Principal's Message & Frequently Asked Questions (Nov. 7, 2020)

Hello Bruin Families,

 

It is with both excitement and thoughtfulness that I share our school reopening plan. 9th grade students enrolled in face-to-face learning will report to the building on Friday, November 13th during their AM or PM session and follow the same schedule that they currently follow online. After Thanksgiving break, we will return 10th graders on Thursday, December 3rd and 11th/12th graders on Thursday, December 10th. Changes in health data could alter those plans, but we are optimistic we will see students. The week before your student returns, I will send detailed operational instructions. We need everyone’s commitment and help in order to stay open. 

 

Students will not report to school on Wednesdays. On those days, teachers will invite small groups of students into the building to work on targeted needs and faculty will engage in professional learning and needed planning. Independent learning is expected on Wednesdays and work will be assigned via Google classroom. 

 

Posted on our website is a list of responses to Frequently Asked Questions that students shared with me this week. I hope that these answers alleviate some concerns and clarify expectations as we ready our safe return to school. I will continue to add to this list as families and students communicate questions and concerns. 

 

Thank you for your continued support, 

Mrs. Varitek, Principal

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

TRANSPORTATION 

Students use a variety of methods to travel to and from school each day. Bike riders may access racks in the front and back of the school to secure their bicycles each day. Buses use the front of the school to drop off students. Car riders may also use the front of the school but should avoid the bus lane. Students should use only the entrance and exit assigned to their grade level cohort (see “Entrances” for more information). 

 

How do I know when my student's bus is scheduled to arrive? 

Go to the transportation web page and locate your bus letter to find the time for pick-up and drop-off. If you do not know your bus letter, please call Allen Walz, transportation director, at 541-469-2666. Students must ride only their assigned bus.

 

What time do I need to be dropped off if I’m a car rider? 

Each grade level will enter from designated doors to participate in a screening process. Students will be allowed to enter the building at 7:30am but not before. Students who arrive early should wait on the blue bear paws painted on sidewalks in order to keep 6 feet of distancing between peers. Cohort class begins at 7:45am.  

 

What if I arrive late?

Students who arrive AFTER 7:45am when the morning session has begun or AFTER 12:20pm for the afternoon session will need to enter through the lobby in the front of the school. Late students will be screened by front office staff before being sent to their classes. 

 

Will student car drivers have to park in a specific area? There will be designated parking areas for students by grade levels to ensure distancing between grade level cohorts and to ensure the safe operation of district food distribution from our cafeteria. 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES

What precautions are being used to maximize safety? We are following all ODE and OHA guidelines to keep our students safe. As a building, we are employing physical distance measures, we all wear face masks, and we sanitize high contact surfaces in classrooms between class periods. Our custodial staff uses an electrostatic sanitizing spray in bathrooms between morning and afternoon sessions and disinfect all classrooms each evening. 

 

Are you sectioning off grade levels? Yes, in order to meet ODE regulations and to minimize the volume of daily contact tracing, we have divided the building into grade level wings. As such, students will have designated entrances and exits to minimize exposure. 

 

Do we have to wear masks all day, everyday? It is a state requirement for all faculty and students to wear masks correctly while we are in operation. It is critical that we minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and necessary if we are going to remain open. Students may request a limited mask break but will be required to leave the classroom. 

 

Will students be able to wear bandanas or neck gaiters rather than a typical face mask? Students must wear a face mask. Gaiters and bandanas when worn properly meet the state’s definition for a face mask: “a cloth, polypropylene, paper or other face covering that covers the nose and the mouth and that rests snugly above the nose, below the mouth, and on the sides of the face.” Valve masks, mesh masks, lace masks or other coverings with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not allowed. If a student does not have a face mask, they will be provided with some. Recent guidance by ODE and OHA states that clear face shields are only an acceptable alternative when a person has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a mask. Contact the school office prior to your attending school in person if this applies to you.

 

Are there going to be certain procedures before entering the school? Yes. Students will be required to enter the building through designated grade doors with masks correctly worn. If students arrive prior to 7:30am in the morning and 12:05 in the afternoon, they should wait outside their grade level doors while standing on the 6 feet distanced blue bear paws. Masks must be worn at this time. When students are cleared to enter, they must use hand sanitizer and participate in a brief screening process before entering the grade level wing. If a student is visibly ill or communicates that they are ill, they will be relocated to our isolation room for a parent to pick them up. 

 

What will sociability look like? Do we have to be distanced at all times? Socializing will look different in school just like it has in businesses and in the community. We must all be responsible for wearing our masks correctly and consistently, as well as maintaining physical distancing in order to minimize the risk of an exposure. Doing so will help us remain open. 

 

What about staying 6 feet apart in the halls? Students should maintain 6 feet of distancing as much as possible when moving within the hallway. Masks must also be worn correctly during this transition. Hallways are marked with 6 feet markers to assist students in maintaining distance. 

 

What about the students who aren't comfortable being around people that much? For students who have a diagnosed medical condition that results in anxiety, counselors will work on individual plans to accommodate their needs. 

 

How are bathrooms going to work? Bathrooms are designated by stable cohort grade levels and may only be used by one student at a time. If the bathroom is in use during a class transition, each class has a specified time to send students. 

 

Are the desks going to be sanitized between classes? High-touch areas such as chairs, desks, and door knobs will be sanitized between classes. 

 

Where will the students be if the teachers are still sanitizing desks? When students are dismissed from classes, teachers will begin sanitizing high-touch areas. Students may socialize in the hallway using distancing or travel to their next class and stand in the back of the room until the teacher is done. 

Will students be able to have a break to take our masks off outside of the building? Students may also request mask breaks on a limited basis from their teachers during class. Mask breaks will not be allowed in the classroom when other students are present.

What about the people who have health concerns and can’t wear masks? The state and ODE mandates the use of masks in the building and we maintain that it is the safest way to prevent exposure. Individual students who have specific needs should see their counselors.  Student concerns will always be handled with respect and privacy.

What happens if someone gets COVID-19? Will everything shut down again? It is essential that we all follow the health and safety measures to prevent the possibility of an exposure. If a student in the building tests positive for COVID-19, we will follow the guidance from the ODE through the Ready Schools, Safe Learner document with regards to safety. By restricting movement to stable cohort wings, we increase the possibility of keeping sections of the building open if others need to shift back to comprehensive distance learning (CDL). 

What if I have a scratchy throat? Can I still come to school? It is important that any student who feels ill or who exhibits any signs of illness should remain home. 

BELL SCHEDULE & CLASSES

AM and PM students will follow the same bell schedule that we issued at the start of the year. The only change we made was to increase the transition time between periods from 5 minutes to 10 minutes in order to provide teachers with time to sanitize desks and chairs between students. 

 

Are we following the same schedule? Students will follow their current 4 period schedule. Bells are turned on to assist students and faculty in knowing when to transition. 

 

How do I understand my schedule? Students should review period classes shown on PowerSchool. Morning (AM) classes are reflected through 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th periods. Afternoon (PM) classes are reflected through 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th periods. Ignore any classes shown in 9th period. They are for administrative purposes only. 

 

Will we go to school all five days? Students will attend face-to-face learning in school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays unless there is a student holiday. All students are expected to engage in independent learning on Wednesdays. Teachers will have designated online office hours on Wednesdays when they are not engaged in professional learning and planning and some students will be invited into the building for individual or small group interventions within their stable cohorts. 

 

Can I switch to F2F or BHOA now? Because of the programmatic differences between our two enrollment options, students should not switch during an active semester. Requests to make a switch between programs for second semester should be made to counseling by January 4th, 2021. 

 

I'm opting for a full online year, what will my year look like? BHOA students will not be impacted by return-to-the-building plans. Their teachers will still be available during those designed periods for online support and tutoring. 

 

If a new student shows up halfway through the year, will they need to be online? New students, like our returning students, will have a choice of whether to enroll in our face-to-face program or our Brookings-Harbor Online Academy (BHOA). The only factor that would remove the face-to-face choice for new students is if a grade level cohort is at capacity. We have a maximum number of students who can be placed in classrooms based on physical distancing measures.

 

Will the online meetings still be available if students are unable to come to class? Once teachers begin teaching face-to-face, they will not continue to teach in real time through their Google meets links. Face-to-face enrolled students are expected to attend face-to-face classes once their grade level returns to school. If a student does not attend, he/she may continue to work through the Google classroom but will lose live interaction with the teacher and their classmates. 

 

How will this change affect my grades or academic performance? We hope that safely returning students to school will improve teaching and learning and subsequently improve grades. For those students who remain online, however, we will continue to improve upon our high quality support. 

 

How is PE going to work? Are students going to be able to dress down for those classes? Students will not access locker rooms as distancing would be challenging. Consequently, students with a PE class should wear comfortable clothes and appropriate shoes. Non-contact activities will take place outdoors when the weather allows and indoors in the gym at other times. Masks must be worn at all times. Equipment will be sanitized between classes. 

 

Will masks be required in gym class? Students are required to wear masks during activities regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors. Physical distancing is expected at all times. 

 

How are music classes going to work with mixed grades? Students who take orchestra, band, or choir will leave their stable, grade level cohort to participate in a stable, mixed grade level cohort during their designated class. Students will enter using the main hallway and exit into the parking lot near the cafeteria to avoid contact between other mixed grade level periods. All equipment, doors, chairs, and stands will be sanitized between groups and distancing measures employed. Masks will be worn at all times except when playing a wind instrument. 

 

If a student has an edgenuity class will they be required to take that class in school or will they continue to take it at home? Some face-to-face students are enrolled in an Edgenuity class to provide them with more curricular options. Those students will travel to the designated class/teacher on their schedule during the assigned period to work on Edgenuity with their laptops. Students should bring a personal set of headphones or earbuds to use. Students who are unable to provide their own should inform the teacher and some will be provided. 

 

How are classes going to be split up? Classes have been designed to accommodate the physical distance requirements in each room while also offering the needed credit opportunities to earn a diploma. 

 

Will we be seeing students in other grades? In order to meet ODE requirements regarding safety and contact tracing measures, stable cohorts have been created by dividing students into grade levels and morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) sessions. This does mean students will only interact with same-session, grade level students while at school. 

 

Are electives mixed or just one grade? Our required stable cohort requirements are designed to minimize exposure to COVID and to enable effective contact tracing. For that reason, electives are no longer mixed grade levels for this year, but exclusive to one grade level at a time. This has limited our offering of electives across the school. 

Are the desks going to have to be 6' apart? Classrooms have been set up to maintain 6 feet of distance between students. Average class sizes this fall run about 17 students per class. 

Is there going to be a leadership class? We were unable to host a leadership class this year but Ms. Kleespies is operating it as an extra-curricular activity. If you are interested in working with the group, please email her at KristyK@brookings.k12.or.us. Class officers have been selected for the year. 

 

How do we get to classes that aren't in designated areas, like art? Stable cohort classes are designed to be on one protected hallway. Your teacher will share routes to elective classes to eliminate interactions between students from other grade levels. 

 

Will being late be counted against me if I get lost? It is extremely important for students to arrive to class on time due to our COVID contact tracing requirements. Students have ten minutes between classes to get to class in a close, stable concert.  It is an expectation that students follow the schedule if we are going to operate safely. Students who are late at the start of a cohort class will have to line up physically distanced outside the front office lobby until they can be screened to enter. Chronic tardiness will be reviewed by administration. 

 

SUPPLIES & MATERIALS

Are we allowed to share supplies like pencils in class? In order to prevent the spread of germs and viruses, students will not be able to share supplies in class. If students have forgotten or do not have necessary supplies, they will be provided. Any supplies that are collected at the end of the period will be sanitized before another student uses them. Teachers are encouraged to use digital materials as much as possible.

Are we allowed to bring binders? Students are able and encouraged to use their own personal supplies but may not share them with others. 

Can students have a backpack? We encourage students to use the sling bags that we provided them at the start of the year during textbook/chromebook distribution. Cloth backpacks are susceptible to germs and difficult to clean, unlike nylon. 

 

Will students have lockers and if so how will they be spaced appropriately? Students will not be issued lockers. 

What about schoolwork? Are we allowed to have hard-copied work? Every effort will be made to utilize digital resources through Google classroom. However, if a text or physical document needs to be distributed, it will be done with minimal risk to the student and teacher. 

What supplies do I need to bring? For the first few days, you only need to bring your chromebook. Teachers will share any minimal supply needs the first week back in class. Supplies will also be available to students. 

TECHNOLOGY 

Each student will be issued a BHSD chromebook to use daily. Only a BHSD chromebook will have access to the school’s network due to security and safety from inappropriate sites and pop up ads. The technology department will only support district issued devices.  

 

Students are responsible for keeping their device in good working order and should charge their chromebooks each evening in anticipation of school the next morning. A working battery should provide the student with up to 8 hours of operation. Students should bring their power cords with them in the event that they need to charge it while at school. 

 

Can students bring their chromebooks to school and class? Students are expected to bring their chromebooks to school and class daily. Teachers are encouraged to assign their work digitally to eliminate the possibility of germ/virus transmission. We encourage students to use the bags in which we issued their chromebooks. Students should write their names on their bags.

 

Can my student bring his/her personal laptop? 

No, students must use district-issued chromebooks when accessing the school’s network. We will distribute one on the first day back to any student that declined one for distance learning. 

 

What if my chromebook doesn’t work? 

If a student experiences an issue with their chromebook, they should email KrystalG@brookings.k12.or.us to request a tech evaluation or replacement chromebook. If email doesn’t work, the student’s teacher or parent may send the request on their behalf. BHOA students should email techsupport@brookings.k12.or.us or call 541-412-1843. 

 

VISITORS

To minimize exposure to COVID for students and faculty, only those essential to the operation of the building are allowed into the school. Some exceptions are allowed when virtual meetings are not possible. Students and parents are able to enter the lobby to conduct school business on weekdays from 7am- 4pm. 

 

FOOD & NUTRITION

The BHSD nutritional program is providing free student meals for the 20-21 school year. A grab-n-go breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack will be made available to all students throughout the day. Students will not have access to the cafeteria. District-wide food distribution will still operate from the HS parking lot while school is in session. 

 

Can students bring food? Students can bring their own food but cannot share it with others.

 

Will lunch be served at school and if so what would the lunch period look like? Morning (AM) students will be offered a grab-n-go BREAKFAST when they enter and eat it during the thirty minute cohort class. At the end of the morning session, students will be offered a grab-n-go LUNCH as they exit. Afternoon (PM) students will be offered a grab-n-go LUNCH when they enter and eat it during their thirty minute cohort class. At the end of the afternoon session, students will be offered a grab-n-go SNACK as they exit. Students are also welcome to eat prior to school or bring their own from home. Food may not be shared between students. 

 

EXTRACURRICULARS: CLUBS & ATHLETICS

Will we have clubs and what would that look like? We do have clubs that have made the switch from face-to-face to virtual meetings. Many are still working on making that adaptation. Students should check email regularly for meeting times and dates. We are not currently holding after school clubs but if that changes, students will be notified. 

 

Can students attend after school sports events? Student athletes are able to practice after school so long as all health and safety measures are followed (OSAA guidelines). At this point, we are not allowing spectators to attend practices or games. 

 

How are the tours for the freshman going to work? Until further notice, all physical field trips have been cancelled per ODE requirements. We will make every effort to create virtual opportunities for students to experience those experiences.