January 4, 2021

Happy New Year Central Cougars!

With a new year comes new hope. It is the beginning of a new story to be written at Central School. This year we have experienced online instruction, Limited In-person instruction, and K - 3 onsite learning. We have learned a great deal over the past 10 months to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Fortunately, our county case counts have decreased significantly, the state metric has been revised to accommodate rural regions, and a vaccine will be available in the foreseeable future. Thus, our new story begins with all grades back to school onsite. An extremely exciting way to start the new year. We are very excited to welcome our students back. We have missed the sounds of children very much.

Coming back onsite will once again require our school and families to communicate and work together to ensure our learning environment stays safe. We will be sending home information on safety protocols put in place before our children return on January 11th. Upon our return to onsite learning, teachers and staff will be teaching and encouraging preventive behaviors at school. Likewise, it will be important for families to emphasize and model healthy behaviors at home, such as handwashing, covering of mouth when coughing, and wearing of masks when out in public. Our goal is to provide a solid educational program in a safe environment.

It is extremely important that you look for signs of illness each morning. If your child has a fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, please do not send them to school. If sick, please contact the main office at 541.663.3501. One thing we have learned over the last 4 months is how important it is to stay home if you are sick.

Our first week we will establish our routine and procedures concerning physical distancing with our students and provide a refresher to our staff. With the addition of 4th & 5th grade returning, we have had to make new adjustments. Please be patient with us for the first few days as we adjust. We know we will have less children riding the bus so we will have an increase in the number of families who will be dropping off and picking up their children. For the safety of everyone, please drive very carefully within our school zone. Please do not use your cell phones while in the drop off/pick up zone. To lessen contact with others we encourage families not to use the bus when feasible.

Our team has created a Frequently Asked Questions document to help with your questions and concerns. This document will be on our school website, school Facebook pages, through class dojo, and sent to you electronically tomorrow. It is very important that you read this document in its entirety. It

contains information on school start times, staggered release times, safety measures, and other important information.

We understand that some of our families will not be comfortable sending their child back to school during this pandemic. To accommodate our families, LGSD has set up LaGrande Virtual Learning Academy. Families can enroll in this program to learn virtually from home. If you have a child with underlying medical conditions and are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 please contact the school administrators to discuss options.

Our district-wide theme this year is, “Better Together.” Working together always produces greater results rather than in isolation. If you have an idea that you feel may benefit our school safety or our school culture, please share. If you have a concern with our procedures, please call the main office to speak with Mrs. Mayes or Mrs. West. We are here to love, care, and serve our students and families.

In appreciation,

Mrs. Mayes

“Better Together” Acknowledgements:

PTO Team----Successful fundraising to ensure every student at Central receives a new book each month. Thank you to Jess Hagedorn and our PTO members for making this possible. What a wonderful gift!

PTO Team & Jake Chamberlain for creating a Physical Education Challenge for our students. Thank you to our LG Local Businesses for supporting this monthly challenge. It wouldn’t be possible without your support! Please try to support our local businesses.

Connected Professional Accountants for providing Christmas gifts to 28 students from 17 Central Families. This is the 3rd year that this caring business has donated to our families. They made a huge difference in the lives of these students. Thank you to the staff members who helped deliver these gifts!

LaGrande Police Department for Shop with A Cop----Four students from each school went shopping with Officer Jason Hays and his team to pick out gifts for themselves and their family members. In spite of COVID-19 this wonderful event was very successful and meant more than ever to the families.

Kathleen McCall (YIT Liaison) & Lenore Case (CARE Coordinator) for spending countless hours shopping for our families in need during the holiday season. They provided coats, jackets, gloves, personal care items, and gifts to students in need this holiday season and did so throughout the entire school year.

Staff Members and parents who bring clothing items to students who are in need. Acts of love, care, and serve are happening daily within our schools

Union County Backpack program and Volunteers who supply weekly food bags to students in need. This program has been around for years and they have it down to a science. They provide approximately 160 food bags to over seven schools within our valley. This program is completely run by volunteers. They have a board, a team of volunteers who pick up the supplies, a team that packs the bags, and a team of delivery drivers. The packing team can create 160 bags in less than a half hour! Pretty amazing accomplishment and an extremely needed program. Our students and families look forward to Fridays!