Happy New Year Jefferson!!

January 2022

Happy New Year Jefferson,

I hope that family, friends, and relaxation were all part of your holiday break. We all needed this time to pause from the daily concerns that COVID-19 has brought to our school, classrooms, and families. My New Year’s resolution is to do whatever I can to support my Jefferson families through this uncertain school year.

I am sure you have all been monitoring the rising cases of COVID-19 across the region and within the wider state and country. It is very concerning that we continue to have such a high rate of transmission.

Governor Hochul presented to school representatives this past Tuesday to provide information on strategies that her administration is considering for adjusting to the increase of cases due to the Omicron and Delta variants.

At this point in time the governor has two priorities for children, families, and schools – 1) protect children from the Omicron variant, and 2) keep students in schools.

The Governor acknowledged that schools have a strong socio-emotional component that was perhaps under-recognized last year. Although remote instruction had its place, it is not a strategy that we would wish to utilize at this point.

The Governor announced that the plan was to send rapid tests to schools to reduce the number of students and staff having to go into quarantine. The district is working out details with the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES who will receive the tests for local schools as well as Public Health. The devil will definitely be in the details as we strategize the use of the new testing resources. Once we receive more information we will alert staff and parents.

There are a number of strategies to keep our children safe in schools. First and the best defense: get vaccinated. Increased vaccination rates, along with the effective use of well-fitting masks, are the way we can return closer to normal as soon as possible. Without higher vaccination rates, we all will need to continue implementing the various mitigation strategies in schools.

The construction project continued in force over break. The new recessed entrances to the gymnasium have been completed along with additional progress on the cafeteria/kitchen. Although we will not have access to the cafeteria yet, I am preparing a plan for the eventual return of students.

I am certain that there will be a lot of anxiety and uncertainty as staff and students return tomorrow. It will be more important than ever that we remain vigilant regarding proper mask wearing, minimal mask-off time, and physically distancing students and staff.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier.'” — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Happy New Year!

See you soon

Mr. Richards

Character Strength This Week: OPTIMISM

Hello Jaguar Families!

For the week of January 2-8, we will be focusing on the character strength of optimism. Optimism means you expect the best from the future and work to achieve it.

Optimism represents a state of hopefulness and confidence about the future (both short and long term). People with this strength are future-oriented. They have a positive vision of what the future holds and maintain confidence that they will get there. Despite setbacks, they keep a positive attitude and often find ways to convert what seems like an obstacle into a stepping-stone to achieving their goals.

Optimism is not about wearing rose-colored glasses and rolling over when the going gets tough. It’s about staying focused on the good in any situation -- allowing you to be aware of opportunities and accountable for your emotions. Optimists are strong leaders. They find meaning in hardship and can create a vision for the future. Optimists are inspiring; their example is contagious. And, by sharing and achieving their vision -- despite setbacks -- they help us all achieve more.

To practice and encourage the character strength of optimism with your child, please visit the Positivity Project’s P2 for Families (password: P2), where together you will watch a video, read a quote, and talk about the answers to three questions.

Have a wonderful week!

We Wednesday- Kindergarten has invited us to wear YELLOW!

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