R. H. Conwell News 1/14/2022

Dear Community:

Health Center: We would like to thank the Hilltown Health Center for their generous donation of COVID at- home- test.  In the coming week, Nurse Sam and I will communicate when we will  distribute these tests to our families.  

DESE Update:  DESE has extended the mask mandate for schools until February 28, 2022.

Calendar:  Last day of school  June 16, 2022 with a noon dismissal.

Nurse Sam Update: 

  • 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.
  • Pool Testing – We completed our first round of pool testing on Tuesday, and had 42 students and staff participate.  All of the pools were negative.  However, on Tuesday evening we were informed about a new case in the preschool.
  • 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 56.04% 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 Events:

January 17, 2022 – No SCHOOL

January 18, 2022  – No SCHOOL – FACULTY PD

January 20, 2022 – Virtual PTO meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m.

January 27, 2022 – Virtual Parent Zoom beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Passcode: 551638

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+13017158592,,83768785785#,,,,*551638# US (Washington DC)

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 long weekend!

Gretchen Morse-Dobosz

Superintendent/Principal

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