Dear HGSD Parents, Staff and Community, July 31st, 2020
I hope this letter finds all of you doing well. Today wraps up the last day of July, where did summer go? I know that the challenges we face as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic are frustrating as many look for a return to normalcy. I can’t say that things will ever truly return to normal, but we all are certainly trying.
By now, most of you know that the Governor has issued a statewide mask mandate. This means that we have an order, from the state, to require masks for all individuals age 5 or older while indoors. While our plan originally did not mandate that students wear masks, we now have a state order which makes us require them. Students and staff will be required to wear an appropriate facial covering while in school. The order also spells out exceptions to the requirement, listing activities such as when someone is eating, drinking or swimming. People with health conditions or disabilities that would preclude the wearing of a face mask safely are also exempt from the requirement. This order begins August 1st and remains in effect through September 28th. As new information about this order becomes available, we will provide updates.
In addition to the Statewide Mask Mandate, the remainder of our Reopening of Schools Plan 2020 is now on our website. As I have previously mentioned, we will have in person school 5 days per week with normal start times. We also have a virtual option for those families who choose not to send their child to school. There are many details outlined in the plan such as drop off and pick up procedures, lunch, social distancing, and cleaning to name a few. Please take some time to review the specifics for your child’s school. The plan will be a fluid document as things will likely change over the coming months.
With the statewide mask mandate, I have included some Mask Tips for Children, taken from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. You will find those tips at the end of this letter. Also, we have included a short survey link at the end. The survey is regarding your intentions to attend school in person or virtually. Please take a minutes to complete the survey, it will help us plan accordingly.
A modified graduation ceremony will be held this Sunday, August 2nd at noon. The ceremony will take place outside, utilizing our football stadium. The ceremony will focus on getting the graduates together one last time, recognizing their achievements and delivering their diplomas. Due to the current pandemic, crowd size has been limited to 4 people per graduate. If inclement weather occurs the event will be cancelled.
The registration window is open now through August 3rd. All registration will be done online through Skyward. Please take some time to complete the information so we can plan accordingly for the reopening of schools. Also, new this year, families will need to schedule an appointment for student pictures. A link to sign up is available on the 2020-2021 Registration page on our website. Appointments are available on Monday, August 3rd.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help or support at any time. We are all in this together and are here to help.
Chris Peterson, Scott Fritz, Heather Zizis, Jason Cole, and Tracy Bandt
Tips for getting kids to wear masks
- Be a role model. You want your kids to wear a mask? Show them how it’s done! By presenting a positive and easy-going attitude about wearing a mask, kids will be able to follow your lead.
- Do practice sessions at home. Find a time when kids are in a good mood, well rested and have had a little something to eat. Allow kids to hold the mask, sniff it and generally get the feel of it. Then have them either hold it to their mouth or put it on, starting with a few seconds, gradually building up to longer periods of time. Normalizing mask wearing in low risk environments can help avoid unintentional exposure outside your home.
- Make it fun. Find a mask with their favorite character on it or, if you’re crafty, make masks your kids can decorate. You can even make masks for their stuffed animals and dolls.
- Normalize it. Once they have a mask they like, you can try reading their favorite books or coloring a picture while wearing masks as a way to get used to it. Set up a video call with grandparents or friends with everyone wearing masks to help normalize it. Distractions can be a good way to help them get used to this new sensation of something covering their nose and mouth. Don’t forget to give your kids lots of praise for their efforts.
- Provide incentives if necessary. As with any new behavior, some kids may need a little encouragement. Use ideas that have worked in the past: sticker charts, picking out a small treat, getting to stay up 15 minutes later or an extra book at bedtime can all be good incentives for kids struggling to wear masks.
- Acknowledge their frustration. Kids may experience frustration with how COVID-19 has disrupted their lives. Wearing a mask and the feeling of tightness around their face may feel like another negative impact of this virus. Acknowledging and normalizing their feelings can be helpful to getting kids to understand the importance of wearing masks. If your kids are still struggling, check out this blog post on how to talk to your kids about COVID-19.
Survey Link for in-person school or virtual school: