October 6, 2020
Iron Parents & Guardians,
I hope everyone is doing well and that you’re enjoying the Fall weather! I also hope that you and your family are staying healthy during these challenging times. With all that is going on, I wanted to provide you with some NCHS specific information regarding our return to in-person learning. We are hopeful for a positive, productive, and efficient return to in-person instruction beginning with our 9th grade students (and FMP mentors) during the week of October 19th. We do have a significant number of students who will be completely remote, which we believe will further decrease overall class sizes for students attending in-person twice a week.
I would encourage parents to take a close look at the U5 Return to School plan. This plan outlines the stages of reopening U5 schools, mitigation strategies, and in-person learning information such as transportation and lunch.
The following schedule will be used to bring students back to school at NCHS:
Week of October 19-23: 9th graders only (plus Freshmen Mentoring Program mentors)
Week of October 26-30: 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades
Please note that we will be following a condensed Wednesday Synchronous Schedule for our HS students beginning on October 21st. This day is a time for teachers to meet synchronously with the entire class, check in with remote only students, meet with small groups, review assessments, or provide social-emotional learning support. Teachers will provide class specific information on how they will provide instruction on Wednesday. This schedule will be used on ALL Wednesdays, including those that are Late Starts.
Safety Protocols at NCHS
Our custodial staff will be cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often than on a normal school day. These surfaces would include door handles, bathroom faucets, cafeteria tables, etc. Each classroom is equipped with a spray bottle of disinfectant, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. Teachers can spray desktops and other frequently touched surfaces as needed with this disinfectant. Items such as SMART board markers will be disinfected between uses. Signage will be posted on the floor and walls reminding students to stay socially distanced.
Masks must be worn from the time students enter the building until the time they leave the building. The only exceptions to this would be when students are seated for lunch and also if students go outside for PE and are 6ft or more away from one another. This is a requirement from the district. If students refuse to wear masks while in the building, then they would need to move to 100% remote instruction.
Students will need to be certified by their parents that they don’t have a fever and do not have symptoms of COVID 19. This will occur through an app that the district is finalizing details about. More information will be shared once those details are finalized. It is important to note that if students show up at school and a parent or guardian has not certified them through the app, the student will need to be pulled from class and screened before continuing their day.
With the exception of students in pool-based PE classes, students will not utilize the locker rooms. As a result, students will also not be dressed in a traditional PE uniform as they normally would. Locker rooms will only be available for the purpose of using the restroom. If you did order PE clothes earlier in the summer from Minerva, they will be here for pick up once school begins.
Students need to have a pair of tennis shoes to be worn during PE, which can be the same pair they wear to school. Also, students should dress in clothes that allow for movement in PE classes. The plan for PE is to be outside as much as possible for the rest of the semester. We realize that the weather can be chilly, especially in the morning hours, but we also want to provide as much activity as possible outdoors. We are very hopeful this provides much needed mask breaks for our students if they so choose to do so. As a reminder, students can remove their masks outdoors so long as they are 6 feet apart, practicing safe social distancing.
Masks must be worn while inside, even during PE class. PE teachers have modified all activities for the health and safety of our students to ensure that students aren’t over exerting themselves with masks on. Also, teachers have created a process for sanitizing PE equipment between students and/or classes.
To start in-person learning, there will be only one hot lunch option or a deli sandwich for students to select. There will be no a la carte options. Signage will be posted throughout the cafe on the floor and on the walls reminding students to stay socially distanced. Tables and chairs will be removed to accommodate a 6ft. distance between students eating. Students will be facing the same direction. Other areas will be utilized for students to eat lunch such as the atrium, fish bowl, and multi-purpose room. We have also acquired several picnic tables that are placed outside our bus lane doors and in front of the building that students may choose to eat at as well.
Due to the unusual circumstances of this school year, Parent/Teacher conferences have been postponed. October 23rd will now be a regular attendance day for students.
Election Day & Columbus Day - No School
The Illinois State Board of Education announced earlier this year that schools will be closed on November 3, 2020 for election day. Therefore, no remote or in-person learning will occur on November 3rd. As an additional reminder, there is no school this coming Monday, October 12th for Columbus Day.
Just a reminder to continue to call your students in for medical appointments, trips out of town, etc., just as you would if we were learning in person. Even if your student has told their teacher about being absent for an upcoming class period, we still need to code them correctly in our Infinite Campus system. Again, our attendance line is 309-557-4450.
As always, we appreciate your partnership in your child’s education. Transitioning from remote instruction will not be easy and there will be bumps along the road. However, please know that the entire staff at NCHS is working hard to provide for a process that will be as safe and efficient as possible. We all appreciate your patience as we navigate through this together. I’ll continue to communicate with families as more information and details are received. Stay well!
Dr. Trevor Chapman
Normal Community High School