Principal's Newsletter

Welcome to the Wood Oaks Newsletter.  This is my primary means of disseminating information to families, so please check back often.  I generally update this page once a week, usually on Fridays, but will occasionally put out a mid-week issue if there is information to share that cannot wait for the weekend.  To subscribe to this newsletter, click on the orange bell below, click on the newsletter, and fill out the pop-up form.

Return to Five Day Attendance on Monday

Greetings Parents,

We are so excited to be welcoming your children to Wood Oaks on Monday for this final portion of the 2020-21 school year.  The plan we put together over the summer has been working very well to date, and we have made small changes where necessary to make it even better.  In order to ensure your child has a smooth transition into the building next week, I would ask that you review the information below for yourselves and then with them as it will answer many of the questions they may have about how the school will be operating as we finish out this year.  Your children will also be watching a video in social studies classes this week with a review of our safety protocols and some of the changes for next week.  You, too, may find viewing it helps you better understand the protocols here as we transition to five day per week attendance.  I know some of your children were here at the start of the year before going remote, but it will still be a good review for you and for them.  

  1. Prior to arriving at school, it is crucial that each student has the Daily Health Questionnaire filled out online.  This is a critical part of our safety plan.  When this is completed prior to arrival, our student entry process flows very smoothly.  When just one student does not have it completed, the entire process stops while a staff member verifies that student is safe to enter.  PLEASE assist us by making the filling out of that form a part of your in-person learning daily morning routine.  You will need your child’s student ID number and date of birth to fill out the form.  Student ID numbers are on the student information section of the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. 

  2. Students will be dropped off at different doors by grade level.  This helps us run a more efficient entry process into the building.  See the “Drop-off” locations on the map below.

 

  1. Student drop-off will begin at 7:45 am each day.  Prior to that time, all exterior doors will remain locked.  Our entry points are not staffed until 7:45 am, so please do not drop-off your child at school until 7:45 am.  On the flipside, with over 400 students returning to the building each day, drop-off will take longer than it has so far this year.  If you wait until 8:05 to arrive on campus, your child may be late to first period.  Please try to arrive on the earlier end, especially for the first week back. 

  2. Upon entering the building at their assigned entrance, students will have their temperature taken by a contactless reader to ensure they are fever-free and will need to scan their student ID to verify the health form is filled out.  If your child has not yet picked up their badge this year, we will have it at the entry point Monday morning for them to pick up. Many students have found the student barcode located on the Infinite Campus Portal and have it up on their phone to be scanned.  That works the same as their ID and is a good thing to know how to do in case a badge is misplaced. 

  3. Students arriving between 7:45 - 8:09 am will report to one of several locations, based on their lunch periods.  See chart below.  All students arriving at 8:10 am or later will need to use Door A, the main entrance, to enter the building as the other locations need to close up so those staff members can report to classrooms.  

 

  1. There will be some changes for lunch starting Monday as well.  We do not have adequate seating for all students to have a traditional lunch space and still keep them all six feet apart and facing the same direction, per the IDPH guidance.  To remedy this, some of our lunch seating will be in a chair that does not have a table surface with it.  Students will place their lunch on the ground and pick up one part of it at a time while eating.  We piloted this with 8th graders today.  While they were not pleased about it, it did work.  Our goal is to eat outside as much as possible through the end of the year.  So for early spring, students may want to bring a jacket, even if they don't think they need it.  Sitting outside for 35 minutes without a jacket may feel colder than the short walk into the building.  They may even want to consider having a towel to sit on if the grass is still wet from the previous night's rain. Just some suggestions as we will go out as often as possible.  

  2. Dismissal for sixth and seventh grade students and all walkers will work the same as it did last year and earlier this year. Walkers can leave at the bell and sixth and seventh graders should meet their rides in front of the school.  Riders of bus R and S should report to the small gym immediately after school to wait for their bus to arrive.  Riders of buses T, U, and V should report to the commons. The biggest change is for eighth grade students.  Eighth graders and their siblings will exit the building and cross the soccer fields behind Wood Oaks to meet their rides at the small lot on the far west side of the property (see map above).  Parents of eighth grade students, please do not start lining up at that location until 3:15 pm.  That lot is an active parking lot for public access to Wood Oaks Green Park.  We do not want to block those cars in for any longer than necessary and ask for your help in being good neighbors to our park district patrons. After picking up your child, please follow the traffic around to the circle and exit the way you entered.  Please do not try to make a U-turn in such a small space. This adjustment to pickup will take place rain or shine, so students should be prepared to be walking through potentially wet grass and may want an umbrella as they wait to be picked up.  If the weather is unsafe for people to be outside, we will not release students and will communicate an alternate plan. 

  3. Students will not be changing for PE this year.  Our amazing PE teachers are preparing lessons for them that they can do in their everyday clothing.  However, it will be very important that they are wearing some sort of athletic shoe to school each day. This will allow them to participate fully and safely in physical education.

  4. Hallways and stairwells at Wood Oaks are designated as one way this year.  This will assist us in better maintaining physical distancing and also have children facing the same direction. There will definitely be a learning curve, but if you can just preview that item with them, at least they won’t be surprised.  The majority of students are used to this by now and will be able to help your children figure out the easiest route from place to place. 

  5. We will be limiting gum this year to just lunch periods.  Ordinarily, we have left this up to teacher discretion.  This year, to avoid any additional lifting of masks and potential, “I got gum stuck in mask” comments, we are going to limit gum to just lunch.  Food, as has always been the case, is also limited to just lunch. 

We are very excited to welcome your Wildcats to Wood Oaks on Monday, April 12. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to either Mrs. Beake or me.  We will ensure all of your questions are answered prior to your child’s entry into the school building. Stay well.  

-- Dr. McElligott