Comprehensive Opening Plan - no updates this week.
I’d like to open by thanking everyone for their efforts as we opened our schools over the last few days. Today, we opened at KHS and the pre-school at Jonathan Daniels. Tomorrow will be the final cohorts at those two facilities that will be onsite for the first time this school year. This has been a really big effort by everyone: families, students, staff, administration and our school boards. There has been a great deal of support from one another and there will undoubtedly be the additional need going forward to support those that need help. That is what is so special about our communities, the willingness to lend a helping hand to those that need it. Thank you to all that have been assisting others throughout the opening of the school year!
To state that everything went off without a hitch would not be completely honest. One of the biggest difficulties has been becoming familiar with the screening tool (that was delayed much longer than we would have liked). Now that it is up and running, we’ll continue to provide support to that system so that it will become much more fluent during arrival. Some tips to help improve the arrival to school process include:
- Elementary Level - Having the “Cleared” notification received upon completion or the email confirmation received on your phone when you arrive.
- Middle School and High School Levels - Having the “Cleared” notification received upon completion or the email confirmation on your phone when you arrive, OR, if your student has a phone, sending them a screenshot of that notification/email so that they can pull it up on their phone (this also applies to elementary students that may have a phone as well).
- The other recommendation that I have seen from some families has been to print out the notification/email and send the hard copy with your student.
I’ve included the guidance that went out on September 10th below under the heading Screening Tool to hopefully assist those that may need additional assistance.
Another significant learning process has been with traffic patterns. While some schools are using the same patterns as they have in years past, there are some schools that have new patterns. Please be mindful of that as you prepare to leave in the morning. There are many people outside ready to assist and as we have learned every year that school opens, it will get better with time and understanding. Thank you for your patience as our buildings are constantly reviewing what can be improved upon.
The final thing that we can collectively improve on is helping our students understand the concept of distancing themselves from others. Our guidance is to keep six feet of distancing while at school. Helping students understand what that looks like will help keep them and others safer while at school. This is much more challenging for younger students than it may be for those in the older grade levels but equally as important. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
On a different note, it has been reported from our schools that students (and staff) are doing a great job with the face coverings. I am also hearing that students (and staff) are doing a great job with hand hygiene as well. While this is encouraging, it is important to remember that the Big Four things we can all do will go a long way in keeping us all safer. They are:
- Completing the screening - honestly. And staying home when necessary.
- Wearing the face covering.
- Maintaining distance.
- Maintaining hand hygiene.
We will be reviewing guidance from state health officials throughout the remainder of the week to ensure our plan is up-to-date with the most current guidance. If there are any additional changes that need to be made, we will most certainly convey them to everyone.
As always, please continue to communicate with your child(ren)’s principal(s), teacher(s) and counselor(s) any concerns that you may have at this time. Also know that student workloads may not be as heavy as anticipated as we get students into the routine of being back in the buildings and back online for their learning. Continue to ask your student(s) questions about their learning so that we can stay on top of their progress. It’s absolutely okay to ask them to show you what they’ve done...even if they may not want to. And lastly, please initiate conversations with your student(s) about how their day went. Personally, I get the simple reply of “good” most of the time. Don’t stop there, ask more specific questions like “what was good about it” or “what did you do in ______ class” or “what was the best part of your day that was so good” … you get the picture.
The safety precautions we are all taking and open lines of communication are what will help us through this the most. To copy an email from a student, sent to me today “I think we can do this! no I don’t think... I KNOW IT!!!!” To that student, thank you for sending me that email and know that I agree!
WE GOT THIS!
COVID-19 Data: Here is a 7-day look at the data related to COVID-19 that we’ve been tracking since March. Source: NHDHHS COVID-19 Page
*Westmoreland was reported as having 8 cumulative cases last week. The NHDHHS site has been updated to report Westmoreland as having 7 cumulative cases.
*This county data began being reported on September 1, 2020 by NHDHHS. Our new infections per 100,000 (14 days) calculation is based on the US Census estimated population for Cheshire County of 76,085. The calculation reported by NHDHHS uses a population number of 71,770. We are trying to get clarity on where that source came from so we can update our calculation to mirror their calculation.
**Updated September 1, 2020 with release of Transitioning Between School Instructional Models guidance from the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control in the NH Division of Public Health Services of the Department of Health and Human Services.**
On September 1st, state health officials released the above linked document to assist schools and districts with decisions on what instructional model to consider based on two primary factors.
- Community transmission within the county.
- Impact on individual school facilities.
These factors are described below and are incorporated into the decision matrix to indicate the least restrictive method of instruction suggested by the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services (“DPHS”).
Determining the Level of COVID-19 Community Transmission: The three criteria put forth by DPHS for determining county COVID-19 transmission level are outlined in the table below . The overall community transmission level should be assigned based on the highest level identified by any one of the following criteria. School districts should utilize the appropriate county level data in which their schools primarily reside for the criteria below.
Determining the Level of COVID-19 School Impact (defined at the educational facility level): The three school-specific COVID-19 impact level criteria suggested by NH DPHS are outlined in the table below. The overall level of school impact should be assigned based on the highest level identified by any one of the following criteria. These criteria and impact levels may change during the school year as we better understand how COVID-19 impacts schools.
* A cluster is defined as 3 or more individuals confirmed with COVID-19 who are part of a related group of individuals (e.g., classroom) who had the potential to transmit infection to each other through close contact.
† This subjective assessment should factor in a school’s ability to maintain adequate staff for facility operations, transportation, teaching, and administrative functions.
Decision Matrix for Transitioning Between Methods of Instruction: Using the assigned community transmission and school impact levels, schools can use the table below to identify the least restrictive method of instruction suggested by NH DPHS.
* Depending on the level of COVID-19 transmission in the school and outbreak status, public health may recommend temporary closure of school and remote learning for a short period of time to control transmission before re-opening in a hybrid instructional model.
This matrix SHALL serve as a guide when making decisions around when to move between methods of instruction.
The data will be monitored on a daily basis and determinations will be made and communicated no later than the last Friday of every month (September 26, October 30, November 27, and so forth). Unless there is an urgent need to immediately shift to a fully remote model, a period of two weeks will be used to give families and staff enough lead time to transition to any change in mode, which is consistent with DPHS guidance which states that schools should monitor their local situation for at least 2-4 weeks before continuing to relax restrictions.
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: Food service during the hybrid model will be offered starting the first day of school. Students will be able to participate in their lunch programs while they attend school in-person. Grab-and-go meals will be available weekly for remote only learners and those participating in the hybrid model.
Friday, August 28th was the final day of the Summer Food Service Program offered by Southwestern Community Services, Inc. since June 29. All area students, including those from SAU 29 districts, remain 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, Monday through Friday. 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 end our summer vacation.
- https://www.parents.com/kids/education/back-to-school/12-fun-first-week-of-school-traditions/ Cool ideas….clever, fun and creative.
- https://discoveries.childrenshospital.org/preparing-kids-school-covid-19/ to help talk with your kids about returning to school.
- 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.
Remote Only Option: Because of the complexities involved throughout all of our districts, the living, breathing plan is being worked through daily. Where we stand at this point in time is as follows:
- Elementary Level (K-5) - Students will receive an equivalent amount of time of direct instruction from teachers as students will be receiving in the hybrid model (e.g., if students are onsite receiving direct instruction from their teacher for 10 hours/week, those that are remote will receive 10 hours/week of direct instruction as well). Teachers, both onsite (hybrid or fully) and remote will be utilizing the pacing guides to provide consistency for all students. The “non-negotiable” content areas will be the number one priority for all teachers.
- There will be multiple structures established to deliver the remote instruction, largely as a result of the student numbers opting to be remote. They are:
- Keene - Teacher(s) at each grade level teaching students across the four schools.
- Harrisville, Marlow, Nelson - Teachers instructing students from their school, when possible depending on final counts.
- Chesterfield, Marlborough, Westmoreland - Teachers instructing students across the three schools.
- Middle School Level (6-8) - Students from all schools will be placed in a cluster at KMS. The KMS teachers will provide four blocks of onsite instruction for KMS students only. They will also have 1 block for remote instruction for all students across all districts. This structure does not add to the teacher’s workload or increase the number of instructional blocks that they currently have.
- High School (9-12) - The high school is a difficult enigma to solve. There will be the need to use multiple platforms to deliver instruction to all students that will be in the remote option. Realigning student and teacher schedules to provide flexibility with courses is on-going now. VLACS does have some openings that may assist some students and extended learning opportunities are also a consideration for some courses. Staffing continues to be the biggest challenge to overcome in providing for the students that opted for the remote option.
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
In order to facilitate the cleaning of our buildings, we need to ensure that they are not in use for periods of time each day. Beginning August 31st and until further notice, each building will observe the following hours for times the building may be utilized:
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.
Screening: Daily screening and self-reporting SHALL be conducted for each student and staff member prior to leaving for school in the morning. We are currently working with a recognized medical company to make this process user friendly for all of our families and staff. The technology solution we are implementing will guide users through a series of prompts that are consistent with the current CDC Screening Guidelines as of July 31, 2020. The system will ask people to respond to:
The building administrator will have a dashboard that will generate a report for their specific site, with live results as they are input by both parents/guardians and staff. Anyone that did not conduct the screening prior to reporting to school will be required to complete the screening upon arrival and sent home if attendance is not approved.
Travel: The following chart serves as a guide for any travel to/from areas outside of New England (Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island) within the last 14 days (starting from the last day of their travel outside New England), irrespective of the mode of transportation for travel (public vs. private transportation). It is important to note that this information is subject to change as information is updated by state officials.
Screening Tool: You will need to access each school's link that your children attend in order to complete the self assessment. What this means is that a student ID number from one school, will not work on another school's link. For example, a student from Keene Middle will not be able to complete the assessment on the Nelson School link, or vice versa.
Here are the links for all of our school's for ease of access to them.
You may find this 49 Second Video helpful on how to fill out the assessment. Please remember to click on student on the first page.
This User Guide may also be helpful as it includes instructions on how to download the site to your home screen for both iPhone and Android users.
Lastly, if you need assistance, please feel free to contact our IT Department Help Desk. They can be reached at (603)352-0640 x-3871.
Stay-At-Home Requirements: Parents/Guardians and staff know the risk of their level of exposure through their daily activities (where they have been, who they have interacted with, what safety measures they had in place). Nobody wants to be the person who infects another so it is imperative that we all comply with the following chart (consistent with the guidance from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services released on August 28, 2020 and linked below chart) that serves to provide clarity:
***Updated August 28, 2020 with the release of the NHDHHS School Toolkit***
Additional Source: CDC When You Can be Around Others
Special Education: The school year is underway! Special Education is working 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 email@example.com 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 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.
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.
Help desk number: (603) 352-0640 ext 3871. For help with the Home user and remote learning click here.