January 14, 2022
January 14, 2022
Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,
Happy New Year! Our apologies - we were on hiatus a little longer than expected. But we have a LOT going on already in the new year, so let's get right to it:
* Important COVID-19 updates
* Welcome Principal Buckland to MTRS
* Colrain to host open house for Heath families
* District Winter Enrichment, February Hilltown Scout Camp openings
* School Spotlights
Important COVID-19 updates
Families - Thank you for everything you have been doing throughout this school year to help us keep our schools as healthy and safe as possible during the pandemic. There have been several COVID-19 related updates over the past few weeks I wanted to share with you.
As you may have seen from our COVID-19 data dashboard (which can be found at www.mtrsd.org/covid-19-information), we have seen a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases not only at the state and county level, but within our district. While the post-holiday surge was not a surprise, it’s nonetheless unsettling and concerning.
We continue to provide pooled testing at all of our schools which has been effective in addition to participating in the test and stay protocols (to sign up or read more about pooled testing, test and stay, click HERE). Prior to returning from the winter break, we distributed COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits to district staff. We have decided to pause on purchasing additional kits for the moment as we await additional information from Gov. Baker’s office regarding a roll-out of additional tests from the state.
Additionally, we have purchased KN95 masks with a confirmed filtration rate of 95% which will be distributed to our staff (and made available for our upper-elementary and MTRS students) in the early part of next week. HERE you will find a copy of the PDF data sheet for the medical grade KN95 masks we have purchased. Additionally, DESE has extended the mask mandate for schools through February 28, 2022.
Over the break, you may have heard about changes to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidelines for isolation and quarantine, shortening the time frame (from 10 days to 5 days) for those who do not exhibit symptoms. For the complete guidelines, you can read them here: www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html We know some of these changes may be confusing and you may have questions. Any questions or clarifications about COVID-19 can be directed to our COVID-19 Nurse Leader Donna Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donna has been instrumental in not only providing the testing and contact tracing, she can help walk you through any COVID-related health questions you may have.
While we will continue to restrict visitors to our buildings as we continue to experience this surge in COVID-19 cases due to the new variant, we will be making a slight change for ATHLETICS spectators at MTRS. After discussion with the COVID-19 School Planning Task Force this week, Athletic Director Greg Vouros issued a modification yesterday and starting next week (Jan. 17), MTRS students participating in home games will be permitted to bring a maximum of four (4) immediate family members as spectators. Please see the details outlined in his notice as students will need to provide coaches and/or the front office with a list of possible family members who may be in attendance. This is incredibly important for contact tracing and in keeping our students safe. A reminder that we will continue to adhere to the spectator guidelines at the host facility for any AWAY games.
The past two years of pandemic living have been a long, frustrating, and tiring haul. We all ache for the pre-pandemic times and getting “back to normal;” but I am once again asking for your help to do your part to keep our communities healthy and safe. With this new variant surging, now is not the time to let our guard down. When we all do our part, we keep our schools healthy, safe, and open for learning. So remember–practice ALL of our mitigation strategies in the FAB FIVE–get your COVID-19 vaccine or booster if you have not yet done so; wear your masks; practice physical distancing; wash your hands; and stay home when you are unwell. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
SAVE THE DATE - VaxBus to return to MTRS!
The VaxBus will roll-in to Mohawk Trail Regional School on Thursday, Feb. 3 from 1-6 p.m. For those who still need to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please consider scheduling your appointment and visiting our convenient location.
Welcome Principal Buckland to MTRS
I want to officially welcome Chris Buckland to the district as Mohawk Trail Regional School's new principal. Principal Buckland hit the ground running on Jan. 3--getting to know our staff, students; learning our daily operations; and engaging with the Trailblazer model.
Principal Buckland will be hosting two virtual open office hours each month for MTRS caregivers to pop-in and say hello and share their feedback and experiences at MTRS and with the Trailblazer model. You can find links to the Google Meet information on the MTRS website, www.mtrs.mohawktrailschools.org/news.
MTRS awarded Riding for Focus grant
We are excited to announce that MTRS was selected on Jan. 12 to receive a Riding for Focus grant! Riding for Focus is @Outride’s school-based cycling education program, which uses cycling as a tool to promote physical, emotional, and social well-being in youth.
The program is designed to provide middle schools with everything they need to get students riding, including bikes, helmets, and teacher training, and is currently in over 200 middle schools across North America! To learn more about Outride, visit www.outridebike.org/ridingforfocus
Colrain Central to host open house for Heath Families
Heath Families are invited for an OPEN HOUSE at Colrain Central School on Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 6-7 p.m. Principal Amy Looman and Superintendent Sheryl Stanton welcome families to tour the building, meet the principal, and ask questions. For those who are unable to attend the open house, families can contact Principal Looman at (413) 624-3451 or email@example.com to arrange for a private tour.
Winter Enrichment & Hilltown Scout Camp openings still available!
MTRSD Winter Enrichment
Be sure to check out Mrs. Woof's winter program offerings (for grades 3-12) including middle school band with Nick; babysitters course; MTRS snow club; elementary snowshoeing; and comic creations with Ezra! To view full program descriptions, visit www.mtrsd.org/ceep OR click HERE for the latest newsletter.
Hilltown Scout Camp - REGISTRATION IS OPEN
Looking for a February vacation educational camp for your child/ren? We are happy to announce we're bringing back a fan-favorite as we offer our Hilltown Scout Camp's "The Wonders of Winter" program at MTRS! This program is open to all district students in grades K-6; space is limited (18 spots available). And thanks to generous funding from the Mary Lyon Foundation, we will be able to offer TWO scholarships for qualifying families. Be sure to head over to www.mtrsd.org/ceep for more information and click below to view the daily line-up.
Next edition of CCS' North River News now available!
BSE students learn coding
Throughout December, Buckland-Shelburne Elementary librarian Mrs. Whitsett introduced the concept of coding to all grades K-6 in the library. Students started off the month with unplugged activities - paper/pencil based exercises that help them understand coding basics like sequencing, algorithms, conditionals, etc. before moving online.
In this picture, students in Ms. Fuller's class uses the 'Dance Party' tutorial for some online coding (found at code.org). According to Mrs. Whitsett, students had an opportunity to get really creative, using blocks of code to program characters to "move and groove!"
Want to learn more about what's happening in the BSE library? Be sure to *check out* the BSE library newsletter! https://www.smore.com/rubzv5