July 20, 2020
Dear Harmony Families,
I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the remaining days of summer. I am writing this afternoon because I wanted to share some of the Harmony reopening plans so that each of you can make the most informed decision for your families related to in-person or virtual learning.
As you can imagine, I’ve invested a lot of time thinking about this upcoming school year. I met with our teachers and staff late last week and discussed the approved OC Board of Education plans for the district and the concerns that staff might have around our reopening. Everyone’s number one concern is how do we create the healthiest and safest learning environment possible for our students and staff. For those families who choose in-person instruction, we need to make sure that we are taking every precaution not only when it comes to cleaning surfaces around the building but also rethinking all of the logistics that make our school function.
Living through a pandemic has required us to consider changes in our daily routines both at home and now at school. Many of you know that the enrollment at Harmony has increased over the years and even in the current pandemic, it remains high. In an effort to create a learning environment that is as safe and healthy as possible at school, all students and staff at Harmony will wear a 2 ply mask while in classrooms, while moving around the building and when in all common areas, including recess unless the appropriate social distancing can be maintained. We will provide rotating times throughout the day where we will ensure the safe six feet of social distancing so that masks can be removed. We are also exploring alternative ways to have kids rotate through regularly sanitized inside spaces as well as outside spaces throughout each school day.
We will be taking steps to keep our classrooms, hallways, and common areas as clean as possible for our students and staff. We recently purchased an electrostatic cleaning tool and a fogging machine that will be used by our custodial staff to sanitize each classroom, every evening. As we get closer to the start of the school year there could be other measures that we are taking that I will share with you.
Breakfast and lunch will be served at Harmony. All meals will be grab and go. At this time we are working on a meal schedule that includes identified spaces. We do know that the classrooms that have students with food allergies, specifically those with identified nut allergies, will eat in the cafeteria. Other spaces will be used for lunch and could include classrooms. All students will be assigned seats and will be 6 ft. apart while eating.
We will have recess at Harmony. We will have multiple times during a day that students can have outside time with their class. The recess equipment will be sanitized throughout each day.
Our RA teachers will push into the general classrooms to provide the related art content. PE will occur outside, weather permitting.
Harmony is staffed with a full time registered nurse. We will divide our health space into a well side and a sick side and will have shared protocols for each.
Unfortunately, we will not be accepting visitors until further notice. If you need to visit school it must be by appointment only. If your child forgets an item at home (water bottle, lunch) please call the office, and together we will determine if the item is necessary or if we can cover it.
We will be taking the temperature of every student upon arrival each day and are expecting families to complete the Healthy at School checklist (to be kept at home) each morning.
We will not be hosting our annual meet and greet and supply drop off. Instead, our staff will host a virtual meet and greet meetings and you and your children will have the opportunity to meet their teachers and see their classroom spaces then. We are reducing supply lists to only those essential items that students will need in the first days of school. Those items should fit nicely into a pencil pouch or small box that can be carried in your child's backpack. As the opening is sustained, teachers will ask for you to send in the other items on the supply list as needed.
If for any reason you feel that returning to in-person instruction will not be best for your family at this time, please take advantage of the Virtual Learning Academy being offered through OC Schools. Registration for that program closes on August 1.
I know that these are uncertain and scary times. We are doing our very best to create an environment that is nurturing and safe while remaining within the guidelines provided by our health and education officials. It isn’t going to be easy but if anyone can do it, it's OC and Harmony. I’ll be sending a Harmony Guide to ReOpening in the coming days with all of the guidelines detailed. I will also start a FAQ’s sheet for your reference.
Like I shared from the start, our number one priority is the health and safety of our students and staff. We want to desperately return to in-person teaching and learning but know that we have to put in place some safeguards to put us in the best position possible to make it happen.
Stay healthy. Wear a mask when you leave your house. Practice social distancing.
Please reach out with questions and know that we are all in this together.
Here are some district provided resources for your reference.
Take care of yourself and each other, Huskies!