Harrison Junior School News

Harrison Junior School Back-to-School Information

Posted on: August 18, 2020
Back to School

Welcome to the most unique school year any of us have ever seen! Our staff is beyond excited to welcome your children back on September 8th.  Regardless of whether your family chose to go online or face to face, we believe that we have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on your kids and our community.  We do this by living our mission each day: “Academic and Social Growth for ALL kids; Every Day".

We want to take some time and share some very important information, key dates, and new expectations for our students and families.  Please take time and read this document carefully, and click HERE for more “Frequently Asked Questions" from Hamilton County Public Health regarding testing. 


Safety

Our number one priority as a school district is the safety of our students and staff. This summer, our district has met weekly with the Hamilton County Department of Health.  In addition, we have been involved in meetings with the State Department of Health, other school leaders, pediatric organizations, Children’s Hospital, etc.  We have taken this time to figure out the best practices for safety, pulling from updated requirements from the State and Local Health Departments and advice from the absolute best medical and school experts.  We take this charge incredibly seriously.  We thank each of our families in working with us through this process.

For our face-to-face students, masks are required throughout the school day.  We are also very aware that our buildings are not air-conditioned.  Our staff will provide “mask breaks” for students throughout the day.  Please know, during any transitions, entering, and exiting the building, and during after school clubs and activities students will be required to wear a mask.  We encourage families to work with their children to get used to wearing a mask.  It is something they can get used to, even though this is a process.

All students will be required to have their temperature taken prior to entering the school building.  We are developing protocols with our bus drivers and our staff to ensure we can do this in a quick manner.  Students who have a temperature over 100.4 will not be permitted to enter the building.  We will have teams located at our bus drop off and parent drop off to assist in this process.

Click HERE for the most up-to-date guidelines from the Hamilton County Health Department.  As this document is updated, we will share it out with families.  Our district will follow the guidelines from the Hamilton County Health Department to best ensure the safety of our students.  This document also provides information regarding possible “quarantine” scenarios.

Please know that we continue to work to provide the safest environment for our students and community.  Communication will be key from each of us!  If you have a concern, please call or email me directly at Christian.tracy@southwestschools.org and we will work to address the concern.


Things to Do Before School Starts:

Each of our families, including my own, are working to get ready for school.  There are many questions, especially from our 6th Grade students and families who are entering a new building.  With us unable to host an Open House or Camp Wildcat, we are going to get creative and work towards solutions to help connect parents, students, and teachers.  We are all on the same team, working toward the same mission, and the most important thing that families can do is ask questions.  We are here to help!  Prior to the start of school, families can work on the following:

Read! Magazines, books, blogs, graphic novels, etc.: all of these things are good to get kids to grow.

Try some Science Experiments.  Trust me, I have cleaned more “slime projects” up in my house that I would like, but it does help my kids grow.  There are great examples on YouTube and other websites.

Cook as a family.  This is a great way for kids to use their math skills, problem solving skills, reading comprehension, teamwork, etc. in a rewarding way.

Practice good hygiene and mask wearing.  All parents have had to tell their kids to “wash their hands,” which is a great reminder any time, but that advice is especially important in our current situation.  In addition, having them practice wearing a mask is helpful as they prepare for school.


Computer Pick-Up/Schedules/Tours

Students will have the opportunity to pick up their computers, schedules, fill out forms, and get their updated schedules prior to the start of the school year.  Click the following links to sign up for appointments to complete these tasks.  Face-to-Face students click HERE.  Virtual students click HERE.

Families who are choosing full Virtual Education during 1st Semester will pick up their computers on August 27th and August 28th.  During this time, we will ensure that all Final Forms are complete (we have people who will help in this process).  Please remember that all people who enter the building must wear a mask. 

Families who are choosing the face-to-face option will have their computer pickup on August 31st and September 1st.  During this time, we will provide busing information, ensure that Final Forms are complete, complete Free and Reduced lunch forms, and self-guided tours will be available.  In addition, teachers will have papers available with contact information, supply lists, classroom expectations, etc.  Many of our teachers will work to be available to welcome our students, but please remember that several will be working on professional development and trainings during the day too!  Families should be able to complete the process in 30 minutes.


Prior to the School Day:

Our new school hours are 7:25 AM – 2:20 PM.  Our doors will open at 6:50 AM. 

All student drop-offs will take place in the Activity Center parking lot.  We will have 2 rows for parents to drive through.  Signage will be posted.  The row on the right will be for families who will exit onto West Road with a left turn (towards Harrison Ave.), and the lane on the left will be for families who are turning right onto West road (towards Dry Fork).

During drop-off, students will have their temperature taken by a staff member or volunteer using an infrared thermometer.  If a student has a temperature over 100.4, they are not permitted to enter the school and will need to return home with their family.  In addition, students will answer the following questions:

Do you have a sore throat?
Do you have a fever?
Do you have a cough?
Do you have shortness of breath?
Have you been exposed to anyone with COVID-19?

Based on student answers, we may have some follow up questions prior to them being able to enter school.  In most cases, students will be able to respond “No to all”.  These questions will be posted for review daily in the drop off line for families to review.

Students who chose to eat school breakfast will report directly to the café.  All other students will report directly to their 1st period classroom.

Students will not have lockers to start the year.  As a result, students will be permitted to carry backpacks/small bags with them throughout the school day.


During the School Day:

For many of our students, school should look very similar to year’s past; however, we will have some changes to help provide the safest environment possible for our students.

Our 7th and 8th Grade students will continue with a 6-bell school day.  However, the vast majority of students will have a different schedule than the one they got last spring due to us needing to move resources to accommodate our virtual education students.  Each student will have Math, Science, Social Studies, and ELA.  In addition, our 7th and 8th Grade students will have 2 elective courses.  Our goal is to honor all course requests that were made in the Spring, however there will be some students that we can not accommodate. 

Our 6th Grade students will remain in Teams. (Tiger, Lion & Cheetah).  Their schedule will be similar to their schedules in elementary school.  While each elementary is a little different, 6th grade students will have 3 Core teachers who will provide instruction in Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Science.  6th Grade students will have 1 elective bell each day that will change quarterly.  6th Grade students will rotate among Physical Education, Art, STEAM, and Tech Ed.  The exception to this is for students who are in Band.  These students will have Band all year.  In addition, we will be providing a “Social Growth period” for our students (recess) during part of the day.  We feel that this physical activity is vital to their education and will assist in providing important breaks at the start of the year with heat and masks.

Our bells will be turned off, and students will be dismissed by their teachers.  Our 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade students will be transitioning at different times. This will help minimize packed hallways, and assist us in contact tracing if a child or staff member would be diagnosed with COVID-19.  Our bell schedules are as follows:

8th Grade –

Bell 1     7:25-8:25
Bell 2     8:29 – 9:29
Bell 3     9:33 – 10:33
Lunch    10:33 – 11:03
Bell 4     11:07 – 12:07
Bell 5     12:11 – 1:11
Bell 6     1:15 – 2:20

 

7th Grade –

Bell 1     7:25 – 8:29
Bell 2     8:33 – 9:33
Bell 3     9:37 – 10:37
Bell 4     10:41 – 11:41
Lunch    11:41 – 12:11
Bell 5     12:15 – 1:15
Bell 6     1:19 – 2:20

 

6th Grade -
Elective Times

Lion – 7:25 – 8:25
Cheetah – 8:29 – 9:29
Tiger – 9:34 – 10:34
Lunch  - 11:06 – 11:36

Please note that this may change as we approach the start of the school year by a few minutes to accommodate staff members who are shared between multiple buildings or to help accommodate our students lunch schedules. 

Lunch is an incredibly important part of our school day.  We will still have many of our lunch options, however there are some items that we are not allowed to serve due to new guidelines from the Health Department.  Our café capacity is limited to 50%.  As a result, we will be adding additional tables outside during good weather, and seating available in the café.  Students will be required to maintain social distance (every other seat) during their café tables.  Masks can be removed while students are actively eating, but they will need to put their masks back on prior to leaving the café.  Students will still be able to eat with their grade level with a few exceptions for 7th and 8th grade students who are in “mixed” grade level classes.  We are working through schedules to minimize these situations.

We are in the process of installing “Water Bottle Filling Stations.”  At this time, we are not permitted by the Health Department to have water fountains.  We are encouraging all students to bring water bottles from home and we will provide times for students to refill the water bottles throughout the day.  Hydration matters!  Thank you for your help with this.

Dismissal will take place in waves.  We will begin our dismissal process with 6th Grade students & 8th Grade students.  Once the majority of those students clear the building or report to their after school activities, 7th grade students will be dismissed.  Again, with students not using lockers, this process should take place quickly.


After the School Day

Social Growth is an incredible part of our mission and we want our students to be involved.  Students involved in athletics and clubs is encouraged.  7th and 8th Grade Cross Country and Football are still looking for participants.  In addition, we will be publishing information about clubs that will meet face to face and online to connect each of our students to these social growth opportunities.  Only students who are involved in clubs or athletics should remain in the building after 3:00.  If you have questions regarding athletics or clubs, please contact our office or email dan.rouster@southwestschools.org.


Illness

One of the most significant changes for the upcoming school is focused on what happens when a child gets sick.  During a Global Pandemic, it is vital that if your child is sick or has a fever that they remain at home. 

Students who report to the office feeling ill or having a fever will be placed in a designated classroom upon having their symptoms checked by a member of our front office staff or our school nurse, Mrs. Kinnett.

In addition, we will be contacting families immediately if their child is sick, and families will need to make arrangements to have them picked up ASAP.  Students who present with illness are unable to ride the bus home.  We understand this is difficult for many families where parents are working, etc..  We ask that families have a plan ahead of time in the event that their child does become ill.

If a child or a staff member would be diagnosed with COVID-19, we will be working in partnership with “contact tracers” from the Hamilton County Department of Health.  If you child has been exposed to COVID-19, the Health Department, working with the Southwest Local School District, will notify you directly, and share with you steps that need to be taken such as quarantine, etc…


Celebration

It is incredibly important to us that our students and families see the return to school as a celebration.  We are incredibly excited to work with our families, both face to face and virtually!  We know that parents, students, and community members may have concerns.  Our goal is for each our families and students to see this return to school as a exciting celebration.  We are grateful for the community support!  We can’t wait for all of us to come together and celebrate our mission together!!!


Thank you to our families for their partnership with our school!  We are looking forward to an incredible year!

Christian Tracy
Harrison Junior School Principal