My name is Kyle Reeve, I am the new principal of Tilford Elementary. I am very excited and eager to begin the 2020-2021 school year. This will be a school year unlike any other and the staff at Tilford is ready to meet the challenges and opportunities that will be presented. We will be implementing a number of changes that will require additional teaching on our end and collaboration with families. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask your child’s teacher or call our office. The rest of this letter will lay out information on how we will safely welcome students and staff back into our building.
All students need to register for school. If you are choosing in-person, virtual or homeschool you still need to register. The link below will direct you to our district’s registration information.
First Day of School!
As a result of the damage, and because the community needs time to get back on its feet, the Vinton-Shellsburg School Board approved moving the start date of school until Monday, August 31. To accommodate for a later start date, the following days have been added to the school calendar: Jan. 18, Feb. 15, April 6, and May 28. In the event of a snow day, we will look at doing continuous learning from home for that day.
- First day of school for Grades 1-4 will be Monday, August 31. This will be a 2 hour early dismissal.
- Kindergartener’s first day will be Tuesday, September 1.
- Preschool students will begin on Wednesday, September 2.
Back to School Conferences
Elementary staff will be holding Back to School Conferences from 5-8 pm on Thursday, August 27. This time is for students to bring their items to school and meet their teacher. We will utilize Conference Scheduler to create a schedule for the evening and will also offer a virtual option. More information on this will be coming soon. Face coverings will be required for students, parents, and staff.
At the August board meeting the school board voted to adopt the following protocol for face coverings. Face coverings include disposable masks, cloth masks, neck gaiters, and face shields.
“Wearing face coverings by students and staff is required in hallways, indoor common spaces, on busses, and when physical distancing is not possible. Students may remove face coverings during instruction if they are distanced 6 feet apart or per teacher instruction. Face covering breaks shall be provided throughout the day.”
If your child is not accustomed to wearing a face mask while at home, you may want to talk with them about the expectation and practice wearing one for short periods of time. There are many valid views on mask wearing, and while I respect everyone’s opinion, it will be an expectation at school. Anything you can do at home to put a positive spin on it will help and is appreciated.
Cohort is a term we will be using a lot this year, a cohort is a group of students. In the elementary setting our cohorts will be based on classroom teacher. For example, there are four sections of 2nd-grade at Tilford, each of these sections will be a cohort. Students in the same cohort will follow the same schedule and spend their school day together to reduce exposure from students in other cohorts.
Arrival & Dismissal
Our arrival and dismissal procedures are still under review. In order to maintain cohorts and reduce large groupings of students, arrival and dismissal will take more time than usual, especially early in the school year as we establish our routines. We appreciate everyone’s patience!
Lunch will be adjusted to accommodate social distancing. Table and seating arrangements will allow students to space out and not sit directly across from each other. We will use other areas in the building (auditorium stage and art room) for overflow seating to stagger our lunch schedule, accommodate large classes, and allow time to clean. We will also be implementing other modifications to our lunch routine including disposal tableware, milk delivery, and quicker checkout procedures.
We have made adjustments to our Specials (PE, Art, Music, Guidance, Library, Technology) schedule this year. Students will be participating in one Special class for a 6-day cycle. After each cycle, cohorts will rotate to a different Special class. Art and Music will be traveling and taking place in classrooms. This reduces travel through the building and will allow students to use their own materials. PE will utilize outdoor space. We have also built in time between classes to clean and disinfect materials.
Students will still have recess. Our grade level teams get their own recess times as much as our schedule allows. Students will still be able to use our playground equipment and other areas around the school. When we have indoor recess students will remain in their cohort groups.
This year our building will be using two nurse’s offices. One office will be for our typical medications, injuries, and day to day health needs. A second nurse’s office has been established to use for any student that staff has concerns of having COVID symptoms. Staff will evaluate the students sent to this room and next steps will be determined and parents will be contacted. If your child is symptomatic, please be prepared to have a plan for picking them up as soon as possible. We will be following the District and Benton County Health protocols, which can be found on the school website.
*Find updates and view more information on our Return to Learn page.
Hallways, Lockers & Restrooms
Students will still have access to their lockers and restrooms. Teachers will work together to stagger the times their sections are out at their lockers at arrival and dismissal. Teachers will also work together to stagger times where their sections have regularly scheduled restroom breaks. Those teachers who have restrooms in their classrooms (PK & K) will use those as their primary restrooms. While students are in the hallways, at their lockers, or using the restroom face coverings will be required.
We will be implementing more frequent cleaning procedures throughout our building. The common touch areas (door handles, light switches, etc…) will be wiped down multiple times a day. Teachers will have access to disinfectant wipes to regularly clean surfaces between groups and activities. Our custodians will be disinfecting our restrooms and classrooms frequently with special equipment.
Please send your student to school each day with a filled water bottle that will be secure during morning transportation. The water bottle should be labeled with your student’s first name, last name, and teacher’s name. Please DO NOT send a water bottle made from glass. Our water bottle filling stations will operate for students to fill their water bottles during the day but our drinking fountains will be disabled. Bottles will be sent home daily to clean.
Any snacks brought to the building will need to be purchased from a grocery store or licensed vendor. We prefer snacks that are individually wrapped (ex: Little Debbie snacks). Any snacks that are not individually wrapped (ex: Goldfish crackers) will be distributed by an adult.
At this time, visitors will not be allowed in the building in order to reduce exposure. This will include parents wanting to visit their students at lunch. Volunteers will be limited and need to be approved by the principal.
Attendance will not be tracked as in past years. If students are showing symptoms of being ill, we ask that they are kept home. We will be tracking student participation in their learning. Our staff is prepared to work with students and families when absences do occur. If a student is in quarantine, we will work with families to ensure learning is taking place. There will be no awards for attendance.
Information regarding Hybrid Learning Groups will be released soon so families can prepare in the event this plan is activated. The Hybrid Learning Plan will only be utilized in the event in-person learning, 5 days a week, is deemed unsafe. This decision will be made by the school district.
I truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work together to have a successful start to a new school year. The 2020-2021 school year will be unlike any other. As a school community, if we embrace this challenge with a collaborative, positive mindset I believe that we can come together and provide our students with the high-quality education they deserve. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me any time at school.
Principal, Tilford Elementary