Opening Sycamore

ACADEMIC CALENDAR

LETTER FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL

July 15, 2021

Dear Sycamore Parents,
Last school year was a challenging year in many respects. Through good work and planning, however, Sycamore was able to be in person most of the year and experience unmatched positive outcomes and success.

Our Reopening Sycamore Task Force, the group that made such wise decisions and thoughtful plans last year, has been working this spring and early summer to thoughtfully plan for the coming year. We are happy to be able to relax some of our  protocols that were instituted last year; however, some will remain in place. We have decided to begin the year very cautiously.

Our task force, composed of faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, parents, and medical professionals, has  reviewed advice from national, state, and local health experts and relied on the good judgement of the group. I extend my deepest gratitude to this group for their investment of time and work that has been so important.

The plan will go into effect at the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year and remain in effect until further notice. We have much more information than we did last year. The COVID environment, however, is still constantly changing, and we will continue to update the plan as necessary. For instance, the availability of a vaccine for our younger children could alter some of our thinking and guidelines.

Our ultimate goal is to keep our students in school in person and not need to  implement our Distance Learning Plan this year. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of all of our community members. I will once again communicate with you regularly.

Some of the most salient points in the Sycamore Opening Plan 2021 are as follows:
• We will begin the year continuing to use face coverings while inside. We believe the continued masking allows us to relax in some other ways that will enhance instruction. Our 7th and 8th grade students, most of whom are eligible for vaccination, are already vaccinated at a high percentage. There will be some exceptions to the masking guideline for these students while they are in class together.
• We will not require the daily health screenings we implemented last year. We believe everyone is now very familiar with symptoms of COVID-19. Based on the caution and care you all exercised last year, we trust you all to be diligent in keeping symptomatic or exposed kids at home. As he was last year, Ryan Kandel, our School Nurse, will be available to consult with you regarding individual situations and questions.
• We will, once again, begin to utilize more fully all the spaces in the building for their intended uses. Students will enjoy more daily mobility in the building.
• Although we will continue to eat lunch in classrooms, we do have a school-provided lunch option this year! You will receive details about the Nutrislice app and how to use it.
• Parents will be allowed in the building on a limited basis.

I have so appreciated your partnership with us since March 2020. I believe the formula that yielded a successful year last year included the diligence of our parents, our kids, and our faculty and staff. Working together will continue to be important as we navigate the coming year. Please discuss the plan with your kids in preparation for a successful upcoming year. Optimism and a “can-do” attitude will continue to be essential. More details about aspects of the plan and about back-to-school events will be coming your way before school starts. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer!

Onward and upward!

Best regards,
Diane Borgmann
FACILITIES
•  Continuation of increased staffing of night cleaning crew
•  Cleaning of high-touch areas and materials throughout the day
•  Student activity and density in communal spaces (hallways, lockers, etc.) monitored to prevent overcrowding and/or unnecessary gatherings
•  Closure of drinking fountains; bottle fillers active
•  Isolation areas for symptomatic students or staff
•  Limited rental of facilities to external parties
• Social distancing and hygiene signage
• Creation of isolation areas for symptomatic students or staff

DAILY IN-SCHOOL PRACTICES

• Face coverings required inside; optional outside (7th and 8th Grade students may be notified of approval to remove face coverings in classrooms where all students are eligible and a high percentage of students vaccinated, as monitored by our School Nurse.)
•  Social distancing of 3 feet observed, assuming masking
•  Continuation of proper and frequent handwashing. Sharing of school supplies permitted, with handwashing and cleaning procedures in place
•  No return to school while awaiting COVID-19 test results unless approved by our School Nurse or Human Resources
•  Excluded students or staff may return to school based upon school’s decision, considering CDC, ISDH, and MCPHD recommendations.
•  Lunch in classrooms (nut-free lunch from home or nut-free boxed      lunch option) (Students will be unmasked at lunch and barriers or greater distancing will be employed.)
•  Outside instruction when possible
•  Students cohorted within grade levels but student movement between classrooms allowed
•  Band classes will meet in the Cafeteria/Theater Lobby, employing distancing, but without masks. (Recent studies have concluded that aerosolization from brass or woodwind instruments is no greater than that from breathing.)
•  Choir classes will meet in the Band Room, distanced and masked.
•  Availability of PPE and sanitization options
•  Parent volunteers and speakers allowed in school on a limited and purposeful basis (Read the guidelines)
•  Before and after care provided, including drop-ins
•  Continuation of safety drills
•  Drop-off and pick-up in carpool lines and separated by division
•  Symptomatic or exposed kids should stay at home!

CALENDAR/SCHEDULE
•  Current academic calendar in force
•  Possibility of additional student days if necessary
•  Choice of virtual or in-person parent conferences
•  Decisions about field trips and large gatherings made on a case-by-case basis
•  After-school activities, clubs, teams, SSA/community events made on a case-by-case basis
•  If school is open, students are expected to be present unless a documented medical need is provided to the school.

DISEASE
•  Sycamore will follow quarantine guidelines considering recommended guidelines by CDC, ISDH, and MCPHD.
•  The School Nurse should be informed of students who are symptomatic, in the process of being tested, or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
•  Children who are symptomatic should stay home!
•  Upon notification from Sycamore that a child is sick, a parent or caregiver should immediately pick up the child from school.
•  Students with COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated until they are picked up.
•  Students who do not display symptoms of COVID-19 but have other medical needs can be seen and treated in the Clinic.
•  If Sycamore has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the school will work with the Indiana State Department of Health and communicate as necessary and appropriate.

FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES
•  Sign a waiver, which will be included in the electronic summer mailing.
•  Provide face coverings for children.
•  Thoughtfully consider travel.
•  Communicate with Sycamore.
•  Keep sick or exposed kids at home!

INSTRUCTION, EDUCATION, AND DISTANCE LEARNING PLAN
•  Shared spaces will be open for scheduling by grade levels with continuation of proper cleaning.
•  PE classes will be outside when possible.
•  Recesses will be planned to control density on the playgrounds.
•  We are planning to participate in interscholastic athletics. (Read the guidelines)
•  Social-emotional learning and mental health will be continued priorities.
•  In the event of a school or grade level closure due to COVID-19, we will pivot to our Distance Learning Plan. (Because of our approach and guidelines, our goal is not to have to implement our Distance Learning Plan.)