Positive COVID Case at Loon Lake Elementary - 11/24/20

posted Nov 24, 2020, 9:00 AM by Brad VanDyne

Good Morning, Loon Lake Families, 

As they say, "All good things must come to an end." We had a great run of having no known COVID-19 cases in our school. How quickly things change. 

One of our staff members at Loon Lake Elementary School has tested positive. It has been determined that she acquired it from outside of the school.  Her diligence in distancing and voluntarily quarantining before she was asked prevented any risk to our other staff and students. 

A letter from NE Tri County Health with more information is posted on our website and our Loon Lake Facebook page.

Happy Thanksgiving and take good care – 
Brad

November 19, 2020 - Conferences/Early Release/COVID Update

posted Nov 19, 2020, 2:20 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello Loon Lake Families,

Brad here from the school.  It’s been a while since I bugged you with an update, so I figured it was time.  Just three items for today.

First, remember that we have conferences on Monday and Tuesday of next week.  Please plan on arriving about 10 minutes early so we can do your health screening.  When you get here, you will head straight to the gym to be screened.  

Second, because we have conferences next week, we have our typical early release tomorrow so our teachers can prepare their report cards.  This only affects our students currently coming in for full days, which for tomorrow only includes our 4th grade green group and our full day special education students.  

And finally, as you may have heard, we are increasing the time kids spend at school starting after Thanksgiving break.  Your child’s teacher will reach out to you with specifics, if they haven’t done so already.  

I know there are questions swirling around in many communities right now about schools.  Are schools going to be shut down again?  Right now, the answer is no.  The governor has said he wants shut down decisions to be made locally.  Our health district, NE Tri County Health, also supports local school districts making these kinds of decisions.  So at this point, I don’t see any kind of forced shutdown happening.  

So this begs another question, if COVID is more prevalent now than it was in March, why did we close then, but are staying open now?  I think it’s important to know that last March, nobody knew anything about COVID.  We know a lot more now.  

Schools have been in session for a while now, including us.  The data is showing that if schools follow safety protocols, the virus is not spreading within schools and schools are not contributing to community spread.  This is very encouraging, and that’s why we can stay open now.

We all wear our masks, we stay 6 feet apart, we wash our hands, and we disinfect regularly.  We take these protocols very seriously.  It doesn’t mean we are immune or that positive cases can’t happen here, but this is where our kids should be.  

Speaking of staying safe, I want to thank you all.  At of the time of this message, we have not had any positive cases in our school (knock on wood).  When your family follows safety protocols when you go out in public, it helps keep your family healthy, which helps keep our school healthy.  Clearly, you are working hard at this.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see many of you next week at conferences.

Take care – 
Brad

Friday, November 13th - No School Due to Weather

posted Nov 13, 2020, 5:38 AM by Brad VanDyne

Loon Lake School District is closed today, Friday, November 13th, due to weather conditions.  This means our elementary is closed and our home-link is closed.  There will be no Loon Lake buses running to neighboring districts.  There will also be no food or work delivery today from the Loon Lake van.  

Loon Lake Elementary students are NOT required to log in to their computers today.  Instead, play outside and make a snowman or two.      

Stay safe out there and have a great day.  

October 2, 2020 - Transition for K-5

posted Oct 2, 2020, 1:54 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello Loon Lake Families,

Fall is finally upon us, though with temperatures near 80 degrees this weekend, it is kind of hard to tell.  

As always, I hope this message finds you healthy and well.  

As you know, when we started this school year, the recommendation from NE Tri County Health District was for schools in Stevens County to begin the year with remote learning.  At that time, disease transmission in our county was in the high risk range.  

Over the last month or so, we have seen the disease transmission rate decrease, and we are now in the moderate risk range.  This means that NE Tri County Health has officially updated their recommendation, and have given the green light to schools in Stevens County to consider expanding face-to-face learning for elementary students.  

This is excellent news.  It doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet, but it’s a step in the right direction, and it means we can start to have more kids here at school each day.  Our goal is to begin this transition on Monday, October 12th, which is a week from this coming Monday, and we will begin with grades K through 5.  How often they will be here is going to depend on the size of the class, since we are still required to have kids 6 feet apart.  And we believe in safety and starting slow, so at this time, we are looking at face-to-face learning in the mornings only.  

In the coming days, your child’s teacher will reach out to you regarding the specific plan for their grade level.  So, you can expect more specific info about this next week.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.  

Have a great weekend and take good care.  We’ll chat again soon – 
Brad

September 18, 2020 - Transition for K-2 Students

posted Sep 18, 2020, 1:11 PM by Brad VanDyne   [ updated Sep 18, 2020, 1:13 PM ]

Hello Loon Lake Families,

As always, I hope this message finds you healthy and well.  

I would like to give you a quick update today on transitioning kids to school for face-to-face instruction, and when that might happen.

It is important to know that, right now, NE Tri County Health’s recommendation has not changed.  They are still recommending distance learning.  However, while this recommendation is in place, there is some allowance for bringing in small groups of our highest need learners right now.  

We believe that learning on a screen is the most difficult for our youngest learners.  So, beginning next week, we will start to bring small groups of Kindergarten through 2nd grade students in for face-to-face learning a couple times per week.  

So, allow me to speak to our 3rd through 6th grade families first.  As of right now, we will continue with distance learning for you.  We will need to await further guidance from NE Tri County Health in order to begin transitioning our older students in.  Thanks for your continued patience and for working so hard to get your kids online and learning each day.  

And to our kindergarten through 2nd grade families, a few quick notes for you:  Rest assured, we will be following all required safety guidelines.  Your child’s safety, and your family’s safety, is our number one priority.  Remember that masks are required for students.  They don’t need to wear one outside at recess, but they will need to wear them in the building.  If your child needs one, we have plenty.  Remember that you will receive an email in the mornings to complete your child’s required health screening.  And finally, the department of health has very clear guidance for students who develop possible symptoms for COVID-19, which include not being at school for a period of time.  Just keep that in the back of your minds for now, and please make sure the phone numbers we have for you and your emergency contacts are up-to-date.  

Thanks again for all of your support and for partnering with us.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.  

Have a great weekend and we’ll talk again soon -
Brad

September 11, 2020 - Thank you!

posted Sep 11, 2020, 2:54 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello Loon Lake Families,

Whew, we made it through our first real week of distance learning.  High 5’s all around!  

Just a quick message today to say thank you.  Thank you for your hard work getting your kids what they need and getting them online every day.  Thank you for your flexibility and patience as we nail down our delivery schedules.  Thank you for your willingness to try something new, and thank you for sticking with us and walking alongside us during this time.  

We all know and understand that learning on a screen simply cannot compete with learning face-to-face.  This is not ideal.  And thankfully, it’s not permanent either.  We all hope to begin transitioning kids back soon, but whether we are behind a screen or face-to-face, we will continue to do the absolute best job we can to meet the needs of your family right now.  

If there is anything at all you need, please let me know.   Enjoy your weekend and we’ll talk again soon 
Brad

September 7, 2020 - Delivery Update

posted Sep 7, 2020, 2:52 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello Loon Lake Families,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with our teachers last week, and for filling out the mountainous pile of paperwork.  We greatly appreciate it and hope you found as much value in your conference as we did.  

A quick update today regarding deliveries.  As we begin at a distance, there are two things that will need to be delivered:  The first is food.  We have a pretty good idea of who needs what, and we can always add food delivery for you, or cancel your food delivery, if your needs change.  

The second delivery item is school work.  Yes, your child is learning with their teacher online, but there will be items the teachers will want in your child’s hands each week to guide their learning.  So even if you do not want food delivery, we will plan on delivering these learning materials.  

We will begin our deliveries this week, and we know there will be bumps along the way, and tweaks that will need to happen.  But the only way to work out a system is to get started, so here is our plan:  

We will deliver items 3 days per week.  
  • On Wednesdays, we will deliver to families south of the school.  Wednesday deliveries will be food items only.  
  • On Thursdays, we will deliver to families north of the school.  Thursday deliveries will include food and school work.  
  • On Fridays, we will deliver school work to the families south of the school, which is essentially our Wednesday route.   
On our website and on our Facebook page, we have created a sheet that lists the streets we will be delivering to on all 3 of these days, and we have listed them in the order in which we will deliver.  We will leave the school each day at 9:00 a.m.  

If you’re confused, don’t worry.  Give us a call tomorrow and we will try our best to answer your questions.  Like I said, we know the first week or so will be trial and error, so thank you for your patience as we work through the details.

Oh, and just a heads up, we will not be delivering in a big yellow bus.  Instead, look for a Toyota minivan that says Loon Lake School on the side.  

I think that’s it for now.  Thank you again for partnering with us.  We are excited for our first real week of this new adventure to begin.  

Let me know if you need anything.  Take good care, and we’ll talk again soon – 
Brad

August 28, 2020 - Conferences Next Week

posted Aug 28, 2020, 1:21 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello Loon Lake Families,

I hope this message finds you well and staying healthy.  

A simple message today about next week.  Remember that we are holding conferences on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so you and your child can meet their teacher.  Please make sure your child attends with you, and even though it’s annoying, please wear your masks, which are required by the Department of Health.  We have masks available if you need one.  

Besides learning more about how your child’s classroom will work, we will also be distributing technology, and also the required registration paperwork.  We will have tables set up so you can fill out the paperwork at the school while you are here.  

Also, breakfast and lunch will be available for pickup in front of the school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  

Please reach out to us if you have any questions at all about conferences next week.  

As I’ve told you before, our goal at the school, and my personal goal, is to do everything we can to support your family during this time.  Please let us know what you need, and we will work to solve problems as quickly as we can.  Thank you for partnering with us during these crazy times.  

More info to come soon about other items, but for now, we look forward to seeing you all next week.  

Take good care –
Brad

Reopening Update - NE Tri County Recommends Distance Learning Start

posted Aug 11, 2020, 1:01 PM by Brad VanDyne

8/11/2020

Hello Loon Lake Families,

I want to thank you all for taking the time to speak with me recently on the phone.  I appreciate your input and your thoughtful concerns about the safest path forward for your family.  I have a very important message today, so thank you so much for taking the time to listen.  

As I told you all during our recent conversations, our goal was to start school with face-to-face instruction in our building, but that we might not be able to do that depending on case counts and recommendations from our local Department of Health.  

As I’m sure you are aware, we have seen an uptick in COVID cases here in Stevens County, and the numbers put us in the high risk category for holding school face-to face.  Because of this, Northeast Tri County Health has officially recommended that schools in Stevens County start with a distance learning only model.  After careful consideration, the school board and I have decided to follow their recommendation.  As our counselor, Miss Kristi, and I tell our students all the time, our number one job is to keep them safe.  So if we are going to live by that, we cannot go against the health department recommendations.  The safety of your kids, the safety of your entire family, and the safety of our staff and their families are our top priority.  This is a difficult decision, and not one we take lightly.  We are beyond disappointed that we can’t have our kids back yet, and we hope to begin phasing kids back as soon as we safely can.  I will be meeting with NE Tri County Health regularly.  We all hope this is very temporary.  

All that being said, our team is 100% committed to making the start of the school year a success for each of our students.  Forget about last spring.  We’re going to do it differently, and we are going to do it better.  We have created a daily schedule, so you and your kids know what is expected each day.  This schedule is available on our website and will be shared via our Facebook page.  We are investing in hotspots for families who need them, and we have a Chromebook available for every student.  Our teachers will be doing what they were born to do, and that is teaching your kids each day.  This is our job, not yours.  

Also, we just don’t believe it would be right to start the school year without your child meeting their teacher.  So, we are going to spend our first 3 days of school (which is September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) doing face-to-face conferences, while of course following all safety guidelines.  At these meetings, your child can meet their teacher, we can review schedules and expectations, we can give you your Chromebook, and we can problem solve and try to answer any questions you may have.  We will schedule these conferences closer to the end of August.  

Please know that I am very aware that distance learning will be a challenge for many of you.  It will be a challenge for us, too.  It is my personal mission to listen to you, serve you, and do whatever I can to get you what you need.  

I will have more information soon about meals and other details, so there is certainly more to come.  

We will get through these tough times together.  Thank you for your continued partnership.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to me with any questions or concerns you have.  

Take good care and I’ll talk to you again soon – 
Brad

One Last Message & Summer Food

posted Jun 19, 2020, 1:05 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello again, Loon Lake Families,

I know what you’re thinking.  It’s June 19th, Brad, how long do we have to endure your weekly messages?  The answer is, for about two more minutes.  This will be my last regularly scheduled communication for a while.  However, my goal is to keep you updated, so you can expect a message from me if any major changes happen regarding reopening school in the fall. 

Speaking of reopening in the fall, we will spend the next 6 to 8 weeks working hard to create a plan for Loon Lake.  A plan that gets kids back to school and keeps staff and students safe.  So more info to come on that soon.  

As I’m sure you are aware, one thing that the Department of Health has said is that face coverings will be required for all students and staff.  I know a lot of people, and exactly zero of them are excited about this.  Could this change?  Perhaps.  But it also might not change.  So it might be a good idea to have your child practice wearing a mask this summer.  Start small.  15 minutes here, 15 minutes there.  Also, we will provide masks for your kids if they are indeed required.  Of course you are welcome to use your own masks, but don’t stress about purchasing or making any.  We’ve got you covered.  And again, if the guidance changes later this summer about this, I’ll let you know.  

Now a quick note about summer food.  While our district is not serving food directly, you have some options.  I believe that Deer Park, Valley, and Mary Walker are summer food sites, and it doesn’t matter which school your child attends, you can get food from any of these locations.  To find a summer meal site near you, you can text “food” to 877-877, or go to nokidhungry.org/find-free-meals.  If you need help with this, just give us a call or email me.  

Before we call it a school year, I want to thank our food service crew for their amazing work to keep our community fed.  I want to thank our teachers for keeping our kids learning.  I want to thank my entire staff for the way they banded together and got creative.  And I want to thank you, our families, for working alongside us to figure this all out.  I am proud to be part of the Loon Lake Family.  

If you need anything this summer, please reach out.  Email me directly and I will get back to you quickly.  

Take good care – 
Brad

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