Dear Ennis Mustang Families and Ennis Community,
We hope that this correspondence finds each one of you well. I cannot stress enough my gratitude for the support we have received from the Ennis community and its families. The level of support is exceptional, so thank you.
We are nearing the end to week #5 at Ennis Schools and it is so good to be back with students! Our students have done an incredible job of adjusting to a new way of doing things at school. It seems like all students K-12 have adjusted as good as they can to the several new procedures and protocols we now have in place. Even though some new procedures and protocols are not popular, our students are doing a good job of following them.
The circumstances we are faced with are just incredible. Who would have thought that we would be in the middle of such a complex issue? Opening a school during a global pandemic has challenged us more than ever and each day we continue to come to school with our heads held high with the purpose of educating kids. We feel that the reopening plan that was approved in August is working well, but of course our plan is not perfect. We continue to assess our plan on a regular basis and make changes when needed. We have come to the realization that we are not immune to having a positive case in our school. Several schools in the state are reporting positive cases forcing them to close for a period. If we were to have a positive case in our school, we would work closely with the Madison County Health Department to determine a period we would need to be closed. We hope that if we were to get a positive case that only a cohort of students would be closed to allow deep cleaning and adequate time to contact trace. For example, if we were to get a positive case in the 4th grade, we would hope that only the 4th grade would be closed and that we would continue to keep all other grades K-12 in person. This will all depend on where the case is located, who direct contacts are, our plan for cleaning, and what the Madison County Health Department requires. It is more likely that if we get a case in the JH/HS, it will look much differently from the elementary since students and teachers mix more often than the elementary. For example, students in the 10th grade may be in the same elective class as a student in the 12th grade. In addition, our JH/HS staff teach students from several grade levels. When we do get a positive case, it will be a learning experience. We will ensure that proper communication will be maintained, and that transparency will be demonstrated when we get a positive case.
The Ennis Mustang staff have been incredible. We are so fortunate to have such a quality staff that is reliable and gets the job done. We have asked our staff to work harder than ever before which they have not hesitated in stepping up to the plate. Staffing continues to be an issue leaving us shorthanded, especially in the custodial and school nutrition department. Staff from all departments have helped considerably and have assisted in cleaning classrooms, lunchrooms, and office areas. Not only are they assisting in cleaning, they have stepped in and assisted our cooks in preparing and serving meals. Currently we are working with a janitorial company to see what they can offer our school to give us some much-needed relief. We have also advertised for a cook’s helper (25hrs/week with benefits), substitute teachers, activity bus drivers, and substitute bus drivers. We encourage you to help spread the word and to have people contact us at the school if they are interested in applying.
Our K-12 enrollment currently is 382 students, which is approximately 10 more kids than last year. Student enrollment is what drives our general fund budget, so we want our numbers to increase. Of our 382 students, approximately 10% have opted to receive online instruction through our remote learning program. These students are still counted for our enrollment as we are providing learning opportunities through a live stream for JH/HS and the Acellus Program for our K-5 students. Our remote learning program has worked well so far with each week becoming stronger than the previous. We do ask that parents continue to be patient with us and work with us on our remote program as this is not only new to families, but to the staff as well.
The county fan attendance policy for our sporting events has been working ok for the most part. To be honest, I want as many fans to be able to come to our facility to watch the games, but we are restricted to 4 fans per participant at this time. As much as I would like to open the doors for fans, I understand that we need to be careful and not overcrowd our facility. This plan does allow family and close family friends to come and watch. In comparison, our fan attendance policy is better than most schools. Our goal is to keep our activities alive and well, so students are afforded the opportunity to participate. Regardless of active covid cases in the county, it is a requirement that all fans wear a facial covering even while seated in the gym. As far as the football field goes, we highly recommend facial coverings and that social distancing be observed. The county fan attendance policy is a work in progress and will need to be reviewed and revised for the basketball season. We thank everyone for your understanding and patience with this.
Homecoming is next week! The volleyball team will take on West Yellowstone next Saturday and the football team will take on Lone Peak next Friday. These games can be viewed on the NFHS website. For more information on Homecoming festivities, please look at the LIVE FEED section of the website to learn more. We also encourage you to keep up on school happenings by visiting our school website and downloading the Ennis Mustang app on your devices.
In closing, thank you for your support and commitment to Ennis Schools. I cannot stress enough the importance of working together as a community to keep our school moving in a positive direction. The biggest motivation in keeping our school culture positive is that we all come together and support each other. Please know that we are working hard for the community, school, and families. Our students deserve an excellent school experience and education, so let us continue to make that happen.
Casey Klasna - Superintendent