August 2020

Dear Parents,

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all new and returning students and families to Oakland Academy. My name is Mrs. Shawn Boris and I am the principal at Oakland Academy. I am a graduate of Western Michigan University and I have spent twelve years teaching in various grade levels at Oakland Academy, and these past eight years as principal. I look forward to getting to know everyone this school year.

This new school year brings with it new challenges. These challenges have forced us to think outside the box for creative solutions to work toward keeping everyone healthy and safe while here at school.  I hope to address a large number of your likely questions in this letter but know, many more questions will arise and planning continues. We ask that you have grace and patience with us as we all work to adjust to our new normal.

As I am sure you are aware Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Start Roadmap for reopening schools on June 30. After carefully reviewing this guidance we have started to shape what the fall will look like for our students and staff given the various phases our region may be in once school resumes.

As outlined in the roadmap if our region is in phases 1-3 all instruction will take place virtually and the school building will be closed. Should this occur you will be contacted personally by your child’s teacher and more details will be provided at that time. Our instruction will take the form of both printed packets and online resources/videos with teachers. Should this be the route we need to go, more details will be provided at that time.

PHASE 4: which our region is currently in, we are able to hold in person instruction with some health and safety protocols in place. Our plan in phase 4 is to offer five full days a week with in person instruction. We will be following all required guidance and as much of the strongly recommended guidance laid out in the roadmap as feasible including but not limited to:

-Changes to drop off/pick up and building access (outlined below)

-Parents are asked to screen their child each morning for symptoms; specifically fever.  If your child has a fever of 100 degrees or greater, they are not allowed to attend school.  Your child must be fever free (100 degrees or lower without Tylenol or Motrin) for 72 hours before returning to school. If your child shows any symptoms of illness, please keep them home.  Staff will also self screen each morning before reporting to work.

-Students will not wait in the hallway in the morning and will instead head directly to class, staggered dismissal in the afternoon

-Masks and/or Face Shields will be required for staff

-Students will not be required to wear face masks in class, but we will ask each student to have one to use at dismissal and other applicable times when social distancing will be a challenge.

-Only staff and students will be permitted in the building. Parents/guests by appointment only (appointments available starting the second week of school)

-No multi class gatherings (including recess), no field trips, social distancing when feasible, library and computer lab temporarily closed

-Enhanced cleaning both during and after the school day

-Limited shared materials when possible

-Drinking fountains will not be accessible. Students are asked to bring refillable water bottles. Water bottles can be filled in class if needed.

OPEN HOUSE: Our open house will be held on Wednesday, August 26th from 4:00-6:00pm. This will be an in person open house. To lessen congestion in the building we are asking that families with last names A-L attend from 4-5pm and families with last names M-Z attend 5-6pm if at all possible. Families (adults and students) are encouraged to wear face masks and social distance as much as possible.  This will be a time to find out who your teacher is, meet them, visit the classroom and check in with the office with questions. If you do not feel comfortable attending the open house in person, please email me (sboris@fbrcs.org) and I can arrange for your child’s teacher to give you a call instead. After the open house both buildings will undergo a deep cleaning in preparation of the first day of school.

*IMPORTANT NOTE:  Beginning on the first day of school August 31, 2020  ONLY students and staff will be permitted to enter the building.  You may drop off in the line or walk your child to the front door, but we are not able to allow parents to enter the building unless they have an appointment with staff. We ask that you use the open house as a time to talk with the teacher and office staff to address any questions you may have. Please help prepare your child for this change ahead of the first day of school for an easier transition.

CLASS ASSIGNMENTS: While students will be able to find out who their teacher is at the back to school open house on 8/26. Please keep in mind that due to potential changes in enrollment and/or staffing, during the first several weeks of school, all placements are considered temporary. While every effort is made to avoid changes after the first day of school, it is occasionally necessary to make some changes to class lists.  Parents will always be notified if that is to occur. Every effort is made to do what is in the best interest of our students.

ONLINE OPTION: Many parents have reached out to ask if we will offer an online option as an alternative to in person instruction. At this time we are unable to offer an online option. While something may be developed in the future, at this time that will not be an option.

TRAFFIC NOTES: In the driveway pull your car all the way forward to the end of the sidewalk. Please do not stop in front of the door! If your morning goodbye will take longer than a few seconds, please park in the parking lot to avoid backing up traffic. The driveway is for a quick goodbye only!  Please remember that everything will go better if we all take a deep breath and be cooperative with our teachers and other parents. I know that seeing a long line of cars ahead of you and having things to do and places to go can create quite a bit of anxiety and sometimes anger. Please try to be patient and follow the rules for the sake of everyone’s safety and sanity.

DAILY SCHEDULE/DROP OFF: The first day of school is Monday, 8/31. The school day for all students is from 8:20am-3:30pm. This year students can enter the building starting at 8:10am (please note this is a change from previous years). If you need to drop your children off prior to that time, you need to make arrangements either with a friend or at a daycare center, such as our Oakland Child Development Center. Do not drop off students prior to 8:10am as they are unsupervised and it is unsafe. Once students enter the building they will go directly to classrooms.

DAILY SCHEDULE/PICK UP:  Dismissal will begin at 3:15pm, classes will come out at a staggered pace to ease congestion on the sidewalk:

3:15 – Kindergarten and 4th grade

3:20 – 1st and 3rd grades

3:25 – 2nd and 5th grades

3:30 – 6-8th grades

Pickup at dismissal time, especially at the start of the school year, can be chaotic. Please try to follow some simple procedures to keep things moving smoothly:

·  While in line, keep as close to the vehicle in front of you as you can, please do not leave large gaps between cars as this wastes space and slows down the dismissal process

·  Be sure to use all available lanes, two lanes at both upper and lower el

·  Once you’ve gotten your child safely buckled in and the car in front of you has moved forward, please leave to allow others to pick up their children too

·  Please refrain from using your cell phone while students are present in the driveway, be aware that students are crossing at all points

·  Do NOT get out of your vehicle unless you are parked in a designated parking spot

·   Be courteous and patient ☺

EARLY PICKUPS: We ask that unless you have an appointment, or other specific need, that you not pick up your child early on a frequent basis. Early pickups, particularly during the busy time at the end of day, are disruptive to classrooms. If it is necessary for you to pick your child up early or at any point during the school day, you will need to call the office and your child will be brought out to you. Doors will remain locked until 3:30pm and we ask that you please wait outside for dismissal.

SIBLINGS NOTE: For families with children in both buildings, please drop them off at their appropriate building each morning. There will be no “sibling line” in the morning. (If we enter phase 5, the morning sibling line will return.) The “sibling line” after school for dismissal, will be located in the lower elementary library. Siblings, families with more than one child, will always wait with the youngest sibling, whichever grade that may be. For example if you have students in K, 2, and 5th. Your children will all be waiting at lower el with the Kindergarteners. If you have a child in 1st and 3rd, your children will be waiting at lower el with the first graders. If you have any questions about what this means for your family please call us BEFORE the first day of school to confirm.

UNIFORM POLICY: All students are to be dressed neatly according to the following guidelines:

Navy blue pants, skirts, or walking shorts (no sweatpants or athletic pants)

White shirts with collars, bearing no insignias other than the Oakland Academy logo

Any visible undershirts must also be white, no navy polos or navy dresses

Navy or gray sweaters (no sweatshirts or hoodies)

Navy, gray or white socks or tights (solid color only)

No open toed shoes or sandals, Crocs, high heels, or shoes with wheels.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to “like” our Oakland Academy Facebook page. This is the quickest way to stay up to date as things change!

We need to hear from you! Within the next week we will be asking you to complete a Google survey. This survey will be posted on our Facebook page and emailed to existing and new families. We ask that you complete this as soon as possible to help us better prepare for fall. In order to plan and staff the building, it is imperative that we know how many students to expect. We also need to assess your technology needs, so we can be prepared to support all families should we move to phase 3 or need to institute remote learning at any point this year. We will also be using this survey to collect email addresses so we can better communicate with all families throughout the year.

Our school office will be open beginning on Monday, August 24th. The first day for students will be on Monday, August 31st. We look forward to seeing you at the open house on August 26th from 4-6pm.

Look for my newsletter each month and feel free to contact me with your questions or feedback (sboris@fbrcs.org)

Thank you in advance for your assistance,

Shawn Boris

Principal, Oakland Academy