Well, I have to admit, that was a much more needed break from the grind than I think I truly recognized, but, we’re back at it this morning. I do hope that folks are finding ways to slow down a little and enjoy some downtime while the weather has been cooperative. And, in the event that you are unable to and are looking for ideas on activities, try visiting the padlet link in the update below.
I want to thank those that took the time to review the draft framework we put out last week and those that were able to comment through the link that was shared. There was a lot of valuable input that was shared and there are a lot of factors that will need to be considered as they will vary from building to building. Our next task is to review all of the input that came in and finalize the framework for our schools to use for the opening of the 2020 - 2021 school year. Some of the input will be used to finalize the framework and some will be used as key decisions are made on what the opening will look like specifically. We’re not at that point…..yet…..but we will be and you know that I’ll continue to share through these updates.
Throughout the pandemic I have encouraged folks to use caution regarding information that can be found through different channels (television, internet, social media, etc.) related not only to COVID-19, but really to any topic that exists. Sometimes we draw conclusions such as “that because this happened there (whereever there may be), it will also happen here.” Or we make assumptions like, “we should be doing what they are doing (whatever it is that they are doing).” However, when you really get down to it, those are opinions. Please don’t misunderstand me, they are opinions based on evidence, but that still does not make it a complete fact.
Take for example the decision to begin summer conditioning programs at Keene High School. There were some concerns that we should not be allowing summer conditioning to take place because of what was happening with some college sports programs. There were dozens of student athletes that tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after resuming their programming at a prolific university in South Carolina and because of that, we should not be allowing summer conditioning here because that will also happen to our student athletes. That was the opinion based on evidence, but not a complete fact. The complete fact would have included consideration to the number of places the student athletes were coming from at this particular college. It would have also included the infection rates from those places. Consideration to the living conditions (i.e. - dormitories, apartments, shared restroom facilities, and so on) would also have been appropriate. The types of activities they were doing, the number of participants, as well as screening protocols are all important factors in that particular case. To conclude that what happened there will happen here without all of the relevant information feels a little reckless.
Again, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 by any stretch of the imagination. We have done incredibly well in our communities with keeping the infection rates to a minimum. If you look closely at the draft framework that I shared last week, you’ll notice that the first focus area is “Student-Staff Health and Wellness.” That was not by accident, it was intentional. It is and will be our number one focus when we decide on what the opening of the school year will look like. And because there are an exponentially high number of factors that also come into play (like there are with the college in South Carolina), we will work through them when it comes time to define what our opening looks like. Just like we did with the summer conditioning program at Keene High.
And please make no mistake about it, this is a process. Processes take time and require numerous steps to take place throughout. Some steps move quickly, some not so quick and sometimes we need to side step a little as guidance is updated from both the state and health officials. It is expected that the CDC will be issuing additional resources for schools sometime this week or next, AND, the Governor will be making an announcement regarding schools during that time frame as well. As long as we continue to move this process forward, we will eventually get there. I am confident that we will get there and hope that you are too, but I am a realist and know that not everyone will share that confidence. That’s okay because as some respondents to the framework wrote...WE GOT THIS!
Active Brain Ideas: If you have other thoughts or ideas on how to keep the brain active in the summer, please post them on this linked Padlet I created so that we can all share and learn from one another. All you need to do is double click on the wallpaper and a sticky note will pop up. Then you can jot down your idea, click on the wallpaper again to post it and those that visit can learn from your wisdom. You can also add comments to posts and like ones that interest you most.
Meals: Southwestern Community Services, Inc. began offering the Summer Food Service Program to our community’s youth June 29. All area students, including those from SAU 29 districts, are welcome to utilize the lunch program free of charge.
SCS is encouraging folks to take advantage of the curb-side pick-up at Keene Middle School. The program is available Monday through Friday from June 29 through August 21. The meals will be available from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM.
For more information please contact Rhonda Hull, SCS Community Food Coordinator at 603.719.4240 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health & Cultural Awareness: Below are some resources that may be helpful as we begin our summer vacation.
100 Different Ways to spend time in the summer with your kids, and most are free of charge!
- https://www.unicef.org/parenting/talking-to-your-kids-about-racism to help talk with your children, our students about racism. This article covers ages ranging under 5 years old, between 6-11years old, and 12+.
- https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/5-ways-stand-against-racism-and-injustice/37355 This article addresses acceptable ways to condemn racism. This seems especially timely as peaceful protesters pop up all over the country, even here in Keene.
- https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/how-white-people-can-talk-their-kids-about-racism/37361 This is a great way to start a conversation about racial issues with your kids. Racism thrives in silence.
- The 5 Signs to help you identify and support others who may be struggling more than usual at this challenging time, or at any time.
Reporting Abuse: If you see something, please say something. You can find guidance on the NH Department of Health and Human Services website.
- Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention - We’re here for you 24/7. You don’t have to be in crisis to call. Call our hotline at: 603-352-3782 or 1-888-511-MCVP
- National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
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 - HSB Meeting Video
Keene - KBE Meeting Video
Marlborough - MbSB Meeting Video
Marlow - MwSB Meeting Video
Nelson - NSB Meeting Video
Westmoreland - WSB Meeting Video
School Buildings: Building hours are 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for staff only. Visitors are advised to call the school office in advance of showing up to ensure that your needs are able to be met.
Central Office hours are 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
All buildings are closed on the weekend.
School Calendars: The 2020-2021 school year calendars can be found using this link: SAU 29 School District Calendars.
School Grounds: Outdoor facilities were opened on Monday, June 22nd. Playgrounds will remain closed as proper sanitization can not meet recommended guidelines. Organizations and teams wishing to use the facilities must arrange to do so through the facility use process. Contact your respective school district for further information. Users of the facilities shall continue to practice social distancing while on school grounds.
School Year 2020-2021 Opening: In order to best prepare for the return to schools we need to consider all possibilities to most effectively provide for our students, staff and families. More specifically, we need to be prepared for models that could look like the following:
- Being fully onsite as we were prior to the pandemic.
- Some form of being onsite and being remote.
- Being fully remote as we have been since the start of the pandemic.
The primary objective is to have a flexible plan in place for the three models of returning to school for the 2020 – 2021 school year.
Our timeline to help us fulfill that objective looks like this:
Special Education: Happy Summer!!! We are moving forward with the daily business of Special Education. This includes referral meetings, individualized education plan meetings (IEP meetings) and extended school year programming for those students that have qualified. As always, please reach out to the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email email@example.com if you have any questions. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 3:30. Thank you!
Please contact your school for more information on times and where you should drop off the devices. Make sure you have the power cord with the device.
Help desk number, (603)352-0640 ext 3871, For help with the Home user and remote learning click here.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.