from Lower School Principal Faith Hunter

August 2021

Dear Lower School families,

I hope that this letter finds you and your children well and in the midst of a rejuvenating summer. To say we are excited to welcome your children back is an understatement. We are planning for a healthy and robust 2021–2022 school year, with the return of all specials, hands-on activities, outdoor trips rooted in our core social studies, and full classes for all. In addition, as you may know, this is our centennial year! I have so much about this momentous year that I look forward to sharing in my first September Push Page and in the Principal Forums, but for now, I want to get you as many of the logistics for planning purposes as I can. 
We are working hard to find solutions that will immerse our students in the full LREI experience and to welcome our special community back together. Therefore, we are waiting to finalize some decisions until we have the most current information. We will send a final logistical update on Tuesday 8/31 and hold a back-to-school forum with Phil, Ava, and the principals that evening at 6:30pm. 
In this letter, you will find:
  • COVID-19 update letter from Phil Kassen
  • Introducing Emily Knowlton, our new Lower School Administrative Assistant
  • Class lists and teacher letters
  • Welcome Conferences
  • Curriculum Nights
  • First day of school and phase-in
  • Arrival and dismissal routines
  • Early Bird
  • Library
  • Afterschool
  • Lunch
  • LREI Connect and Magnus
  • Message from our Parent Association Co-Presidents
  • Upcoming communication and important dates
COVID-19 Update Letter from Phil Kassen
Please read the letter from Phil here. It contains important information about vaccination, testing, and other health and safety measures.
Introducing Emily Knowlton, Our New Lower School Administrative Assistant
Emily Knowlton is our new Lower School Administrative Assistant. She worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for thirteen years as an administrator and teacher. Her driving professional goal is to uplift the work of young children and the people who care for and educate them. Emily is also a photographer, writer, and mother of a toddler whose greatest passions include sounds, berries, and things that go. We are thrilled to have Emily join the administrative team this year and are so excited for the big things to come! Emily will be our families’ go-to for administrative information about our students and will take on the challenge of handling my calendar. Please reach out to her ( should you want to arrange a meeting.

Class Lists and Teacher Letters
Teacher summer letters (along with class lists) will go out Wednesday, August 25th. In these letters you will find a sign up sheet for a 20-minute welcome conference during the week of Monday 9/20. 

Welcome Conferences
Lower School families have welcome conferences with their child’s teacher early in the school year. These appointments are an opportunity for families to convey important information about their child directly to the teachers. While our continuing students’ teachers last year passed along information in June, direct communication between families and teachers is also very important to us.  
You should plan on sharing all relevant information about your child during the welcome conferences. You can expect teachers to ask about such things as academic goals, friendship or social development concerns, personality, milestones, family changes, and so on. Please save queries about curriculum for Curriculum Night. In the meantime, an overview of the program can be found on the LREI website. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will hold both Welcome Conferences and Curriculum Nights on Zoom.

Curriculum Nights 
Curriculum Nights will be held via Zoom. More info to come. In the meantime, please mark your calendars.
  • Monday 10/4* at 7:00pm: 4s, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade 
  • Wednesday 10/6 at 7:00pm: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grades
*This date has changed, please update your calendars accordingly.

First Day of School and Phase-In
We ask that all students, vaccinated or not, have a negative PCR test prior to returning to school on Thursday 9/9.  This test should be taken no earlier than Sunday 9/5. Please upload the result sheet to your child’s Magnus account by 5:00pm on Wednesday 9/8. Email if you’d like support. Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.

School begins on Thursday 9/9
Early childhood students (4s and Kindergarten) have an introductory phase-in period for the first few days of school to allow them time to get to know each other, their room, their teachers, new routines, and the school building. Please see the phase-in schedule below. You will receive more specific information from your child’s teacher in their summer letter.

For 4s and Kindergarten:
  • Thursday 9/9, as half groups: 8:45–10:15am OR 10:45am–12:15pm (info will be in summer letter from classroom teachers)
  • Friday 9/10, as a whole group: 8:45–10:45am
  • Monday 9/13, as a whole group: 8:35am–12:30pm, including lunch
  • Tuesday 9/14, as a whole group: 8:35am–2:50pm
For 1st–4th Grades:
  • From Thursday 9/9 on: full day of school
Arrival and Dismissal Routines
We are working hard to find a way to welcome parents in the building while respecting health and safety guidelines. 

We feel it is important for family members to be able to be in the building for a few minutes in the morning. They will be allowed in to drop their children off if they are vaccinated or have had a negative test within the past 72 hours. If the positivity rate continues to increase it may end up that we will not allow adults in the building. Final details around arrival and dismissal will be made and shared on the evening of Tuesday 8/31. In the meantime, here are details currently planned should we be able to proceed with adult drop off in the building.
  • We will return to using the main school entrance for arrival and dismissals.
  • Masks must be worn by adults for drop off and pick up.  
  • 4s, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade families will be able to have one vaccinated adult per day walk their child into the school building. 
  • 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade families will be able to accompany their children to their classrooms for the first two days of the school year. 
    • We will have a staggered schedule on these first two days.
    • To limit contacts, we will continue to use the internal staircase closest to Bleecker street to go upstairs and the internal middle staircase to go downstairs.
  • Staggered Schedule for Thursday 9/9 and Friday 9/10
    • 4th Grade: 8:30am
    • 3rd Grade: 8:33am
    • 2nd Grade: 8:36am
    • 1st Grade: 8:39am
    • 4s and Kindergarten: 8:45am
  • Regular Schoolday Schedule-Beginning 9/13
    • 1st through 4th Grade - Drop off at 8:30am, Dismissal at 3:00pm
    • 4s, 4s/K, and Kindergarten - Drop off at 8:35am, Dismissal at 2:50pm
Early Bird
For Lower School children who need to arrive at school before 8:30am, the school provides Early Bird supervision with no additional fee. Due to COVID-19 precautions, there will be some adjustments to our Early Bird procedures.
  • Early Bird will begin at 8:00am on Monday 9/13 and run daily.
  • Teachers will supervise children on the roof and/or in a classroom.
  • For 2nd–4th graders, Early Bird athletics will be available on the following days:
  • Tuesdays: 4th Grade
  • Thursdays: 3rd Grade
  • Fridays: 2nd Grade
  • For the first few weeks, we ask that parents notify us ahead of time by signing their children up for Early Bird. The first sign up will go out Friday, September 10th. As soon as we are able, we will no longer require any notification ahead of time. If you think your child will attend Early Bird or Early Bird Athletics two or more times a week, please take a moment to fill out this form to help us plan accordingly. 
All Lower School classes will have weekly browsing and borrowing time with Jesse or Stacy. In addition, they will do book talks in 3rd and 4th grade as well as deliver a rotating set of books from the library to the classroom. At this time the library will not be open for browsing before and after school.

Please visit the Afterschool section of our website for details.

Lower school students, 4s through 2nd Grade, will eat family style in classrooms. Third and fourth graders will return to the cafeteria. No ordering necessary. 

LREI Connect and Magnus
Each family, new and returning, has an account on LREI Connect, our online student families portal. Keeping the information in your profile current is critical, as we use that data for emergencies and health information. If you have not done so, please enter or update your profile with your personal information, emergency contacts, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, and sign-in information. The online health information system, Magnus, is linked to LREI Connect. All families must complete and upload the necessary forms before the start of school.
Thereafter, please log in to the Lower School’s LREI Connect page frequently during the school year to see important dates, parent association news, and other community announcements, such as plays and musicals. Each Thursday, you’ll receive an email with a short article and a link to the Lower School news page on Connect as a reminder. 

Upcoming Communications and Important Dates
Phil, Ava, and the principals will host a virtual forum on Tuesday 8/31 from 6:30-7:30pm. We will then break off into divisions to share more specific information about the Lower School reopening plans, as well as a preview of the year ahead. 
Message from our Parent Association Co-Presidents
Lunie Small and Shira Cornfeld, our Parent Association Co-Presidents for this year, are looking forward to a year focused on community, connection, and supporting LREI families. Please think about getting involved with the various committees, affinity groups, special events, and centennial celebrations. You will be hearing more from them in the end-of-summer packet.
LREI 101 Dates 
  • LREI 101 for New HS families - Tuesday 9/14, 9:00am-10:15am, 40 Charlton
  • LREI 101 for New LS/MS families - Wednesday 9/15, 8:30am-9:45am, 272 Sixth
  • LREI 101 for all families new to LREI - Monday 9/20, 7:00pm-8p, Zoom
(These events may all have to move to Zoom. Stay tuned.)

Faith Hunter
Lower School Principal