Welcome Back Letter 2021-2022

Welcome Back Letter 2021-2022
Posted on 08/06/2021
Letter in PDF Format

August 6,  2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Over the past several weeks, I’ve really begun to feel the excitement and enthusiasm that centers around the start of a new school year. We have been very busy preparing our facility for an exciting beginning. If you’ve driven by the school, you’ll have noticed changes to the front parking lot. These changes have been made in response to feedback from our parents regarding our before school drop-off and after school pick-up procedures. In the weeks to come, we will send more information related to our new procedures. Along with changes to our facilities, we will have several new employees at BR-H. I am thrilled to introduce our new staff members:

·       Ms. Jorden Lisac – our new 2nd grade teacher

·       Mrs. Angie LaBay – our new 4th grade teacher

·       Dr. Kristina Hansen – our new District Success Coordinator

·       Mr. Travis Depuydt, Ed.S – our new JH/HS Principal

·       Ms. Carri Delliss – our new bus driver and lunch room monitor

·       Mrs. Natalie VanEnkevort – our new lunch room monitor

·       Mrs. Traci Corrigan – Preschool Teacher

·       Mrs. Yvette Eagle – Preschool assistant

Please plan on attending our back to school open house on August 26th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and meet our new staff. Our PTO will be present with refreshments and can help parents learn more about how to get involved with our school, as will our sports booster club. By popular demand, school board member, Sgt. Mark Erickson will be grilling out in front of the school and we are very excited to show case our addition to our families and community.

We’ve just come off one of the most challenging years imaginable and I am certain many families are wondering what the new school year will entail. Based upon our community’s current rates, and absent any executive order or public health order, Bark River-Harris will be following the listed procedures:

·       Masks – Masks will not be required. We will support any parent that desires to have his/her child wear a mask and we will have plenty of extra masks on hand, but this will be a parental decision. This will be true in the school building and on our school buses.

·      Close Contact Reporting – If mandated, school districts are expected to report to the local health department close contacts of positive students. Because BR-H is not universally masking students, the close contact standard is 6 feet.

·       Quarantine – The question regarding whose authority is it to enforce quarantine has been clearly answered and we’ve learned that if the local health department issues an order, they have the authority to require quarantine to positives and close contacts. To date, our local health department has not issued an order. Therefore, absent such an order, BR-H will recommend families follow the health departments guidance, but we will not be requiring it. This will be a parental decision.

·       Vaccinations – There is no order requiring students to be vaccinated prior to returning to school. BR-H will provide parents with as much information as they need regarding vaccinations, but we will not be requiring students or staff to be vaccinated.

·       Athletics – Testing of athletes will not be required to participate in athletics.

·      School Districts have been given this guidance from MDHHS regarding the return to school and we want to continue many of the practices listed in this document (MDHHS COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Schools Safely), such as:

Disinfection/Cleaning Protocols – Parents, you are more than welcome to provide individual disinfectant wipes for your child, but please know that BR-H will purchasing these in bulk and it is not the expectation that every student provides wipes. We are planning to continue with our staffing levels which we increased during the pandemic and will take cleaning very seriously.

Promoting Vaccinations –
As information is disseminated to the school, we will share with our families by posting information on our webpage and facebook page. Again, BR-H is not requiring vaccinations, but we will share information with parents as needed.

Improving Ventilation –
BR-H is currently in the process of replacing all the windows in the JH/HS. Furthermore, we’ve recently completed switching over all our univents throughout the district.

Bark River-Harris School District believes these procedures are what is in the best interest of your child’s education. Over the past school year, we’ve collected a lot of local data and it is our opinion that these decisions will get us back on track and will ensure for an exceptional school year. We fully recognize that things may change and that there are higher authorities than our local board that may influence such changes. We are committed to effectively communicating with our stakeholders throughout the year and will keep our parents abreast of any changes.

Lastly, as you know, our district was very focused on one essential goal last year and that goal was to control what we could control in an effort to keep our doors open. Every decision we made was in an attempt to achieve that goal. We believe that our staff is amazing and our students benefit greatly from their experiences at BR-H. As we enter a new school year, I assure you that nothing has changed. Your children are the reason we are here. We can’t wait to kick off the new school year and see our students again.


Jason Lockwood, Ed.S

Bark River-Harris Superintendent.

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