MONDAY, December 7, 2020

Latest Information

Dear Families,

I hope you are all doing as best as can be expected. These continue to be challenging times. As you are aware, we will be remote all week for this week. Dr. Hallett will continue to meet with Town of Nantucket officials, Dept. of Health Director, and Nantucket Cottage Hospital Staff to determine our school plans as we go forward.

Big reminder - there are no online classes this Wednesday, 12/9. This is a full day of professional development for all staff.

We cannot impress upon all of you and us enough the importance of following safety protocols. These include: wearing a mask, washing hands, staying socially distant from others, and staying in your pods. In addition, I would like to add do your own contact tracing. We have been so grateful to the families who have shared with us when they have a positive case in their home. This has enabled us to act quickly and determine close contacts in school. We are so grateful. Our school nurse, Meri Lepore, is on the Board of Health for Nantucket. She has been an incredible help to all staff, school families, and our island community. She has done a tremendous amount of contact tracing also to quickly support our students, their families and the staff.

We are now on our third day of all remote instruction (round two if we count the beginning of the school year). None of this is easy nor is it our preferred method for teaching. I understand some of you have shared with your child's teacher the frustrations you are experiencing. Thank you for communicating this. Please continue to do so. Know that there are just as many people who are thrilled with the remote schedules. My point is we are all (you included) working hard to find balance, keep students engaged, teach the grade level content required, and provide a school day's worth of instruction.

Your child's teacher is sharing a playlist. This playlist includes the day's plan for instruction. In most instances, the teachers gave one link. This link is to allow students to be online, go off for awhile, and then come back on with ease. It was never intended that your child keep the screen on all day. For each subject area (math, reading, writing, science/social studies, phonics) the lesson should go like this, as an example:

Reading - 1 hour lesson 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off screen

Teacher shares the mini lesson and direct teaching point 10 minutes on screen

Students watch a video 10 minutes onscreen

Teacher sums up video and restates teaching point 10 minutes on screen

Students read for 30 minutes off screen

The specials (Art, Music, PE, Library) will be on screen for your students. This is 40 minutes.

Lunch and recess are on their own for students. This equals 60 minutes.

Recall that the student day is 6.5 hours. Homeroom Teachers should be holding students on screen for about 2.5 - 3.5 hours across the entire school day. The specials may be in addition to this time. This is similar to what we had in the fall - about 50% online and 50% off screen.

Attendance in this virtual setting is also required. Students must be online to count as virtually present. Students must also be attending their small group classes. These small group classes include: occupational therapy, speech, physical therapy, English Learner classes, Reading intervention, special education small groups, and classroom teachers may have small group sessions with your child. These are not optional. These represent the required services for your child to support their learning.

Some parents have asked that we streamline the schedule especially when there are siblings in the home. Their hope was to have snack, lunch, recess, and specials at the exact same time for all students. Unfortunately, this is not possible and we are sorry. We have only one teacher for each special who is following their schedule to meet with all students in the grade level. We have interventionists, therapists, ELL and Sped teachers who are also trying to meet the needs of all students across the day. To that end, we are keeping the same schedule we follow when we are in school, because we cannot meet the needs of all students by having one NES Snack, lunch, and recess schedule for all.

I wanted to share some attendance updates, hopefully offering more clarity on previous comments. These are the definitions that have been shared in the other schools, and I want to be sure you know of them as well. This information below pertains to student attendance virtually or in person.

ABSENT: If a student is absent on the day that they are supposed to be present in-person, they cannot remote in on that day. They are marked absent since they are not physically present for their in-person class. This is too last minute and disruptive to class rosters changing on a daily basis.

VACATION/LONG WEEKEND: If a student is going away for a vacation or weekend event early on a Friday, we do not provide remote links. They are also considered absent and must make-up any missed work as has always been the district policy.

QUARANTINE ORDER: If a student is asked to quarantine due to a state travel order or local contact tracing protocol, we must share links for the student to remote-in to their current schedule for their required number of days (10, 14, 24).

MOVING to COHORT D for LONG TERM: If a family feels that in-person is unsafe, they may request to move their student to Cohort D for all remote. Know that moving back to an in-person Cohort A, B, or C schedule is not a simple switch and the MA DESE is now giving schools up to 6 weeks to make the return transition.

A reminder that if a student is going to be traveling for more than 15 days, they will be withdrawn from school and re-enrolled upon return. No guarantees that they would be returned to their original cohort. This is past practice to deter families from traveling for extended periods of time that would cause their student to miss school. NPS administration recognizes that families are going to travel, we just can't provide remote options and students are going to have to make up work upon return. Students can take work packets and they may access asynchronous work, but there will be no remote logging in.

Nantucket Public Schools Food Truck: Monday and Tuesday: Kitty Murtagh's John Keane, has graciously offered to provide bag lunches for NPS students who need them. Lunch can be picked up at the food truck from 11:15 - 1:00 pm.

On Thursday and Friday, parents can pick up student meals between 9:30am - 1:00pm at the food truck.

I am grateful for the questions I have received and welcome more questions from you. Please do not hesitate to reach out. Stay safe and follow the safety protocols please.


Kimberly Kubisch, Principal NES


Kimberly F. Kubisch


Kimberly F. Albertson

Assistant Principal

Holiday Travel

Please be thoughtful and careful when planning holiday travel. It will be necessary for students to quarantine or test negatively if you travel to one of the red states. With the exception of Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, all other states in America are red. This means you must test negative when you return from the other states. The testing negative is important for the safety of all of our students, their families, staff, and their families. Thank you in advance for your attention to this.

Children with any illness symptoms

Please be sure to review the Home Screening survey with children at home before they come to school each morning. It is very important to not send children to school with any illness or with medications ingested to reduce symptoms.

Home Screening Protocol

Know that we understand and appreciate when you choose to keep your child at home because they have one of the symptoms or don't feel well, not necessarily COVID-19 positive but run down as happens to us all. With a bit of notice and clear communication to your child's teacher, they can work with you to determine the child's participation in synchronous and/or asynchronous work.