Veterans Elementary Eagle Express

February 27, 2020 - Volume 13, Issue 23

Soar to Excellence!

School Mission

Veterans Elementary School promotes life-long learning by embracing its diversity, providing students with dynamic classroom experiences and exposing them to the cultural arts in a climate that is rigorous, safe, nurturing and respectful.

Veterans Elementary School

Robert Bruce, Principal

Amy Green, Assistant Principal

Derek Lewis, Administrator

School Start and Dismissal Times: 9:25 a.m. - 3:55 p.m.

FROM THE PRINCIPAL

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, the respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, continues to be of concern for Howard County residents as well as all Americans and people around the world. HCPSS Central Office staff have been diligent in efforts to remain fully aware of new information as it becomes available. On issues of community health, we take our guidance from the experts at the Howard County Health Department, Maryland Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


To date, there have been no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Maryland or in Howard County. The Superintendent has received messages from several of you asking what HCPSS is doing in response to the Coronavirus. It’s a fair question and I hope this email will provide helpful information and guidance.


We have a team of staff members who remain in constant contact with county, state and federal health professionals to ensure that we have the most updated information possible. We will continue to follow their guidance and share information with you by emailing staff and parents. As of now, we will continue to operate and educate as normal.


At this point, the best solution for combating this virus is a good defense. Howard County Health Department (HCHD) officials shared several recommendations to ensure that we are taking appropriate and effective actions to stay healthy and prevent the spread of all person-to-person viruses. These precautions also have been shared by the CDC, and include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces

HCHD also shared that, in general, a mask worn by healthy individuals will not protect them from contracting the Coronavirus. However, masks can be helpful to prevent the spread of germs from individuals who are sick. Our school nurses have established protocols for students who come to the health room with a fever, including providing them with a mask if they are showing flu-like symptoms and/or there is reason to believe that they could have come in contact with somebody who may have contracted the Coronavirus.


While we are not recommending that healthy students or staff should wear a mask to school, families of students who would like to wear a mask should consult with the school nurse to ensure the child is wearing the mask as a precaution and not because they are displaying symptoms.


We also should continue to remind our children of the strategies listed above to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs. Students are permitted to bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer to school. Additionally, hand sanitizer is available in every school’s cafeteria for student and staff use.


A mandatory quarantine currently does not exist, however some families are choosing to self-quarantine. Our student services staff have done a wonderful job collaborating with families in this situation to ensure that students remain able to participate in learning, even while absent. We care about all of students and staff. We want you to remain updated on the virus in a factual way. If you have any questions related to school policy and procedures regarding the Coronavirus, do not hesitate to contact me at robert_bruce@hcpss.org or by calling the school at 410-313-1700.

Important Upcoming Dates

FEBRUARY

  • 28 - SPIRIT DAY FRIDAY: Wear Red/White/Blue


MARCH

  • 6 - 3rd Quarter Interim Reports Issued
  • 8 - Daylight Savings Begins (1 hour forward)
  • 12 - PTA Meeting: Media Center, 7:00 p.m.
  • 9 thru 13 - Kindergarten and In-coming New Gr.1 Registration Week: VES Lobby 10am-2pm


APRIL

  • 3 - Schools Close 3 Hours Early, 12:55 p.m.: Professional Work Day
  • 3 - End of 3rd Quarter
  • 4 thru 13 - SPRING BREAK
  • 14 - School Reopens
  • 23 - National Take Your Child to Work Day Observance
  • 28 - Schools and Offices Closed: Primary Election Day

2019-20 HCPSS Calendar - Monthly Format

Click to download and print the HCPSS calendar in a monthly format. The calendar will no longer be distributed in first day folders. The 2019-2020 School Calendar is available to be printed online: https://www.hcpss.org/calendar/

CURRENT NEWS

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The VES Staff Social/Wellness Committee invites students to join in a few activities

Wellness Wednesdays

We invite students to join their teachers in wearing athletic clothing on Wednesdays to help promote movement into our school day.


Thoughtful Thursdays

On Thursdays in February, please send your child wearing shirts with positive sayings on them. Please join us in spreading encouraging words and good vibes all around our school!


School Spirit Fridays

Starting Friday, February 28th, we will have school spirit days on the final Friday of the month. Please send your kids wearing red/white/blue or in any spirit wear you have purchased.

Mark your calendars for Feb 28th, March 27th, April 24th, and May 29th.

AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

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KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION WEEK - HELP NEEDED

Kindergarten registration will be on the week of March 9th and the school staff has asked for our assistance distributing registration packets to provide parents with all of the information and forms they need to ease the process of registering for school. We are in need daily volunteers March 5th to 13th during the hours of 9:30 to 3:30 pm. We hope you’ll join in the fun and take part in the important work of preparing children for school.

Sign up here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10gSG_z5OhreC9bM4M00ae1chXFhNMRuD/view?usp=sharing

Please contact Tomi Adebo at Tomiadebo@gmail.com with any questions.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION


2020-21 School Budget

The Howard County PTA encourages parents to come to the County Council budget meetings to show your support for fully funding our schools. The Superintendent has requested $60 million dollars more than last year and the County only has about $30 million additional funds to allocate across all agencies. The more parents that come out to express their support for schools, the more money schools are likely to get. If the schools are not fully funded there is talk of increasing class sizes and eliminating Gifted and Talented and Technology programs from elementary schools. Help us pack all 300 seats at the George Howard Building on March 12 at 6pm and April 22 at 6:30pm.


Learn more about the budget at:

https://www.ptachc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/HCPSS-FY21-BUDGET-OVERVIEW.pdf


Board of Education Election

Five seats on the Board of Education are up for election this year. You can meet your District 1 candidates at the following events:


February 25th @6:15pm - 8:15pm at the Miller Library
March 7th @12pm at Alphabets Montessori School in Elkridge

Learn more at:
https://www.ptachc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/BOE-Election-Flyer-2020.pdf



BOOK FAIR THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who helped out with the spring book fair. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Bruce Potter, Daxton Potter, Bobby Potter, Alecia Berman-Dry, Liam Dry, Tina David, Kim Davis, Cara Adornetto, Cathy Chiu, Andrew Burkowske, Dong-Hee Kim



STAFF DINNER THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the spring dinner. Our wonderful VES staff enjoyed their meal and left well fed!


Erica Box, Wendi Loraine, Patti Taylor, Michelle Doss, Kim Davis, Tina Davie, Kara Yeager, Kristin Vucina, Nicole Tsang, Kelly Deal, Hedgi Chao, Indira Penumathsa, Angana Senpan, Robin Barnes, Yang Li, Amy Lynne Bers, Andrew Burkowske, Nikila Acharya, Hiral Bhalnai, Emily Rollins, Kristine Moreno, Soo Yong Yoo, Nicole Shah, Jennifer Ju, Denise Bond, Kim Watkins, Alecia Berman-Dry, Heidi Potter, Daxton Potter, Eugenia Volsky, Reena Rambharat, Dong-Hee Kim, Qi Li, Taruna Uday Kumar Das, Anitha nandam, Shareba kuria, Ana Maldonado, Maria Diloy, Rebecca Palmquist, Lorena Palmer, Julie Hegarty, Beth Gluck, Eugenia Hong-Nyguyen, Sheetal Kamthe

HCPSS SCHOOL GUIDE RULES

New HCPSS Website and System for Emergency Closings:

Effective December 1, HCPSS is launching a color-coding notification system for emergency and other non-scheduled school closings, including for inclement weather. The new system standardizes the school system’s operational status to five possibilities to enhance consistency while promoting the safety of HCPSS students and staff, and adhering to negotiated agreements on staff availability.
If Howard County public schools open two hours late, there is no morning Pre-Kindergarten/RECC.

The HCPSS operating status will be identified on a new website: https://status.hcpss.org/. The HCPSS operational color code options are:

  • Code Green – Normal Operations (in accordance with the HCPSS calendar)
  • Code Red – Schools and Offices Closed
  • Code Orange – Schools Closed; Offices Open with Liberal Leave in Effect
  • Code Blue – Schools Open Two Hours Late
  • Code Yellow – Schools Dismiss Early

All notifications regarding emergency closings will include both the code and operating status.

The emergency notification sources are:

  • HCPSS status website
  • HCPSS homepage
  • Email/text alerts
  • HCPSS Information Hotline (410-313-6666)
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Please note: HCPSS cable TV is no longer a source for inclement weather closings.

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Inclement Weather Information:

I am sure that inclement weather puts a strain on most of our families as we try to ensure that our children are cared for during needed times. Please understand that the school system determines closings based on weather forecasts and the safety of children is our number one concern. If we are closed, that is self-explanatory, we are simply not open for business. When we delay opening by an hour or even two hours, then all business is delayed by one or two hours. Therefore if the announcement is a Code Blue and we are delayed in opening for two hours then school opens at 11:15 a.m. Bus pick up is delayed by two hours as well. So if your child is picked up normally at 8:45 a.m. then a two hour delay moves this to 10:45 a.m. Refer to your bus normal pick up time and delay by the announced delay. If we are one hour late then delay it to one hour. If we are two hours late then delay it by two hours.


Early closings can occur as a two hour early closing or a three hour early closing. Count on your child arriving home two hours earlier or three hours earlier than the usual time. When school closes early, there is no after care program because their use of the building would also be unsafe. When school closes early everyone must leave the premises and after school activities are canceled. Any delay in picking up your children delays my ability to send all staff home. It is crucial we get students home before the conditions of the roads get worse.


These decisions are made as soon as possible and sometimes the night before. During the winter months, it is crucial that as parents we listen closely to pending weather conditions and we check the news stations or the Howard County website to verify whether school is open, closed, delayed, or closing early. Howard County does have communication mechanisms in place to ensure you get a text if you wish about whether school is in session.