Dear Madison 321 Parents and Staff,
On behalf of the Madison 321 Board of Trustees and district administration, I first want to thank you for your flexibility and patience as we worked through the COVID-19 situation together last spring.
The rapid transition from face to face instruction in the classroom to full online was an “uneven” one.
Despite the abruptness of the transition, I appreciated just how quickly our amazing teaching staff was able to adapt to the change.
I was also very pleased that in Madison 321 we kept all of our staff employed and continued to provide food service for hundreds of our families.
I sincerely appreciate the parental support you’ve given during the stay at home experience. Many of you have children at different levels in the school district, which made juggling assignments and computer usage a challenge. Thank you for your care, hard work and dedication.
After deliberation with Eastern Idaho Public Health, our COVID-19 Task Force and the Madison 321 Board of Trustees, we are planning this fall for a full return to face-to-face classroom instruction. This includes a return to extracurricular activities in the fall.
We reviewed alternative scheduling models but were concerned about loss of instructional time for students and the adverse impact that alternating schedules would have on parents who both work outside the home. Online learning also presented and presents a very difficult challenge for many in our special needs population.
Therefore, we are excited for the upcoming school year and are looking forward to having our students return to their classes.
The Board of Trustees and I recognize that there is continuing concern regarding COVID-19. I want to assure you that we share your concerns and are being proactive in keeping our buildings as safe as possible for students and staff.
Though we cannot guarantee a germ free environment, or entirely prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 or any other virus, we are taking the following steps to sanitize our facilities:
- We are cleaning high traffic surfaces (i.e. drinking fountains and doorknobs multiple times with disinfectant during the school day).
- School buses are cleaned on a daily basis.
- We will be practicing and encouraging social distancing where feasible and are asking our students to space themselves apart while standing in registration and lunch lines or while waiting for the drinking fountain, etc…
- Some classrooms and activities will require a non-invasive thermometer reading before entry or participation.
- We have hand sanitizer available in every classroom
- We will provide face masks upon request
- We will be frequently teaching and demonstrating proper hygiene techniques to students.
- We are dividing our “all school” assemblies in order to provide more effective social distancing
- We are asking you as parents to provide your child with a washable and reusable cloth mask.
- Some of our teachers and or their family members are in a high risk category, or have immune deficiencies and therefore, may reasonably be asking all of their students to wear face masks in their classrooms. We are asking you as parents to respect this request.
- Please keep your child or children home if they are ill, particularly if they are coughing or have a fever
- Please do not send children back to school until they have been fever free without the need for medicine, for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Please keep your child home if you as a parent or caregiver have a severe cold or fever
- Encourage your children to not share their food or water bottles with others.
- Due to the virus, as a district, we are suspending our attendance policies for the upcoming school year
- We are requesting that you video your daily lessons and / or place all of your lesson content online in case of students who are home due to an extended illness
- In order to reduce the number of online platforms we were using; Madison 321 has established “Schoology” as our K-12 district online learning management system. Using a single online platform should reduce confusion and simplify student and parental access.
- The district will be providing instructional online lessons on how to access and utilize Schoology
Ultimately, we recognize and respect that the decision and responsibility to send your children to school remains with you the parent or care giver.
We are looking forward to a safe and healthy school year!
Dr. Geoff Thomas