Sidney Public Schools Mask Requirements
As many of you have heard, the state mask mandate has been lifted by Governor Gianforte. This order was given, but still gives local school districts the authority to decide on mask requirements within their buildings.
With this being said, Sidney Public Schools WILL REQUIRE the use of masks by all students, staff members and spectators while in all school buildings and facilities. All of our current policies regarding the use of masks will remain in effect until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and update the community with any future changes to the mask requirements.
Our school district has been fortunate to stay open for all students and staff members to this point. The mask requirements have been put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to our students, staff and community members. We do feel that masks have been a contributing factor to the limited number of exposures we have seen with all students and staff.
Any students refusing to wear masks will be sent home until they are willing to comply with the district mask requirements. All spectators will be required to wear masks and refusal to do so may result in being removed from the activity. These requirements have been in place from the beginning of the school year, so none of this information should be new to anyone. Our students have been great all year about complying with the mask requirements.
We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions about the mask mandate as new information becomes available. One contributing factor to this decision was our teachers’ inability to be vaccinated. Prior to the change in state administration, teachers were set to be vaccinated in January or February, but with that status changing we feel it is necessary to wait until vaccinations are available to all staff members wanting to receive them. Once that has happened, we will reassess the situation and determine what restrictions can be lifted.
I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision, but we have to do what is best for all students and staff. Continuing with the mask requirement right now is what we have determined necessary in order to keep everyone safe and our schools open for all students and staff.
Thank you for your understanding with this difficult decision.
January 2021 COVID Update
The end of the 1st semester is nearly upon us and our numbers look good at this point. The number of students and staff members in quarantine haven’t been this low since our first reported school case back in September. We are confident that this is not spreading throughout the school at a rate that would cause us to reconsider keeping the schools open in full to both students and staff. I want to thank each of you for your support with this process. I understand that not everything we are doing is agreed upon by everyone, but we really do thank you for your compliance with the restrictions and guidelines we have been given. It has not been easy and we don’t want to be doing this either, but we do feel that the plan our administrative team put together this past summer has allowed us to stay open this entire time. This wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of our students, staff and community. We are truly grateful to live in a community like this where we can all come together to support one another for the greater good.
Off-Site Update and Information
I would like to first address all of the parents and students that have chosen the off-site learning platform for the 1st semester of this school year. This is very important information, so if you have any questions once I have finished giving information about this specific topic, please ask when I have finished.
I would first like to thank many of you for your hard work and dedication to your education throughout semester. This is obviously new to all of us and we gotten this far. We do have some changes that will need to be made the second semester, but overall we are pleased with the progress of the majority of our students.
We currently have approximately 110 students that are utilizing the off-site platform. Of this amount about 45 students from the HS are using this. Here are the expectations for all students working off-site in order to receive credit or recognition for the work you have done in the 1st semester:
- All students must complete 100% of their coursework for each subject area they are assigned.
- A minimum percentage of 70 must be achieved in each assigned course.
- All courses must have a 100% completion at a 70% or higher by January 14th in order to be given credit or recognition of completion by the school.
This means that if any of these criteria are not met by a High School student, credit for any course short of these requirements will not be granted. Credit will obviously be granted on a course by course basis for HS students.
Any elementary students who do not meet all of the criteria for each assigned course will be in jeopardy of not passing their assigned grade level and will be forced to complete that grade level again the following year. This will also be done on a case by case basis and determined by other extenuating factors. Seat time and communication with the school will be taken into consideration prior to not granting promotion to the next grade level.
Again, all courses need 100% completion at a minimum grade of 70%.
2nd Semester Off-Site Plan
Student opting back in have to let school know by the end of the 1st semester. We will let you know when they can return. This will allow us to set up schedules, gather resources, find desks, chairs, ect...
Any parent/student choosing to utilize the off-site platform for the 2nd semester of the 2020-2021 school year will be required to come to school and fill out paperwork indicating their intent to do so. This is true of any student regardless of the platform they completed during the 1st semester. I want to emphasize this point. If you chose the off-site platform in the 1st semester and would like to utilize the off-site option the 2nd semester, you must go to your child’s school and fill out the necessary paperwork in order to do so. You must have the paperwork filled out for your student by January 28th. Failure to do so will disqualify your student from the off-site learning platform.
You will need to provide a working phone number and email address. We must have both of these from a parent or guardian prior to the student being accepted to participate in off-site instruction.
Students will be required to complete 100% of assigned courses at a minimum grade of 70% in the second semester in order to receive credit or be promoted to the next grade level.
Student entry next year
We may require your child to take a test in order to place them in the correct grade level next year.
MS-3rd quarter cohort will stay together, but the students will be rotating to different teachers. This will be very close to a “normal” schedule there, but it is not quite there.
Community Facility Use
We will now be accepting facility use agreements from the public requesting the use of school facilities. You must fill out a Facility Use Agreement and it must be approved prior to use of any of our facilities. Once you have been approved you will receive the Sidney School Facility Guidelines form and strictly adhere to restrictions and guidelines we have in place. These guidelines are a combination of state regulations and requirements as well as our own administrative suggestions for the safety of our students and staff. Please keep in mind that we are wanting to keep our schools open to all students and staff. These guidelines are put in place to ensure that this continues moving into the second half of the school year. As we transition to a new Governor, these guidelines will be subject to change as we receive new information from the state. Until that time, these guidelines need to be followed or you will not be allowed to continue to use our facilities.
Facility Use Guidelines & Expectations
The following guidelines were established to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students, staff and any visitors to facilities within the Sidney School District. We take great pride in offering the use of our facilities and ask that you respect the outlined standards amidst the COVID19 pandemic. If you or anyone in your immediate family is sick, we urge you to stay home. All individuals and guests must adhere to the following guidelines:
For further information or additional clarification please contact Chris Lee, Activities Director at (406) 433-2330.
STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK
- Refrain from coming on campus if you are feeling sick or are under quarantine orders from your local Health Department
ALL VISITORS MUST CHECK-IN
- Visitors must sign-in (This may be used for contact tracing if necessary)
- No more than (25) people can be in attendance for any activity/event
- No one other than those in direct participation of the activity/event should be in attendance
- The use of locker rooms is prohibited at this time unless otherwise arranged with Chris Lee
- Please only utilize the designated facilities for activities/events
***MASKS ARE REQUIRED
- Masks/face shields must be worn at all times unless you are participating in strenuous activity
- Governor Gianforte has already decided this will stay in place until the broader population of elderly and individuals with pre-existing conditions are able to receive the vaccination
MINIMIZE SHARING EQUIPMENT/GEAR
- Players/participants should minimize the sharing of equipment or gear
- Bring your own water to minimize use and touching of drinking fountains
- Clean and disinfect shared items between use
- Don’t share towels, clothing or any items used to wipe your face or hands
CLEANING & DISINFECTING
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds of use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol
- Visitors must clean and disinfect certain areas and any equipment used during the time of their activity/event (Cleaning solution & disinfectant will be provided)
We are excited that we are able to allow the public to utilize our facilities, but we do ask that you please follow these guidelines when doing so. The Facility Use Agreement can be found on the school website at sidneyps.com.
Winter Activity Plan
-Masks required to attend events
-6 tickets per participant to be distributed however they choose
-Designated visitor and home seating for events
-We want to be sure that we are able to continue to have winter events for students and allow spectators into the events. These guidelines have been approved by the health department and need to be followed closely in order to continue to host events and allow spectators to be present at the events. We don’t want to have to tell people to wear masks, but it is a requirement according the approved plan by the health department. Even with the transition to a new governor, the guidance from the state has not changed and very little will likely change in the immediate future. We may get to a point where we can allow more spectators into our facilities, but that will not happen until a broad sweep of vaccinations are taken by elderly and at-risk individuals ranging from 16-75. The state has not even received 1/10 of the vaccines necessary to get this group of individuals vaccinated, and not all of these people will be taking the vaccination. When the state, health department, and school feel it is safe to start loosening the restriction put in place we will do so. A timeframe for that happening is not known at this time.
It has come to our attention that not everyone has been told of the school website change. I do apologize if you were not made aware of this change. The new address for the school website is sidneyps.com.
Sidney Public Schools Superintendent