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Weekly Update: July 10, 2020

Dr. Stutz

Weekly Update: July 10, 2020
Dear Grinnell Newburg Board of Education, Staff, Families and Friends:

Happy Friday! Tomorrow we will celebrate our 2020 Seniors as they officially walk across the stage for graduation! It is finally here and we are hopeful that the weather will hold out! Please remember to socially distance yourself from other families and wear a mask.


Mr. Seney sent further detailed information to our seniors, but here are the highlights for our readers:


After a longer than expected delay, our 2020 Commencement Ceremony is coming up this Saturday, July 11th at 10:00 AM on the High School football field.  Our seating arrangements and logistics have changed slightly since the last update sent in May, so please read the following information carefully.


Quick Reminders: 

  1. If your student is not participating in the July 11th Commencement ceremony, please contact Mr. Seney via email kevin.seney@grinnell-k12.org as soon as possible.  

  2. Guests are limited to 4 family members per graduate. 

  3. Graduates may keep their caps & tassels but must return their gowns & stoles after the ceremony is over

  4. The ceremony will be livestreamed on Youtube starting at 10:00 AM at the following link:   https://youtu.be/h7Oawr1jPnk

  1. If there is inclement weather, the decision will be made to cancel the ceremony by 9:15 AM - Notifications will be sent out via email, voice reach, and text to students and parents.  


At 10:00 AM, the processional music will start and Line 1 will walk the track to the scoreboard and towards the home bleachers, taking their seats in the chairs on the field in front of the stage. 


Once all students have been seated, we will make an announcement to remind people of social distancing rules and Yonatan Ambrosio will open the ceremony.  Order of the ceremony: 

  1. Welcome - Yonatan Ambrosio

  2. Challenge to the Juniors - Theresa Crawford

  3. Junior Response - Barrett Edwards

  4. Honors Address - Mary Blanchard

  5. Introduction of Speaker - Mr. Seney 

  6. Commencement Speaker - Mr. Mick 

  7. Awarding of Diplomas - Mr. Seney, Ms. Redmond

  8. Turning of the Tassels - Dr. Stutz 

  9. Closing Remarks - Mr. Baker 


For Senior Parents and Families

  • Social distancing measures will be in place at all times.  We ask all attendees to self-regulate their distance between other spectators.  

  • All family members and attendees will be limited to 4 per graduate.  All family members and attendees should have a ticket, given to your student when they picked up their caps & gowns.

  • Family members and attendees will be allowed in the stadium starting at 9:30 AM.   

  • All family members and attendees will enter through the main ticket booth of the football stadium and will give their tickets to Ms. O’Sullivan at the ticket booth.  

  • All family members and attendees will be seated in the home bleachers on the west side of the stadium.  Yellow caution tape will mark where family members and attendees cannot sit.  We will not reserve sections of the bleachers.  Only those sections not marked by yellow caution tape may be used.

  • Once seated, please remain seated until the ceremony is done. Parents will not be allowed to move closer to the field for pictures once the ceremony has started.  

  • After the ceremony has concluded, our Graduates will be dismissed from their seats out of the stadium near the maintenance shed (where they entered).  

  • Once the students have been dismissed, parents will be dismissed from the bleachers out of the stadium at the ticket booth.    


 Map graduation 2020


Return to Learn Plan:

On Wednesday, the Board of Education listened to our first overarching draft plan for bringing students back to school. Dr. Graham, physician and medical expert in public health, joined us to answer questions. Her guidance, as well as the Iowa Department of Public Health and other local physicians, has been valuable as we plan for our students returning this fall. The American Academy of Physicians “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits”. We also recognize that we will need to be flexible based upon any outbreak that may occur. We will be looking to our local health experts to guide us in the event that we need to modify our plan. We are doing everything possible with PPE to keep our students and staff safe. We recognize that we will encounter COVID-19 in our schools, however, it is our goal that with the structure in place that we will limit the spread and catch an outbreak quickly. As of today our plan is as follows: 

Elementary PreK-8 grade General Overview Recommendations:

It will be recommended that students in grades PreK-8 will return to school daily from 8:00-3:05 beginning on August 24, 2020. Please watch for instructions from the building principal in early August as to what the schedule will look like that first week of school. Remember that this is the first time that students will be returning to school since March, so we want to ensure that we take our time introducing them to new procedures with the face masks, face shields and plexiglass systems, learning the rules to navigate around the school facility, and expectations as we begin the school year very differently than in past years. Re-building relationships will be our focus as well as getting our students comfortable being back to school.  


Upon arrival to school temperatures will be taken at the door entryway that is designated for the grade level of your student. Information about lining up and location will be forthcoming. We encourage families to practice wearing a mask during the summer months. We also encourage families to purchase a cloth mask for students to use and take home each day to be cleaned. The district will be providing a face mask and face shield per student. We are also installing plexiglass shields within the classrooms in order for students to take a break from the face masks and face shields. In the event that a student does not remember a mask for the day, the district will have limited disposal masks for students available.  If a student has a health related issue, or has difficulty with a PPE, we will work with individual families to assist you. PPE is a critical component to returning to school.  According to our local experts, if you can’t socially distance yourself, you need to be wearing PPE, or sit within the plexiglass system in the classroom. This will limit the spread of the virus and is our best protection.  


Students that ride the bus will be required to wear PPE on the bus.  


Please know that building leadership teams are working through the schedule and routines and we will be sharing this with our SIAC committee on Monday July 13 to review the specifics related to curriculum, on site learning and online learning in the event that we have to retreat to isolation due to an outbreak. More specific guidance and information will be available to families once this has been finalized. The gist of the recommended structure will include but is not limited to:  

  1. Students in elementary and middle school will return with either a face shield, face mask, or sit in an area of the classroom that has a plexi shield desk structure that will provide a break for students from wearing PPE.   

  2. Students will be assigned to a class K-8, cluster group, and will remain in that classroom. Breaks, outside activities, and recess will be in place.  During recess or PE,  students will not need to wear face masks or face shields within their cluster as long as they are outside or active in the gym for class.  

  3. Teachers will meet with students and move to the students as needed.  Students will not pass in the hallway from class to class during this pandemic in grades K-8 as in the past years. Directions for how to move through the school will be provided by your building principal.       

  4. Small groups will be able to attend PE, Music, Art, and recess, however it will be very different as large groups will not be able to gather during the school day.  

  5. Breakfast and lunch will be provided as grab and go meals. Students will eat in small groups either in the classroom or other locations of the building in order to socially distance themselves while eating. We are working out a plan to use some of our Plexiglass systems in the cafeteria so that students do not have to remain in the classroom to eat. We will be designating eating locations that will not be in carpeted classrooms as much as possible. 

  6. Hallways will be marked with social distancing reminders as well as traffic flow throughout the buildings.   

  7. Families that are not comfortable with participating in this environment will need to contact the building principal to discuss options.     

  8. Outside visitors will not be allowed in the building. The building principals will provide instructions for other events in which families might need to be present. 

  9. In addition, consideration for learning needs for our students with disabilities, English language learners, who are at-risk, or face economic hardships will also be thoughtfully considered in our calendar and plan for instructional days/hours.

Grinnell High School:

The structure for the high school will look different from the prek-8 learning environment as we can not keep students within the same classroom all day due to the graduation course requirements. The building leadership team is working through the schedule details for this structure.  We are recommending that students will be required to wear face shields, face masks or sit behind a plexi-glass structure. The students will be in a hybrid model with 50% of the school population on a rotating A/B schedule in class instruction and online learning.   


Breakfast and lunch will be provided as grab and go meals. Students will eat in small groups in locations of the building in order to socially distance themselves while eating. The building principal will send out further guidance to families on the details of the schedule.  


Families that are not comfortable with participating in this environment due to health related concerns will need to contact the building principal. The same guidance similar to the K-8 will be in place such as small groups for PE and music, hallway traffic between classrooms will be marked with one way travel, no visitors unless the visitor is coming to serve a student need such as counseling, consideration for learning needs for our students with disabilities, English language learners, who are at-risk, or face economic hardships will also be thoughtfully considered in our calendar and plan for instructional days/hours.


We recognize that this is going to be a different start and feel to the school year. It has been challenging for our staff, families and community to live in different times. These recommendations might be more restrictive than other communities or less restrictive. It is a local decision that has been based upon input from our local physicians, IDPH, and EMA community support team. I want to thank all of our staff, community members, Board, and administrators for their tireless efforts to plan to keep our students connected to school in a safe manner.   


Please know that we do not have fall sport guidance at this time. I expect to hear about the fall sports season in early August. 


SIAC Meeting:

There is a SIAC meeting on Monday July 13, at 5:00 via zoom to discuss the return to learn plan. 


Online Registration:


We have officially opened Online Registration for the 20-21 school year! Please log in to your Parent Portal and on the left hand side of the screen click the "More" button from the menu, then click "Online Registration" to complete registration for next year! Please see the screenshot below to assist you. 

Online registration


If you do not know, or have forgotten your username or password, please contact Amber Rosbon at 641-236-2700 or at amber.robson@grinnell-k12.org. Please contact Amber for assistance during the week of July 13 or July 27 or later.  Staff will not be able to change passwords during the week of July 20.  

Summer Baseball Action!  Go Tigers!

Baseball 2020baseball hitting 2020 batting

softball 2020

pitching softball action


Have a wonderful weekend!   For your listening enjoyment take a look at these two performances by our Band and Choir done beautifully and virtually.


GHS Choirs – When the Earth Stood Still by Don Macdonald


Please take the time to watch and listen to this video. It is very moving! 


Copyright Notice: “When the Earth Stands Still,” by Don MacDonald. © Copyright 2016

by Galaxy Music Corporation, a division of ECS Publishing. www.ECSPublishing.com.

All rights reserved. Used by permission.




 GHS Band Virtual Grinnell Tigers Pride!  





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