A-A schools return back to class on Monday

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Return to Learn (RTL) plan was the focus of the Aug. 13th Alta-Aurelia School Board meeting. “It’s going to be okay. We have a good plan. I have faith in our kids and our system,” Superintendent William Walters said.

“Our kids will do great. They want to be here which is awesome,” he said, adding that other superintendents say the same thing.

He said that currently 725 students are registered in the school district, pre-k through 12, compared to last year when 710 registered.

However, challenges are to be expected. “We’re going to try to keep the masks on the kids. It won’t be easy,” Williams said, emphasizing that it will not be punitive, either.

“Our staff is ready. They’re anxious. I’m really proud of them.” The first day of school will be Aug. 24th.

Principals presented their specific RTL plans with safety protocols to the board and each previously sent an informative letter to parents. Most safety protocols are standardized throughout all A-A schools which include:

Face coverings for students and staff will be provided to all who need them, and must be worn when there is an inability to social distance inside, except when eating. Masks will be required for choir and band students.

Arrivals and dismissals will be staggered so that busses will be only half full. More bus routes will be done this year. Upon dismissal, students must leave the buildings directly except for extracurricular activities.

Water fountains will not be used so students are encouraged to bring water bottles, and lunchrooms will be at half capacity with half of the students eating in their classrooms on a rotating basis.

Visitors (including parents) will not be allowed in the building during the school day unless there is an emergency. For technology, students will use their own computer or laptop assigned to them. P.E. clothes should be taken home daily with students. Sanitizing will take place throughout the day.

The new high school principal, Scott Mitchell, gave a report to the board summarizing the above safety protocols in the high school. The plan is to keep classes under 20 students and to keep doors open for ventilation.

They are working on a solution to decrease congestion in the hallways. High school choir will be divided and will meet on alternate days.

Nearly all students will return. “We’ve only got 3 high school kids that are going to take online classes,” he said.

On Aug. 19th, Mitchell hosted a Google Meet for students and families.

Jeannie Henningsen, principal of Aurelia Elementary and Alta-Aurelia Middle School, briefed school board members.

“We’re encouraging kids, we’re going to ask them to wear a mask. We think we can do it. We know there will be some elementary (school) issues, but they’ll figure it out,” Henningsen said.

For middle school students’ transition between classes, dismissal times will be staggered to help with hallway congestion. School arrivals and dismissals will involve one class at a time loading off and onto the busses.

Most students will return this year. “We have a full building,” Henningsen said. Four middle school students and a few elementary students will not return.

Stacy Mueller, Principal of Alta Elementary School, also briefed the board.

“We will try to go outside as much as we possibly can,” she said. For recess, the football field and old playground will be used in order to socially distance.

“A lot of our students will be eating in the classroom which they’re actually more excited about.” Guidance will be held in the classrooms using social distancing.

The elementary school numbers are up quite a bit from last year, Mueller said. Six students will learn online.

In other meeting news -

On the topic of network management, the board voted to approve adding an additional $3,300 to the Technology Coordinator’s supplemental contract. Walters said that Ryan Fredin, the technology coordinator, does so much and manages the school’s technology 24-hours a day when necessary.

Decisions still need to be made about homecoming and the parade, and tentative plans are to have a parade for those who want to participate. The spring musical plans are undecided. “We want to do something for the kids,” Walters said.

At the high school, Mitchell and Walters have been discussing the grading scale which is not yet finalized, and they plan to meet to discuss further. Mitchell has been consulting with other school districts regarding grading scales.

The substitute teacher position is being advertised. “We’re pretty thin on substitute teachers,” Walters said. The district went from 6 or 7 subs last year to currently 2.