January 8th, 2021
RE: Phase 5 Safe Learning Plan
¡Feliz año nuevo! Here’s hoping that this year will be better than the last, and that this week’s disorder and violence in Washington is not an indication of what is in store for us in 2021. Many of our teachers have been working through this issue in an age appropriate manner with their students, helping them understand and process it. The ISLA students with whom we have spoken are hopeful, but know that there is much more to learn to understand diverse perspectives, and even more work to do to create and maintain a peaceful and tolerant world. At the same time, we recognize that overall, we have much to be thankful for right now, and the future is bright for ISLA.
I would like to reiterate and clarify a few things about our Phase 5 of our Safe Learning Plan, and point out a few other key dates:
Busing rules: The driver must be separated from the riders by 6 feet, and preferably be separated with a physical barrier. If this can be maintained, then the driver would not be considered a close contact if a student on the bus ends up testing positive for COVID-19. Students need to be spaced out as much as possible. For determining close contacts on the bus, we would consider students in the same row as the positive student, those 2 rows in front of the student and those 2 rows behind the student. These are the students that we would ask to quarantine. The 30 minute rule is gone; we consider them as close contacts if they rode the bus for 15 minutes cumulative in a day (time in the bus to school AND on the ride home). They are encouraging cross ventilation, so have windows cracked open on the bus (even in the winter!). In addition, it is required that students have assigned seating on the bus and that those seats are documented; as usual, they need to stay in their seats the whole ride; and they need to keep their face mask on while riding the bus. Also, as usual, no eating or drinking on the bus, or anything else that would involve taking their mask off.
Distance Learning: All families will have the option to continue with distance learning if they so choose; likewise, if a family wishes to change their original election of distance learning they can do so now. Once we start this next cycle, changes from distance learning to in person learning can be made in conjunction with the start/end of our Units of Inquiry (approximately every six weeks). These dates are approximate, depending on grade level, but Unit 4 will start the week of January 25th, and Unit 5 will start on March 8th.
New Safety Precautions
We will continue the safety precautions which we began in the fall, with the following additional required safety precautions and strategies that school districts must adhere to per MDE guidance in order to return to in-person learning:
Thank you for everything you are doing to help us on this journey.
ISLA needs you! Looking for a way to help support the mission and oversight of our amazing school? We are looking for interested community members, teachers, and parents to fill upcoming vacancies on the ISLA Board of Directors for three-year terms, beginning July 1, 2021, as well as a community member to fill a one-year vacancy from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The Board is responsible for overseeing the general operations of the school, implementing policies and procedures, and long-term strategic and financial planning. No previous experience necessary, but we do have a specific need for expertise in finance, marketing and fundraising. Questions can be directed to Mary Jo De Villers, Election and Nominating Committee Chair, at email@example.com. If you are interested in applying, please submit a Statement of Interest to the Election and Nominating Committee by February 19, 2021. Here is a link to the Statement of Interest: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bCSWpuanWuJblxC-JThgl-vXVKZE_at8/view?usp=sharing A sample ballot will be posted on the school's website in April 2021, and the election for office will occur in connection with the school’s annual meeting in May 2021.
Our next community PTO meeting will be Tuesday, January 26th at 6:30. We’d love your input on possible topics. Please click here to fill out this survey!
The PTO would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who contributed during Give to the Max! We raised an unprecedented amount of $25,665 and we obviously couldn’t do it without you! ¡Muchas gracias!
Do you need to exchange last year’s yearbook? Or are you regretting not purchasing one?
Contact Kris Bilardi at firstname.lastname@example.org for your replacement or to order one!
If you ordered lunches for your student(s) for next week, please remember to pick them up on Monday, January 11th from 3:00-5:00 pm.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently updated their recommendations for quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19. These recommendations include certain situations where the quarantine period may be shortened. However, monitoring and surveillance still needs to occur for the entire 14 days following the exposure. The science behind how the virus works has not changed. The virus still has a 14 day incubation period, thus the requirement for continued monitoring during this time. The reason for the change to a shortened quarantine time in certain cases is to increase compliance and reduce the burden of quarantine for individuals and families. The safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days. But, in certain situations, you may end your quarantine after 10 full days with continued monitoring, or after seven full days with a negative PCR COVID test result and continued monitoring.
ISLA will allow these shortened quarantine periods for staff and students, provided that certain guidelines are followed. In order to qualify for a shortened quarantine time the following things must be true:
If your student has been exposed to COVID-19 and you would like to be considered for a shortened quarantine time, you must submit a request through a Google form (see below). You must submit the proper documentation and hear back that it was approved before sending your student back to ISLA. Otherwise, they will follow the standard 14 day quarantine.