Beginning next week we are shifting to a fully remote structure on Monday, November 30th with the intent to resume onsite teaching and learning on January 4th. Our schools have been working extremely hard to prepare for this transition and will be ready to go. On Friday, November 20th, there was an email with general guidance for all of our schools. If you haven’t already, you should also be receiving an email from your school and/or your teacher(s) explaining more of the details for that individual school/class.
Last week we reported on positive cases involving individuals at two of our schools, Franklin Elementary and Keene Middle Schools. Late Friday and through today, we were informed of three additional positive cases involving individuals in three different schools. Wheelock Elementary, Fuller Elementary and Keene High Schools have all been informed of a positive case of COVID-19.
I would like to provide clarity on what happens when a positive case is reported. When we are informed of a positive case, our staff works directly with the individual and public health to identify risk factors of exposure. DHHS has been consistent in that the risk of exposure is defined by close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 10 cumulative minutes or more, beginning 2 days prior to first illness onset or collection of positive test, whichever is earlier) with the infected person while at school. Using that standard, we determine if anyone was potentially exposed.
We start with the date of the onset of illness or the positive test result, whichever is earlier. We go back 48 hours to determine if the individual was in the building. If they were, we identify anyone that may have been less than six feet for more than 10 minutes. This is done through analysis of student and staff schedules, seating assignments, travel to and from school, transitions and other periods of time while in the building. Those that may have been in close contact are notified by both our staff and public health officials.
The safety procedures that we have put in place have had a direct impact on the risk of exposure, which is why we have not had a confirmed transmission within our schools. Reducing the number of people inside of our buildings so that adequate distance could be maintained, wearing face coverings, frequent hand cleaning, and screening has enabled us to prevent outbreaks in our buildings while the numbers in both the state and county continue to rise. And although some state officials have stated that schools don’t need to go remote until an outbreak takes place at the school, that is precisely what we are trying to prevent because the safety and well-being of our students and staff will continue to be a top priority.
To give you another visual of what the surge is looking like, I’ve included this chart once again with updated information. Important to note in the chart below the total number for the first 22 days in November in comparison with any of the monthly totals previously recorded:
As a state, we have had more than a 230% increase of positive cases in the first 22 days of November over the previous monthly highest total (October). Additionally, Cheshire County has had more than a 400% increase in the first 22 days of November over the previous monthly highest total (also October). A look at this week’s Community Transmission update will also show an increase in our 0-9 year olds as well as our 10-19 year olds. I have also updated the links in the COVID-19 Data below for reference if you so desire.
With all of that said, I need to pause for a moment as this is a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. Please know that I am thankful...
- ...for the positive attitudes of all of our students and staff that have worked so hard to keep one another as safe as possible.
- ...for all of our families in helping us keep all of our students and staff safe by filling out the screening assessment, making sure students have their face coverings, reinforcing the need to maintain distancing and keeping hands cleaned.
- ...that we have not had an outbreak in any of our buildings.
- ...for the entire staff that we have throughout our districts that work tirelessly with the “can do attitude” to provide the best possible outcomes for all of our students.
- ...for the trust, support, patience and understanding of our school boards, staff, families and communities.
- ...for our school/community partners that continue to shine bright lights on our schools, students and staff.
- ...for the many opportunities that we have been able to create for our students in the middle of a global pandemic and for the many more opportunities that we will continue to create moving forward.
- ...for the countless messages of support and kindness sent to all of our students and staff that make more of a difference than anyone may realize (a huge thank you for the many that I have received as well).
- ...for the perseverance and resilience that our students, staff, schools, districts, boards, and communities continue to demonstrate even though it’s not easy.
- ...that we will all get through this together and that we are one day closer to the end.
And lastly, I am thankful to serve my community as your Superintendent! Please continue to be safe and practice those safety measures even when you see that others may not be. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to all of yours!
COVID-19 Data: Providing all of the COVID-19 data that we have been tracking since the onset of the pandemic back in March, 2020.
- NH COVID-19 2020
- Cheshire County COVID-19 2020
- SAU29 Towns Cumulative COVID-19 Data 2020
- SAU29 Towns Current COVID-19 Positives 2020
City of Keene Racial Justice and Community Safety Commitee Public Forum: One of three public forums being hosted by the City of Keene Racial Justice and Community Safety Committee to gather public input that will guide the committee’s recommendations to the City Council. There will be three forums, one for each of the following topics:
1) Laws, Policy & Policing, 10/29/2020 6pm-8pm
2) Community Education & Schools, 11/17/2020 6pm-8pm
3) Social & Community, 12/02/2020 6pm-8pm.
Please click this URL to join: https://www.zoom.us/j/83182284764
Or join by phone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or 833 548 0276 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 831 8228 4764
Do Your Part: Here are the 7 short videos that were created from the Do Your Part Challenge that was issued to all stakeholders. A huge thank you to those that participated and we’re looking forward to the next challenge that is issued.
- DYP - Screening (Part 1)
- DYP - Screening (Part 2)
- DYP - Face Covering (Part 1)
- DYP - Face Covering (Part 2)
- DYP - Hand Hygiene
- DYP - Big 4 (Part 1)
- DYP - Big 4 (Part 2)
E-Flyer Distribution Program: As a reminder, there are many flyers that our schools are asked to send home throughout the school year. We also post these flyers on our website and it can be found by going to this E-Flyer Distribution Program embedded link.
Mental Health & Cultural Awareness: Below are some resources that may be helpful.
- https://www.novanthealth.org/healthy-headlines/6-ways-to-help-school-age-kids-navigate-fully-remote-learning to help readjust to remote learning.
- https://www.calhoun.org/blog/blog-stories/~board/calhoun-stories-blog/post/tips-for-helping-your-child-adjust-to-distance-learning to help adjust to remote learning.
- 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.
- 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)
Meals: Please note: Due to the Thanksgiving recess, there will be no meal pick up on Wednesday November 25th. Monday’s meals will be included in the November 18th distribution. Every student in SAU 29 is eligible for FREE breakfast and lunch for each day of school through the USDA which is now extended until 6/30/2020 or until funds are exhausted.
All Districts in SAU 29 are moving to remote instruction starting after Thanksgiving recess. We will continue to offer lunch and breakfast for pick-up, for all students free of charge. The meals will be increased to seven days of meals per week. Meals will be available for pick up on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning Tuesday December 1, 2020. Each Tuesday, students will be eligible for 3 days’ worth of meals. Each Friday, students will be eligible for 4 days’ worth of meals. This will cover the entire week or 7 days of breakfast and lunch meals each week.
We are making a change regarding remote meal pick up due to going fully remote. An order form will need to be submitted by Friday at 8:00am each week preceding the pick-up week. Orders must be picked up the following Tuesday and Friday at the location selected on the order form. Families have 10 pick-up locations from which to choose. For our families convenience there are a variety of times offered across the 10 locations so we cover most of the day! Link for Remote Meals Order Form
Please submit your order no later than 7:00am Friday, November 27th. You will receive an email confirmation after placing your order. Please ONLY use your student's name when placing the order, do not use a parent name. Please mark your calendars to remember to pick up your meals on Tuesday and Friday!
Meals are provided for students only. If you have questions or concerns you may call Keene Food Services at 603-357-9011. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Special Education: Special Education continues to work very closely with building leaders to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are met. As always, please reach out to your child’s special education teacher or building principal with questions. You can also contact the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Thank you!
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 email@example.com.
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.
Technology: Teachers, we have installed some software for remote teaching. Currently we have Kami which integrates with Google classroom. Screencastify will let you record your computer screen to share with the class. You can also have your image in the corner of the screen as you record the lesson. EquatIO Easily add equations, formulas, graphs to G Suite for Education. It has a scientific calculator, and periodic table charts.
Parents, please make sure you fill in the online registration for your students. It is important to have all the correct information in place.
Technology support during COVID19: Please see the update.
Power School update:
Power school online registration help can be found here.
Please remember to fill out the youtube permission form. For KHS and KMS
Help desk number: (603) 352-0640 ext 3871. For help with the Home user and remote learning click here.