Dr. Wallace's October Message
Dear Challenger Elementary Families,
We’ve made it to fall break! We’ve had quite an interesting beginning to our school year. I am so proud of you parents and guardians, our awesome students and our dedicated teachers. If someone had suggested a year ago that we could be all be balancing home, work, school, and teaching students virtually and at home at the time, we’d all be aghast at the thought, and here we are proving that we are making the best of this situation, and doing it quite well! I also know everyone is ready for a break, so this fall break in particular, please rest, stay safe, and enjoy the week ahead of beautiful weather.
Last night, the Huntsville City School Board of Education announced that all traditional students would return to in person instruction five days a week starting October 26. I want to take some time to explain what instruction will look like for traditional students and how our building hygiene protocols will change with everyone in the building. I also want to remind HVA families of the new platform coming and some of the details for that program.
On October 26th, we will welcome students from the traditional classrooms back into our classrooms. Masks are required for all students every day. Arrival and dismissal will remain the same as it was during the staggered schedule. No students are allowed in the building before 7:30 am. From 7:30 to 7:45 students go the gym to sit a distanced area until they are dismissed to class at 7:45. Once in class, students will be socially distanced as much as possible. Each with their own desk or area that has a desk shield specific for each student. The classrooms are equipped with cleaning supplies that are used throughout the day and we have a scheduled time that each room is sanitized. Instruction will continue in each classroom using curriculum that you are familiar with through Schoology. While all students are in the building there will be no live or recorded lessons unless we have been notified that your child is home in insolation because of illness.
Students will follow our one way hallway rules and travel with distance between them. All students will attend art, music, media, PE and guidance lessons in those classrooms. Specialists classrooms will be wiped down between classes and students will be distanced as much as possible. Luckily our gym is a wonderful size and we have capacity for each grade level to distance and attend PE as a grade level.
Lunch and snack will continue to take place in the classrooms. Our lunch and breakfast programs are no charge until the end December, and a count is taken each morning. Each student cleans up their area after eating. Bathrooms and bathrooms breaks are scheduled and no more than two students at a time are allowed in the hallway bathrooms. Recess is taken as a structured break one class at a time. Students may play on equipment as long as hands are sanitized before and after use. Students must stay distanced from each other as they enjoy some outdoor time.
During dismissal we will continue the same routines with bus riders, walkers and car riders. We need parents to allow students to remain distanced and request that you DO NOT come to the front door or gym door. Instead, PLEASE remain in your car and allow us to help your child to the car.
We are hoping that our after school program will be able to begin on October 26th as well. HCS is contracted with YMCA and I will let you as soon as possible more information as it becomes available. We will also be starting our short term program for students who have older siblings at Challenger Middle who need to pick them up for dismissal. We will no longer walk our “CMS Littles” over to the middle school after school, nor will the students be allowed to wait in front of the middle school unattended. We will send more information about short term to these families after fall break. There is a small charge for this service.
HVA classrooms will begin using Fuel K12 Education on October 26th. The teachers will spend some time providing orientation to the students and to parents, so that everything is clear before we continue on with our lessons. Art, music and PE lessons will be provided through K12 and will be assigned on the platform. After fall break, we will be sending more information and getting you and your students accounts set up for the opening.
There will be not be an option for ‘remote” traditional students, nor is the option to enroll or leave HVA at this time. The next opportunity to sign up for HVA will be when the window opens for the 2nd semester. The open enrollment dates to enroll for 2nd semester is from October 26th to Nov. 18th. If you are enrolled in HVA now, please know that if you would like to continue with the 2nd semester you MUST reenroll.
Lastly, we are excited to have our HVA students using such a robust platform and I think the consistency of their program will be a benefit to our students. To our traditional families, we are excited to have everyone here on a daily basis and will do what it takes to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Don’t forget to make your Challenger Challenge pledges over the break. Click here to make a pledge or create your student page.
Have a Wonderful Fall Break!
Michele Wallace Ed.D.