Re-entry - Letter from Dr. Suski

Re-entry - Letter from Dr. Suski
Posted on 08/29/2020

Dr. Suski LetterSaturday, August 29, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Summer break has come to a close! As we head into the weekend, I want to take a few minutes to share some important reminders for our first day of classes on Monday, August 31, 2020.

COVID-19 Daily Screening Tool for Parents
The nursing department has created a COVID-19 Daily Screening Tool for parents to utilize each morning to determine if your child is cleared to go to school. This document is strictly a reference tool for parents and does not need to be submitted to the school. We strongly encourage parents to review the list of symptoms daily to ensure that children who may be symptomatic remain at home. Also, if your child has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, s/he should also remain at home and quarantine. Close contact means that the person has spent 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of an infected individual with or without a face covering during the time the person was infectious (from 2 days before illness onset or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection until the time the patient is isolated). Parents should continue to monitor their child for symptoms during the quarantine period and contact their health care provider if the child becomes symptomatic. At that time, a health care provider may recommend testing for COVID-19.

School Temperature Screenings Upon Arrival
When your child arrives at school each morning, s/he will have their temperature taken in one of two ways – either via touchless thermometer at the forehead or via a thermal screening station that measures a person’s temperature as they step in front of the monitor. If the child is found to have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, the child will be directed to another location where their temperature will be taken a second time to ensure that it was not elevated due to coming in from outdoors. If the child indeed presents with a fever, s/he will be taken to an isolation room immediately and parents will be notified to come to the school to pick up the sick child.

Water Bottles
All students should carry their own personal water bottle since drinking fountains are not accessible. Alternative sources of water will be made available in each building for refills as needed and water can be purchased at lunch.

Face Coverings
All students and staff are expected to wear a face covering in school. Here are some basic tips for teaching your child about masks. The PA Department of Health recommends that cloth masks be made of two layers of tightly woven fabric and fully cover the nose and mouth. Some parents have expressed concern about the use of neck gaiters in lieu of masks after hearing recent news reports that gaiters may be less effective in preventing the spread of respiratory droplets. The District strongly encourages that if neck gaiters are worn as your child’s preferred face covering that they be folded over to provide at least a double layer of fabric protection. However, in consultation with our District physician, at this time, gaiters will still be considered an acceptable alternative face covering. The District will also have a supply of face shields available for any student who needs an alternative face covering.

Expectations for Students & Staff Related to Face Coverings
Compliance with the requirement to wear a face covering while in school buildings will be enforced with the exception of eating and drinking or scheduled mask breaks as directed by teachers. Exceptions to the face covering rule apply only to students and staff with documented medical conditions or disabilities that require accommodations under IDEA or ADA. Some parents are concerned that students who have such accommodations may be unduly criticized by staff or other students for not wearing a mask. The District will not tolerate any inappropriate conduct directed at someone who is unable to wear a face covering due to a documented condition. Teachers will explain to students that there are exceptions and accommodations for the wearing of face coverings to increase understanding and awareness among all students.

Livestreaming Participation Form
Last week the School Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the District and the Middletown Area Education Association to implement its mutual understandings and agreements regarding the livestreaming of teachers’ classes to permit students to remotely participate in the District’s educational program for the 2020-21 school year. The MOU stipulates that a Livestream Participation Form must be signed by each student and a parent/guardian. Please print THIS FORM, read it with your child, and complete it with student/parent/guardian signatures. If your child is scheduled to be physically in school for instruction, please give this completed form to the homeroom teacher on the first day back in the building next week. If your child is 100% remote, please return the completed form to the homeroom teacher in one of the following ways: scan the signed form and email it to the teacher, drop it off or mail it to the school. Raider Academy students should return their signed forms to one of their assigned online teachers.

CBS21 Coverage on Monday
CBS21 will be reporting live from MAHS on Monday morning, August 31, from 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. before the arrival of students. If you are an early riser, tune in to catch brief interviews with Mr. Carnes, MAHS principal, as he explains how MASD has prepared for re-entry. 

In closing, the District recognizes that the return to school next week is a stressful time for parents, students and staff. Our District employees have been working very hard over the past 12 weeks to prepare for the reopening of school in a safe manner. This week of staff development days has been very beneficial to our teachers and administrators in allowing for additional time to prepare classrooms to operate in both an online and brick-and-mortar environment. We are truly ready to go and equally excited to greet your children on Monday morning, whether in person or online! Undoubtedly, there will be bumps in the road. We are doing our best to make this school year as smooth as possible, but perfection cannot be expected. Your continued patience and support go a long way in helping us overcome whatever obstacles we may encounter. Thank you in advance for extending us that grace as we navigate this unique reopening together!

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski
Superintendent of Schools

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