Wednesday, 4/1/2020 - SAU29 COVID-19 Update

Good Afternoon,

Oh boy, I hate to be the bearer of less than positive news, but I feel it is important to clarify information to help avoid misinformation being spread.  I have heard some chatter about how we’ll be through this epidemic on May 4th and that we’ll be there before we know it.  Please be advised that the May 4th date that was identified in the Governor’s Stay at Home Order will be the next checkpoint on where we are as a state.  It should not be considered the end all date as there still remains a level of uncertainty with the epidemic.

That also leads me to some speculation about how the week of March 16-20 that was used to prepare and plan for remote learning would need to be made up, or be considered an early April Break.  So that it is clear, those dates do not need to be made up and we are currently working through the April Break considerations.  

There are two sides to the April Break conversation that both make sense.  On the one hand, people have shared that they feel everyone will need the break as the transition to remote learning as well as the additional screen time during this time will have taken its toll.  Further, there is concern that if we end up continuing remote learning to the end of the school year (that discussion and decision has not been had at this point) then it may be too long of a stretch for students and teachers to effectively engage in learning.

On the other side of the coin, people have shared that taking the break as we really gain momentum with remote learning will result in having to start back at square one.  Additionally, people won’t have the ability to utilize the break as they would like to, such as travelling, getting together with others and effectively unwind, not to mention the ability to structure days for children without the consistency remote learning offers.  

There are also considerations to what that means to the last day of school for the school year.  It is a very complicated issue that will inevitably leave a portion of stakeholders unhappy, no matter what the outcome is.  Please be assured that we will thoroughly vet this particular issue before coming to a conclusion.

You’ll see in the information below some important updates and considerations under “Remote Learning” and “Technology.”  Please take a look at them carefully and reach out to your building principal if you have any questions.  I have also reposted yesterday’s “Meals” update as the link that was included yesterday was not functioning correctly when I first sent it out.  My apologies for that and thus, I have included that information once again...with a properly functioning link!

Be Well,

Robb

Remote Learning:
As you may have read or heard, the 6-12 teachers and administrators have evaluated and modified the amount of time students are required to be in live group meetings and the types of learning students are asked to demonstrate.  The intent is to be more intentional with what students are expected to learn and demonstrate while engaged in remote learning.  Teachers and students engage in academics five days a week; it may, however, look differently from day to day.  In some cases, a content area or grade level may be engaged in direct instruction four days with a day for students to request additional support or for teachers to request 1-1 or small group meetings.  In other cases, the direct instruction may be two or three days with the other days used for small group or individual work.  Regardless, teachers will be engaged with students five days a week and students should be online or doing school work five days a week.  

Our PK-5 teachers and students will continue to follow their current model as it mirrors the approach that the 6-12 teachers and students will move to next week.  The delivery of learning at the PK-5 level will continue to use a variety of tools that are developmentally appropriate.  The approach will vary from grade level to grade level with a mixture of whole group, small group, and individual conferences happening throughout the week.  Again, students should be participating in the learning environment five days a week.

Meals:
The order form is now open for families residing in Chesterfield, Harrisville, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson, Surry, Sullivan, Westmoreland, and Winchester. They can now place their order for meal pick-ups at their local school on Monday April 6 and Wednesday April 8th. Please use this meal order form link to place your order no later than Thursday April 2 at 5:00pm.  

Regular pickup for all SAU 29 students without pre ordering is available on scheduled school days, Monday through Friday behind Franklin School and Keene High School 7:30am - 11:30am.

Contact information for Food Services is (603)357-9011.

Technology:   Help desk number, (603)352-0640 ext 3871,  - Information Technology Alert 

Cybercriminals are Leveraging the COVID-19 Pandemic to Compromise Passwords and Data through Email Phishing.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, cybercriminals have been actively working to capitalize on the growing fears and concerns associated with the virus.  These online predators hope to compromise user accounts and passwords to access individuals' and businesses’ sensitive data.   During these difficult times where most companies have moved to a remote workforce, it is critical that everyone is vigilant in practicing good “cyber hygiene” to protect their own personal data, as well as their employers.  This means being more wary of clicking on suspicious links, especially those related to COVID‑19, as cybercriminals are banking that fear will better prompt victims to click without thinking.

The world around us is changing rapidly, and people want to stay up to date with the latest news on COVID-19.  Cybercriminals prey on these good intentions to be well informed. Email phishing attempts take many forms, some that are circulating look as though they are being sent from the CDC hoping to lure people to click embedded links to “learn more” about recent developments of the pandemic, which ultimately are being used to install malware on your device.

As most businesses and educational institutions transition to telecommuting and virtual classrooms, students and staff of universities are receiving emails that appear to be coming from the university itself, asking for students to complete registration for their online classes which leads them to a fake login page that attempts to steal their credentials.

In order to protect yourself, please be wary of any unsolicited emails that have attachments or links.  Even if the email message looks official and appears to have been sent by someone you know, this may not be the case.    During this time of social distancing, use this as an excuse to remotely socialize by picking up the phone and reaching out to the supposed sender to verify the message is legitimate and was sent by them.  

Vetted APPs and Websites: 
You can check the online vetted site here.  Look up the App and website by company. We have added more to the list as we get them back from the Vetting team. 

School Buildings:
Building hours are 7:00 - 3:00 Monday through Friday for staff only.  All buildings are closed on the weekend.

School Grounds:  All school playgrounds, fields, and other outdoor facilities are closed until further notice.  

Social Distancing:  Please refer to Governor Sununu's Emergency Order 17 for additional guidance.

Contact Information:
Dr. Rick Matte is the lead contact person for all COVID-19 inquiries and concerns at all SAU 29 schools and districts.  He can be reached at rmatte@sau29.org

Governor Sununu has also activated a 24 hour COVID-19 hotline for all related needs and supports. The hotline can be reached by dialing 211.

COVID-19 and Remote Learning Resources: