The Mt. Tabor Tribune
A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community
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A Message from the Principal
Good evening, MTMS,
It has been a long week, my friends. I'm sure it has been for you all as well as we live through this current surge of cases. I know I'm exhausted with the amount of contact tracing and communication that I have been sending out to you all...and my own personal email is clogged with these messages too as a parent of a Mt. Tabor student. Some days I too wonder if that principal will ever stop!
So I feel the need to ask for your forgiveness for the onslaught of emails that probably feel like a whole lot of spam. I feel your pain.
I guess the good thing about these emails is that you know, specifically and directly, in real time how many positive cases have been on campus, and you can take stock in knowing that I report every single one of them to you, the MTMS community, on the day that I receive it. Unless it comes in at 8:00 pm or after, because I have to sign off this computer and go home eventually.
As you all know from an earlier communication from the district this week, the COVID isolation and quarantine guidelines are changing for schools effective for cases reported on January 11 or later. The guidance will reduce the amount of time at home for students and staff that test positive for COVID-19 and reduce the amount of time in quarantine for unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts. That means that our students will be missing out on less instructional time as we move forward. These changes in guidance have been made in accordance with changes from Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority and are reflective of the recently updated CDC recommendations.
In addition, you have probably already seen the news from the district today that shared that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD) released new contact tracing and notification requirements for K-12 schools, the result being that Oregon will no longer consider masked contact in schools (including on school buses) to be an exposure regardless of distancing. Physical distancing should still be practiced to the greatest extent possible.
I know there may be mixed emotions about these changes.
First you are probably hoping that means that I can stop filling up your inboxes. Sadly, the only messages I will be sending out fewer of are those alerting families that their student is a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case. I am still required to notify you all of any positive case on campus, so try not to hate me too much for it?!? And yes, I even asked my area senior director specifically,.
But in all seriousness, there is probably some concern mixed in as well, especially in a time where some families across our district are seeing their schools transition to temporary distance learning due to community spread and school staff sickness.
We here at MTMS have been fortunate that, even with many unfilled sub jobs--most days this week we have had between 2-4 unfilled positions that our staff have graciously stepped up to cover during their prep time. The substitute shortage in the district is real when you consider the number of absences of staff members due to their and their family's heath events. I know this can be tough when we have teachers out for multiple days in a row as is creates inconsistencies for our students. Know that all of us are doing our best in difficult circumstances.
Please know that we here at Mt. Tabor continue to be committed to our mitigation measures--sending students outside for lunch when the conditions permit, enforcing strict masking requirements, engaging in sanitization routines, and maximizing social distancing in our classrooms and in the cafeteria. We also know that it takes our entire community--students and their families--continuing to do their part to stay distanced when at outdoor lunch, staying masked on campus and on the bus, and really keeping as much distance as possible to continue to keep rates of transmission low. We hope that you will continue to emphasize these measures with your students as we navigate the most contagious variant of this virus yet.
I am grateful for your partnership and the many kind emails this week--and the donuts for staff that were delivered this week by one of our lovely families didn't hurt either. If I could send you a virtual donut instead of a COVID-19 notification, I gladly would.
I sincerely hope you have a lovely Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.
All the best,
Ms. Tonya Arnold
Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School
8th Grade Families: Forecasting for HS Classes
8th Grade Students and Parents/Caregivers/Guardians: It's almost time to choose your high school classes!
During the next week or so in their Social Studies classes, MTMS 8th graders will be learning about "forecasting", which means choosing their high school classes for next school year. They will participate in a lesson designed to give them an overview of their choices, help them decide on courses that match their interests and goals, and instruct them on the logistical process of forecasting. They will be asked to review all forecasting materials and submit their choices with their adults at home.
More specific information with each high school’s forecasting choices and forms will be sent to parents/caregivers/guardians via email and Remind at the end of next week. Forecasting forms are due January 31, 2022 so you and your student will have plenty of time to review and discuss.
Upload your COVID-19 Vaccination Cards Into Parent VUE
Sign Ups Still Available for Asymptomatic Testing Program through OHSU
With the new variant surge, we have been asked by many families about whether they can still sign up for the weekly testing program through OHSU. Families are still able to sign up. Information about the program can be found at the links below:
If you have not yet had an opportunity to sign your student up for this free testing service, you can still do so. Simply complete the BOTH of the forms below and have your student bring them to the main office:
Our schedule here at Mt. Tabor will be for students to return tests every TUESDAY to the cooler outside the main office when they arrive on campus. Tests are collected in the morning by the OHSU courier.
If you have completed the form for your student and has not received testing kits and labels, it may be that OHSU has not yet processed your application--there seem to be significant delays. Please feel free to check in with Tania Trujillo in the main office to make sure that we have received your paperwork and requested your labels.
We appreciate your patience and participation.
Ongoing Family Immunization Clinics
The Multnomah County Health Department is offering twice-weekly Immunization Clinics for families and children to obtain COVID-19 and school-required vaccines. Clinics will be held on Wednesdays from 11 am - 2 pm & 3 pm - 6 pm at the Gateway WIC Building, 131 NE 102nd Ave., Portland; and on Saturdays from 9 am - 12 pm & 1 pm - at the NE Health Clinic, 5329 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. #322, Portland.
Appointments are required for children aged 5 - 11. No appointment is required for family members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shots.
Call 503-988-8939 to make an appointment. More info is available at: multco.us/vaccineclinics.
Impacted by COVID-19?
New Bus Route Serving Mt. Tabor MS
We now have a new bus serving MTMS - #336AM. This route replaces 146A and 148A. Prior to this, route 148A was consistently 20 minutes late to MTMS, so many families did not use the bus. This new route is scheduled to arrive at Mt. Tabor soon after 9:00am. For full details on times and stops, see the PPS transportation page linked below.
My Child Is Out Sick
It is also essential that you notify the school if your student has a positive COVID test or is a close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. Please call the school office, and they will connect you with our School Health Assistant, Julia Mudgett; our school nurse, Catrina Luna; or Principal Tonya Arnold to follow up with you on these protocols. If you need to reach someone after hours, please email email@example.com.
Your Weekly PTA Update
This coming TUESDAY, JANUARY 18th, is the PTA General Meeting. All MTMS families are welcome to join. You do not have to be a member to attend.
We have invited Judy Brennan from Enrollment and Transfer and Kristyn Westphal, the area senior director serving Mt. Tabor to share with us about the work of the Southeast Guiding Coalition to date and to answer questions. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8:00pm via Zoom. The meeting link is provided below. In addition, Principal Arnold and the SEGC reps for Mt. Tabor are willing to host breakout sessions after the meeting to listen to our MTMS families in the Japanese, Spanish, and Neighborhood programs about the proposals.
Please join the meeting at 6:30pm to hear about upcoming PTA Fundraisers, including some great Restaurant Partners and an upcoming fundraising appeal to meet a specific teacher request for students. The speakers on SEGC will begin at 7:00pm.
Join the meeting at https://pps-net.zoom.us/j/81501936970
Alpenrose and MTMS Partnership
Alpenrose is partnering with MTMS to offer a great deal for you and for the PTA. New customers will receive $30.00 off their first order and free home delivery of groceries. And, all your future orders over $15.00 will also receive free delivery. For each new customer that signs up, using the MTMSPTA code, Alpenrose will donate $50.00 to MTMS PTA! This is huge! This will contribute to funds that we greatly need to meet the needs of teachers and students at MTMS. The flyer below contains and a QR code to the ordering website. Use code MTMSPTA when checking out to receive your discounts and free delivery.
We are super excited about these delicious opportunities. Mark your calendars! More details to come.
- February 2nd - Por Que No
- February 8th - Fire on the Mountain
- March 20th - Leikum Brewing
- April 12th - Tabor Tavern
Have you seen our new great design!!! Check out the Mt Table Middle School spirit wear at the following link. T-shirts and hoodies are available in two different designs. Items are ordered on demand from the local company, Big Frog. You order online, pay online, and items can be picked up locally in Portland or mailed to your address. You can place your order online at this link: https://mttabormiddleschool.itemorder.com/shop/sale