October 2, 2020

Letter From the Principal – October 2020

In the last few days, it has really started to look like fall outside!  This feels like quite a milestone given that, just a month ago, we were still finalizing preparations to reopen schools after the extended closure.  Eighteen days into our in person reopening and things are going incredibly well.  Students are embracing old routines and adjusting to new ones.  Everyone is being incredibly flexible when we encounter bumps in the road.  As the weather continues to change and we approach the cold and flu season, I know that new challenges will arise.  However, I am confident in our ability to navigate these challenges together!

As you read October’s newsletter, you will find updates about technology, fall activities and reminders about different school routines.

Devices: Laptops and tablets are finally here!  Thanks to Mr. Peachey and the IT department, we now have one device for each student at the school!  All students will have a device by the end of the day as long as we have received your signed borrowing agreement.  Classroom teachers will be sharing specific details with families about when devices will come home for their grade level.  Included below are some resources that you might find helpful as you and your child start to use their device.

  • FAQ questions about devices (highly recommend that families read)
  • Guidelines for care and usage of laptops and tablets
  • Link to the Technical Assistance Request Form – we ask that you use this ticket system to request technical support with your devices
  • Additional technology support resources can be found on Mr. Peachey’s website

Synchronous Remote Learning: During zoom sessions, we are asking that parents and caregivers help us minimize interruptions to instruction by holding off on asking the teacher questions during instruction.  In the remote setting, it can be difficult for teachers to respond to questions from other individuals while also focusing on the students they are teaching.  We understand how challenging it can be to encounter technical issues during a live zoom session and we are committed to supporting you with remote learning, but we do request that questions be asked outside of zoom sessions via email or phone call. Thank you for your help with this matter!

Absences: We are greatly appreciative of how willing everyone has been to follow the district’s strict protocol on keeping students home when they have any COVID like symptoms.  We know that this puts a great burden on families but we also know that this will keep our community safer and schools open for longer!  If you are keeping your child home for illness, don’t forget to complete the attendance reporting form and include symptoms in the additional information section.  Including symptoms in your reporting form will help Nurse Amante follow up when children are home sick.

Dismissal Changes: If you need to change your child’s dismissal plan, please make sure that you email the classroom teacher as well as Norma Jean Atkinson and Kristin Corliss.  For changes that arise after 11am, please call the main office so we can be sure that the message reaches the student in time for dismissal.

Masks: Overall, students have been doing a great job at wearing their masks while at school!  Understandably, because we have some of the littlest learners in the district, some students are struggling with masks that slip below their noses frequently.  If you have struggled to find masks that fit your child, you might want to try tying knots in the ear straps to help the mask stay in one place.  This may help to prevent masks from slipping below noses.

Finally, A Note from Nurse Amante: What can I do to protect myself against the flu?

Flu and cold season is quickly approaching.   The best way to prevent the flu is to get the influenza (flu) vaccine each fall.  As you may have heard, beginning this school year, the influenza vaccine will be required for all students.  The flu vaccine requirement applies to all Massachusetts students regardless of whether the student is receiving in person or remote learning instruction.

Please forward documentation to me after your child receives the flu vaccine.  You may email it to me, fax it to me at 978-318-9545, or have your child drop it off at the office.  The influenza (flu) vaccine is due by December 31, 2020.

Additionally, there are many things people can do to avoid catching the flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before touching food and after using the bathroom.
  • Use an antibacterial hand gel for the times you cannot wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home from work or school if you have flu-like symptoms until you have no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine.
  • As much as possible, stay away from people who have flu-like symptoms.
  • Wash frequently touched objects, such as door handles, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and phone receivers, with a household disinfectant.
  • Avoid sharing utensils, such as cups and spoons.
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy diet.

Additional information can be found at:  www.mass.gov/flu

Wishing everyone good health.

Paula Amante, Alcott School Nurse