Hello MPES families,
In spite of all our challenges, we are looking forward to seeing everyone in September! The building project is progressing and the teachers are putting in lots of time to get the classrooms ready for students.
As we prepare for a new year, I wanted to share some updates for the first day of school (September 7: K-5; September 9: 4K). Some of this information is in response to families’ questions for us.
Drop Off and Pick Up
With the new lower parking lot, there is no morning drop off along Cothern St. Families that drive their children to school will need to enter and exit the lot (or park along an adjacent street). Below is a rough sketch of this process.
Vehicles should either drop off or pick up along any part of the edge of the parking lot, briefly stopping, and then move ahead safely. If you need to park in the lot, use the marked off areas in the middle. We encourage all families to not park if possible and to use the drop-off/pick-up lane. It helps reduce traffic.
Busses will follow the same process as they have in the past, parking along Front St. by the baseball diamond and upper parking lot. Walkers will be dismissed after riders.
Parents, guardians and other family members can enter the school. All visitors ages 5 and up must wear masks. If you plan to walk your child in on the first day of school, please use an adjacent street to the school. The lot may quickly fill up and we want to keep that space clear for the safety of everyone.
Lunch and Recess
We have rescheduled our lunch time to allow for only one grade in the cafeteria at any one time. This will help with keeping cohorts separate and avoiding close contacts. There will be only minor overlap, such as when one grade comes in as another is dismissed.
For families that were interested, so far the district has been unable to partner with an outside virtual instruction provider. There has been a greater demand for these services from many districts, especially with the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in communities. The district will continue to pursue what is available.
For families attending in person, in the situation we have high numbers of close contacts/positive cases, or if your child has to quarantine, one or more students may have to pivot to a virtual learning environment. The district will use the matrix and the protocols to determine whether this is necessary. Teachers will be reviewing with their students how to use video conferencing tools and other software on laptops or tablets. We know how inconvenient this can be for everyone, yet we are also thankful that we have these tools to be able to teach and learn.
The district will send out a message every Friday afternoon letting families know the expectations for masks and other student safety measures. This decision is based on the board-approved matrix and protocol; you can review this information here. Even if masks are optional, we are strongly recommending masks for all students and staff at the elementary.
We will continue to follow the additional layers of safety to mitigate spread, including spacing between students, classrooms cohorts, practicing good hand hygiene, and testing at school. You are expected to report any symptoms to our nurse before sending your child to school.
Someone recently pointed out to me that this is our third school year teaching during a pandemic. It has been a stressful experience for everyone, including you, as well as for our faculty and staff members. They continue to prepare for an uncertain future.
Next are some suggestions for how you can best support their efforts:
- Write a note of thanks.
- Read all communications from the classroom.
- If they post a request through Donors Choose and you are in a position to support it, please donate.
- Ask your teacher how you can support your child at home.
- Request your child wear a mask even when not required.
I understand people have different feelings regarding this last suggestion. Personally, and as I shared with the school board last week, I have no feelings associated with wearing a mask. It is just another tool like social distancing and hand washing to help students be safe. I am vaccinated, so the benefit rests largely with those who are not such as our young students.
We will have a beautiful renovated school to enjoy very soon. It would be great to be able to enjoy it all year long without interruption. Thank you for your support in keeping everyone safe and learning!
PRINCIPAL, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Matt has served for over 20 years in public education. He started as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in a country school outside of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. After seven years of teaching, Matt served as an assistant principal, athletic director, and building principal all in Wisconsin Rapids. As an elementary principal with the Mineral Point Unified School District, he enjoys working with students, staff, and families in a collective pursuit of continuous learning.