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Principal Heather Oentrich teaching students in a classroom.

An Open Letter to Parents, Guardians, and the Junction City Middle School Community:

Greetings JCMS Families!

We are so excited to welcome and see our students back this year! We, the staff of Junction City Middle School, are working hard to prepare for both Remote and Brick and Mortar Learning for the 2020-2021 School Year.  We realize that many families are concerned about the safety of their students and want to know what school will look like for both learning options.  Please know that we are diligently working to prepare a safe learning environment that will meet the academic and social emotional needs of all our learners.  Once we have our full safety plan developed, we will be posting it on our website and sharing it with families via email and Facebook.  We ask that parents/guardians please continue to show patience and flexibility as we enter the school year.  Some things may and will change as we navigate the opening of our building to our staff and learners.  As always, we appreciate your support of JCMS and we look forward to working with you throughout the year to make this a great year for our students.

New Schedule:

Brick and Mortar or In-Person Learning will begin with a ½ day of school on Monday, August 31st.  We will be making modifications to our schedule so that students are attending classes with their cohort Team groups only throughout the day.  In addition, we have modified the schedule to reduce the number of courses students will attend in a day.  This will reduce transitions for our students and allow time for necessary disinfecting to occur without reducing academic learning time.  Each 9-weeks, students will attend their Math, Language Arts, Social Studies OR Science, and one Elective class daily.  At the beginning of the 2nd 9-weeks, they will continue in Math and Language Arts, and switch to Social Studies OR Science (whichever they didn’t attend the first 9-weeks), and then to their 2nd Elective.  Pending no changes to the current situation, this pattern will continue for the 2nd semester.

Remote Learning will also begin with a ½ day of school on Monday, August 31st.  Students will follow the same course schedule that our in-person learners will follow (see above paragraph).  Their teachers will have time periods designated to work with them. Remote learners will be a part of a Team with a Social Studies, Language Arts, Math and Science Teacher.  They will be assigned Electives based upon their availability to be taught remotely.

Instruction:

Excess furniture has been removed from classrooms. Students will attend all classes with students from their Team cohort.  Classroom doors will be left open to reduce touch points and improve ventilation.  Students will collaborate with their peers using methods which allow for physical distancing, including virtual opportunities.  Students will have assigned seats and will remain in those seats for the duration of class (no switching or sharing of desks).  Classroom Remote learning students will have online time with their teachers daily and should expect a workload which requires their total time working online and on associated classwork to be 6 hours or 360 minutes daily. 

Cleaning:

Our custodial partners, ABM, will be implementing additional cleaning protocol to ensure our surfaces are routinely disinfected.  All classrooms will have sanitizing spray and cloths to clean surfaces between each class of students.  Restrooms and other frequently used areas will be cleaned often throughout the school day.

Morning Arrival

Students will have designated entrances based upon their grade levels and transportation method.  All students will be screened for illness upon arrival.  We ask that families be our first line of defense of the spread of COVID-19.  Parents/Guardians should screen their students each morning, including taking a student’s temperature prior to sending them to school.  We are asking families of students who are drop-offs, walkers, or bike-riders to plan to have their student(s) arrive at school no earlier than 7:30 a.m. and no later than 7:45 a.m. 

Lunch and/or Breakfast

Serving times for students will be staggered to allow for physical distancing.  Additional tables have been added, and students will be assigned seating.  Tables will have a capacity of 3-4 students.  We will spread the tables out farther from one another, and students will not be able to travel in the café once they are seated with their lunch.  We will use monitors to bring trash cans to the students and enforce one-way traffic when entering and exiting the café.

Hallways

Passing periods will be staggered to reduce crowding in the hallways.  Students will not be able to visit lockers or restrooms during passing periods.  Physical distancing signs and directional labels will be installed to assist with travel through hallways.

Restrooms

To limit restroom crowding and unnecessary student contact, students will use the restroom with a pass during class time (as needed) and not during passing periods.  Upon arrival to the restroom, their pass (agenda/planner) will be placed in a tray on a table at the entrance to the restroom.  Once the 3 trays are filled with passes, students will wait on designated spots outside the restroom for a student to exit.  Once this happens, they will place their agenda/planner on the tray and enter the restroom.

Water Bottles

Students will be able to carry water bottles to their classes.  Touchless water bottle filling stations are available at 2 locations, all drinking fountains have been turned off and will not be accessible.

Lockers

Students will be able to access their lockers three times during the school day.  They will be able to place any belongings they won’t need throughout the day (coat, cell phone, lunch, bookbag) in their locker upon arrival.  They may choose to either carry their items with them or place them in their bookbag to carry with them.  They will be allowed to access their locker at lunch to retrieve a sack lunch (if they brought one).  Finally, they will be able to retrieve needed items from their locker at the end of the day (on a staggered schedule).

Visitors

For everyone’s safety, visitors are not being allowed at this time.  We will have procedures for picking up students or dropping off items (such as lunches and PE clothes).  These procedures will allow us to serve families without entry into the building. 

We realize that you will likely have many more questions that remain unanswered despite the information we have presented here.  Please know that we will continue to share information in the coming weeks through all our media outlets.  Be on the lookout for Facebook lives to introduce you to some of our new routines and procedures as well as information about our virtual Open House.  We are excited to welcome both our new and returning students to JCMS.  Please know that we love and care for our students as if they were our own and will do everything in our power to keep them safe. 

Respectfully,

Heather Oentrich, Principal
Junction City Middle School
heatheroentrich@usd475.org
(785) 717-4400

Junction City Middle School Building