Summer Greetings from Yellowstone! We are so excited to welcome you back to campus on August 17 to launch our 2021-22 school year. Since early spring, our campus has been under construction. Your students will return to find brand new restrooms, renovated ceilings, and other building improvements. Teachers and staff have been hard at work preparing for your child’s return to school, and we cannot wait to see you soon.
We will be hosting Parent Orientation on August 10 for the upcoming school year. We are offering the same program at two different times:
Grades PK3-5th (Yellowstone Academy): 12:30 to 1:30 or 4:30 to 5:30
Grades 6-8 (Yellowstone College Prep): 1:30 to 2:30 or 5:30 to 6:30
The orientation sessions will all take place in the cafeteria and will include more information about first-day procedures, uniforms, school schedules/calendars, and related registration items. Look for additional information as we get closer to the date.
Health and Safety Updates
We know that you have many questions about how we are handling the ongoing issues surrounding COVID-19 and wanted to provide this update in anticipation of our school re-opening. We continue to follow guidance from the CDC, our local health authorities, and the Texas Education Agency. Here is how we plan on starting this school year, and we will continue to update our policies throughout the year based on their ongoing guidance:
We will not be offering at-home learning this year. We know that the best way for your child to learn is to be on campus every day and engage with their teachers and fellow classmates. We have relaunched our bus service and are doing everything we can to support your child’s return to school. To ensure a safe environment and help your child grow, we have made our class sizes even smaller this year, with most classrooms capped at no more than 17 students (this is 5-10 students less than the typical public-school class). Our school day program has also been designed to provide more educational support, tutoring, and intervention to help your child catch up and get ahead after the last 18 months of disruption.
The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to end this crisis is for you, and anyone in your household who is eligible, to be vaccinated. Over 97% of reported COVID-19 hospital cases in our country right now are happening to those who are unvaccinated. Vaccination will help prevent you from getting COVID, and if you still do get COVID, it will significantly reduce your symptoms and the chances of severe complications from the disease. We plan on hosting another vaccine clinic on campus at the beginning of the school year and closely monitoring when the vaccine will be available to children under age 12. As part of our enrollment process, we will be gathering data to track who has been vaccinated so that we can ensure that we follow the appropriate protocols in the event of exposure to COVID-19.
The Governor and the Texas Education Agency lifted the mandatory mask requirement for school-aged children earlier this summer. However, we still STRONGLY ENCOURAGE all children and staff to wear a mask everyday. This is particularly essential for any student under the age of 12 and anyone who has not been vaccinated. Since using our transportation services are optional, we are requiring that masks be worn on our buses at all times. We will continue to provide masks to any student or adult in the building who would like one to wear one while on campus. In accordance with health guidance, it will not be necessary to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
We are continuing to encourage social distancing, frequent handwashing, and daily sanitization on campus. We will also be closely monitoring activities where larger groups of students may gather together in the hallway, cafeteria, or other spaces. We will no longer require temperature checks or the daily health screening before entering the building. As a point of reference, last year our temperature checks only yielded one case where a student may have ended up with a positive COVID test. We know that the best way to prevent the spread of this virus is for you to continue to monitor your child’s health every day. Please have your child stay home if they are sick. If you are unsure or have any questions about sending your child to school, please contact our nurse so that we can provide further guidance.
COVID-19 Exposure and Protocols
We will still offer free COVID testing for any student who has been exposed to someone with COVID or who is displaying symptoms. If your child tests positive for COVID, they must quarantine for 10 days and be at least 24 hours symptom-free before returning to campus. Our nurse will coordinate re-entry with your family if this becomes necessary. If your child has been vaccinated and is exposed to the virus, they do not need to quarantine, and as long as they remain symptom free, they can continue to come to school every day. We will continue to communicate updates and potential exposures/cases as needed.
We will share more about our re-entry plans at our Parent Orientation sessions. Starting on Tuesday, August 3, please reach out to our school nurse, Ms. Walker, at 713-741-8000 with any other questions you have about our procedures for this year. It is critical that we partner together to create as safe an environment as possible for your child and for our staff. Thank you for working with us this year and entrusting your child to our care. We look forward to seeing you at our Parent Orientation on August 10 and welcoming your child back to campus on August 17!
Ryan Dolibois, Executive Director
Candice Lapid, Principal, Yellowstone Academy
Mesha White, Principal, Yellowstone College Prep