Friday Message 10/30

Happy Halloween / Homecoming / Change your clock week!
On my way to school this morning, I didn't even see a single leaf fluttering in the wind. But apparently things got a little nutty in the earlier morning hours. We hope your home is safe, has power and avoids whatever standing water is out there.
A quick note about tomorrow's Homecoming Day. Not only is it "Halloween Costume Day" (just as long as they're appropriate) but we're also going to celebrate by providing a 'burger/veggie burger cookout lunch' for everyone. Along with chips, fruit, some veggies, a drink and dessert, we're making this available for all students/teachers/staff at no cost. (If that doesn't match your student's tastebuds, they should bring a lunch as the regular cafeteria offerings won't be available.)
Can't believe it but exams will be here before we know it. Here's the schedule we'll be using ... with all exams being given in person on campus. The afternoon times you see are for our At-Home Learners to come to campus so a reduced number of students will be present. 
     Thursday, Nov 19 ... 1st/2nd period exams  (8:20 - 11:35) and (12:00 - 3:15)
     Friday, Nov 20 ... 3rd/4th period exams (8:20 - 11:35) and (12:00 - 3:15)
     Monday, Nov 23 ... 5th/6th period exams (8:20 - 11:35) and (12:00 - 3:15)
     Tuesday, Nov 24 ... 7th/8th period exams (8:20 - 11:35) and (12:00 - 3:15)
Any questions? Just call. 
Just a reminder that our Library is open everyday after school until 5:30 p.m (except during exams.) And if more direct help is needed, our support staff stays after school every Tuesday and Thursday offering tutoring and hands-on assistance. Feel free to contact Mrs. Swenson with questions. 
When the school calendar was released this summer, the week after Thanksgiving was designated as an At-Home Week. Yesterday, we began to talk about that week with our students.
       Needless to say, all sorts of options exist for what could be done and we've looked at many. But we believe our "Community Outreach" idea is a great way to make use of those five days, which do in fact count toward the number of school days required for accreditation.
       Over the next few weeks, our students will work with their Advisors to give shape to the student's own ideas. Rather than being told what to do or even how to do it, it's an opportunity to make an impact for good by using the talents, gifts and interests that each student brings to the table.
       Falling during the Advent season that we won't get to celebrate together, this Outreach project also provides students (who knows? maybe families) with an opportunity to prepare for the birth of Our Lord.
       Some will think in terms of "going out into the community" to do good, but that is NOT AT ALL a requirement or expectation. There are good things to be done out there for sure but that sort of involvement is 100% a parent decision. Lives can be made better in any number of ways.
       Others will ask if this counts as "Service Hours." The answer is not this time - but it does count as five days of school. And we really don't want anyone to have to give up Spring Break to get those days in. 
       But we're already encouraged by our students' initial response. Advisors will check in with their Advisees in advance and during that week to see how it's going and how they might help. Thank you for your support.
Our No-Shave November effort begins Monday. Students can buy a $15 wristband to wear everyday during the month, 100% of which goes to the Food Bank and similar non-profits for holiday help. In exchange for that kindness, students get to treat every class day as if it's a Friday Spirit Day AND they get to come out of uniform for exams. 
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In my keeping up with other schools in the area and across the state, I know several experienced an uptick in active cases after their Fall Break. The Health Department's information (much better than mine) says a good many outbreaks are also resulting from family gatherings and/or parties where everyone knows one another, assuming that's what will keep them safe. It doesn't.
Halloween parties - with candy and costumes - are a tradition for many and given that we've been locked up so long, a real temptation as well. But I'm fearful of the end result. 
I recall the overwhelming favorable response when we polled families this summer about whether there was a desire to return to campus. We're better prepared to do distance learning than we were last Spring but it's no one's first choice. Big numbers will put us back there.
In our past, Nancy and I can tell you a nightmare story about our middle daughter hosting an "unexpected" gathering where her numbers got huge, police got called, you get the picture. My point is that I'm the last person on earth to give parenting advice.
Still, I hope you won't. But if your plans include a gathering, please greatly minimize the guest list. Please keep a guest list for contact tracing. Please do what you can to keep everyone there safe and as a result, everyone here safe as well. I really wish we were immune but we're not. Thank you for all you're doing! 
Hoping your family stays healthy and safe.
George Valadie