Wednesday, 6/17/2020 - SAU29 COVID-19 Update

Good Afternoon,


Full transparency is what we have been striving to provide with everything that we have been doing and everything that we are intending to do moving forward. Of course, there are certain things that we are not allowed to disclose because of law and/or regulation, but otherwise it is my expectation to be transparent. I state this because I’m going to throw myself in front of the bus a little here as I started today’s update VERY late in the day. One would think that now that all schools are finished for the school year that things ease up a little when in reality it is quite the opposite. The first moment I had to put any effort into this update was well after lunch and shortly before we actually sent this out, so my apologies in advance if I fall a little short of the standard that has been set with all of the previous updates.


I am excited to announce that the survey is ready for participation! I want to personally thank all of the administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, counselors, tutors, custodians, administrative assistants and the other outstanding employees in our districts that helped make this happen. This has been a collaborative process to whittle down the number of questions the focus groups felt were most important to collect information on in order to build the framework for what the opening of next school year may look like. The feedback that is received will allow us to prepare for multiple scenarios so that we are adequately prepared to respond to the situation as it may be at that time. The input from the various staff groups provided a greater balance of survey items and perspectives through the diversity of each group. The survey will be open for participation now until 8:00AM on Tuesday, June 23rd. To access the survey, please use this embedded link: Sensing Survey 


I also want to revisit the earlier discussions about discrimination and reiterate that this is a high priority matter that we will be working on to address in all of our schools. During the summer months, we will be working with administrators to identify and design action steps that we will be taking in all of our buildings to actively bring about change. It will no longer be acceptable to turn a blind eye to acts of discrimination. We will be mindful of how we can best support any individual that is victimized by careless acts and behaviors that absolutely can not exist in our schools. IT STOPS NOW because WE GOT THIS! 


Now that summer break is fully upon us, I want to encourage everyone to get back to practices that are healthy for the mind and for the body. Help your child(ren) continue to maintain active brain activity that will develop their skill sets so that when they return to school they are ready to hit the ground running. Consider building in daily reading time into your summer practice for your child(ren) and not reading that takes place on a device. There are so many skills that we develop during the school year, but if there was only one that you had the bandwidth to get your child(ren) to engage with, I would highly recommend reading. It can be any sort of reading, fiction or non-fiction, books or magazines or newspapers, and even something as simple as a sign reading game while driving in the car. Without getting too far into the science of it all and completely boring you with that, reading will help children in all subject matters as all subject matters require a level of reading that needs to happen. Writing (old fashioned letters to family, journaling, reflection), math and logic games and activities, exploratory science projects, drawing, painting, singing, learning an instrument, photography, word searches, crossword puzzles, puzzles in general, sudoku, card games, and board games are just some of the many things that can be done to keep that brain working throughout the summer. Many of these ideas can be done anywhere as well. Inside, outside, on a couch, on a beach, in a car, at a park, in the backyard, on the porch, under a tree, on a picnic, at a campsite, and even on the moon if that’s what works.  


Lastly, I want to remind everyone that today is the last edition of the daily update. Starting next week, I will be sending out weekly updates throughout the summer months. They will be sent on Mondays as I noticed on our calendar that we will be closed the next three Fridays.  It will also allow us the remainder of the week to follow up with any concerns that may come in regarding the weekly update.  


With that, I say transparently, that it truly has been a pleasure providing all of the daily updates throughout these past few months. I look forward to continuing the communication and keeping everyone informed as we move forward because pandemic or not, we are all in this together and together...WE GOT THIS!!!


Be Well,

Robb


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:


  1. Being fully onsite as we were prior to the pandemic.
  2. Some form of being onsite and being remote.
  3. 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:

Timeline

Goal

Status

Week of June 1st

Populate focus groups and begin building a survey item bank.

Complete

Week of June 8th

Finalize survey item bank and build survey for stakeholder input.

Complete

Week of June 15th

Launch survey for stakeholder input to provide local data to help inform decisions.

Sensing Survey embedded link here

Week of June 22nd

Synthesize survey data and begin building for the 3 models.

Planned

Week of June 29th

Prepare draft plan for opening of school year 2020 - 2021.

Planned

Week of July 6th

Share draft plan for stakeholder feedback and input.

Planned

Week of July 13th

Revise and finalize the draft plan (as needed).

Planned

Week of July 20th

Publicize final plan for the opening of the 2020 - 2021 school year.

Planned


Mental Health AwarenesAs always, please reach out to your child’s team of school counselors or school nurses if you need support or assistance during this challenging time. If you are not sure who to contact, please call or email your child's building principal.  If you are unable to reach someone, please contact the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email rmatte@sau29.org.  


Resources:

  • 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.
  • A Mom's Retreat - A podcast on managing anxiety.

Responsible Social Media Use:  As mentioned in the June 3rd update, the responsible use of social media can be an asset or a liability for individuals. It is critical that we teach (and reinforce) as well as model responsible use of social media with our children/students.  Here are some resources that may be of assistance:


20 Tips from Smart Social

Safe and Responsible Social Networking 

Social Media Etiquette

Social Media/Media Literacy Responsible Use

Social Media Responsibility 

Social Media Responsibility and Etiquette


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



Special Education: After careful thought, discussion and analysis, it has been decided that extended school year (ESY) instruction and related service therapies will be an extension of remote learning. We appreciate everyone's flexibility and patience as we weighed all options before making this important decision. 


The special education and related services staff continue to provide specialized instruction and related therapies from a distance. Moreover, our paraprofessionals and tutors are providing important assistance and support with remote instruction. In addition, the special education department is moving forward with the daily business of Individualized Education Plan Meetings (IEP), transition meetings and Extended School Year Services meetings (ESY) for those students that qualify. As always, please reach out to the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email rmatte@sau29.org. Our hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 3:00.  Thank you!



Technology:

KMS-KHS Drop off of the Chromebooks. We are still missing many chromebooks from the middle school and high school and will be deactivating them soon. Please return any equipment you may have so we can get them ready for summer school and the next school year. 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


Phishing attempts:  We have had another phishing attempt. We have blocked the person that is attempting to scam us. Please read this document for more information.


We have Kami as a part of the Google classroom for Teachers and students. Click here for the 1st time login instructions. Click here for the help with getting started with Kami.  


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. 


Reporting AbuseIf you see something, please say something.  You can find guidance on the NH Department of Health and Human Services website.  


Additional Resources:


School Calendars: You can use this link to view your district’s calendar:  SAU 29 School District Calendars.  The 2020-2021 school year calendars can also be found using this link.


School Buildings: Building hours are 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for staff only.  All buildings are closed on the weekend.


June 18-19:  All buildings in SAU 29 are closed.

June 26:  Rescheduled floating holiday from April 24.


School GroundsOutdoor facilities will be 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.


Social Distancing:  Please refer to Governor Sununu’s Emergency Orders for additional guidance on this as well as other areas of interest.


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 rmatte@sau29.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.


COVID-19 and Remote Learning Resources: