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New dismissal procedure to begin at Sunnyside

On Tuesday, the playground at Sunnyside Elementary School will have a different feel than previous years come 2:50 p.m.

No longer will Sunnyside students be released outside to await their parents or linger before their walk home. Citing safety concerns and elimination of staff, Sunnyside Elementary Principal Jeremy Sorenson worked with staff and district administration to change dismissal procedures for the kindergarten-through-second-grade school.

“I’d be lying if I said resources weren’t a part of it,” Sorenson said. “We’re losing (education assistant) staff. We lost three EA staff and their primary duties are doing recess and child supervision outside.”

Sunnyside staff won’t be outside after school to supervise playground activity, but Sorenson said lack of resources only covers part of the need for change.

“That’s a part of it, but the real driving force is even if we had our full EA staff this change likely would have happened and safety is a major concern.

The number of students outside after dismissal – with limited school supervision – led to concern from parents and staff alike.

“We want to be organized, know where the kids are and be able to pass them on to their adults,” he said. “It will look exactly the same as it always has with the exception of we’re not going outside.”

Students who walk or are picked up by their parents will wait in the gym for parents; a procedure Sorenson said was used in previous years on rainy or cold days.

“Because of those reasons – because of safety, because of resources – we’re going to try to go this direction,” he said. “I have full confidence it’s going to work well.”

With any change, Sorenson said, he expects an adjustment period, adding the school will constantly assess the procedure and is open to community feedback.

Sorenson also encouraged the continued use of the playground after school, but said it will need to be under family supervision.

“I hope that kids continue to get a chance to play out there with their families,” he said.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett

 

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