8/24/2020 Naquag News & Updates!
Greetings Naquag Families,
As we near the end of August, we are getting excited about our upcoming school year! In response to several families reaching out with questions, we have created a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions & answers) which I’ve included below. Should you have additional questions, please submit your question through the Naquag Parent Survey to Share Questions. Alternatively, you are also welcome to email me.
While not every question can be answered at this time, we will do our best to share the most up-to-date information as it becomes available. For your reference, the most recent reopening plan may be found here: WRSD Reopening Plan - August 10, 2020.
As you are aware, regulations, recommendations and requirements change often, so thank you for your continued patience, understanding and collaboration.
Stay well and healthy,
When will school begin? The first day for teaching & learning will begin on Wednesday September 16th, following the District’s remote learning plan.
Naquag People to Know: (A full list of our teachers and staff will be shared soon.)
Principal: Dixie Estes
Assistant Principal: Matt Gauvin (shared with Glenwood Elementary School, Rutland's Grades 3 - 5 School)
Secretary: Carleen Smith
School Nurse: Amy McGeary
Will families have the opportunity to meet their teacher prior to September 16th? We certainly know and understand the importance of meeting our teachers (and our teachers want to meet their students too). Our teachers will start back to work on Tuesday, September 1. Our goal is to connect with our families through grade-level parent meetings. Stay tuned for more details, including the dates/times which will be shared soon.
When will we know who our child's teacher will be? As of now, parents may log into the District’s Powerschool Parent Portal on Wednesday, September 9 for classroom placement information. As in years past, the District's PowerSchool Parent Portal is our datebase to find important information such as your child’s teacher's name, school handbook, report card, etc. (Kindergarten families, your Powerschool Parent Portal information will be sent to you in the near future.)
Will Naquag children be able to take part in Art, Music, and PE classes? Yes!! We have outstanding specialists in these areas. We are finalizing our daily schedule to share with you soon! We refer to the related arts as “specials”.
Will there be a student supply list for remote learning? As in the past, grade level teacher teams will be compiling a list of suggested student supplies for remote learning. This information will be shared with parents as soon as possible.
Classroom Schedules: Our Naquag teachers are well aware of the attention span of our K - 2 children. Our goal is to mirror a typical school day with multiple teaching strategies, SEL (Social Emotional Learning) breaks and “hands-on” activities. We are in the process of finalizing our grade-team schedules. Classroom teachers will share their schedule with you before school begins on September 16th.
Tour of Naquag / Classrooms: We certainly acknowledge the importance of our children having a “visual / snapshot” of our building and classrooms before hybrid instruction begins. Although a physical tour may not be possible at this time, our goal is to create a visual experience through a powerpoint or video. We are proud of our school and our classrooms; stay tuned for a virtual “Naquag Visit” soon!
Can the school/District assist parents in providing technology equipment if what exists at home is inadequate? Yes! Our IT Supervisor of Information Services, Barry Sclar, recently sent information to parents about chromebooks & internet service. 8/19/2020 EMAIL TO PARENTS FROM BARRY SCLAR
Will the teachers' lessons be videotaped in the event a student cannot attend due to scheduling. More information on this question will be shared soon. The District's Reopening Plan states on page five (5) "To better support students and families, we are asking our staff to provide students with a means to revisit the day’s lesson through a video of that lesson or related links or apps that will help the student to access the lesson asynchronously or outside of the scheduled class time." and on page six (6): "Direct instruction. Sometimes this may include a teacher made or found video for students to watch. Where possible, teachers will archive the lesson by recording it so it can be accessed by students outside of the live lesson. Additional details will be shared as information is confirmed.
Special Education / 504’s / Evaluations / Screenings / Etc: We are in the process of reviewing the evaluations that need to be completed from last spring and upcoming evaluations for this fall. A few parents have also inquired about possible new screenings/evaluations. It is our goal to schedule these screenings evaluations this fall (once school begins and safety precautions are in place).
Information from the Reopening Plan (pgs. 29 & 30):
“Testing: We have resumed testing for some students who were being tested when the closure happened in March. Testing by all providers will increase and will continue in-person in the fall as soon as we are able. ● Timelines: Timelines for all aspects of Special Education will begin on the first day of remote school, Monday, September 16th, 2020. ● IEP Meetings: Meetings will be held. Parents and school administrators or Team Chairs will discuss the best plan. Team meetings can be held remotely, in-person (if safe to do so), or delayed. ● Plans: IEP’s do not need to be amended for the remote or hybrid time period. WRSD will continue to write IEPs to meet the student’s needs and access as if we were in a typical school year. ● Other Needs: If your student requires any special eq.” Please refer to the District’s Reopening Plan, pages 19 & 20 for additional information.
Remote Learning - Will printed packets be available? As we plan and organize for remote instruction, our teachers will continue to be conscientious of what children need to successfully participate in lessons. More information will be shared soon!
How will transportation to and from school work when my child is in school? Bus transportation details will be shared as we near our hybrid instruction date. Parents may also choose to drive and/or pick up their children at school.
What are the additional phases in the district’s reopening plan?: Phase 1: “No sooner than Monday October 5”: In-person sessions begin for some preschool students & students with significant & complex needs as defined by their IEP (Individualized Education Plan) & PL3. Phase 2: “No sooner than Monday October 26”: Phase 1 students continue to increase duration & frequency of sessions to at least 505 of time identified on their IEP. Begin in-person sessions for the rest of preschool & students with moderate needs as defined by their IEP (Individualized Education Plan) & PL3 & other high needs students as defined by DESE. Phase 3: “No sooner than November 17”: Phase 1 and Phase 2 students continue to increase duration & frequency of in-person sessions until full QEP is met. Students in grades K, 2, 3 (Glenwood only), 6 (Sterling only), 9 and 12 will be introduced to hybrid instruction as a precursor to implement hybrid learning district-wide.
Summary: Although the Hybrid model isn't a chosen option for all of WRSD at this point in time, the District’s intention is to move toward a full hybrid model this school year. The District’s target date for the hybrid model is January 4th, 2021. In order to meet the goal of being in a full hybrid model, the District needs to finalize transportation, finalize building readiness, and utilize any health metrics provided by DESE. Updates will be shared as additional information is released.
When children are permitted to be in school what precautions will be taken?
Safety Precautions at Naquag: The District's schools will adhere to all health/safety protocols outlined by the Commissioner of Education & others identified in the District's Reopening Plan. The District’s Reopening Plan, pages 32 & 33.
“Given the DESE guidelines, we need to continue our health and safety work and ensure that:
● All spaces for teaching and learning meet the guidelines for social distancing of 3-6 feet;
● Ensure that all staff have been trained on the proper use of PPE;
● Air exchange systems are fully functional and in some situations that additional air purifiers have been added;
● Additional hand washing stations added throughout buildings;
● Display appropriate signage;
● Create bus/van routes with our vendors that comply with safety guidelines;
● Develop an ongoing monitoring system to ensure we have cleaning, sanitizing, and PPE supplies at all times;
● Negotiate agreements with our bargaining units Classrooms. All classrooms will follow guidelines established by DESE and the CDC for social distancing and safety protocols around spacing;
● Classroom desks will be between 3ft and 6ft apart;
● Personal Protective Equipment will be made available to students and staff; and
● Handwashing stations will, at a minimum, be made available in classrooms without sinks.
Regarding Screening Students and Staff:
● The district will ensure that all staff are familiar with the state provided checklist of symptoms by reviewing it with staff prior to the reopening of any school 32 School Reopening Plan 2020-2021;
● Per state guidelines, families will be asked to screen students prior to sending them to school;
● Per state guidelines, all staff will self-screen before reporting to school Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
● All staff will be provided with PPE appropriate to their job function;
● Additional safety precautions are required for school nurses and/or any staff supporting students with disabilities in close proximity where social distancing is not possible. The District will provide these staff with additional equipment needed to perform their jobs, such as face shields, gloves, gowns, and hazardous waste disposal bags;
● The district shall provide schools with masks that could be worn by students if the student forgets their personal mask Sanitizing and Disinfecting;
● In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and viruses in general, staff are asked to limit the sharing of student supplies; and
● The District will follow protocols for sanitizing and disinfecting school spaces, including high touch surfaces throughout the day, using CDC guidelines.
Superintendent McCall’s 8/23/2020 Email - Required Flu Shoot by December 31, 2020:
"This week, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) provided several updates on various aspects of the reopening of schools. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is now requiring that all students are vaccinated for influenza. The following information is from a fact sheet shared on the state website:
The Influenza vaccine is always important to receive to reduce the risk of getting sick with influenza, reduce the severity of disease if one does get sick (including the risk of hospitalization) due to influenza, as well as preventing the spread of influenza to others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza vaccine will be especially critical to reduce the overall impact of respiratory illness on the population, protect vulnerable populations from severe illness, and decrease the overall burden on the healthcare system.
By December 31st, 2020, students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 will be required to receive influenza vaccine for the current influenza season for school attendance unless they have a medical or religious exemption. For more information please visit the mass.gov site on influenza."
How will the school year begin for Kindergarten? The school year will begin with a remote learning on Wednesday, September 16. As of now, the District plans to initiate our hybrid model for Kindergarten & First Grade “no sooner than November 17”.
How many Kindergarten classes? Class size? Teacher's names? Currently we have five Kindergarten classes each with a current class size of approximately 20 children. We are finalizing our teacher list, to be shared soon!
Can my child start school without all required registration forms completed, submitted and approved by administration & nurse? All forms must be completed, submitted, and approved before a child can begin school. Thank you to our wonderful school secretary, Carleen Smith, for her superb job of organizing our kindergarten registration. Also - a shout out to our top-notched school nurse, Amy McGeary, for following up on immunizations and health needs. Great job ladies!
Kindergarten Orientation: Past practice, we've had a parent/student orientation in May/June to share information with our incoming kindergarten families. We’ll be working with our kindergarten teachers in creating a "virtual orientation" to be shared soon.
Kindergarten Screening: Kindergarten screening wasn't possible this spring due to the schools closing. Currently, our District Special Education Administrator, Christine Smith, is working with principals regarding our next steps. In the past we used Pearson's Dial -4 Screening. However, we are looking at different options and possibilities. As District decisions are made, we will share them with our parents.