Monday, 12/13/2021 - SAU29 COVID-19 Update

Good Afternoon,


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are doing well.  We’re nearly to the holiday break and all things considered, we’ll soon be enjoying a much needed break for all of our students, staff and families.


There have been some questions on the protocols that we have been following in our schools as it relates to the pandemic. As we have shared in the past, we have been following the guidance provided by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS). They have many resources available for public viewing on their website which can be found Here.


Additionally, the algorithm/flowchart that we follow can be found on page 9 of 25 in the School-Child Care Toolkit also provided by NHDHHS.  I have also linked that specific page HERE for ease of reference.


We all recognize the impact that the pandemic has had on all of our lifestyles.  The reality is that community transmission rates are extremely high at the moment and everything that we do COLLECTIVELY will continue to allow us to offer in person teaching and learning in our schools.  In  our schools, we continue to mask universally, maximize distancing to the fullest extent plausible, exclude symptomatic students and staff, and promote regular hand hygiene.  Additionally, we are offering BinaxNow antigen tests at many of our schools and facilitating asymptomatic testing in some of our schools as well.  We have scheduled COVID vaccine clinics in a few locations for those that wish to receive the vaccine ages 5 and older.  In some cases, this includes having booster shots available for those that are eligible.  We truly are doing a lot to ensure and enhance the safety of our students and staff.


How can YOU help?  Please continue to support the efforts in our buildings by reinforcing the importance of these measures with your student(s).  The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of many other illnesses, but, as our state epidemiologist put it “There is no such thing as the common cold during a pandemic.”  Please DO YOUR PART by keeping/staying out of our schools with any new or unexplained symptoms.  Whether it is COVID, the flu, a cold, or any other illness, we want to prevent others from becoming sick, so please be mindful of the well being of others. 


Covid-19 Hometest kits that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are becoming a prolific resource as we move through this pandemic.  The School-Child Care Toolkit School-Child Toolkit and guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes the use of these kits despite a relatively high margin of error such as false negatives/positives, chance for operator error, and misunderstanding of directions.  In consultation with our highly trained nurses, schools will accept positive results from an FDA-approved hometest but NOT negative results. The school nurses are working extremely hard to ensure all people in our buildings are safe and will advise individuals when it is safe for them to return.    


Shifting gears a little, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have needed to respond to a number of logistical issues that have arisen along the way.  One of these practices was utilizing Blizzard Bags during inclement weather when school would typically be cancelled. Blizzard Bag Days allow for remediation, academic conferencing, and ongoing unit discussions.  A benefit of utilizing a typical snow day in this format is that the day did not have to be made up, thereby not needing to extend the school year.  All Districts of the SAU have approved to utilize Blizzard Bags. You should receive communication (if you haven’t already) from your respective school’s administrator outlining what those days will look like.  If you have not, please reach out to your school directly.


Finally, on behalf of all staff, I want to thank our community for all their support and flexibility during this pandemic. Our staff has and continues to work hard to foster safe environments  while balancing the advancement of all regular academic initiatives and undertaking new professional learning. We would like to recognize and honor their commitment to keeping students in person five days per week. As such, we will be making December 22nd, 2021, an early release day for students for the specific purpose of staff appreciation and morale. The release times on December 22nd are as follows:

 

School 

Release Time

John D. Perkins Academy


Wells-Memorial


Marlborough School


Chesterfield School


Westmoreland School


Franklin Elementary


Fuller Elementary


Symonds School


Wheelock Elementary


Nelson School


Keene Middle School


Keene High School


Jonathan Daniel’s Pre-School

11:15 AM


11:20 AM


11:50 AM


12:00 PM


12:00 PM


12:10 PM


12:10 PM


12:10 PM


12:10 PM


12:30 PM


12:45 PM


1:03 PM


AM Session Only


Our entire staff and our school boards, would like to wish all of our families a wonderful, safe, relaxing and enjoyable holiday season!  We’re looking forward to 2022 and continuing to serve our students and our communities as we welcome in the new year!


Be Well and Happy Holidays!

Robb


Face Covering Decision  

The face covering decision will be issued every Friday using the matrix shared by NHDHHS.  Please be on the lookout on Fridays for that information in your email or visit our website and click on the banner at the top of the page.


COVID-19 Data:  Statewide data and additional resources are readily available and accessible by visiting:  The New Hampshire COVID-19 Response Page


Career Opportunities AvailableIf you are interested in making a difference in local education, please consider joining our team.  In these challenging times it’s difficult to staff all our positions.  You can make a difference!  There are positions available in many of our schools, and some positions allow you to make your own schedule and work when it’s convenient for you. Our Substitute and Tutor positions do not require previous experience.  We will provide you with the training needed.  Please visit our website at www.sau29.org today and complete an application.  Our new substitute pay rates are located hereContact the SAU 29 Human Resources Department at humanresources@sau29.org with questions.


E-Flyer Distribution Program:   Community partners share information and opportunities for our students and families through flyers.  All flyers are posted on our website and can be found by going to this E-Flyer Distribution Program embedded link.


Meals: Meals remain free to all students for the 2021-22 school year and include the reimbursable eligible meal for both lunch and breakfast.  However we strongly encourage you to send in your Free and Reduced applications.  These applications do not currently affect a students ability to receive free meals, if they are returned it could mean that you will not receive a disruption in service if the current policy expires for next school year.  Also those eligible applications are used to determine eligibility and funding level in many important federal programs including Title I Entitlement grants.  So please complete those applications.

 

Like many of today's goods and services the District is experiencing disruptions and delays in receiving food and supplies that we need to implement the school lunch program.  Demand is high and supply is limited.  Please understand our staff is working hard to secure food and supplies so that we can meet all of the posted menu offerings each day.  However we have had to make substitutions more often than usual.  We expect these challenges to continue.  We apologize for any inconvenience or disappointments these substitutions cause.  We appreciate your patience and understanding.  

 

If you have questions or comments please contact Keene Food Services at 357-9011


Special Education: Parent and community engagement is a strong predictor of academic success, and it’s enormously important that our schools meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.  As such, please reach out to your child’s special education teacher or building principal if you have any questions, comments or concerns.  We want to hear from you.  You may also contact the Student Services Offices at SAU 29 at 357-9001 extension 230 or email rmatte@sau29.org.  The Student Service’s office is open from Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.  Again we want to hear from you, and we are here to help and answer questions, Thank you!  


Technology


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