R. H. Conwell Community News 1/7/2022

Dear Community:

Happy Friday! I am certainly relieved that we didn’t get the snow totals folks are seeing in the Eastern part of the state! All of our teachers were happy to have a ½ day with the students. The district would like to acknowledge the hard work of the Worthington Highway department this morning. Their team cleared the roads in time for students to come to school! The district is grateful for their partnership! I would also like to thank Mr. Wolf for coming in early to snowblow and shovel around the school!

Music at Conwell: Please join me in welcoming Jules Skloot and Joshua Wachtel to Conwell. Beginning in February, Jules will teach music and movement to the preschool and kindergarten students, and Mr. Josh will teach the students in grades 1-6. Both come to Conwell with a deep love and understanding of music and they are thrilled to work with our students one day a week!

Cafeteria Update: We are thrilled to learn that Ms. Ashley, our cafeteria manager, has been awarded a $1,000 grant from Project Bread. This funding will be used to purchase a mixer for the cafeteria! Congratulations Ashley!

PTO Update: There will be a virtual PTO meeting on Monday, January 10, 2022 beginning at 3:30. All parents and faculty are invited to attend.

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87262583993?pwd=S3Q0Ym5melJwaEVZQjdmNT U3N3hMUT09

Meeting ID: 872 6258 3993

Passcode: 077697

Nurse Sam Update:

★ After our initial few Covid cases prior to winter recess, we learned of more that were discovered during break. In total, we had 10 individuals within our school community test positive for Covid between December 10 and January 2. While we are extremely fortunate that all cases were mild, and all individuals were feeling better within a matter of days, we must acknowledge how quickly and easily the Omicron Variant appears to be spreading. All individuals are currently out of isolation, and back at school. With this

increase in cases within the school building, we have tightened up some of our health and safety protocols to further protect our school community. Those protocols were sent out to families prior to us returning from the break.

Masks – Masks must be worn at all times while indoors, except while eating. Masks should cover the mouth and nose completely, and should not slip down while talking. The classroom teachers are working hard to ensure all students are wearing their masks properly, and are offering friendly reminders. If students are continuing to not wear their masks properly, emails and phone calls may be placed home for additional support from families. Please discuss proper mask wearing with your child(ren) and the importance of ensuring they are following all health and safety protocols while at school.

Routine Covid Safety Checks – An additional mitigation strategy we are now implementing is Routine Covid Safety Checks. All families should have received an informational packet about this testing program, and were asked to return the permission form/opt-out form back to the school today. If you have not yet sent it back in, please send it in on Monday. We are hoping to begin testing students and staff on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. This may change depending on the logistics all getting ironed out. If we begin any later, I will communicate to all families that are participating. Initial pool tests average 24 hours for returning results. I will be working on a communication system to inform all families of your child(ren)’s pool testing results.

CDC & DESE Updates on Quarantine Guidance – As you may have seen on the news, the CDC has recently updated quarantine guidelines for those infected with or in close contact with an individual who tests positive for Covid. Massachusetts Department of Public Health and DESE have also adopted these guidelines, effective 12/31/21. The new guidelines allow for lesser quarantine, and also allow for schools to accept Home Antigen tests as either diagnosis or clearance from quarantine. Along with the Hampshire Regional School District, we will be putting into place guidelines for the acceptance of those home tests. Please see the two attached documents (DESE Covid Protocols & Home Test Guidelines) for more information. Please reach out to me with any questions.

★ Typical winter illnesses are starting to appear around the school. Cold, flu and covid symptoms are difficult to differentiate from one another. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic, we MUST take all illness symptoms very seriously. Please communicate any and all illness symptoms with me, via email or phone prior to sending your child to school. We can discuss the best action to take to get your child back to school as soon as possible, and keep our school healthy.

★ Around the state and country, we are seeing a significant increase in covid cases in children, and an increase in in-school transmission, despite health and safety mitigation strategies. In order for us to continue to keep our school community healthy, we are urging you all to continue to take this pandemic seriously. Please wear a mask when you are in public or with anyone outside of your household, social distance where feasible, get vaccinated if you are able, and take all symptoms seriously! Together we can help lessen the risk on our community, and start to see the end of the road.

★ We have officially reached a 54.84% vaccination rate in the building, including both students and staff that are regularly in the building on a daily basis.

  • Friendly reminder, DESE has released that if schools can reach an 80% vaccination rate in the building, they may apply to have the mask mandate removed. In order for us to reach this number, we would need approximately 24 additional students to get vaccinated.
  • Upcoming Vaccination Clinic for all ages 5+ (with boosters available for 12+) at Norris Elementary School – TOMORROW January 8, 2022. Please see the following link for registration: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/northampton
Covid-19 Data Dashboard
 1/1/22 –12/18/21 –Last Update
Positive Cases at R.H. Conwell172
Internal Close Contacts0033
External Close Contacts in Quarantine000
BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Tests Conducted3069
New Positive Cases in Worthington (last 7 days)6126
  Positive Cases in Hampshire County (last 7 days)  1,898  1,406  1,227
Positive Cases in Massachusetts (last 7 days)147,90580,93060,639

Upcoming Events:

January 10, 2022 – Virtual PTO meeting beginning at 3:30.

January 13, 2022 – School Committee Meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Passcode: 251052 Dial by your location

+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

January 17, 2022 – No SCHOOL

January 18, 2022 – No SCHOOL – FACULTY PD

January 27, 2022 – Virtual Parent Zoom beginning at 7:00 p.m. January 31, 2022 – Noon Dismissal – FACULTY PD

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. As always, we appreciate your continued thoughtful feedback and support.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Gretchen Morse-Dobosz

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1 Comment

  1. Hi, Charley,
    For years a few of us have picked up various trash on the roads where we walk (abundant nips, diapers, half eaten food in plastic containers, beer cans, wasted lottery tickets, etc.). Is there any interest in taking a poll in town asking for ideas about how to address this issue. There are no “please don’t litter” signs on the roads. Is caring for our town possible?

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