Palmer High School February
February is the month that we find more students struggle in school. We are in the heart of winter and while days do get longer the effects of the dark cold months of December and January have a lingering impact on our psyche.
I share this information to raise the awareness of parents so you can monitor your child's social and emotional well-being. Some insight into the status of your kiddo can be their academic performance in school. Are you noticing any major changes? Wednesday, February 3rd marked the midway progress for quarter three. Grades were submitted on Friday, February 5th, and uploaded into ParentVue on Monday, February 8th.
So what if your child is struggling? What can we do as parents when they are? Many studies suggest adolescents value their peer relationships above everything else. I can tell you from working with teens for more than 25 years, it is what they value most. I know we are struggling through a pandemic but allowing time with friends, that they have healthy relationships, is great for mental health and self-esteem.
Kids have their circles of friends that they hang out with while in school, and outside of school. That circle of friends may fit into their "Covid bubble" of close friends. We are closing in on one year of the pandemic. It has changed the way we live, the way we think, and the way we interact as humans. To say our world has changed in the last year is an understatement. We have watched history unfold before our very eyes, as we've lived with a day to day approach.
Encourage quality friendship time. Encourage physical activities that burn up pent up energy. There may be no better medicine during hard times. Think of your own experiences when a hike, a bike ride, or a friend's humor that helps to melt away some of life's anxiety.
We know with Covid, our social lives have changed. I think I value quality time spent with friends, doing fun activities, now more than ever. Use peer time as an incentive to complete schoolwork, and bolster grades. Time with a friend is something greatly valued and it is a great way to lift our spirits and make it through our toughest winter months.
Parent Teacher Conference Sign-up
The attached link you will find instructions on how to sign up for times to meet with teachers via teleconference. There are several slides of instructions on how to sign up but essentially you have to go to the last three or four pages of the instructions, click on your student's teachers, and sign up for the time slots available on their calendar.
When you sign up for a time, leave your students name and the best contact number to reach you at. You may also have teachers that email you their link to sign up for conferences.
Link for PTC sign-up: https://tinyurl.com/y54wpsbv
Call 746-8400 if you need assistance.
Covid-19 School Closures
Over the past week, I have fielded several questions about what causes a school to close down. These questions have come in the wake of other schools closing while Palmer remained open.
Two major variables may cause our schools to close. One is lacking the staff to support the classrooms. Last week we had a steady flow of reported cases throughout the week that caused teaching and support staff to be identified as potential close contacts. There was a large number of staff and students excluded from attending work/school from being identified as close contacts by the end of the week.
The second variable for closure is complex contact tracing. When a case is reported to Nurse Pell we will begin an initial investigation. This will determine how many classes, students, and staff are impacted by the possibility of exposure of an individual that was infected while in school. If there are multiple cases in a short period (over a few days) it makes it difficult to do a thorough job of identifying all possibilities.
By the end of last week, both of these variables impacted the school. Nurse Pell and I began to see trends we haven't experience this year. There was a high rate of spreading in activities and we began to see close contacts that later became infected. At this point, we began considering recommending to the Health Advisory Board that Palmer High goes into a short term closure.
The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) will then investigate the contract tracing. DHSS will make recommendations and determinations of who is a close contact (versus a potential close contact) for all of the cases and weigh in on the status of whether a school should stay closed or reopen. We will continue to work with DHSS and monitor cases through Wednesday. We will publish an update on Wednesday evening.
Thanks for your patience and understanding,