LKMS Summer Update July 29, 2020

Dear Lakewood Middle School Families,

The beginning of the school year is, perhaps, our favorite time of the year. It is so good to see and reconnect with our students and family members of this incredible community. Although our beginning of the year activities may look different than in the past, our excitement and enthusiasm remains the same. Whether your child will be participating with in-person or all-virtual learning, it is important to us that our return to learn plan keeps the health of our students and staff as the priority. We hope you find the following information regarding our beginning of the school year activities helpful: 

Cougar Connection
In the past our Cougar Connection event provided an opportunity for students to pick up their locker assignment, get their yearbook photo taken, pick up pre-ordered school supplies, and purchase spirit wear.

This year we will not be hosting a Cougar Connection event. Information regarding how to pick up your pre-ordered school supplies will be sent in the near future. 

Additionally, please note that all middle schools in the Blue Valley School District will begin the school year without utilizing student lockers. If a decision is made to utilize lockers, information will be e-mailed to you.

6th Grade Orientation
6th Grade Orientation will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 7:41-9:50 a.m. This orientation is for students whose families have elected the in-person learning option. Bus transportation will take place that day for bus riders. Students will have an opportunity to visit their classes and familiarize themselves with the building prior to the first day of school on Sept. 9. Families who opt for the VirtualED option will receive information about transition activities from their virtual teachers.

New Family Orientation
It is important to us that our new families and students feel welcomed and prepared for the start of school. This year we will be making a welcome video that will include a brief tour of the school as well as some helpful information. We are currently finalizing our welcome video and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

Back to School Night (Parent Event)
Our Back to School Night event is one of our most important events geared towards establishing strong relationships between school and home. This year our Back to School Night information will be delivered via a video format. Each grade level will create a welcome video where you will virtually meet your child’s teacher and learn about their curriculum. The Back to School Night video will be e-mailed to you close to the start of school.

Frequently Asked Questions
For the most updated information regarding In-Person Learning, please visit the district’s in-person learning information page (Back to School In-Person Learning Plan). For the most updated information regarding VirtualED, please visit the district’s VirtualED information page (Back to School Virtual Ed Learning Plan). Lastly, the district has created a Back To School Hotline at 913.239.4045. The hotline is available 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday to address questions not addressed on the district Back to School website.

For your convenience, we have also included middle-school-specific information regarding the most frequently asked questions below. 

Activities and Athletics
School-sponsored clubs are on hold until further notice. We follow the guidelines of the Kansas State High School Activities Association regarding student athletics and activities. We will communicate more details as we get clarification of their guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year. 

  • Students enrolled in Blue Valley Virtual Education will be able to participate in KSHSAA activities.
  • All student participants are required to have a physical dated May 1, 2020 or later.
  • Special considerations are being made for the safety and well-being of each athlete in each specific activity.  As a result, each activity will be impacted in unique ways.

Arrival and Dismissal
Students will arrive as walkers, car riders, or bus riders. Buses may begin dropping students off at school by 7:20 a.m. Upon arrival, students will have their temperature checked by a staff member and report immediately to an assigned location in the building. Students arriving by bus may socialize with their peers until 7:30 when they will report to their first period class. Supervision will not be available for students prior to 7:30 a.m. 

For car riders and walkers, school doors will be locked until 7:30 AM. School doors will be unlocked and students may begin arriving by car or foot at 7:30 a.m. Upon arrival, students will have their temperature checked and immediately progress to their first period class. 

For dismissal, a staggered approach will be utilized to assist with hallway congestion. Bus riders may be dismissed first by bus number. Car riders may be dismissed alphabetically by last name or by classroom numbers. As we know specific numbers of enrollment for in-person learning, specific details of dismissal will be developed.

In-Person Learning
In-person learning could look differently due to health changes during the school year. There are three possible phases: in-person, distance learning and hybrid. In-Person Learning: students will be in the building for a full school day five days a week. Distance Learning: learning would be completed at home via Canvas with their teachers. This model would look very different than the fourth quarter with live lessons and higher expectations. Hybrid Learning: The district is currently working on this approach. An example may be two days in school with ½ the students and the other ½ students would come in the following two days. This is just an example. 

Learning Options
Families must determine if they want in-person school experience or virtual. As a reminder, all families need to pay registration fees and if you want virtual you choose that after paying fees. This must be done by August 5. VirtualED is a semester commitment and then the district may give families a choice for either format for the 2nd semester. If you choose In-Person, this is selected as a result of you paying your registration fees and no other action is needed.

Lockers and Supplies
Middle school students will not be issued student lockers this year due to social distancing guidelines. Students will take their own personal belongings with them to each class throughout the day in their own backpack. Classrooms will not have shared supplies so students will need necessary classroom supplies in their backpack for each day. Supply lists are found on the school website (insert link).

Students participating in PE will not be assigned PE lockers. Students will not dress out for PE this year. Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing for physical exertion. Students may want to consider bringing tennis shoes in their backpack on days they have PE class.

Students participating in a KSHSAA sport may be issued PE lockers. Lockers will be assigned to students to maintain as much social distancing as possible and to ensure participants from different sports are not coming into contact with each other.

Staff will help students with routines that emphasize social distance, eliminate common touch points but also still provide students opportunities to visit with others as that is an important social-emotional learning component. There will be no microwaves, groups of smaller sizes at tables will be used, additional building spaces may be used to increase distance and students will have more time at lunch. In order to minimize outside traffic in the building, we will not have any outside food dropped off during the day for lunch, nor will we allow visitors during lunch. 

Masks/Face Coverings
The Blue Valley School District will follow Governor Laura Kelly's Executive Order (No. 20-59) order regarding masks/face coverings. Students and staff will wear masks/face coverings indoors at all times and during all classes including PE classes, weight lifting, etc. Students may be provided outdoor fresh air breaks to accommodate for this new school practice. Staff and students may remove masks when eating or drinking, when outside for recess and during other physical activities when social distancing can be achieved. The guideline set forth for wearing masks in school includes:

  • It may be possible that some students or staff who are medically fragile individuals will not be wearing a mask within the school setting. These exclusions will occur on a case-by-case basis. 
  • The district will have masks available for employees. Employees should understand they may choose to wear masks they have chosen independently. Masks will be provided if and when an employee forgets a covering at home. 
  • The district will have masks available for students. Students may choose to wear masks they have chosen with their parents independently. Masks will be provided if and when a student forgets a covering at home or soils their mask at school making it incapable of safely being worn. Student-chosen masks must adhere to the dress code expectations and not detract from the learning environment.

In order to limit the number of student transitions during the day, core classes will be blocked. Students will alternate odd and even core classes every other day in approximately 80 minute periods. At this time, elective classes are offered each day for 45 minutes each. Time will be built in to the day for bathroom breaks, mask breaks (outdoor), and personal needs.

Small Groups or Cohorts
Within each class, students will work in small grouping or cohorts when needed. This allows for important academic skills to be developed but keeps safety at the forefront of our work. A student’s small group will remain the same in that class for an extended period of time. The cohort in each class is based upon students enrolled in that class. Every attempt will be made to keep each cohort socially distanced from other cohorts in the classroom, but physical space does not allow for each student to be socially distanced from all other students. Masks will be required whether students are working individually or in a cohort. Because of the variability and uniqueness of each student’s class schedule it is likely that each student will have a different cohort in each of their in-person classes. 

This information is as we know it today and subject to change and continues to evolve. We appreciate your support and kindness as we navigate this process.

We are so excited to welcome you and your child to the 2020-21 school year! Although some of our events may look and feel different, our commitment to you remains the same. If there is anything we can do to enhance your child’s learning experience, please do not hesitate to ask.

With enthusiasm for another great year!