Panther Parent Week #1

Panther Parent Week #1
Posted on 08/14/2020

Panther Parent

Week #1 - August 14, 2020


Good afternoon Thrasher Families,

We thank you for a good, safe start to school. Your children have been an absolute delight to work with this week. We thank you to for all the kind and encouraging notes you sent to our faculty and staff. I cannot express enough how much those mean to us and carry us forward.


Social Distancing and Health Measures

This week, we focused heavily on starting relationships, positive experiences, and procedures to minimize the spread of viruses. Here are some things we are doing and some things we ask:

Thrasher Design

  • Some hallways, stairs, and ramps are too narrow to allow for distance between pedestrians. We have created one-way routes to minimize the number of people from different classrooms passing each other too closely.
  • Lunches are eaten in the classroom or outside. (Cafeteria is closed).
  • We are not gathering in large groups for arrival or dismissal.
  • We are setting up dividers at rooms and tables where fewer than three feet can be maintained.
  • Of course, masks.
  • Any safety measures we take can be undone by doorknobs and bathrooms. To minimize these contacts, all people sanitize hands before leaving a room, and wash hands before leaving the restroom.
  • We’ve designed the Related Arts schedule to minimize cross-contact. Each related arts classroom sees only 6 groups per week instead of 28.
  • After children use a shared space, the teacher sprays a sanitizing solution on the desk, table, and chairs. Children wipe down their own area only before the next person arrives.
  • The playground areas are assigned to one classroom at a time. Classrooms rotate to a different area each day.
  • Playground games are considered with social distancing in mind. Kids can play HORSE, Around the World, Kickball, Four Square, Wall Ball, and other games like this. Games such as basketball or football that require repeated close contact are not allowed at this time.
  • We are working to get contactless water bottle filling stations installed. Some updates on this will be coming very soon. Until then, please keep sending water bottles with your children. We believe we will have this solved very soon.
  • We have a very nimble set of protocols from Hamilton County Schools to respond to a variety of situations related to COVID-19.
  • Thrasher @ Home, A and B Groups, and use of technology reduce the number of people in contact with each other, will continue to keep learning a priority with safety, and give us opportunities for new challenges.

We Ask

  • Anyone who does not need to be in the building should not come in the building.
    • You all have been great about this. Thank you. If you need to drop off medications, materials, lunches, etc., let us know you are coming, and we will meet you out front.
  • Please wear a mask on campus and make your visit brief, especially if you are waiting out front for a walker at dismissal. This will reduce the possibility that you will become a contact of COVID-19.
  • If you suspect that your child or family has come in contact with the virus, play it safe, stay home, and temporarily use our distance learning modes. Out of pure caution, some families missed the first days of school. We thank you deeply for making this highly difficult and inconvenient decision to care for our community. (Active cases on Signal Mountain have doubled in the past week.) Contact Nurse Robinson at Thrasher, and she will guide you through what to do next. We do not want to be a school that closes!
  • Hamilton County Schools wants all employees and families to take the HCS Safe Pledge. You can do that at and click on “Forms”.


IMPORTANT: Technology Update

We had a major set-back in technology the Tuesday right before school started. Then, through the above-and-beyond measures of Heidi Mies and Ricky McEvoy, we made some huge leaps forward by Friday. Through the number of people that wrote to me and indicated that they did not need a device from school, we are much closer to being able to provide a device to all families that need one.

Here’s the next step:

  1. We need every family to review these two documents (which would normally be part of School Registration):
  2. We need every family to fill out these Use of Technology Form to acknowledge you reviewed the above documents.
    1. What if I have a fifth grader and I already printed the forms and sent them back to you? No, you do not need to fill out this form. (And, we apologize. We didn’t realize how few people have printers anymore. You are the reason we are improving this process.)
    2. What if I am taking Option 2 and already filled out this form at school? No, you do not need to fill out this form.
    3. What if I am taking Option 2 and do not request a device? Yes, please fill out the form if you think you might take Option 1 for the second semester.
    4. What if I don’t need a device? Yes, please fill out the form so we can be sure we’re not missing anyone. (It will take about 60 seconds.)

Timeline for Technology

  • We are currently assigning Chromebooks to 5th graders and iPads to all K-4 students taking Option 2.
  • Starting this week, we’ll be assigning iPads to 4th and 3rd graders here at school. (Once more Chromebooks arrive, we may be trading 4th graders iPads for Chromebooks.)
  • As soon as that is complete, we’ll be assigning devices to 2nd and 1st graders here at school.
  • At this point, we’ll know where we stand with Kindergarten needs and how to meet them.


Media Permission Form

And, while we’re at it, we need every family to indicate their permission or refusal to allow children to be photographed or videoed at school for school purposes.

Media Permission Form:


Bus Transportation

If you have any questions or needs regarding bus transportation, this is the HCDE web page for you: . This page has contact phone numbers and links for the Bus Stop Finder and Bus Stop Request.


Staffing Update

Raquel Newton has agreed to serve as an assistant principal for this year at Thrasher. Many of you know Mrs. Newton as she taught 2nd and 4th grade at Thrasher over the past 15 or so years. Also, Desi Driscoll has signed on as an exceptional education assistant. We have a great team!


We have planned the work, now we are working the plan!

Now, for the first Friday Song of the school year:

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