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Weekly Update

August 07, 2020
By Dr. Jeremy Wallace

COVID-19: We are constantly monitoring the current COVID situation on the Blount County COVID-19 website. While the media has only been reporting the total number of cumulative cases, the more telling number is the total active cases. The total number of active cases in Blount County has decreased each of the past several days (a total decrease of 59 active cases). As of yesterday, out of a total Blount County population of 133,000, there were only 503 active cases (.38 percent of the population). Only 7.3% of the 16,359 COVID tests conducted by the Blount County Health Department have been confirmed as positive. This is encouraging, but not a reason to be careless.

Masks & Other Procedures: While we are encouraged with the decrease in active cases, we still want to be cautious. There is no guarantee this will continue. We need to be sure we are taking the necessary steps to help keep our faculty, staff, and students safe and healthy. As a result:

We will still be expecting our teachers to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, and we have provided face shields that can be used when teaching.

We are continuing all of our extra cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

We will be enforcing social distancing at lunch, break, and chapel (to the degree possible).

We will continue with our temperature check routine.

We are also strongly encouraging our students to wear masks when in the hallways and other common areas. While more students were wearing masks on Friday than on Wednesday, we still need greater participation. We are asking you, as parents, to help us in encouraging your students to wear masks. Thank you in advance for your help.

Drop-Off & Pick-Up: Overall things have gone very well. Here are a few reminders about Drop-off & Pick-up that will help protect the safety of our students:

All routes on campus are one-way during drop-off (7:30am-8:00am) and pick-up times (3:00pm-3:30pm). Please make sure you are driving in the direction intended.

Drop-off and pick-up are not times for a parent-teacher conference. We are happy to set up a time to conference with you after school or during planning times. If something urgent requires immediate attention, please park and come to the office so that the rest of the line is not held up.

Please do not get out of your vehicle. Teachers will open doors for students and can help them get situated with whatever they need to carry. This will help the traffic flow faster and keeps us all being considerate of other families in the line.

Teachers will be loading and unloading students from the back seat on the driver's side.

Items specific to Pick-Up:

Don't deviate from the map. If traffic is backed up, please do not create your own route. Things will flow very smoothly if everyone follows the route planned.

MS/HS parents should not enter the pick-up line before 3:15pm. These students are not out of class before then and arriving on campus prior to that time creates a backup for elementary parents. If you arrive earlier than 3:15, please park in a parking space and wait until the appropriate time to begin forming a line.

Please use a sharpie and add the first names of your students on the car tag. This will expedite the process of calling student names.

Please have the car tag hanging from your rearview mirror as soon as you enter the line.

Dress Code: The only clarification we need to make concerning our dress code at this point is that shoes made of plastic or a plastic-like material (such as Crocs) are not allowed.

Staff Changes: I have a couple of staff changes to let you know about.

First, Daniel Holden has been hired as the new High School Assistant. He will also be co-teaching Gov/Econ with Mr. Baute and helping coach several sports. We are excited about him joining our team on August 17th.

Second, Sheilah Scherer’s last day at MCS will be on Friday, August 14th. Be sure to let her know how much you appreciate her service at MCS.

Thanks again for a great first few days of school!

First Day of School News

August 04, 2020
By Dr. Jeremy Wallace

SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW!  Here are a few things you need to know.

School Hours: School starts at 8:00am for all students. Elementary dismissal is at 3:00pm (grades PreK-6th), Middle School and High School dismissal is at 3:15pm.

Students may be dropped off between 7:30am - 8:00am. Students arriving after 8:00am will need to check in at the front office.

Drop-Off: Students can only be dropped off in one of two locations. Elementary students (and siblings) are to be dropped off under the covered drive-thru in front of the gym. Middle School and High School students are to be dropped off near the High School parking area. There will be a tent set up to help you know where to go. You can also look at this map to see our drop-off procedures. All other doors will be locked.

Temperature Checks: We will be doing temperature checks for all students. Students who are being dropped off will have their temperature checked by a touchless thermometer prior to exiting their vehicle. Students who drive will have their temperatures checked prior to entering the building.

Student/Parent Handbook & Reopening Plan: If you did not see the email about the Student/Parent Handbook, you can view the handbook HERE. The Reopening Plan is available HERE. All families are asked to submit a form (HERE) indicating you have received these documents. Those can be turned in by your student to his/her homeroom teacher.

COVID-19 Restrictions: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, parents will not be able to come into the building with their students. We know this is an inconvenience, but we thank you for understanding.

Before/After School Care: Before school and after school care also begins tomorrow (Wednesday). Anyone who needs before/after care should email Beth Johnson HERE.  You can also print the contract found HERE and send it to school with your student.

Backpacks: As we mentioned last week, student backpacks will need to be kept in lockers during the day.

Student Drivers: Students who drive themselves to campus need to complete the Student Driver Form which can be obtained from the office or found HERE. To help facilitate temperature checks, ALL student drivers need to park in the lot indicated on this parking map.

Lunch: MCS lunch service will not begin until August 17th. Students will need to bring their own lunch each day until that time. Drinks and ice cream will still be available. You can either preorder using your FACTS account, or we can charge your FACTS account the day of purchase. Due to COVID-19, we will not be accepting cash payments. You can read our normal lunch ordering process HERE.

Athletics Meeting: There will not be an all-sports athletic meeting this year.  Instead, each sport will be conducting individual team/parent meetings.  Specific information will be sent out from the Athletic Department.

Weekly Update

July 31, 2020
By Dr. Jeremy Wallace

It is hard to believe that school starts on Wednesday. Yes, things will look a little different due to COVID, but we are ready to see our students. Here are a few things you need to know.

Open House/Orientation: In an effort to maintain small group sizes, we are adjusting our open house/orientation schedule from past years.

Monday, Aug 3 @ 6:00-6:45 - PK-3rd
Monday, Aug 3 @ 7:00-7:45 - 4th- 6th
Tuesday, Aug 4 @ 6:00-6:45 - Middle School
Tuesday, Aug 4 @ 7:00-7:45 - High School

Each session will begin in the gym with a 10-minute welcome and introduction. From there, each grade will be dismissed individually to the student’s classroom/homeroom. We are encouraging the use of masks.

This is a great opportunity for students to meet their teachers.

Parent/Student Handbook and Reopening Plan: We want to be sure you have had a chance to review both these policies. We will be asking you to sign a form during orientation acknowledging receipt of these documents. You can read the Student/Parent Handbook HERE and the Reopening Plan HERE.

Drop Off: During Open House/Orientation we will be discussing our drop-off and temperature check procedures. We will discuss specifics next week, but here is an overview.

We will have two different drop-off locations. The preschool and elementary students (and siblings) will be dropped off under the awning at the gym drive through. Middle school and high school students will be dropped off at the rear high school parking lot. Students will need to enter at one of these locations. We will have an illustrated map available during orientation and will email it to you early next week.

We know that the addition of temperature checks has the capability to slow down the drop-off process. We have over 15 faculty and staff members working during morning drop-off in an effort to expedite the process. Please be patient with us as we work through this. We are fully aware that we may need to make adjustments along the way. We will continually be evaluating this process to ensure it is both safe and efficient. We will communicate any adjustments we need to make as those decisions are made.

Backpacks: In an effort to limit the number of items being brought into the classroom from home, students will be asked to keep their backpacks in their lockers. Athletic bags will be kept in the locker rooms. To help facilitate this, 9th-12th grade students will be given two lockers to use. Keeping student backpacks in lockers also improves security, reduces fire evacuation hazards in classrooms, and allows more room in the hallways for social distancing efforts.

*Exceptions will be made for SLP students on a case-by-case basis.

Precautions for Faculty and Staff: We are providing masks and/or face shields for all of our faculty and staff. Unless there are conditions that prevent them from wearing them, they will be taking precautions when in close proximity with students.

Schedules: Middle and High School schedules will be available to view on Family Portal on Monday afternoon. Questions about schedules should be sent to sscherer@mcstn.org.

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