Happy Spring Break! Looking back, we forwent this break last year as we were responding to the initial uncertainty of the pandemic and maintaining the momentum of the newly established remote model that was necessary at that time. I’m sure that many of our students, staff and families are extremely excited to have a little break as we gear up for the final push to the end of the school year.
Next week, we return all grade levels in all schools to five (5) days of in person, onsite teaching and learning! I have heard from many of our staff - teachers, paraprofessionals, tutors, nurses, counselors, service providers, office staff, food service staff, custodians, and administrators - and they have expressed how happy and excited they are to be able to get back to some level of normalcy. And quite frankly, so am I!
Some important things to keep in mind as we enter that last phase of the school year while maintaining the safest environments for all of our students and staff that will require a collective effort from everyone:
- Screening: Continue the screening assessment for all those that are entering any of the buildings. It will be a shift for some to start doing this daily when we return from break, but completing the screener honestly is the first step in preventing transmission from occurring in our schools.
- Face Coverings: All people in our schools will still be required to wear a face covering while they are there unless they have a medically documented accommodation on file with the school. Health officials continue to report the use of face coverings as highly effective in limiting transmission of the virus.
- Distancing: While the distancing requirements have shifted a little, reminding others and ourselves to maintain their distance to the fullest extent possible also has proven to limit the spread of the virus.
- Hand Washing: Regular and consistent cleaning of the hands helps to keep all sorts of things from entering our bodies inadvertently by touching our nose, mouth and eyes.
I also want to talk a little about arrival and dismissal when we return from break as well. We have reviewed our plans thoroughly and included our law enforcement partners, when necessary, to see if there was anything we were overlooking during the last week or so. Although arrival and dismissal procedures and traffic patterns will not be new to anyone there may be the need for exercising greater levels of patience and not trying to circumvent the processes that have been set up. Expect that there will be heavier traffic during these times and please know that our staff are absolutely doing their best to keep things moving. Here are a few things everyone can do to help:
- Complete the screener prior to arriving. Take a screenshot or have the confirmation email ready before entering campus. Keep symptomatic students home so that we don’t have to call you to come back.
- Have students ready to exit the vehicle. Long goodbyes and scrambling to get school things organized when it’s your turn to exit slows the process down for everyone.
- Model behaviors you would want from others. Showing and/or voicing frustrations are absorbed by children and in turn sets them up for a more difficult start to the day. We all want the best outcomes for our students and getting them off on the right foot goes a long way.
Changing course a little, I wanted to thank all of those that have submitted their short videos in response to the student challenge below. This week is the final week to submit anything that makes your school stand out from all of the other schools. Please see the details below in the update. Again, the deadline for submissions is Friday, April 30th.
Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child(ren)’s school to help provide clarity. We have less than 40 days of school remaining and want to make sure we are making the most of our time before the summer break. Those lines of communication eliminate assumptions from being made that can lead to frustrations. The answers may not always be what we had hoped to hear, but there will be a greater understanding on both sides of the conversation and that’s always a step in the right direction.
Enjoy the rest of the break, the weather ahead, and recharge those batteries for the return to five days next week for all of our grades and all of our schools! Continue to practice those precautions to stay safe, as Cheshire County has been leapfrogging with Sullivan for the lowest transmission rates in the state, know that we are one day closer to the end of the pandemic, and truly believe that collectively, WE GOT THIS!
Student Challenge: This challenge is to create a very short (less than 15 seconds) video clip completing one of the following prompts:
“________ School is the best school because _______” or
“I love _________ School because ________.”
Tell us what makes your school awesome and unique. What is it that you like the most about your school? I don’t want to steer any responses as they really ought to be organic from our student’s perspective, but last spring, I issued a challenge asking students to tell us what they missed the most about school while we were fully remote. Those responses were amazing and I’m confident these responses will be equally amazing.
This challenge will remain open until 5pm on Friday, April 30th. Please send your videos to [email protected].
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.
Confirmed COVID-19 Positives that our school personnel are aware of from the beginning of school year 2020-2021 (numbers from 1-4 will be suppressed to help protect individual privacy). These are aggregated so that it does not identify either student or staff and provided in both the most recent weekly totals as well as the totals for the entire school year.
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.
Meals: Read carefully as there are several changes with the majority of students now learning in-person 5 days a week. Every student in SAU 29 and all children 18 and under are eligible for free meals through June 2021. Regardless of learning plan meals for all students in SAU 29 are free at this time. If students are attending in-person they may receive free meals during their regular lunch period. They will not be eligible for remote meals.
ONLY fully remote students and students that do not attend a public school will be entitled to pick up remote meals curbside as outlined below.
- Students attending school fully remote with 5 remote days per week will receive 5 days’ worth of meals available for Wednesday pick-up.
- Students not enrolled in public school may receive 5 days’ worth of meals available for Wednesday pick-up.
Please do not sign up under a parent name, use your student’s name only.
SUBMIT ONLY 1 ORDER FORM PER STUDENT. If you are not sure if you signed up, please call Keene Food Services to confirm.
There will not be remote meals offered over the April break. Please submit your order for the following week's meals no later than 7:00am Friday, April 30th. You will receive an email confirmation after placing your order. This form is to order meals for remote pick up on Wednesday, May 5th.
Please contact Keene Food Services with any questions. 603-357-9011
Screening Assessment: Please continue to complete the screening assessment each school day. This allows our school nurses to continue to monitor and provide support with regard to the health of the school community. Please note that we are not requesting that this be done on the weekends, holidays or breaks, only on days that school would typically be in session.
Special Education: The needs of students with disabilities are enormously important. As always, your first point of contact is your child’s special education teacher or building principal. Please reach out to them anytime and share your thoughts. You may also contact the Student Services Offices at SAU 29 at 357-9001 extension 230 or email [email protected]. The Student Service’s office is open from Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. We want to hear from you, Thank you!
https://bookauthority.org/books/best-special-education-books; the 38 best special education books of all time.
https://childmind.org/article/back-to-school-anxiety-during-covid/ - learn how to help kids handle fears and gain independence with returning to school.
https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/supporting-your-childs-mental-health-during-covid-19-school-return - Learn how to support your child’s mental health during Covid-19 school reopenings.
https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/how-to-teach-your-kids-to-fight-hate-an-age-by-age-guide/ - An anti-racism, age by age guide on how to talk with your kids about this difficult topic.
Please if you have not already picked up your students Chromebook for the 1:1 program we need you to print and sign the agreement HERE .
We can not release the Chromebook to your student until we get a signed agreement. Please send the agreement in with your student.
Parents and Students, Chromebooks should be used for your school work only. Please do not eat while using your school issued Chromebook. We are experiencing high volumes of damaged Chromebooks due to spills. Please make sure you fill in the online registration for your students. It is important to have all the correct information in place.
Clever academy for teachers: Login to your clever account and click on the question mark in the upper right corner of the screen and choose Clever academy.
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.