Wednesday, 4/22/2020 - SAU29 COVID-19 Update

Good Afternoon,


There is likely to be a great deal of conversation regarding the news that a neighboring school district is ending their school year earlier. I completely understand both sides of the conversations that will undoubtedly be voiced.  Please note that districts across the state vary greatly on when they will be ending the school year. There are districts that will be ending as early as May 15th and there are districts that will be ending as late as June 25th.  All of our schools are currently scheduled somewhere in between these extremes and that information can be found on our revised calendars by clicking on the embedded link.


Depending on which SAU 29 District we are talking about, we only have 36-38 days remaining in the 2019-2020 school year.   We work hard to provide 180 days of instruction for the students in our districts.  Our staff currently plans for 180 days, even with the unusual circumstances that we are navigating at this time.  In knowing that we are under less than ideal times with educating our children, lessening the number of days for these purposes seems counterproductive to being able to do that to the best of our ability.  Ending the school year earlier will only serve to perpetuate and exacerbate learning gaps that will inevitably exist as a result of needing to shift to remote learning.  It is our intention to minimize those gaps to the best that we can with the given circumstances.  


Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying here as I am not guaranteeing that going the full 180 days will absolutely prevent gaps from occurring.   What I am saying is that lessening the number of days will widen any gaps that may occur.  We recognize that there continues to be challenges for some of our students and our families, as well as some of our staff.  We also recognize that there are indications that what we are doing is working for many as well.  I urge you to reach out to your child(ren)’s teacher(s), counselor and principals to help you through those challenges.


Today, I was informed in one of my remote conference calls that the NH Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing guidance specifically on graduations and end of year events.  I do not have a firm date on when that guidance will be issued, but as soon as that information is available, it will be shared in the daily update.  As mentioned, I met with the Keene High School senior officers and advisors as well as the school Principal last week.  We are absolutely committed to celebrating OUR graduating class of 2020.  The students are collecting input from their fellow seniors which is hugely important as this is about them.  We need to listen to our seniors and empower them to help make these decisions, which is exactly what I intend to do.  


While there is a great deal of optimism that we are turning the corner as a state and as a nation, we collectively need to be mindful that we are not out of the woods just yet.  Please believe me when I say that I don’t want to be the person that bursts any bubbles of hope, but I do wish for all of us and those that we care about to continue to be safe.  I truly believe that if we continue to practice safe habits that we will all get through this together.  One day, whenever that may be, we will in fact be through this.


Be Well,

Robb


Remote Learning: If you are experiencing any difficulties with your child’s remote learning or have questions regarding what is expected, please start by asking your child’s teacher.  Our teachers are doing a GREAT job of continuing the teaching and learning process through these adverse circumstances and can provide immediate answers or direct your questions accordingly.


School Boards:  Please use the links below to access the most recent school board meetings for your respective school district.


Chesterfield -  CSB Meeting Video

Harrisville -  Harrisville School Board(video to come after April 27th meeting)

Keene - KBE Meeting Video

Marlborough - MbSB Meeting Video

Marlow - MwSB Meeting Video

Nelson - NSB Meeting Video

Westmoreland - WSB Meeting Video


Student Challenge:  Extended to the end of this week is the call to all students to send me their favorite thing to either make or to eat.  If you can, include a recipe to share and a photo of the dish you created.  Submissions could be a breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, appetizer, soup, or whatever you’d like to submit.  It may take a little longer, but what I’d like to do when this challenge is over is create a cookbook of sorts for all to use as they see fit.   


Submissions should be sent to me directly at rmalay@sau29.org by 5:00PM Friday, April 24, 2020.  


Special EducationThe special education and related services staff continue to provide specialized instruction and related therapies from a distance.  In addition, the paraprofessionals, across all seven school districts, continue their important work of assisting and supporting online instruction.  In addition, the special education department is moving forward with the daily business of Individualized Education Plan Meetings (IEP), transition meetings and Extended School Year Services meeting (ESY) for those students that qualify.  As always, please reach out to the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email rmatte@sau29.org.  Our hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 3:00.  Thank you!


Meals: The order form for meal pick up at a town school location is now open for orders to be picked up on Monday April 27th and Wednesday April 29th. Orders MUST be submitted no later than tomorrow, Thursday, April 23rd at 5pm.   Please use this meal order form link to place your order.


Meal pick up for Keene is behind Franklin and Keene High School On Mondays and Wednesday from 7:30-11:30am.  No preordering is required.


Monday you will receive 2 days’ worth of meals. Wednesday you will receive 3 days’ worth of 

meals.


Menus and offerings will vary based on availability.


Technology Help desk number, (603)352-0640 ext 3871,  For help with the Home user and remote learning click here


We now have Kami as a part of the Google classroom for Teachers and students. Click here for the 1st time login instructions. Click here for the help with getting started with Kami.  


A tip from Nancy Rafferty at KMS. Control Alt Achieve is a great site and resource for help with Classroom and many other online lessons.  We are working on a way to use Youtube in our schools however it is not available at this time due to an age restriction.  



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


Mental HealthAs always, please reach out to your child’s team of school counselors or school nurses if you need support or assistance during this challenging time. If you are not sure who to contact, please call or email your child's building principal.  If you are unable to reach someone, please contact the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email rmatte@sau29.org.  Here is a resource guide The 5 Signs to help you identify and support  others may be struggling more than usual at this challenging time.  Thank you!


Reporting AbuseIf you see something, please say something.  You can find guidance on the NH Department of Health and Human Services website.  


School Calendars: You can use this link to view your district’s calendar:  SAU 29 School District Calendars.  The 2020-2021 school year calendars can also be found using this link.


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


School GroundsAll 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: