Superintendent Weekly Update

January 21, 2021

Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,

It's been another busy week! MTRSD hybrid families - WELCOME BACK to our buildings! The energy your children bring to our classrooms has been incredible and we know there are a lot of smiles behind those masks. We're excited to welcome Grades 3-6 and MTRS students back starting Monday (Jan. 25)! Be sure to follow our social media pages to catch a glimpse of what's happening in our classrooms.


And with that... here's what's happening this week:

* COVID-19 data dashboard and our district numbers

* Bus schedule / transportation

* MTRS Student Spotlight

* Photos: Hybrid students have returned!

COVID-19 data dashboard and our district numbers

Each Thursday evening I meet with the COVID-19 School Planning Task Force to discuss the case numbers in our state, region, and district. For the first time this year, our DISTRICT button on our data dashboard (found here: www.mtrsd.org/covid-19-information) moved into the "red," indicating an uptick in cases within our nine towns. While the district as a whole community (extending beyond just the school community) is red, there are no cases that would impact impact the MTRSD schools (elementary or MTRS).


I work closely with our FRCOG health agent and school nurse leader to intimately track and detail any cases and *potential* cases that could / would contact trace and impact our school community. Again, after carefully consulting with our health agent, nurse leader, and extensive discussions with our task force, there are no cases that would impact the MTRSD schools (elementary or MTRS). While we do stay apprised of cases in the remote school population, unless they are physically attending a wifi hub or participating in some form of in-person school functions, any REMOTE cases would not impact our in-person/hybrid school community.


What does this mean? Through contact tracing and closely monitoring this situation, we've learned that any of the potential spikes in the nine towns in our district do NOT affect the MTRSD school population.


For cases where there would be an impact to our school community, our school nurse leader conducts contact tracing, works with our FRCOG health agent, and we notify those impacted as required.


I know this seems alarming, but please be assured that I am staying closely informed and updated regarding cases and potential cases that could impact our in-person/hybrid students. Keeping our students, staff, and our community healthy and safe are my priority, while educating ALL students during this pandemic. Students and families are reminded to keep practicing the FAB FOUR (our mitigating strategies)--wear your masks; wash your hands; maintain physical distancing; and stay home when you are unwell--to keep our students, staff, and community safe!


I will continue to work with our local health experts, school nurse leader, and task force to closely monitor this situation. IF this situation changes, I will re-evaluate and, as I've said all along, make necessary shifts as needed between the models to keep our students, staff, and community safe.

Bus schedule / transportation

We've made some adjustments to the bus routes since last week, so PLEASE be sure visit www.mtrsd.org/Transportation to review the routes. As a reminder routes and times are subject to change; we will update as quickly as possible once finalized. Thank you for your patience as we address these issues and make accommodations.

MTRS Student Spotlight

Students in Rachel Silverman's Hiking and Nature Art class recently submitted their final projects where students were required to research and create art about an environmental issue that impacts everyday lives.


Below is an awesome example of MTRS student Ella Ussailis' work, a three-page comic strip about crop diversification.


"This comic is a short, sweet way to lightly touch on crop diversity issues," said Ussailis in her project synopsis. "In a deeper way, companies and corporations buy only one or two types of seeds for each crop type. This causes more disease and issues with crops, making a higher demand for pesticides and herbicides. Seed banks/plant libraries are a good way to combat this: bring in more diversity to your crops. Also, get seeds that will grow in your area without much issue or need for chemicals. Buying locally often helps this because smaller farmers generally look for beyond two types of seeds for a single crop in order to bring diversity and avoid issues with growing their crops in their fields/gardens. This is an important, not-really-talked-about issue that should be spoken of more and on a deeper level than even this little blurb."


During a typical school year, the Hiking and Nature Art class includes a combination of outdoor hiking throughout the MTRS grounds and local trails combined with studio art. Students explore their drawing skills, develop composition and design strategies, while using nature as the inspiration for their work. GREAT Job, Ella!

#BlazeYourTrailatMTRS

Photos: Hybrid students have returned (MTRSD)

Thanks for all you do to make Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont School Districts GREAT places to learn and grow!