Let’s cut straight to the information that everyone seems to be wondering about.
As it stands right now, we are still planning to move forward with returning to onsite teaching and learning on Tuesday, January 19th. The decision to push the return from January 4th to January 19th was made in large part because of the uncertainties that accompanied the holiday travel and gatherings. We recognize that there has been an increase in cases and believe that our safety protocols will continue to keep our students and staff safe while they are in our buildings. I will be meeting with our administrators mid-week to ensure we are fully ready to resume onsite learning. If there is a need to change that direction for an individual building and/or district we will make that change and address that accordingly.
Balancing the overall safety and well-being (inclusive of physical, social, emotional and psychological) of our students and staff is not an easy task. There simply is no one solution that will fully satisfy everyone. We do know that being in remote keeps all of us distanced from one another and in theory, keeps us physically safe. We also know that being distanced from one another comes at an expense of our social, emotional and psychological safety and well-being. We further know that through the “Big Four” of screening, masking, distancing and hand hygiene, we are able to create as safe a learning environment in person as possible. BUT, and this is a big BUT, it requires complete honesty and compliance with the protocols...for everyone’s well-being.
All of that said, there are some critical calendar updates that will be made for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year. The first change is with regard to early release days. There are three early release days pending for the school year in all Districts (except Marlborough) - January 22, March 25, and May 28. As much as that time is valued and fully utilized, we will be eliminating the early release days for the remainder of this school year. The second change is with regard to the March 26th Workshop Day in all Districts (except for Harrisville and Marlborough). This day currently scheduled for a Friday will be moved to Wednesday, March 24th. These two moves will minimize additional disruptions to an already disrupted school year.
As we continue forward this week, a couple of reminders for all of us to keep in mind. First, if you have any questions or concerns with your child(ren)’s classes, please reach out to their teacher(s), counselor(s) and principal(s). All of our staff members want the best possible outcomes for all of our students and your feedback/input will help us get there.
Next, thank you to those that have been and those that have started again, filling out the screening assessment. This feedback is being monitored by our school nurses and administrators on a daily basis. Having greater participation on the screener helps them gauge what is and what is not happening in their buildings. Please continue to complete the screener and if you haven’t been, please consider completing it moving forward.
The Everyone Challenge has resulted in many people (students, staff and families) submitting shout outs to a variety of our staff members. Thank you to all that have taken the time to share those experiences on who has made a difference for you and/or your student. In the midst of everything that is happening in our world, it is a breath of fresh air to be able to reflect on the positive things that still exist and continue onward. It’s not too late if you want to get one in as this particular challenge ends on January 29th.
We are hearing that there will be priority testing for students and staff as reported in this NHPR Report earlier today. We have an excellent relationship with the testing site listed for our area and will work closely with them to get the necessary details on what that means exactly and share that information with you as soon as we have it sorted out. We have also learned last week that the vaccination that is now out there will become available to educators in Group 2-a. That group is currently slated to begin receiving the vaccination in March. I, along with several of my colleagues, have expressed our belief that this group should be moved up sooner to state officials, but that is a decision that is out of our control. If that timeline changes, we’ll be sure to let you know.
As I wrap this update up, I know that there will be people that will disagree with our plan to resume onsite learning next week. The same would hold true if we didn’t. I want you all to know that I truly respect your position on this difficult situation and I humbly ask that you respect those of others that may or may not agree with you. And as we are realizing from events around our nation over the last several months, we need to be compassionate and sympathetic to one another (even if we don’t agree)...which is more commonly known as HUMANITY.
Everyone Challenge: Now that 2020 has ended and we’re up and running with 2021, please join me in recognizing and celebrating teachers and staff members for all of the hard work they do on behalf of our children each and every day!
If there is a teacher, bus driver, school counselor, school secretary, administrator or other staff member you'd like to recognize, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by January 29, 2021. Tell us why you're giving a shout out to them - you may even have a little story you’d like to share. We will share your comments anonymously.
Our staff have been doing such an awesome job during this difficult year, and your support and words of encouragement really matter!
Keeping these short videos in the update until next week for those that may have missed them previously. Enjoy!
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 2021
- Cheshire County COVID-19 2021
- SAU 29 Towns Cumulative COVID-19 2021
- SAU 29 Towns Current COVID-19 Positives 2021
- Community Transmission Slides
- NH COVID-19 2020
- Cheshire County COVID-19 2020
- SAU29 Towns Cumulative COVID-19 Data 2020
- SAU29 Towns Current COVID-19 Positives 2020
- Community Transmission Slides
- COVID Trends Slides
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.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: Free Meal Distribution: Every student in SAU 29 and all children 18 and under are eligible for free meals through June 2021. While SAU 29 districts are fully remote there are two pick-up days each week representing 7 days’ worth of meals.
The program has resumed following the winter break. The order form is now open to sign up for meal pick-up for Tuesday, January 12th and Friday, January 15th. Please see the link below.
Order forms needed to be completed no later than 7:00 AM, Friday, January 8, 2021. Families have 10 locations to choose from with a variety of times covering most of the day. You will receive an email confirmation after placing your order.
Please mark your calendars to remember to pick up your meals on Tuesday and Friday. Please contact Keene Food Services with any questions. 603-357-9011
Screening Assessment: We are requesting that the screening assessment continue to be submitted during this extension of remote learning through January 15th. It will allow 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: 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 email@example.com if you have any questions. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. We want to hear from you, Thank you!
Stay At Home: Here is the updated Stay At Home guidance in alignment with health official guidance.
Self-Isolation: You must stay at your home and avoid other people, including those you live with. You may not go out in public places - not even to the grocery store or to run errands. You may not visit with other people outside of your home, and you may not invite others into your house to visit. See Public Health Self-Isolation Guidance for additional information. Please note that the quarantine guidance on this document issued on 11/12/2020 was updated on 12/3/2020 and reflected in the linked document below.
Self-Quarantine: You must stay at your home and avoid other people for 10 days after you were last exposed to a person with COVID-19. You may not go out in public places - not even to the grocery store or to run errands. Do not visit with other people outside of your home, and do not invite others into your house to visit. If you must have visitors, tell them that you are under quarantine. See Public Health Self-Quarantine Guidance for additional information.
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: Please be aware of unsolicited email and advertisements. There are a lot of scams going on right now and it is important to be aware of email phishing efforts. Things to look out for are:
- Emails from unknown senders.
- Emails that look like it is someone you know but the address is not the correct address.
- Ad links in social media advertisements that ask to send cookies.
All of the listed above are common email scams. To better protect your school email it is also recommended not to use your school email for online shopping or social media.
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 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.
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.