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Back 2 School Principal Message August 2020

Dear Ucon Elementary Families, 

I’m excited to share the information I have for Back to School!  It’s unprecedented and unusual, but we’ve heard that before!

We’re all in this together-- It will take a community partnership to give our Ucon kids the best possible school year and educational experience.

A HUGE thank you to Ucon PTO co-presidents, Stephanie Goms and Hailey Dixon.  They have put together this gorgeous newsletter, the re-registration reminder, the Back to School Day sign-up form (August 18th it’s coming out!), and a school year calendar of celebrations for our Ucon kids!  Please consider volunteering to support the PTO, our Ucon Kids, and making a family PTO donation (Venmo!)

Please see the rest of my letter below for more information about:

  1. Registration
  2. D93 Reopening Plan and opening in Phase 2
  3. Masks--required
  4. Face Shields--only with a medical note
  5. Ucon Online Learning option--not BOES, a choice for a trimester
  6. Back to School DAY, Mon. August 31, 11 AM-6 PM
  7. PTO Facebook page
  8. Teacher Assignments--Tues. Aug. 18
  9. Assemblies and gatherings at school--not until after Jan. 1
  10. What can parents do to help?


Go Ucon Wildcats!

  1. Register online  

  • The office is open 8AM-3PM daily so you can come in to register here at the school (computers are set up) if you are not able to register online, or if people need a device to register you can come in during that time as well. 

Please remember, each child needs to re-register each year.

  2. -choose- New Student Registration Form or Returning Registration Form
  3. Please, please complete the Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) Application, even if you don’t think your student(s) qualify.  A part of our literacy funding (Title 1) is tied to the number of students who qualify for FRL. Completing this form is just as important! 
  4. Please consider donating to the Ucon School Classroom Fund, suggested donation is $15/family.  Great news, you can donate online! (for all D93 schools!) 
  5. This is different from the PTO donation which is for student celebrations, the classroom fund helps with consumable classroom supplies like paper, ink, dry erase markers, Clorox wipes, the good kind of Kleenex...
  6. Needs to be accessed through PowerSchool Unified Classroom on a computer--does NOT work from a phone! (bummer, we know!)


We have a dedicated and committed Superintendent, School Board, and District Office team!  Countless hours have been placed into our D93 Reopening Plan.  I encourage you to view the recorded Board Meeting on YouTube where the reopening plan is addressed.  

  1. We will start school in Phase 2 of the District’s Fall 2020 Reopening Plan (D93 Plan) approved on July 29 (reference of Phases at the bottom of this newsletter)
  2. Masks:  This D93 Plan plan complies with Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) and Bonneville County mandates which say: 
  • Masks will be mandated when physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible. 
  • Consider the CDC guidance on cloth masks
  • Medical Exceptions:
  • If your student is not able to wear a mask due to a medical concern, a doctor’s note or diagnosis must be faxed in or brought to the school so a medical plan can be put in place.
  • Please review CDC recommended adaptations
  • Please review CDC’s requirements for face shield use
  • The school district will provide a mask for students that do not have one(the process for this is to be announced).
  • Keeping teachers and school staff healthy is how we keep our school buildings open:
  • Masking is for everyone’s safety, including the teachers. 
  • If a kid becomes sick, the symptoms and/or recovery may be different than an adult; However, if our teachers contract COVID-19, our ability to have students stay in school becomes really difficult.  In fact, school outbreaks can trigger D93 moving into Phase 3 or 4 of the D93 Plan.  School outbreaks can also trigger EIPH moving from High Risk to Critical Risk
  • D93 has 50 less substitute teachers in the sub pool this year and the District will not be able to keep school buildings open if we have a few teachers in every school get sick. 
  • If we want school buildings to stay open, then we have to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible. (I struggle with wearing my own, but I do and will!
  1. Masks will be worn: 
    1. In class when 6ft of distancing cannot be maintained 
    2. On busses 
    3. In hallways 
  2. Masks will NOT be worn: 
    1. In PE 
    2. While Eating 
    3. Outside at recess
  3. Face Shields: Dr. Woolstenhulme originally talked about Face Shields being an alternative to masks. We did not know at that time that shields are not an approved face covering by the CDC or East Idaho Public Health. That means no shields in place of masks. If your student wants to wear one in addition to a mask, that is fine. Please review CDC’s requirements for face shield use


  1. Do we have an online option? D93 Superintendent Team is working on an option for online instruction available at each D93 elementary school.  I know I keep saying more information is to come, but more information is to come! 
    1. What does that look like?  It’s completely online courses, taught by parents in the home through the support of an online learning tool called Accelerate.  It is the same curriculum BOES is using in their school.  
    2. Parents are the primary teachers and a Ucon teacher will only be a facilitator and provide support parents, like an instructional coach.  The Ucon teacher will be available for online tutoring and help during the day--she will not be teaching in the Ucon building or providing live, online classes (totally different than what we did in the spring).  
    3. Also, the Ucon teacher will not be a grade-level teacher.  One teacher will be assigned to families with students in lots of grade levels.
    4. It’s a commitment:  This isn’t for students who get quarantined for two weeks, this is a commitment for a trimester.  A commitment for parents, students, and the Ucon teacher.  We won’t be able to have you in class for a few days and online for a few days. If online is requested, the student will be enrolled in Ucon Online Learning through Accelerate for the whole Trimester.  
    5. If you would like your student to have an online option through Ucon Elementary, not Bonneville Online Elementary, please fill out the “Online Learning Request Form” on the district website at the very bottom of the page. 
    6. Here is the link:
  2. If you want to truly “homeschool” your child, (not Ucon online or Bonneville Online Elementary), that means:
    1. You withdraw your student from Ucon and D93 
    2. You provide the instruction, materials, etc. for your student, independent of the school. No online resources, no Chromebooks, no curriculum, and no teacher help is provided to Idaho homeschoolers.
  3. Back to School Day, Mon. Aug. 31!:  Families will sign up for 10 minutes with each teacher, and 10 minutes with Mrs. Andrus in the cafe-gymnast-auditorium 11 AM to 6 PM families The first day of school is being moved to September 1st. Back to School will take place on August 31st, which was the first day of school, by appointment only. We will send out sign ups as soon as we have them ready, so be watching your email. We will sign up families in 10-15 min increments so we don’t have too many people in the building at once. Please plan on only spending ten min or so in each classroom. We need to have people in and out rather quickly. We are only supposed to have 150 people in the building at any given time.
  4. Facebook: Please join the Ucon PTO Facebook group if you haven’t already.  PTO and other parents are great to provide info and answer questions.  It’s been great to see how positive and helpful our Ucon parents are on our PTO Facebook page!
  5. Teacher Assignments: You and your students will know who their teacher is after registration. We just need a day or two after registration finishes on Friday to get new students enrolled and classes balanced.  The plan is an email on Tuesday, August 18th!
  6. Assemblies and gatherings:  the D93 plan says no assemblies for students or with parents or families until after January 1st.  As soon as we can start having events, I will let you know.


  1. What can parents do to help? This was a question that a lot of parents had at the board meeting.
    1. If you can, sign up to substitute! We need subs desperately! 
    2. Donate if you can! Classroom Fund Donations (these were previously called registration fees) are optional, and are suggested by family.  
    3. Right now, those funds will help with repairing and replacing any Chromebooks.  We are very close to 1:1 with Chromebooks for each Ucon kid!  Chromebook labs run about $11,000 for a lab of 30 (this includes the cart).  Each replacement Chromebook is around $250-280. 
    4. Our Idaho Education budget was cut by 5% across the state.  Every little bit helps and is appreciated so much!
    5. Donations can be paid at the office with Laura or online during the registration process. 

Please call anytime you have questions. I am happy and eager to talk with you. I would rather you call and get clarification than to worry about something. I know I won’t always be available so you can leave a message or email me anytime.

I look forward to seeing everyone! I am excited to become a Ucon Wildcat myself, and have our students back in the building!  

More information will come as soon as it is available to me. Take care and enjoy your family for now! They are the most important things!



Shelley Andrus
School: 208-525-4430
Cell: 208-520-3531 (Please use only when necessary, my family thanks you!)