The PALS (Update from the 10/13/2020 Meeting)

All parents are encouraged to join the Parent Association of the Lab School (PALS). The purpose of PALS is to advise and assist in the functioning of programs and activities of the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School.

PALS:

  • serves as mutual support for staff and parents;
  • stimulates communication between the parents and the staff;
  • represents parent concerns from each classroom;
  • advises on the establishment of priorities and the resource needs of the school; and
  • supports the enriching social and educational experiences in the school to help all children develop their physical, mental, and social potentials.

Highlights from the meeting: 

Updates on Integration Plan

Amy Simpson, ICD Chief of Staff, updated us on the status of the Lab School – Child Development Center (UMCDC) Unification.

We are in the unique situation of having a new Provost, Dean, Chief of Operations for CEHD, and a new Director of ICD, Kathleen Thomas, during this time of transitioning and planning.

More details are coming in November, they are currently trying to get all involved on the same page. Amy Simpson says that many ICD employees have expressed the sentiment that the “Lab School is the heart of the Institute.”

The unified program will be academically based (which means they will be teaching student teachers, which is what Lab School does, UMCDC provides the service of child care at this time), and Amy expects that all of the Lab School and CDC programming and experiences will be very similar to what we have now. Enrollment at the Lab School for next year will proceed as normal for current families. Construction on the new building has started and is on schedule for Lab School to move in the summer of 2021. They want parents and community to be involved in the new program.

More information on the Integration Plan can be found here:

Lab School – CDC Unification Parent Initiative Timeline: history of everything that has happened during the unification process since Lab School parents got involved in the summer of 2019: 

Unified Program Website– general info, but has not been updated since April:

Unification Building Project Website – info on building construction, is being updated regularly:

If you would like to be added to the Lab School Parent Google Group and get their Unification Newsletters, please contact Lab School parent Anna Salisbury at annasalisbury@comcast.net.

COVID Procedures Update

Present families expressed that they thought things were going well with the way Lab School was handling COVID procedures. The staff believes things are going well also.

1. As cold weather approaches, some procedures will change.  There are no thermometers that work outside below 50°, so the school will be asking parents to check temps at home and will be asked to share their results at check in. 

Parents asked for it to be made clear how the temperature was expected to be taken (mouth/arm/rectal) and that it be taken the same way every time.  For not attending school, the threshold is 100° degrees or more in the general Lab School guidelines (COVID guidelines say 100.4°). We discussed how to report the temps – via text or at drop off.  The Lab School staff will discuss this at our next staff meeting and will communicate guidelines to families soon.

2. Hand washing procedures will also change- it makes no sense to make children take off their gloves, get their hands wet and then put their hands back in their unsanitized gloves. When it gets colder, staff will spray the children’s gloves with sanitizer when they arrive.

3. Snack procedure will also change – in the spirit of MN, many snacks will be offered on a stick! This will prevent the children from having to remove their gloves/mittens while eating snack outside. Teachers  will also offer warm drinks like cider and tea on cold days. Some snack ideas shared were sticky rice and ravioli.

If parents have suggestions for snacks on a stick, please contact Sheila (or see the link in the Welcome section above).

There will be campfires at school. Sheila just bought a wire mesh campfire set.  They will cook some things over the fire like apples with cinnamon and other low sugar items that don’t burn easily.

If we do go more indoors, can the school get air filters like HEPA 13?

Sheila has just talked to University construction about filters and they are trying to get something put in place in case we need to go inside.  One parent is in construction and has access to three filters that would work for up to 1000 sq. ft. each. U of M should have many or we can rent something.  The 1913 building currently does not have any built-in air filtration.

How have masks been going with the children?

Masks have mostly been a non-issue. 80% of the children are successfully wearing them all day. Often, the children remind each other about the masks!

The Oakiwear order has shipped and is expected to arrive Thursday 10-15-2020.

Calendar Updates

Lab School officially is planning on continuing with classes until December 18th!

Community-Building Ideas

PALS is asking for ideas for how we can connect as a community this year despite COVID-19 limitations. Contact Marie at list0019@umn.edu with any ideas.

Some of the ideas discussed at the meeting included class-specific activities like virtual field trips or sledding parties. The Lab School will put together a survey to send to parents to check in about comfort level and preferred options for community building activities and opportunities throughout the school year.

The agenda and more detailed notes from the first meeting can be found by following this link.