Return to Learn — July 14, 2020

Steve Grond COVID-19

July 14, 2020

Greetings, Boyden-Hull Families!

It has been a strange journey these last four months, and I hope that this communication finds everyone safe and healthy. We are thankful for the survey responses you have provided about your experiences this spring. We valued the information as we worked on our Return to Learn plan. Right now, I want to share some information about the upcoming school year and our plans as they currently stand. 

Over the past several months, a leadership team consisting of teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators have been meeting to discuss and plan for different scenarios. In addition to this group, we consulted other individuals with areas of expertise, including the school nurse, community health partners, transportation heads, officials at the Iowa Department of Public Health, and administrators at other school districts.  

There are three delivery methods that we are preparing for possible use during the upcoming school year:   

  • Required Continuous Learning, Off-Site– students will not attend school and would learn at home either online or using other instructional materials. In this model, staff would provide instruction virtually and be prepared to provide support to students virtually.
  • Hybrid– some students would learn in school while others learn at home. If this model would need to be used, we will divide students into groups and create a schedule for when students would be in school. 
  • On-Site Learning Model– all students will be in school, and the district will have processes and procedures in place to mitigate the virus.

Right now, our plan is to begin classes on Tuesday, August 25, using the on-site learning model. We would conduct classes as close to normal as possible. We understand there may need to be alternative delivery methods for families with underlying medical conditions who would prefer not to have their child in school due to these concerns.

We continue to discuss several topics for on-site learning: 

  • Face Coverings – At this point, masks will be optional. As we gather more information, please note that this policy may change, but right now we will not require face coverings.
  • Bussing – For this summer’s baseball and softball seasons, the state’s guidance was to have passengers practice social distancing on buses. We anticipate that will be the guidance this fall as well. With limited buses and drivers, this potentially creates problems. While we are still working out the logistics, we do want to ask for your assistance with this. If you can transport your child to and from school, please let us know; this will help us plan.
  • Cleaning – We have spent considerable time working with our suppliers in gathering cleaning and disinfecting supplies. We will continue to fine-tune our procedures as we get closer to the start date, and we know we will be taking additional measures for disinfecting spaces.

As mentioned, we plan to begin with on-site learning starting on Tuesday, August 25. We will continue to work on these plans and update them as new information becomes available. We will post the plan we submitted to the state on the Boyden-Hull web site during the week of July 13, and a more detailed plan for families will be sent soon. 

If the past four months have taught us anything, it is that we need to be flexible as guidance continues to evolve. That is the same is true for these plans. It may be that we will need to transition to off-site learning or hybrid models with little notice, and our plans need to be able to accommodate those possibilities. 

We want students in school, and we want our communities to be healthy.  Right now, it’s challenging to strike the right balance, but we hope the plans we are working hard to develop allow us to provide the highest quality education in the safest environment possible. 

Yours in education,

Steve Grond

Education Learning Plan

Steve Grond COVID-19

April 9, 2020

Dear Parents, 

These past four weeks have been unsettling and difficult as we try to navigate a path forward.  Since Governor Reynolds’ recommendation to close schools, we at Boyden-Hull have tried to provide learning opportunities for our students. The purpose of these opportunities was to keep our students’ brains active and to maintain learning that has occurred so far. Teachers have also been reaching out to students on a weekly basis to keep kids connected to school. The learning thus far has been optional because state law did not allow us to require online learning. However, with school closures extended through April 30, the Governor and the Iowa Department of Education are now giving districts the option of requiring online classes or providing voluntary opportunities for online learning.

Boyden-Hull has decided to approach the rest of the month in this way:

  • Grades TK – 8:  Voluntary
  • Grades 9 -11:  Required
  • Grade 12:  Voluntary

We worked hard at determining what is appropriate at each level, keeping in mind that a perfect solution may not exist and that we should not let perfect get in the way of progress.  We also recognize that it is a stressful time for everyone, and we are not looking to add additional stress by assigning overwhelming amounts of schoolwork.  Each building principal will be providing additional details for teachers on how to approach online learning. 

Additionally, each building principal will be sending a more detailed explanation of how each building will proceed and expectations later today.

While we know that each of us would prefer to have students in school, we also realize that this is an opportunity to explore ways in how we deliver education.  Boyden-Hull is committed to making the most of this situation, ensuring our students stay connected to school.  We are working to secure internet access for each family for the duration of this closure to remain as connected as possible with our students.

As we all know from recent events, things can change dramatically in a very short time frame.  Changes may continue to occur, and we will continue to find solutions that meet student and staff needs and state guidelines. 

Finally, I just want to say that we value the partnership with our students and their families, and we continue to stand ready to assist in any way we can to help all navigate this time! 

Sincerely

Steve Grond, Superintendent

COVID Update

Steve Grond COVID-19


Date: April 3, 2020

School Closure
At the Governor’s press conference yesterday, the Governor extended school closure until April 30. Boyden-Hull will comply with this recommendation, and schools at Boyden-Hull will remain closed until April 30. However, this announcement does require us to consider several decisions, changes in operating procedures, and possible postponements for us a district:

Required/Voluntary/No Services Offered 
As a district, we are working hard at providing the best possible education given the circumstances. With the Governor’s press conference and guidance from the Iowa Department of Education, we have several options on how we will proceed during April. We are discussing the options of requiring work, making school work voluntary as we are currently doing, or no work and making up the time later. We will need to submit our plan by next Friday, April 10, to the Iowa Dept. of Education as to our intentions. The admin team along with the instructional coaches have been meeting to discuss this and will continue to work through these options and how we will proceed from here. We should have a decision by the middle of next week. All work will remain voluntary until April 13. 

Seniors
We are also talking about what the next several weeks will look like for seniors. The state requires that seniors meet specific requirements for graduation. Included are classes such as Government, Personal Financial Literacy, and CPR. We will be doing a check on where we are with each of these areas and make decisions accordingly.  More guidance will be coming out the next week or two about how the final weeks of each senior’s year will look.

Graduation
It is our full intention to have a graduation ceremony/celebration of the Class of 2020. Whether it is on the original date or if we need to look at alternatives, we are still planning on that event! If rescheduling is necessary, we have talked about postponing it to June, July, or August. If social distancing is still in place throughout the summer, possibly having a virtual ceremony. Numerous things that have proven to be difficult with this situation, but one of them that I am struggling the most with is graduation. It is a capstone ceremony of 13 years at Boyden-Hull, and we would like to treat it as such!

Prom
As you might suspect, Prom is another area of discussion. It looks like it will be postponed to a later date as well. Prom is another special event that is very important to parents, students, and the life of the school. If we need to postpone Prom, it will be similar to graduation in that we will work extremely hard to find alternative dates to hold this event. 
  
Playgrounds and Facilities
In speaking with other school districts, many of them have locked their facilities (track and football field) or posted signs about social distancing during this time. We will plan on putting up signs to let everyone know that these areas are off-limits to groups until further notice. 

Finally, thank you for your patience and understanding. We understand that it has not been easy for any of us, including you, as parents and community members. Please know that we have been and will continue to work hard at navigating this time in the best possible manner for our students and community. 

School Facilities Update

Steve Grond COVID-19

As we continue to work through exactly what social distancing means there are several areas that I wanted to give clearer guidance.  Both school buildings are currently closed to all non-essential personnel with limited exceptions.  There are several outdoor spaces that are much harder to control. These are the playground at the elementary in Boyden and Hesla Field.  The playground in Boyden and Hesla Field are closed until further notice to all except essential personnel and food distribution at Hesla Field.  

   

iPad Distribution

Steve Grond COVID-19

Today we distributed iPads to elementary students in grades 1-5. Teachers will be in contact with their students about different apps that can be used for math and reading . Thank you to parents and students who came to pick them. up

GRAB N’GO LUNCHES

Steve Grond COVID-19

We have started our Grab n’ Go lunch and breakfast meals this week. Any child age one to eighteen is eligible to receive a free breakfast and lunch. The two distribution centers are the Hesla Field concession stand in Hull and the parking lot of the Presbyterian Church in Boyden. Meals will be distributed from 11:30 to 12:30 each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Monday and Wednesday, each child will receive two lunches and two breakfasts.

Boyden-Hull employees are working at each site handing out the meals. The meals were put together by our food service, Aviands, with the help of volunteers from the school and community.

If there are children who need meals, regardless of the school they attend and live within the Boyden-Hull boundaries, please stop at one of the locations for free Grab n’ Go lunches and breakfast.