The Birney Buzz 08/28/2021

The Birney Buzz 08/28/2021
Posted on 08/29/2021
Birney Bee

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Greetings, Birney community, happy Saturday before school,

It is so exciting to be seeing so many of your smiling faces as you come up to school to check the rosters.  Yesterday I was so delighted to hear a group of little ones singing 'Ring Around the Rosie' out on the front grass.  It wasn't till the moment I woke up this morning that I felt the impact of that irony - an old song possibly from another plague in another time.  I wonder what folklore will come out of this pandemic. 

Welcome to all those of you who recently enrolled and are just now receiving an email from me. As I have stated before, email is the agreed-upon form of communication at Birney (although teachers may also communicate through other platforms such as text, SeeSaw, Google Classroom, Class Dojo or Remind), the primary 'official' communication will remain email. Thank  you all for your patience as we navigate this difficult time to reopen the school - we have opened without an enrollment clerk, so while we all know so much more about enrollment at the end of this week versus the beginning, we have been unable to do some of the other reopening tasks as easily as usual. Your ongoing patience with the school office is appreciated!

Weekly COVID testing program for students: You received an email from the district about School COVID-19 testing for students. The email asked you to contact the office for access to the Parent Portal after the first day of school. I will be sending the School COVID-19 Testing Option (Acknowledgement) paper form for you to sign up for testing if you wish, along with access instructions to the portal and your child's individual access code and password, but not until WEDNESDAY. 

Parent homework the first week: you will have important things to read and sign this week, and your child will be bringing them home to you. On Monday, teachers will be sending information home to you, but Tuesday through Thursday we will send home items that need to be read, signed and returned. The schedule for that is:

Tuesday:  2021-2022 Facts for Parents, a district pamphlet with a TON of information and two (2) forms at the back of the pamphlet to be looked at. The Universal Form MUST be signed and returned (unless you did one at enrollment if you are new to Birney). The pesticide notification form is optional.  

Wednesday: The School COVID-19 Testing Option (Acknowlegement) form, the Parent Portal jobaid and the Parent Portal access code and password. You will need to sign and return the testing form.

Thursday: The Student Data Card will be sent home populated with all the information we have in the system. You will need to check the information, especially the emails, to make sure they are correct. If there are changes, please make the changes and return to school.  

Classrooms are ready, staff is preparing for the first day, and I want to remind you about the reopening procedures we will observe on Monday. I am sending a separate email to TK and K families with more information and their darling orientation video. OK, so here goes:

Before coming to school:  Please prepare the backpack with:

  • metal or plastic water bottle
  • a healthy snack
  • a well-wrapped lunch (if the student is not going to eat a school lunch on the first day)
  • a towel to sit on for picnic lunches
  • and an extra mask. 
  • For returning students only who were issued a device:
    • If the student was issued a device and charger last year, you'll want to pack that too
    • headphones/earbuds (we have extras at school if needed). 
  • For those students without a device, we will be issuing devices the first week. Here is a short presentation on the SDUSD 1:1 device initiative

Coming to school: due to the health and safety requirements, we have different gates for entry to school and a requirement to limit the presence of non-essential adults on campus. Of course, we all know that you are absolutely essential in your child's life, so please do not be mad at us when we ask that you please prepare your child (and yourself) to say goodbye at the gate. There will be staff at the gate and on the playground to direct students to their rooms. On Day 1 teachers will be waiting in their rooms to welcome students, and then the first thing they will do with students is show them the routine for Day 2 and beyond - where to line up, where they will get their lunch and eat and play, and so on. For families with more than one child, I ask that you drop your children off at the gate for the YOUNGEST sibling, so the older one(s) can make sure the younger one(s) get safely to where they need to go. The same can be done for afternoon pick-up. Here are the gates and grade levels or rooms that correspond:

  • Kindergarten: Campus Avenue small gate onto kindergarten playground, drop-off and pick-up.
  • First/Second Grade: Campus Avenue main gate by office, drop-off.  Pick up for 1st grade will be through the main gate, for 2nd grade will be through the side gate in the Ed Center driveway.
  • Third Grade and Room 214 (4th grade): Joint-Use Field gate in the Ed Center driveway.
  • Fourth and Fifth Grades in 2-story building: Meade Avenue side gate by Birney Library (it is called the 'kindergarten gate' because it was, before the pandemic, and will be, after).

I do encourage you to be fully aware of the weather every day because your child will spend a lot of time outside.

While at school: Students will need to be masked except when they are eating or drinking or taking a mask break outdoors. We thank you for supporting us in this need to keep our students safe. Forgive the editorial comment, but my observation for the 8 weeks of school we were in-person last year was that kids are much better at this mask thing than adults are - they just roll with it. We appreciate that about them - they would rather be masked with their friends at school than zooming from home, which just makes sense to me!

Leaving school:

  • Tk/K: Dismissal for TK/K the first week is 1:30 every day (in the separate email for TK/K which I will write after this, I am including a Google form for care needs during the first week). After the first week it is 3:35, EXCEPT Wednesdays when EVERYONE goes home at 1:30 (unless enrolled in after-school programs or enrichment classes)
  • 1st-5th: Dismissal for 1st-5th is 3:35 EXCEPT on Wednesdays when EVERYONE goes home at 1:30 (unless they are enrolled in the before/after school programs or after-school enrichment classes (which begin in a couple of weeks). Please observe distancing guideleines while waiting to pick up your child. Students will be brought to the area adjacent to the gates and students will be lined up on the lines that are 6 feet apart. They will have to let their teacher know when they see their parent/caregiver to be released to leave school.
  • NOTE for 4/5th: Upper grade students (4th/5th) may walk home alone IF the teacher is advised by email that the parent is approving that. We issue them a lanyard to wear so that school personnel known they are ok to walk home. If parents wish for an upper grade sibling to walk home with younger students, all teachers and the office will need to be advised by email.  

As always, I am sure I have left something out, and as you know a simple email to ahammondwilliams@sandi.net gets you to my inbox.

Another recommendation is if you don't hear back from me in 24 hours, don't hesitate to send another email - it just means that things got crazy and I missed it. Finally, I thank you for believing in us and trusting thst we will do our best to make the opening of the year as smooth as possible.  

Take care,

Ms. Amanda

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