Monday, September 14, 2020
Lowry Family Update
Dear Lowry Families,
As many of you have heard, the district has released its plan to gradually return students for in-person learning. The district has worked closely with health experts and partners at Denver Health and other local and state officials to plan for a safe and gradual return to in-person learning. Families are encouraged to check out the DPS Current COVID Conditions and Readiness Indicator website to see data provided directly from Denver Health and updated daily.
Based on the latest health data and feedback from our teachers, leaders and families, the district plans to bring elementary students back to their classrooms for in-person learning using a phased-in approach over the coming weeks. Like some of you, we are cautiously eager to welcome students back for in-person learning considering that we know our young children learn best through social interaction, hands-on activities, and strong relationships with educators.
In-person Schedules and Homeroom In-person Placements
This is an unprecedented year. When Lowry moves to in-person learning, the Lowry day will look very different than in past years. To maintain structure and consistency, students will receive all content in the morning, just like they are in remote learning. Lunch hour times might shift a little to accommodate classrooms and social distancing protocols, and students will eat lunch in their classroom. Asynchronous specials will happen after lunch in the classroom, students will not be pulled out for specials, and the remainder of the day will be dedicated to work in SeeSaw and/or extensions for students. According to current guidance, all pull-out programs such as Gifted and Talented, Intervention and Special Education services will be provided virtually through google meets within the general education classroom. Due to the current cohort requirements students will participate in their supplemental groups virtually from the general education classroom.
The district has confirmed that this Friday, September 18 is the deadline for families to choose the 100% virtual or 100% in-person option for their child. This is a commitment for the first semester. We need this commitment so we can plan for the return to in-person school accordingly. If a family does not make a choice, your child’s placement will default to 100% virtual. At the school level, once we know how many students have opted in to either option, we will have a better idea of exactly what the return to in-person school will look like. If the majority of a school or grade level leans towards a virtual option, we will obviously adapt to that situation. Please be aware that if you opt for the in-person option, there is a chance that your child may not stay in their current homeroom class due to unforeseen variables (i.e. one class with 5 students opting in to in-person and another with 20 students. We would have to make adjustments accordingly.) We will work to maintain current homeroom cohorts for consistency as best we are able.
In-person Return – Physical Distancing, Cohorting and Masks
Physical distancing/Cohoring distancing will be implemented throughout the school day to the greatest extent possible. Our students will be cohorted by classrooms for a majority of the school day. Our teachers are working hard to remove non-essential furniture from their classrooms to allow more space for physical distancing.
All staff and students are required to wear masks daily except during breakfast, lunch, outside recess, and during strong physical activity. During those times, we will continue to implement physical distancing to the greatest extent possible. We will manage this in a developmentally appropriate manner and we will be providing safety information for each grade level to ensure all of our staff and students are trained appropriately on how to wear their masks, how to maintain appropriate physical distances as well as how to transition throughout the building while following health and safety guidelines.
In-person Return Details – Soft Start Arrival and Breakfast
We have created a student arrival plan and have included our entrance map to maximize physical distancing and cohort distancing as students arrive in the morning. Students should not arrive on campus prior to 8:00 am. At 8:00 am, Lowry staff will open and monitor the entrances to screen each student at each health monitoring station before entering the building. Classroom teachers will be in their classrooms ready to greet students. When students arrive, they will hang up their backpacks and coats then follow the classroom handwashing plan.
Breakfast: Breakfast will be delivered to the classroom. Students who eat breakfast at school will do so in the classroom. Until we have a better idea of how many students will eat breakfast at school, we would like to ask families to inform their child’s homeroom teacher daily.
Walkers: We will have a large percentage of families who walk their children to school this year. We realize this is part of what makes Lowy an exciting place in the mornings. Please help us keep our staff, students and community safe by wearing your masks and socially distancing. Please do not arrive on campus prior to 8:00 am. Students will report directly to their assigned doors for a health screening prior to entering the building. The playgrounds will not be open prior to school day, so please do not arrive early. When you arrive on campus, you may escort your child to their assigned grade level cohort entrance and say your goodbyes. Then we kindly ask that you leave the school grounds. We need to be mindful of large gatherings on campus.
Bus Riders: The district is not able to provide yellow bus service to Lowry students at this time. If anything changes prior to the start of in-person school, we will keep you informed. Please reach out to the Department of Transportation with questions about bus service.
Bike Riders: Bike racks will be available in their normal spots. Please know that they will not be supervised by adults. Students are encouraged to have a lock to secure their bike while socially distancing.
Kiss and Go Lanes: A detailed plan for arrival will be included in the grade level Back-to-School virtual presentation.
Late Arrivals: Students who arrive after 8:30 am will not be permitted to enter through any doors except the Front Office doors. They will need to be screened at the front door and must stand by the orange cones on the front sidewalk to maintain distance while waiting.
Leaving Early: For any students leaving early from school, the adult picking up will buzz the front office, wait outside and a staff member will bring the student to the adult. Adults picking up must have picture identification available.
For the 2020-21 school year, students will eat lunch prior to recess, and our schedule will be staggered. In addition, students will eat lunch as a classroom group (single cohort) in their classroom. If a child brings their lunch from home, they can stay in the classroom and begin eating. School lunches will be delivered to classrooms for grades ECE-1. We will work to deliver lunches for 2nd-5th grades, but students may have to walk through the cafeteria line to pick-up their lunch and bring it back to the classroom. Visual cues will be marked to provide guidance for physical distancing as students line up to pick up their lunch. Classroom teachers will provide time in their schedule prior to lunch for students to wash hands. Masks will be worn in hallways on the way to pick up and return with lunch. Students will be responsible for picking up their own area after they eat, and our staff will disinfect the area between each cohort. After lunch, students will be escorted out to an outside space for recess. Masks are not required during recess; we will be providing carabiners for students to attach their masks to in order to prevent misplaced masks. When students return to class after recess, the classroom teachers will provide time for students to wash their hands.
Dismissal is a busy time. It is a time for teachers to get children out of the building and home safely. We will have a controlled dismissal starting at 2:40pm of students to support physical distance. Students will be dismissed in an orderly fashion. We will share the detailed dismissal plan at grade level Back-to-School Night meetings.
Water Bottles & Masks
Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school. Be sure they are labeled with their first initial and last name. Masks are required and should be labeled with student names. Students need 2 masks per day: One on their face and an extra in their backpack.
Visitors and Dropping off Items
All visitors must come to the front door and use the doorbell to communicate the purpose of their business with the front office. Visitors or ANY COMMUNITY MEMBERS, INCLUDING PARENTS will not be allowed to enter the building. If you need to drop off an item the office will direct you through our no contact method.
If you are signing a student out of the building, the parent will sign the student out and wait for the student outside the main doors to ensure physical distancing.
We do realize that sometimes students may forget items. If you have items such as a lunch, coat, etc. to drop off for your child, we will have a small brown tub outside of the main door under the door bell for you to place items. Please make sure the item is labeled with your child’s name and classroom teacher.
Also note we will not be allowing visitors to provide food/treats or snacks to cohorts. You may only provide food for your child.
Phasing in Before- and Afterschool Care
Registration for our before- and after school care programs will open for ECE, kindergarten, and first-grade students on Sept. 16. Please reach out to Samantha Gray, our Discovery Link supervisor, with any questions.
Updating Student Enrollment Options
In order to change your enrollment from the option you are currently enrolled in, to another option you will need to access the parent portal, and update the Annual Family Update form here.
More information tomorrow and throughout this week about the Lowry Return to In-person School
At this point in time, we know you need as much information as possible to make an informed decision. We are providing you with some information here, and will be following up with even more comprehensive information in a parent letter tomorrow. We need some time with our staff to confirm the details before we send out specific dates,times and etc. We will also host our regularly scheduled Coffee with the Principal this Wednesday, September 16 from 9-10 am.
Zoom Link for the Next Family Coffee with the Principal: Wednesday, September 16th 9:00-10:00am
Thank you for your continued support of Lowry Elementary.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Continue to Fly High, Aviators!
Ms. Nault and Dr. Jemison