February 3, 2021
Mile 20- Heart Break Hill
We are well underway with Phase II of our remote and hybrid learning plans. We hope your children are responding positively to the increased live instruction and opportunities to engage with their teachers and peers during remote learning days. We were pleased to see that Norfolk moved out of the red last week and is not currently designated as a town with widespread community transmission. We hope to see this trend continue and will update our Covid dashboard tomorrow, as the state releases new data.
It is encouraging to see that new Covid 19 cases at both the state and local level have begun to decline. At the same time, it is important to recognize that the public health crisis is not yet behind us. Like all of you, I understand the feelings of Covid fatigue and the strong desire to see our lives return to some sense of normalcy. This has been an incredibly challenging year for so many people. We know that many of our families have struggled with Covid 19 directly or have had friends and relatives who have become ill and in some cases have lost their lives to Covid 19. Others have faced loss of income, employment, housing and isolation or separation from loved ones. It is not surprising that we are finding it difficult to stay the course and to redouble efforts to keep ourselves and others healthy. It has been a long and tiresome journey.
At the same time, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. Our district continues to aggressively work on plans to bring more students back to in person learning as soon as it is safe to do so. We strongly encourage our students and families to remain diligent about mask wearing, hand-washing and social distancing. These strategies are highly effective in protecting individuals from contracting Covid 19 and are important to our efforts to combat the virus and get more children back into our classrooms.
For those of you who are Boston Marathon fans, we have reached Heartbreak Hill. We can get to the finish line together if we stay strong, work collaboratively and diligently maintain our safety and health practices. Thank you for everything you are doing to support your children's educational program this year. We greatly appreciate your partnership and your efforts and we look forward to brighter days ahead!
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Attendance Guidelines for Remote Learning Days
Classroom teachers are responsible for taking student attendance daily for both in person and remote learners. The Massachusetts Department of Education has established guidelines for student attendance on remote learning days. Per the DESE guidelines, students learning from home are considered present if they participate in at least 50 percent of their SEL and academic class lessons over the course of the school day. If students do not participate a minimum of 50% of these live lessons, they are considered absent for the day. These are the only two options the state provides for attendance for remote learners. Beyond the state requirements, teachers will continue to take attendance at all live class lessons. This instruction is critical to students' academic development and ability to access the full curriculum. Parents will be notified if students miss any portion of their school day.
Please remember that if a child needs to be absent from school on either remote or in person learning days, parents must notify the school office. If students are absent due to illness, quarantine, bereavement or to observe a religious holiday, the absence may be considered excused. If the school does not receive notification from a parent/guardian and/or the absence does not meet the above criteria, it is considered an unexcused absence.
Regular attendance at special subject classes is an important part of students' educational experience. Special subject teachers are also tracking student attendance and participation which includes the submission of assignments, in art, music and physical education. Student attendance in special subject classes will be reflected in their participation grade on their report card, but will not be reflected in their daily attendance count. If a child misses several art, music or wellness classes, and/or does not submit numerous assignments, parents will be notified.