The USD 410 School Board and Superintendent Max Heinrichs met last week and decided on an official start date. They took Governor Kelly’s recommendation and postponed the start date.
“Our goal by moving our start date from August 20, 2020 to September 9, 2020 is to make sure we have time to create the safest environment we can to safely bring our students and staff back into our USD 410 buildings. It will also allow us time to train our staff for the recommendations that KSDE has just released to us to navigate the changes in our educational deliveries,” said Heinrichs
And while there are still many unknowns and other details the district is needing to work out, they have begun figuring many solutions out already.
“We’re going to supply everybody a mask and a gator. It would be smart for them to have one a day, maybe even six so you always have a back-up with laundry day. It’s good to keep a backup in your bag in case you sneeze or somehow mess up the one you are wearing, Said Heinrichs.
And the school has other safety measures ready.
“We will have hand sanitizer in every room, but sending a little, individual bottle with your child—that is never a bad thing,” said Heinrichs.
Another safety precaution that USD 410 has already put in place is moving to only bottle refilling stations versus water fountains.
Hillsboro Middle High School Principal Clint Corby said, “We are giving every student and staff a water bottle but you may still want to get your child another one.”
But before the district can figure out how much of all of the items they will need and just what all they need to be planning for, they need to know who is coming.
“We really need everybody to enroll. I’m not asking them to pick a method at this point of either remote learning or face-to-face learning. We just want to get everybody enrolled. There will be more information to come out after I get the board from information. Enroll like normal,” said Heinrichs.
He also pointed out that an important part of enrollment is filling out the application for free and reduced meals.
“Even if you don’t know what method you will be doing, fill out the form for meals so we can have that already in place for the school for when they come on Sept 9,” said Heinrichs.
This helps the school plan for food amounts and also helps parents plan their budgets better. Sometimes families qualify even when they didn’t think they would so it will be more beneficial to know now of one less expense.
Outside of all of the random, out of the ordinary pandemic planning the district has been doing, the staff and administration have also been doing their normal curriculum and planning and many are happily anticipating the year.
“I’m excited about a new reading curriculum which we’ll be rolling out this year. It will have more authentic life, nature, and historical stories for students to learn from,” said Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Evan Yoder. “We also now have every classroom teacher certified to teach PLTW (Project Lead The Way) along with some brand new units which is really exciting.”
He is embracing the unknowns and focusing in on enjoying the year.
“I’m gearing myself up for a year full of suspense and mystery. Doesn’t that always make for an entertaining journey?” said Yoder.
The teachers, staff and administration appear to be upbeat and optimistic about the school year. They are smiling in the stores (many behind their masks) and telling kids and parents how excited they are for school to start again.
Many have been having inspirational posts on their social media that focus on their desire to be working with the children they have missed and the new ones they are going to meet regardless of how that work will look.