Head of School Community Email: Back to School News & Laptop Checkout

Head of School Community Email: Back to School News & Laptop Checkout

Dear Thetford Academy Students & Families,

The start of the school year is just around the corner! Teachers and all staff have been busy working together since last Monday getting ready to welcome students back. 

This email outlines important information to help all of us as we launch this unique new year on September 8. As you review the updates below, please take note of which details pertain specifically to your students – high school vs middle school, fully remote vs 2-day and 4-day on campus, bus riders vs student drivers, etc. Not all info below is relevant for all students.

Laptop Checkout for Grades 9-12

  • Families who requested a TA laptop for one or more of their students in the official fall sign-up form we issued on Aug. 14 can come to campus on Thursday or Friday this week to check out a laptop. 
  • This week’s laptop checkout is for high schoolers only (and the fully-remote middle schoolers). We will issue middle schoolers who are attending on campus a TA chromebook at a later date.
  • Designated times: Friday 8-11am is reserved for high school students w/last name A-M. Friday 1-4pm is reserved for high school students w/last name N-Z. Thursday afternoon 1-4pm is available for families who cannot come during their alpha assigned time on Friday.
  • For families who cannot come to TA this week and need a laptop: we will have another opportunity to check out a laptop on Tuesday, Sept. 8 as part of students’ first day orientation activities on campus.
  • All fully-remote students (high school or middle school), who need a TA laptop, should come this week to check out a laptop.
  • We encourage parent participation in the laptop checkout, but it is not necessary. We will follow up with all families who check out a laptop to send a lending liability agreement next week.

Daily Attendance

  • We will take attendance daily and all students, whether on campus or at home, are required to adhere to the times of the school day and attendance routines as outlined in our Fall Reopening Handbook.
  • Daily attendance will take place in the morning pod meeting at 9:30am. All students are required to participate, whether on campus or at home. This routine will take place Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
  • For Wednesdays, attendance will be taken by teachers in each of the high school classes throughout the day (A block through D block). (The Wednesday experience for middle schoolers will be different than their high school peers, and we will connect directly with middle school parents regarding Wednesday routines and expectations.)

First Day & Weekly Schedule

  • Tuesday, September 8 is just days away! We are looking forward to seeing all TA students – here on campus or remotely from home. The first day activities will focus on orienting students to our campus and routines. So much will be new and different, not only for those coming to TA for the first time but for our returning students as well.
  • We invite all of our 2-day students who will regularly be on campus on Thursdays and Fridays only, to attend on Tuesday, Sept. 8 to participate in the first day orientation activities with their pod.
  • Students attending from home need to connect with their morning pod meeting at 9:30am – on September 8 and everyday.
  • All high school students will be attending their classes remotely on Wednesday, so please be set up to do so! 
  • Class meeting times for Wednesdays and other details for our weekly schedule can be found here and in the TA Fall Reopening Handbook.

Transportation Details – Bus Routes – Staggered Arrival & Departure Times

  • The following news post outlines transportation details for fall, including bus route information and our staggered arrival and departure schedule: https://www.thetfordacademy.org/2020/09/bus-schedule-update-fall-2020/
  • We are asking student drop-off to take place between 9:00-9:10am via the circle driveway entrance only (as usual). Please be patient as we cycle cars through.
  • Students who drive themselves to school are expected to arrive between 9:15-9:25am via the south entrance only (as usual).
  • Your adherence to the staggered arrivals will help considerably with the flow of the daily morning health screening and temperature check.

Health & Safety Requirements

  • We are expecting every parent and guardian to have read the TA Fall Reopening Handbook. If you have not done so yet, please take a few minutes now to review it.
  • Part II of the handbook focuses on health and safety information – what we are doing here at school and what families need to commit to on their end.
  • Have you had a chance to watch the safety video that TA staff created, and shared that as a family? If not, please do so: https://www.thetfordacademy.org/2020/08/ta-shares-reopening-protocols/
  • Adherence to the health and safety protocols is required – and the way that we can all work together to ensure a successful reopening of the TA campus.

Lunch Service

  • Lunch will be available to students for purchase on the 4 days that campus is open (Mon, Tues, Thur, Fri).
  • Lunch this year will require students and families to fill out an order form in advance. The online order form will go out weekly on Fridays to sign up for the coming week.
  • The cafeteria space will not be open to student access; lunches will be delivered daily to students in their pods.

Fall Athletics

  • Reminder to all students (middle school and high school) who want to participate in fall athletics: the season starts on Sept. 8 and the athletic handbook forms are due back this week in order to participate.
  • More details and the link to the handbook and form are available in this news post: https://www.thetfordacademy.org/2020/08/fall-2020-athletics-update/

We know this is a lot. Thanks for reading through everything and taking time to process the information as a family. Please be in touch if you need assistance. Siobhan, Gloria, and I are all available to field questions.

Let’s make this a great launch!

Carrie Brennan, Head of School