkles that need to be figured out, and we will do just that. Thank you all for you patience during this (and all!) new process. Again, to sign up for the Remind parent pick up, follow instructions here.

Please note: The Remind app is used for signing out PK-5 students only. It should not be used to communicate changes within the day; it is only monitored from 3-3:30. All changes to your pick up routine need to be a call to Lisa or Shari in the Pioneer Elementary office. 
District News
Morrison County Public Health Update - 9.10.2020
On September 8, Morrison County Public Health reported an increase in cases that pushed the Covid-19 14- day case rate over the ratio of 10. As you may recall, the new formula used by the entire state to assist schools in determining Learning Models is based upon the number of new Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days, per 10,000 residents, per county.

The fact that our county number crossed this new threshold does NOT mean all schools in the county are required to change to the next level. Public Health officials notified all Morrison County districts today they are not recommending any immediate change. Our county has formed a task force who continues to monitor the data which includes staff from all schools in the county. We constantly evaluate the data by zip code so all schools can make a more locally informed decision. More information on our News page.
USDA Summer Food Program to Continue = Free Food for All!
As of September 10th, the USDA allowed Pierz Schools the opportunity to receive a waiver which extends free meals to all enrolled students through December 31 or until the federal funding for this program has been exhausted. We are hoping this lasts through the end of this calendar year, but do not know for certain. As this is a temporary program waiver, we are not refunding pre-paid lunch accounts. Those will be utilized once again when the program ends. More information on our News page.

(Above): students eat in socially-distanced lunch room, commons, and the PAC.
Distance Learning Role to Assist Staff and Families Transition
We've transitioned Jessy Medek's role to coordinate distance learning for our district. She will be the liaison between parents and teachers to coordinate getting materials, books, Chromebooks, papers, etc. back and forth from school to home and back. She will be a great help, and if you have distance learners in your family you will likely hear from her soon, if not already.
Students Enjoy New Science Lab at Healy
Mr. Teske's students were treated to a brand new science lab this week as they filed into their socially-distanced science classes. The new lab replaces the lab that was part of the original building (circa 1960s). The space now has new lab stations, sinks, equipment and safety protocols along with more space for students. The lab also has a ClearTouch board, no asbestos, a brand new floor, and LED lighting. All good things!
Parent Checklist!
Feeling overwhelmed by the number of new 'things' you have to do to get ready for the year ahead? Fear not! Here's a quick checklist:
  1. Fill out the new confidential health form - one per child
  2. Fill out the Chromebook Acceptable Use/Policy Form - one per child:
  3. Pioneer Chromebook Form (6th grade only)
  4. Healy Chromebook Form
  5. Parents with students in any activities/sports at Healy during any season must watch and fill out the online Parent Meeting form
  6. Elementary parents (K-5): download the Remind app to your phone - this will be used for Parent Pick Up. No smart phone? No worries. You can still sign out via paper and pencil.
  7. 2020-21 School day schedule:
  • PreS-4: 8:20 AM-3:10 PM
  • Gr. 5-6:  8:20 AM-3:17 PM
  • Gr. 7-12: 8:12 AM-3:00 PM
Activities Updates
It's going to be a strange year for Healy activities to say the least. The best we can do is continue to be agile in our thoughts and actions and remain positive in light of the situation.

  • Tennis and Cross-Country have been competing with other schools. Meets are smaller and new rules are in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. Students are having a blast and learning valuable life long lessons.

  • JH Football and Volleyball started practice and will have intersquad games only this fall.

  • 9-12 grade Football and Volleyball can only practice 12 dates this fall and will hold practices Sept 14 through Oct 2. 

  • New this fall --Because the pandemic caused the cancelation of their spring season, Baseball, Softball and Golf can hold practice and will have practices Oct 5 through Oct 23.
Looking Ahead...
  • September 14 -First Day of Kindergarten
  • September 14 -School Readiness begins for Monday/Wednesday Class Sections
  • September 15 -School Readiness begins for Tuesday/Thursday Class Sections
  • September 24 - Healy Picture Retake Day
  • September 28 - Homecoming Coronation (Homecoming Week)
  • October 7 -Parent Teacher Conferences—H.S.
  • October 9- No School—Teacher Workshop Day
  • October 12-13 -Parent Teacher Conferences (Gr. K-6) – Elementary
  • October 15-16 -No School – Professional Days (MEA Break)
Current Community Ed Classes
By partnering with the Minnesota Highway Safety Research Center from SCSU, we are again offering in person Defensive Driver classes.
We ask that participants wear a mask, wash their hands or use sanitizer upon arrival and sit socially distanced.
The fee is $22 and dates will be posted on the website as they are set up.
The next class on September 17 is full but give us a call to join the wait list and we'll call you with dates and openings.
320-468-6458 ext 7
Pierz Public Schools #484
District Office: 320.468.6458
112 Kamnic Street, Pierz, MN 56364