November 13, 2020 LPS Weekly Family Update

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LPS Families,

We are 13 weeks into the school year. This is one of the most challenging school years in the history of Lincoln Public Schools. Our staff have been working at a feverish pace to keep up with the needs of our students, our families and our community. They are dedicated to making this work. Just like many in our community, everyone is putting in extra time and effort where it’s needed – giving 110%.

Teachers are giving up their scheduled planning time during the school day to help cover each other’s classes. Administrators are also covering classes. Custodial teams are doing extra cleaning. All of our staff are taking on duties beyond what they are normally tasked to do. Everyone is pitching in. For that, we are grateful and we know our community is thankful for all of these efforts to keep our students in school.

But this continuous rigorous pace is starting to take a toll on our staff, and that in turn affects our students. Our students, too, are feeling the pressures and added stress of this year. That’s why today, together with the Board of Education, we are announcing a change to our student calendar to support time for our staff to catch up and recoup loss plan time.

There will be no classes for students on Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23 and 24. Students will not have classes during those two days before Thanksgiving break. Middle and high school students will return to classes on Monday, Nov. 30. Elementary students will return on Tuesday, Dec. 1 since Monday is an elementary plan day.

This extra time will allow us to pause, allow staff to recoup lost planning time and do what we need to do to provide our students what they need so we can all finish the fall semester strong.

Families, we appreciate your support through all of this. We know the constant changes can create issues for our families. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we learn new information and continue to make adjustments in collaboration with the health department.

Below is our weekly family update with important information and reminders.

Changes to student calendar November 16-30

Here is the revised student calendar for the next two weeks:

Monday, Nov. 16

  • Classes in session for all students.
  • High School: Group A is in person, Group B is remote.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

  • Classes in session for all students.
  • High School: Group A is in person, Group B is remote.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

  • Classes in session for all students.
  • High School: Group A is in person, Group B is remote. (Early dismissal)

Thursday, Nov. 19

  • Classes in session for all students.
  • High School: Group B is in person, Group A is remote.

Friday, Nov. 20

  • Classes in session for all students.
  • High School: Group B is in person, Group A is remote.

**NEW** Monday, Nov. 23 – Friday, Nov. 27

Monday, Nov. 30

  • Elementary, PreK and Early Childhood: No classes, teacher plan day
  • Middle School: classes in session for all students
  • High School: Group A is in person, Group B is remote.

LLCHD Directed Health Measure on youth sports

Today, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced a new Directed Health Measure that includes a three week moratorium on team sports as defined below. This moratorium will be for in-person practices and competitions, but will allow for some remote communication. This will begin on Nov. 16 and end on Dec. 7. All events scheduled for Friday and Saturday (Nov. 13-14) will proceed as scheduled.

This moratorium only applies to the team sports list below:

  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Wrestling
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Bowling
  • Dance
  • Swimming
  • Track and Field

You can find the full Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Directed Health Measure on their website.

We know this is hard news for our student-athletes and their families who have been looking forward to participating in winter athletics. We are hopeful this is temporary and we can resume our season at some point in the near future. What we do now protects the rest of the winter activity season.

Remote Learning Request Form

We are opening the Remote Learning Request Form on the website while we are in Red. Families can choose – now or any time – to move to 100% Remote Learning for their child. After filling out the form, the school will call to confirm your request. Please allow two school days for staff to prepare and get your child the materials they will need to begin remote learning. The school will communicate with you when remote learning will begin for your child. Families, weigh this option carefully as continuously moving back and forth between in-person and remote learning creates a major disruption in your child’s learning experience.

To access the request form:

Safely covering elementary classes

This fall, we understood that there would be some unfilled positions due to the nature of the pandemic and we needed to find ways to safely continue serving our students. Class coverage by teachers is one way that we have been able to address the need. In addition, we have found a way to safely and temporarily move students to a different classroom at the elementary level as an additional option if needed.

Combining classes is not new at LPS. However, during the pandemic we need to establish protocols to make sure we are able to utilize this option safely within the health department guidelines. Moving forward, the following protocols can be used when appropriate:

  • If space allows, students would be split evenly between the grade level teachers. In most cases 3-6 in-person students would be added to each classroom where it is safe to do so spatially. Principals will be looking at classroom spaces to see if this is possible.
  • Students would remain in the same classroom each day that there is a shortage. Students would not be shuffled to different classrooms each day. Keep in mind that students are already in different spaces and classrooms for small group work, specials and interventions.
  • Implementation of the combining classes option at the school building level would be dependent on the grade-level teachers agreeing to it and it is subject to available space to safely do so.

This option can relieve pressure on staff and allows them to keep their plan time without giving it up for class coverage. Students are able to receive quality instruction and maintain consistency with little disruption to their learning.

Survey coming soon for all families

Whether you currently have students who are participating in remote learning or in-person, we are interested in gathering feedback from family about potential school options for the 2021-22 school year.

PLEASE NOTE: this survey is not about the current school year, but rather it looks ahead to next year if COVID-19 spread is still a concern in our community. No decisions have been made concerning next year, and final decisions concerning instructional delivery formats will be made based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, safety, instruction, financial and human resource concerns.

The survey will be sent next week and all individual responses to this survey will be confidential. Please return the survey by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 25.

Free breakfast and lunch for all LPS students

Due to the pandemic, the USDA is federally funding breakfast and lunch for all students while the federal funding lasts. All LPS students in preschool – 12 grade and the Independence Academy will be offered breakfast and lunch at no charge. LPS will communicate when the program is coming to an end for families to plan around breakfast and lunch purchases.

Just a reminder, families must continue to fill out applications for free or reduced priced meals for the 2020-2021 school year.  You can access a meal application at

Breakfast and Lunch for remote learners will also be at no charge.

REMINDER: Meals Distribution for 100% Remote Learners

LPS is offering all PreK-12 grade 100% remote learners meals for the week to be picked up on Mondays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at three locations.

Next week’s meal distribution for 100% remote learners will be on Monday, November 16.

Go to our website for more information.