October 3, 2021
Good Evening Harrington Families
I hope everyone is well and making their way through these first several weeks of the new school year. Now that our baseline assessments have been completed, we have now begun to schedule intervention supports that will be occurring starting this week, teachers have begun to implement their classroom rotations in a normal fashion and our social emotional groupings will be coming on line very soon. I have to say, it has been a rather busy start to the year, on so many levels. Every day is a new day in education, the many facets that are involved in and control the daily operations of a school are always fascinating to me. Throughout my educational career, Ive often reflected back on my years of military service as being my foundation to who I am, often thinking about the leadership opportunities held and assess how the skills I mastered, instilled and lead with during those time can be assimilated in an elementary school environment. What I’ve always come up with is the following:
- Communication – This is vital in every aspect of every situation. It must be balanced, it must be clear, it must be consistent and at times it must be direct. Communication drives the bus per say.
- Consistency – The secret to all success whether personal or professional is consistency. Students master their developmental skills through a consistent approach and exposer to the information they are receiving. Teachers become masters of instruction through consistency of growth, change and adaptation to their practice.
- Support – This is across the board. There isn’t a profession that can function without support from the community it is directly responsible. This holds true in the military and incredibly true in a school. The relationships developed with student and their teachers and with families must be developed, nurtured, and preserved at all costs in a school. We as educators must be on the same team, have the same vision and seek the same outcomes for our students and community to be successful always.
- Discipline – While this term to some carries a negative connotation. It should be viewed in a positive light. Good order and discipline are critical to any environment, could be your home, your business, sports, and school. Discipline is about learning; it is about over coming mistakes through learning opportunities, it is about converssation. Time must be found for these teachable moments.
- Self-Awareness/Regulation – Everyone needs to be aware of their audience. Each environment we are in requires a specific approach to behavior and regulation. For our little learners, it is developing those skills and social awareness in a school setting during these early years so that those foundational skills translate to each year during their educational careers.
- Motivation – This is hugely instrumental to the success of us all, personally and professionally. Students, staff, families, all must be motivated to better themselves using whatever opportunity is presented to them, or by finding that opportunity. Motivation guides us, supports us, and rewards us when we achieve success.
- Initiative – There is no success without initiative. Take charge of your world, be pro-active, be a catalyst for change, take the reins and lead the way. It is our job to instill the initiative to develop the independence of all of our students. That is initiative.
I do apologize for digressing on my personal reflections in this week’s newsletter, it is important to address that these first several weeks of school has required everyone to adjust their practices in some way or another from what they would do in a normal year. While we are in school with a full population, this is not a normal year with the effects of 18 most of COVID visible in our young learners. The importance of reflecting on the things we’ve experienced and know, while working to implement them into our current practices enables us to develop ways to provide support to the various needs of our school community. Through these reflections, we are able to see and admire the continued hard work of our entire Harrington community.
I have no doubt in my mind that the students, families and staff of Harrington will continue to thrive during this time. You are all incredibly special individuals - This is an opportunity to use those artistic skills of critical thinking, problem solving, persistence, creativity and discipline to make the most of this school year.
Please, as a reminder for the following:
Contact the school if your student has been exposed to any COVID related situations and as always out of the abundance of caution, if your student(s) is experiencing any identified COVID symptoms please keep them home and contact Nurse Melissa.
As always, thank you for your continued support of our Harrington community. Please reach out to me or Karen with any questions or concerns as always.
Once again, remember to…"Push through your day, Smile, Be Happy, Stay Positive!"
Be safe! Stay well!
Rob & Karen
- Has begun
- The testing will begin at 9:30am, once per week, and if they have signed up for Pooled testing.
- Pooled testing is for symptom free individuals who have signed consent to participate.
- If your child has had COVID in the last 90 days, they are not eligible to participate in Pooled testing, but may join in AFTER the 90-day mark has passed.
Attesting to Wellness
- PLEASE- if your child is not feeling well, keep them home and they can return when they are symptom free and feeling better! We need your help to keep our students and staff so that we can have a safe learning environment for all.
- We have seen too many cases where individuals were not feeling well and have been in school and then subsequently tested positive for the COVID virus.
- This is in turn has impacted many students and staff in the classroom.
- We are requesting families to complete a wellness check on their child each morning prior to coming to school.
- Staff members are asked to assess for wellness prior to coming to school.
- It is also important to note, the district is following protocols from the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE), with input from the MA. Department of Publlic Health (DPH), as well as from input from the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP).
- Our school-based protocols differ from community-based protocols.
- For example, if a vaccinated student is identified as a close contact to a positive case in school, the vaccinated close contact is exempt from quarantine and testing response protocols.
- In the school setting, a vaccinated close contact would be required to monitor for symptoms for 10 days and if feeling well may attend school, where masks are required.
- The school has many mitigation strategies in place to decrease the spread of the virus and the exposure is not considered as high a risk as an outside of school exposure.
- In the community, because it is a higher risk exposure, if a vaccinated close contact is exposed to a positive individual, the Chelmsford Board of Health would recommend the vaccinated close contact be tested on day 3-5, wear a mask until they receive a negative covid test and may attend activities as long as they are feeling well.
Test and Stay:
- If a student is exposed to a positive case in school, they may participate in Test and Stay, as long as consent has been received prior to the exposure.
- DESE released the Test and Stay protocol for districts for this statewide testing program.
- Students are strongly encouraged to utilize this protocol option to minimize the amount of time they are out of school due to a COVID exposure.
- This initiative is intended for asymptomatic close contacts due to a school exposure with confirmed COVID-19.
- This program will allow for students to stay in school if they receive a rapid antigen test (Binax NOW) each school day (5 -7 days) and test negative and remain symptom free.
- If an individual has an exposure in the community setting, they are not eligible for Test and Stay and must follow the traditional quarantine protocol. For example, an exposure at Dance class, Chelmsford Youth Hockey, Pop Warner Cheerleading, Book Club, Pottery Class..etc-must follow the guidelines for an outside exposure which includes the at home quarantine protocol.
- Consent for Test and Stay must be received by the school a minimum of three days prior to an exposure to be eligible for participation.
- A vaccinated close contact is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols and therefore would not participate in Test and Stay
Close Contact Notification Letters:
- We understand there has been some confusion surrounding notification of close contacts.
- As a district, we are notifying parents/guardians when there is a positive case in the classroom.
- Teachers are keeping seating assignments so that we can identify close contacts and determine if any students were within 6 feet of the positive case while indoors for 15 minutes or more.
- Lastly, in addition to not sending your child to school if they are not feeling well, we need your help in reinforcing with your child, the importance of wearing their mask properly in school.
- The mask mandate from DESE requires all students in K-12 wear a mask, unless there is a medical exemption that has been documented by a health care provider.
- Masking is a critical measure to contain the spread of COVID-19! Masks must completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps.
Thank you for working together to ensure a healthy school environment for all!
Let's Stay Connected!
Our next PTO meeting will be on October 6 at 6:30pm online and in the Harrington library. Keep an eye out for the link to join on our Facebook page, “Harrington PTO”.
Halloween may look different again this year. The Harrington and Parker PTOs are working collaboratively along with community sponsors to host the 2nd Annual Battle of the Boos drive thru, trunk-or-treat event on Friday, October 22nd from 6:30-8:30pm. Harrington and Parker families are invited to join in the fun by entering trunk decorating and/or pumpkin carving contests. Trunks and pumpkins will be judged by a panel of esteemed judges. Participants will have the opportunity to win amazing prizes!!! Check out the attached announcement for more information or simply click on the links below to enter.
Some other exciting family events coming up in October and November:
- UMASS Riverhawks hockey 🏒
- Glow Run 👟🎶🌙
Stay tuned for details!
Pridewear sales have officially closed! You can expect your orders in by the week of October 18! Thank you for your paw-ticipation🐾