I hope that everyone was able to enjoy the weekend, or at least a part of the weekend. The weather has been absolutely amazing and for the most part, it looks to continue throughout the week ahead.
Last week proved to be a very busy and involved week to say the least. We were able to finalize the framework that has led to the development of specific plans regarding the opening of the new school year. Toward the end of last week, we were also able to release the Universal Procedures that will apply in all of our SAU 29 locations so that there is consistency. If you haven’t seen or reviewed those procedures, I would encourage you to visit the SAU 29 News link embedded for your convenience to find them and other news updates.
I want to be very clear that it is our intention to offer onsite teaching and learning for all students in an SAU 29 school. We believe that our best opportunity to achieve student success is through innovative onsite experiences and we are committed to creating those educational opportunities in a safe manner. We also recognize that no one learning style works for every student. We further acknowledge that some folks are simply not comfortable with returning to an onsite model at this point in time. I do believe that it is okay to have those different perspectives as realities may differ from person to person. If we take the roughly 5,000 students and staff members, add in parents/guardians, spouses, children, siblings and so forth, then we could legitimately have more than 15,000 perspectives on how things should be. And you know what? That’s okay too. It’s what makes each of us unique as individuals and in turn, makes it interesting as communities. With that, we will also have off site options for our students as well.
It’s a pretty tall order and our staff is working tirelessly to pull all of this together and I am confident that we will get it done. Will our plans meet everyone’s expectations? I am absolutely positive that it will not. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of different views throughout our SAU and thinking that anyone could come up with a plan that would fully satisfy everyone is unrealistic. We will do our best though and as I stated in last week’s update, “I can assure you of two things along this line, first and foremost, all specific procedures and protocols will be centered on student and staff safety and well-being, AND, two, there likely is nobody that wants to get this step completed more than the people that are working on it.” We also will be ready to adjust our plans as new data regarding the pandemic as well as guidance from the state and health officials becomes available. I have been tracking the COVID-19 data daily, and have included a new section below that speaks to the numbers as reported by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
As a reminder, our plan is to continue building the site specific plans throughout the remainder of this week, and finalizing them, presenting them to the Boards and releasing them next week. You’ll notice that I’ve added to the timeline below so that we are being fully transparent with this entire process. These new dates were also included in the framework that was attached to last week’s update as well. An important part of that process is the data that each school is collecting regarding individual student/family intentions for the start of the school year. If you haven’t responded to the survey each school sent out last week, please do so as they close today at 5pm. The survey information was sent by the schools via email so I would suggest starting there in order to respond.
There is a lot of work that we are working hard to deliver to everyone. I reiterate my appreciation for your patience. We will get there, I know that and when we do, we’ll be ready for the new school year, because, like everything else...WE GOT THIS!
Active Brain Ideas: If you have other thoughts or ideas on how to keep the brain active in the summer, please post them on this linked Padlet I created so that we can all share and learn from one another. All you need to do is double click on the wallpaper and a sticky note will pop up. Then you can jot down your idea, click on the wallpaper again to post it and those that visit can learn from your wisdom. You can also add comments to posts and like ones that interest you most.
COVID-19 Data: Here is a 10 day look at the data related to COVID-19 that we’ve been tracking since March. Source: NHDHHS COVID-19 Page
**Note: There were inconsistencies with the reporting in Westmoreland, but the data is what was reported on the actual day by NHDHHS.
Meals: Southwestern Community Services, Inc. began offering the Summer Food Service Program to our community’s youth June 29. All area students, including those from SAU 29 districts, are 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. The program is available Monday through Friday from June 29 through August 21. The meals will be available from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM.
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 begin our summer vacation.
- 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. This seems especially timely as peaceful protesters pop up all over the country, even here in Keene.
- 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.
100 Different Ways to spend time in the summer with your kids, and most are free of charge!
Power School update:
We have upgraded Power School and in doing so we need to make sure we have all the latest data for your contacts and emergency contacts. We will be sending out a link to a video that will show you how to update your emergency contacts. As we get closer to the opening of school we will ask that you make sure all your information is correct for you and your students. We are putting in place an online registration to keep your important information up to date. Once we have it up and running we will send out a notice to all important links.
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
School Buildings: Building hours are 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for staff only. Visitors are advised to call the school office in advance of showing up to ensure that your needs are able to be met.
Central Office hours are 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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.
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:
- Being fully onsite as we were prior to the pandemic.
- Some form of being onsite and being remote.
- 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:
Special Education: Happy Summer!!! We are moving forward with the daily business of Special Education. This includes referral meetings, individualized education plan meetings (IEP meetings) and extended school year programming for those students that have qualified. As always, please reach out to 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 to 3:30. 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.
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.
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.