Wood End Wildcat News
December 13, 2020 ~ Week A In-Person
Hello Wood End Families,
It's almost hard to believe that we have completed Term 1 and are nearing the winter holiday break. This has certainly been a challenging start to our school year, but with everyone's support and collaboration, we have been relatively successful, given the constraints of COVID. We have 8 school days before the holidays and we're asking for every families' support to keep your children attending and engaged in their learning, right up until the end. The staff have been very busy planning and preparing each week to make the most of our learning time, and we don't want to lose a minute! We also have a few "spirit days" coming up so check out the dates below!
I mentioned this in an earlier email, but wanted to remind folks that the RMHS National Honor Society is collecting donations for the Reading Food Pantry. If you would like to contribute, please send in your donations no later than Thursday afternoon. A collection box is set up in the main lobby so we appreciate any and all donations!
As a reminder, we have a full day of school on Wednesday, December 23rd with school ending at our regular time, 2:45 p.m. Winter break will begin on December 24th and students will return to school on Monday January 4, 2021! Let's hope the New Year brings an end to this COVID pandemic with a vaccine, and a return to being able to spend time with friends and family. In the meantime, we need to remain vigilant in following the social distancing guidelines and wear a mask. If you or a family member does need to get a COVID test, visit this link for several locations within Massachusetts. If you have any questions, please contact our school nurse, Kristen Agami, for guidance. For some additional information on how to stay healthy this holiday season, Boston Children's Hospital offers several ways you can "hunker down and reduce your transmission footprint." For more information, click HERE.
Enjoy your weekend!
Travel During the Holidays
Some families may be traveling to see family or loved ones over the holidays. Remember, if you are traveling to a location out of state, you must either quarantine for 14 days upon return or have produce a negative COVID test that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. This link will take you to the Commonwealth's COVID 19 Travel Order site that includes a list of lower risk states (currently only Hawaii is on the list). Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.
If you travel, please either quarantine upon return or have a PCR COVID test and send the negative results to our school nurse, Kristen Agami.
If you have questions about learning during any period of quarantine, or you are awaiting a test result, please review the guidelines below for remote access or contact me directly via email.
We truly appreciate all you are doing to support our school community as we work together to do the right thing to keep everyone healthy.
Remote Access for In-Person Students Who Are Absent From School
Below are the remote criteria that will be used when students who are in person during a particular week are absent from school.
Students will have live remote access under the following conditions:
- He/she is quarantined due to testing positive for COVID-19.
- He/she is quarantined due to being in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
- He/she is being quarantined for being out of state and is waiting for a negative COVID test per DPH guidelines.
- He/she is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and is awaiting test results.
- He/she has another medical condition that prevents them from coming to school.
Students will not have live remote access under the following situations:
- He/she is absent for any reason other than described above.
- He/she is quarantining for 10-14 days because of out of state travel as defined by the MDPH Travel Order and is not getting a COVID-test.
- He/she is going on a family vacation or other non-school activity during school days.
Please note that there may be extenuating circumstances in a school that would require a different action than above. These decisions are at the discretion of the building principal.
Wood End Holiday Giving Tree
Each year during this season of giving, we try to support our local families through our annual giving tree, and we are continuing with that tradition again this year. In the past, we have had an actual tree with tags attached on display during our annual Cookie Walk. Families have an opportunity to choose a tag and purchase the gift listed. Although there will not be a physical tree with tags on it this year, we are continuing with the idea as we hope to make the holidays a little easier for some families.
This year we are using a sign-up genius link to list the gifts we intend to purchase. If you are interested in this optional event, please visit the LINK to sign-up for a gift. Please note that for some items there are multiples needed. If you plan to purchase all, please make sure the sign-up genius reflects that!
Once you have purchased your selected gift, please wrap it and label it with the name of the item (use a sticky note or something similar) and deliver to Joanne King by Friday, December 18th. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
Wildcat Family & Staff Holiday Traditions
Wood End continues to take over Instagram! Throughout the next few weeks, we will be highlighting ways our staff celebrate this time of year and some traditions that are special to us. If you and your family want to be highlighted on our page, share your photos! You could share a favorite dish, decoration, holiday countdown, story you read, and so much more. It’s so nice to see how we come together to keep traditions alive, even when we have to be apart.
If you are on Instagram or Twitter, you can post there and tag @woodendsch! You can also email us your photos and we will share. Send photos to Miss Norcross. We can't wait to share!
Hour of Code is Coming!
Hour of Code is a celebration of computer science and computational thinking that has become a worldwide event. According to Code.org, “The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify coding, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities that have expanded to all sorts of community efforts.”
Wood End has participated the last several years, and all students in grades K-5 will participate throughout the month of December. Students will complete both plugged (coding activities using technology) and unplugged (no technology needed) activities during library time. We’ve already started to get ready! Kindergarten friends have learned about algorithms, a set of directions to be done in order. First graders learned what it means to code and practiced creating code sequences to program ourselves. Second and third graders read the story How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk. Ask them about our new vocabulary words: code, sequence, loop and if-then-else commands! We had fun trying these out on ourselves!
We are looking forward to using Hour of Code resources and games as well as IPAD apps and robots to code over the remainder of the month! Check out Code.org’s video to learn more!
Beloved Community Event
Every year, Reading celebrates the message and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, during this unprecedented time of a pandemic, we've already started planning for an event themed 'Beloved Community' that is both inspiring, engaging, and can be delivered 100% remotely. Dr. King popularized the notion of the beloved community. He defined it as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings. There were many before him who fought for the rights of those who were not treated equally.
How can your group help us educate and celebrate his message? How can everyone here in Reading internalize the message as a unified beloved community? We are looking for 3-5 minute pre-recordings that exemplify 'Beloved Community'. Could you create a song? A poem? A reading? An original interpretation or story telling? All of these are welcome!
Please email your content to the Human Rights Advisory Council by January 5, 2021.
Special Education Office Hours
With the holidays upon us, we wanted to take a quick moment to thank all the families for their support and partnership during this most unusual school year. We hope that you all have a chance to relax, spend time with family and reenergize over the coming weeks!
As December is approaching, we wanted to share our office hours for the month of December. Jen Stys, Director of Student Services, and Allison Wright, Assistant Director of Student Services, are available for office hours on the following dates. Please sign up for an appointment through the link below.
December Office Hours:
- Wednesday, December 16 @ 2-3 pm
- Monday, December 21 @ 12-1 pm
Link to the DOODLE Poll to sign up for office hours:
We are all thankful to be working in such a wonderful community.
Jen Stys and Allison Wright
Updates From the PTO
Our next PTO meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27th at 7:30 p.m. This will be a time to meet, socialize a bit, and hear some updates about PTO. We are hoping you can join us as we take a little time to connect after the holidays and plan for the year ahead. Meeting link will be sent out prior to this date, so mark your calendars!
We have several ways families can help with some easy "fundraisers" including...
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to the PTO. Bookmark in your browser for every time you shop Amazon. Save this link as a shortcut on your phone desktop!
Stop and Shop A+ School Rewards
Once registered, Stop and Shop will donate to the school when you use your card and shop, sign up now! Go to: https://stopandshop.com/school-rewards/
If you are interested in running for Co-President, Treasurer, Enrichment Coordinator, Events & Fundraising Coordinator, or Secretary please email us as soon as possible and let us know! This would be the perfect year to "shadow" someone in that role and ease into some responsibilities.
Order your holiday cards and give back to Wood End
Winter is coming...dress for the weather!
FAQs About COVID-19
What happens if my child is sent home sick from school?
Any child who is ill will be sent home and asked to follow up with their pediatrician. Children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be tested at the doctor's recommendation. If a student has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis). If your child has been to the doctor, please provide a note when they return to school.
Where can I get myself/my child tested?
Here are local testing sites and information COVID-19 Testing
If a student in my child’s class tests positive will the class need to quarantine?
If a student tests positive, any close contacts of the child should also be tested and must quarantine. The rest of the class and teacher would only have to quarantine if the child tests positive, and if they had close contact with the student within 2 days prior to the positive test.
What is a close contact?
A close contact is anyone who has been within 6 feet of another individual for a period of at least 10-15 minutes. By wearing masks, we are hoping to decrease the transmission of the virus, however it is still considered an exposure.
What happens if I or my child test positive?
It is important to note that testing, combined with contact tracing and isolation, helps control the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. All test results, both positive and negative, are reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). When a person has a positive COVID-19 test, it is the local board of health or the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative that will reach out to provide support so that these individuals can remain safely in medical isolation. They will also ask for help to identify close contacts. These organizations will then reach out to the individual’s close contacts to provide important information that is aimed to stop the spread of the virus, including how to safely isolate/quarantine. While these organizations will provide support to further assist with contact tracing, the student/family and staff are asked to reach out to their personal contacts and notify the school.
Does Reading have a lot of cases?
Check here to get more information about our community
What if my family travels outside of Massachusetts?
Anyone traveling to a higher risk area must complete a travel form and quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative test within 72 hours of return/entry.
See COVID-19 Travel Order for details.
Where can I get more health information?
About These Services...
The Town of Reading contracts with William James College to offer a special service for our residents. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service maintains a mental health and wellness referral help line Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, at 888-244-6843 (toll free). This is a free, confidential referral service for individuals across the lifespan living in Reading. Callers are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database. Each referral meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller. Click here to learn more!
Please be reminded of these amazing resources, if your family is in need:
- RPS Behavioral Health Resources linked here.
- Town of Reading: compiled resources linked here.
- RCASA and Mental Health Support linked here.
- St. Vincent de Paul linked here.
- Free & Reduced lunch access: sign up here.
- Reading Food Pantry linked here.
- Project Bread link here.
- Residential Financial Assistance (Rent/Mortgage) link here. (New resource! Check it out!)