Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - January 11, 2021

Dear Amesbury Public Schools Families,

I hope that you and your family have had a happy and healthy start to the New Year!


I would be remiss if I did not address last week’s attack on the Capitol. Since Wednesday, I have experienced so many different emotions including anger, fear, frustration, confusion and uncertainty. There are times that I am at a loss for words when I replay the scenes from the storming of the Capitol and the mob entering the US Senate. In short, this assault on democracy has shaken me to my core.


In my various classrooms as a former history teacher, I spent years recounting, discussing, and analyzing significant events in our history. During those classes, it was easier to remain detached and to think about the events objectively while dissecting the causes, effects, and long term impacts of each historical event. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would live through a second violent attack on our country, especially one that directly assaulted the heart of our democracy.


In my own home, there were, and continue to be, lots of questions, confusion, and interpreting information that my children have seen or heard. Although I shouldn’t be, I continue to be amazed by how much more kids see, hear and contemplate than we think they do. Many of them are on social media, reading a wide range of comments and even more likely, watching videos of the attack. Of course, each child will process these things very differently.


Each of us processes our experiences in a unique way and at one's own pace. In the coming days and weeks, your child(ren) may have questions, may make connections, and may even have strong emotional reactions to Wednesday’s events. These responses may present themselves at incredibly random and potentially inconvenient times. As adults, our children are looking to us for reassurance and for us to help them to understand what has transpired. Without a doubt, talking about this is extremely difficult, especially with kids. Thankfully, there are many resources available to assist us with having these challenging conversations.


Below, I have included a few links to some of these resources. Some of the content applies to children of all ages, while others provide suggestions based on the age and developmental level of children. This list includes only a very few of a large number of resources that exist. I included them to get you started. In addition, please feel free to reach out to your child(ren)’s school(s) if you are concerned about your child(ren) or if you need assistance in navigating these important discussions.


Sincerely,


Elizabeth McAndrews

Acting Superintendent


NEA Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol

Coping with Stress Caused by Watching the US Capitol Riot

10 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About the Attack on the US Capitol

UPDATE: Influenza Vaccine Requirement For School Attendance: K-12

As many of you know, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) instituted a new influenza vaccination requirement beginning this school year (2020-2021). Recently, they extended the deadline for receiving the influenza vaccine for this school year until February 28, 2021. Moving forward, the yearly deadline for receiving the influenza vaccine will be December 31st.


Many of you have already submitted copies of Influenza (flu) shot verifications. Thank you for your help! If you have not, please email or snail mail a copy of the verification documents for all of your children, grades K-12, who attend the Amesbury Public Schools.


I have included the email addresses for each school nurse. We appreciate your timely adherence to this requirement. If you have any questions regarding the flu shot requirement, please contact Nurse Leader, Rita O'Neill.


AES: Kristen.Lynch@amesburyma.org

CES: Carol.Greene@amesburyma.org

AMS: Rita.ONeill@amesburyma.org

AHS: Elisabeth.Shorter@amesburyma.org

AIHS:Amber.Quigley@amesburyma.org


Please feel free to follow these links for additional information:


FAQ regarding the influenza vaccine

https://www.mass.gov/doc/faq-influenza-vaccine-requirement-for-school-attendance/download

AND

Massachusetts Immunization Requirements

https://www.mass.gov/doc/immunization-requirements-for-school-entry-0/download

Change of Learning Model

Now that the holidays have passed, we have begun to receive requests to change learning models for students. As one might imagine, there are a lot of moving pieces involved in this transition and making the necessary adjustments takes some time. I would like to remind parents whose children are looking to make a change in their learning models to contact the principal at the school(s) that their child(ren) attend. Once you have spoken with the principal, they will direct you to a Change In Learning Model Form. That principal or his/her designee will be in contact with you regarding next steps. Thank you for your cooperation with this process.


Building Contacts:


AES: Shannon.Nolan@amesburyma.org

CES: Karina.Mascia@amesburyma.org

AMS: Brian.Gill@amesburyma.org

AHS: Danielle.Ricci@amesburyma.org

AIHS: Eryn.Maguire@amesburyma.org


Structured Learning Time

At last week's School Committee meeting, I shared information regarding the information we have received from the state in terms of Structured Learning Time. We continue to meet with AFT Amesbury in order to meet the expectations from the state. As soon as we have any concrete changes, they will be shared with all families. If you would like to read up on the expectations, I have included the draft, emergency regulations as well as a document with DESE's guidance.


State Regulations - 603 CMR 27.00:

https://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/proposed/p603cmr27-strikethrough.docx


DESE's 12/18 Guidance:

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/slt-regulations-guide.docx

Return to Hybrid

I am so excited that our students will be returning to in-person learning beginning this Thursday, January 14th! We ask all families to continue to follow the COVID checklist to ensure that students who are in-person at our schools are as healthy as possible. Your honesty and timely communication will help us to keep students and staff safe and to be able to expand our in-person learning opportunities in the future. We continue to see evidence of spreading through community or non-school events. Please encourage your children to take the necessary steps to keep themselves safe and healthy regardless of where they are. Below, please find a link to the CDC COVID Symptom Checklist.


Link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html#cdc-chat-bot-open

Free Lunch Continues

Just a reminder that lunches are free for all students. In addition to lunches served when students are in school, bagged lunches are available to all APS families. Pick-up of these breakfast and lunch bags takes place behind Amesbury High School on Mondays and Wednesdays between 11am and 12:30. Amesbury Public Schools receives federal reimbursement for every lunch served or taken. Please take advantage of this opportunity and help APS when you do!

Thank you for reading this newsletter! Be well and safe!