Week ending August 21, 2020
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Dear IACS Community,
As news about school openings continues to dominate the headlines, our main office has received phone calls regarding common questions. With so many of you trying to manage information overload, we thought we’d use this week’s letter to address some of these common questions.
When does school start? Our first day of school is Monday, September 14th. at 8am. Students will begin their classes remotely that Monday morning unless they have been contacted by IACS Students Services regarding in-person support.
What will that first day/week look like? Students will be logging into their classes and meeting remotely (in real time) with their advisors and fellow advisory classmates. All students are assigned to advisory group and Advisors will be spending time with students getting them oriented with how their days/weeks will be structured. Stay tuned for future editions of the Hawk for more specific information.
Will attendance be taken for classes? Yes. Per IACS policy and DESE guidelines, attendance will be taken for all classes. Students who do not report to remote class will face the same consequences as they would during a typical school year.
When will more (or all?) students return to school of in-person instruction? State agencies such as the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) are continuing to develop metrics for schools to follow. For now, we know that IACS will be implementing a “Remote Plus” model until Friday, October 16th. We will be tracking public health data and state guidances throughout the months of September and October before announcing any shifts in our program.
Will there be an ice cream social this year? Please watch your email for more information about the outdoor small group advisory “ice cream social” type events coming up during the week of 9/8 – 9/11
Head of School
All School News
IMPORTANT- NEW School Immunization Requirement for MA students
This week state public health officials announced that influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities. The new vaccine requirement is seen as an important step to reduce flu-related illness and the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. All students are expected to show proof of immunization by December 31, 2020.
Here are some FAQ’s regarding the new immunization requirement:
If my school will be providing instruction remotely, will students still need to meet immunization requirements?
The school immunization requirements, including the requirement for seasonal influenza vaccine, apply to all Massachusetts students enrolled in Kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of whether the district is providing instruction in-person, or using a hybrid or remote learning model.
Are there any exemptions to receiving the influenza vaccine?
Medical and religious exemptions are allowable in the state of Massachusetts. Religious exemptions must be in letter format, signed by a parent/guardian and sent into the school every school year. Medical exemptions must be in letter format, signed by a health care provider and sent into the school every school year.
Please continue to send updated physicals and immunization records to the IACS health office at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also mail or bring immunization records to the main office at the school.
Going back to school this fall will require families and schools to work together closely. IACS will be sharing more information about health and safety school protocols in the near future. In the meantime families may find the following CDC resource helpful, Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers.
Per diem Substitute Teachers Needed
Substitutes are valued members of our community that we rely heavily on to ensure your student recieves uninterrupted learning. We are looking for a few more people to join our substitute teacher pool. If you or a friend are interested in learning more about becoming a substitute at IACS please fill out the availability form. Half day and full day subbing opportunities are available. IACS pays $25 per hour up to $100 per day maximum.
Mask Practice and free, local Covid-19 testing
Thank you in advance for helping students to prepare for wearing masks when they return to school. Please ensure your child has a mask that fits properly and one that they feel comfortable in. Please talk with them about the importance of wearing a mask, how to safely take it on and off, and practice wearing it for stretches. While there will be mask breaks at school, it’s important that students are accustomed to wearing them. Here is a helpful video that shows how to safely put on and remove a mask. These steps will be followed when at school so now is a good time to get in some practice. In addition, you may find this poster helpful.
Lastly, please be reminded that for the next few weeks, there is free, local testing for Covid-19. Two tests sites in Lowell are offering free tests to anyone that would like to be tested, you do not have to have any symptoms. You can find more information about local testing at Stop the Spread . You do not have to be a resident of Lowell to obtain a test.
In case you missed it:
Do you have ideas about reopening that you’d like to share? Click here to share your ideas.
Middle School News
MS Advisory Meet Ups
Students and families will be receiving a “back to school” digital mailing with information about the upcoming school year and advisory placement within the next 2 weeks. In lieu of the traditional ice cream social, we will be having advisory meet-ups during the evenings of 9/8 – 9/11. Each advisory will be scheduled for a 1 hour outdoor, distanced social gathering to meet the students in their advisory and their advisor. Stay tuned for more details soon!
High School News
New Student Orientation will be held the week of Sept. 7th. We will be hosting the orientation over multiple days to reduce the amount of students on campus. Families will be emailed with the specific day that their student will be attending. Student Email and Aspen Accounts will be given out at that time as well as ID photographs will be taken. Students will have a chance to meet their teachers and some of their classmates. Watch for an email with more specifics to be sent on August 28th.
Chromebook Pickup – We will plan to have a pickup day before the start of school for students in need of borrowing a chromebook. More details to be announced soon.
Monday, September 14th – First day of school! Classes begin at 8am.
While we don’t typically give a supplies list for High School. This list might be a useful place to start. Please be aware that teachers may have specific items that are needed for that class and will notify students during the first week of school.
Our school has a BYOD, (Bring Your Own Device) program, and there is more info about that here. Please know that if you do not have a device, we do have chromebooks available to lend for anyone who needs one.
Students needing a work permit need to fill out this work application. Your employer might give you a copy at your interview. Once completed, email a copy to Crystal McKiel, email@example.com or Steph Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org. MS students should email Mr. Pereyra, email@example.com. We will issue a work permit to you. While we do work over the Summer there are reduced hours so please allow us 3 business days to process your permit. Employers fill out and sign the first page, and parents and students must also sign the second page (pediatricians must sign the second page for students who are 14 or 15 years old).
If you haven’t picked up your high school yearbook yet, you can get it at the main office Monday through Friday from 8 am to 3 pm. Please contact Mr Macdonald if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall Athletics Update
Guidance around what athletics will look like this year at IACS is still being decided. If our leagues do decide to have an interscholastic fall season, Innovation will need to make sure that the plans are safe & acceptable for IACS to participate in the season. If we do not move forward with interscholastic competition this fall IACS does plan to proceed with intramurals. Therefore we will be opening registration next week for both middle and high school students. There will be no initial fee given the uncertainty of the season, however once we decide on the format of the fall season a fee of some amount (not to exceed last year’s athletic fee) will more than likely be charged to participating athletes with financial aid available when needed.
Summer Training Plans
Please see below for summer training plans for high school girls soccer and high school cross country. Any athletes with questions about either plan are encouraged to contact the appropriate head coach (girls soccer, Bruce Cottle, email@example.com and cross country, Kyle Thornton, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Is your family new to the school? Would it help to talk with another IACS parent about their experience? A few of our IACA (Innovation Academy Community Association) parents have volunteered to help answer questions that you may have.
- Fran email@example.com
- Jess firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kelly Kellyfrawleyash@gmail.com
- Jo Anne email@example.com
Please keep in mind these are parents just like you and they won’t have answers to questions about school re-opening but will direct you to the right person at the school if it’s something they don’t have the answer to.
While we do not know what the 2020-2021 school year will bring, we still want to prepare. If you would be interested in helping IACA with any events we may have please fill out the information requested on the volunteer form or for more information check out the attached pdf. Thank you.