Dear Murch Families,
We are now at one week and counting 🙂 Again, welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! As we approach August 30th, we are excited to welcome students and families back – we are full of joy that in-person learning is back – we are hopeful that this is going to be a productive, joyful, engaging, and celebratory year for all students, teachers, and families.
Now I don’t live life with rose colored glasses on and want to acknowledge that there are those who are concerned about safety and health and the uncertainty that lies ahead. We have all safety precautions in place and having nearly 85% of our students in –person in term four last year, I am confident that safety and health of all at Murch will be the top priority as we start the school year.
Our staff started their first day last Friday and the mood was light, energized, positive, and forward thinking. It was wonderful to work with everyone in person. No matter what this year brings, please rest assured that we will continue our focus on creating joyful learning experiences, addressing the social – emotional needs of our students, and creating consistent and sustainable structures for learning.
This year is a “remix” of sorts – bringing back some of our favorite traditions, events, and classroom activities while also adding in the best of our COVID safety protocols. We will continuously balance the need for safety with “normal” – creating the best experience we can for our kids.
Here are a few other important notes for the upcoming year:
Line up for Morning Arrivals/Dismissal: CLICK HERE FOR DIAGRAM
- Specials will be taught on a four-week rotation – each student will have the same specials class for approximately 4 weeks before switching to a new specials class. We have also included library and guidance in the specials rotation this year.
- Grades 3-5 will have an acceleration period – For students in grades 3 – 5 this is an opportunity to possibly join a club, socialize, participate in extension activities and work on challenging projects. It can also be a time for students who need additional supports for the work being done during a week to get it in small group.
- Wednesday schedule for grades 3-5 – Teachers in grade 3-5 will have the option to hold full grade team meetings and have the students participate in team building activities in the afternoon. Grade level teams can meet once a month at a minimum or every week. Teachers will communicate weekly schedules to all parents.
- COVID Safety Protocols – Here are the basics:
- Masks – worn at all times by students and adults (except during PK4 nap time and while eating).
- Social Distancing – Adults must maintain social distance of 6 ft at all times; students should be 3 ft apart to the greatest extent possible.
- Cohorts – Student cohorts can now mix (at recess, etc.)
- HVAC – Continued HVAC improvements (classroom HEPA air filters, MERV grade filters, have been installed.)
- Testing – Student asymptomatic testing will take place on a weekly basis for a randomized 10% of the student population whose parents signed the waiver to allow testing.
- Arrival Screening – “Ask, ask, look” protocol done by parents, but no temperature checks at the door.
- Vaccinations – Last week, the Mayor announced that all DC government employees (including all staff who work in school buildings) must be vaccinated by September 19th. School employees who are not vaccinated by this date will be required to be tested on a weekly basis.
- Lunch – Grades Pre-k4 thru 1st grade will eat lunch in their classrooms, 2nd grade will eat lunch in two shifts in the commons (across for the gym), and grades 3-5 will their own lunch period in the cafeteria. Safety and distancing standards will be adhered to during lunch. After each student’s lunch has been finished, they will be asked to put their masks back on. Also, all students are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch this school year!
- Travel Guidance – unvaccinated students must continue to quarantine for any travel outside the DMV. The following guidance applies to all non-quarantined travelers. Complete protocols can be found at the DCPS ReOpen Strong website.
**Families who travel must email their teacher and the Attendance email (email@example.com) with notice of their travel, return date, as well as test results
Upcoming Fall Dates
Mark your calendars! The following dates are going to sneak up on us!
- August 27th – Sneek-peek (grades K AND 1, 12:30 – 1:30, grades 2 AND 4, 1:30-2:30, grades 3 AND 5, 2:30-3:30)
- August 30th – First Day of School for KDG – 5th Grade
- September 2nd – First Day for PK4 students
- September 6th – NO SCHOOL – Labor Day
- September 9th – Back To School Night (time and format TBD)