Weekly District Update 11/12/21

Weekly District Update 11/12/21
Posted on 11/12/2021
NPS Engage District News - Weekly Message - Natick Public Schools - Parent Academy Logo - www.natickps.org
Translation Support:
Visit our Translating Natick Public Schools Documents page for assistance.

Non-Discrimination Statement:
Natick Public Schools does not discriminate in employment nor in its educational programs, services and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, age, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, physical and intellectual differences, immigration status, homeless status, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Federal and State Legislation Addressing Discrimination in Educational Institutions
You will find links to the contacts for each of the following statutes below.

District Calendar
November (upcoming week)
Nov 13-19: Kindness Week
Nov 25: Thanksgiving
Nov 26: Native American Heritage Day
Nov 28-Dec 6: Hanukkah (Chanukah)
Please also refer to your school calendar for school-based activities & information.
School Committee
Next Meeting:
´╗┐Email the School Committee with questions, concerns or comments:
Superintendent Memo
Hello Natick Families,
As I write this, several emergency messages are going out to families as buses have been delayed by the storm's downed power lines. Each bus family group was notified via emergency means, and we thank you for patience as roadways were cleared and made safe. We thank our town safety partners for their work!
Veterans Day Events Ongoing
It is so important to keep shining the spotlight on our veteran community members, family members and staff members. Happy Veterans Day. Today I had the chance to pop in at Brown and see several men and women local veterans reading to our K and 1st-grade students.
Pictured here: our very good friend, Paul Carew, head of Veteran's Services, Natick and Staff Sergeant Shawn Reyes, who read the book Hero Dad to the class after being subjected to 1,000,000 questions about everything! We love this intergenerational reading event, and it made a huge impact on the kids.
Have a great weekend and don't forget to turn your clocks back.
P.S. Don't forget to see below for links to your school newsletters and additional community notices/updates!
DAILY COVID Symptom Screening (Checklist)
Students and staff who are SICK should STAY HOME.
Please monitor for symptoms each morning before school by reviewing the COVID Symptom Checklist (link).
Student Vaccination or Test Policy for Extracurriculars Now in Effect
As of today, all students in grades 7-12--those who have been eligible for full vaccination since the start of school, come under the school committee's newly enacted vaccinate or test policy.
If a student wants to participate in these activities, they must either have proof of vaccination or agree to pooled testing/testing by the school each week. Here is the full policy:
• Eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities including programs outside the school day, school and school club-sponsored events, and school-sponsored athletics.
Subject to law, regulation, and standards established by the appropriate and legitimate regulatory body, the Superintendent may propose changes to district protocols for participation in extracurricular activities, including programs outside the school day, school and school club-sponsored events, and school sponsored athletics subject to the rules established by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. 
For the 2021-2022 school year, FDA approved vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is required for all age-eligible students to participate in extracurricular activities, events and athletics that occur outside the school day.
1. Age-eligible students
a. Students who participate in extracurricular activities including programs outside the school day, school and school club-sponsored events, and school-sponsored athletics are required to be vaccinated, except as outlined in b (below).
b. Students who are unvaccinated are required to participate in state-sponsored testing through Natick Public Schools or submit evidence of a weekly negative COVID-19 PCR test delivered on the same timeline and due dates as the Natick Public Schools program.
2. Age-ineligible students
a. Students are required to participate in state-sponsored pooled, test and stay and symptomatic testing through Natick Public Schools or submit evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test delivered on the same timeline and due dates as the Natick Public Schools program.
There has been much upset from sports and arts groups alike as the mandate falls this week just as banquets are getting started and concerts are gearing up. There is no new policy or decision on this. By MIAA mandate and approval by local league and Dept. of Public Health, sports outdoors (unmasked) and indoor masked volleyball were allowed. Events and practices in the arts with masks/PPE for instruments have been held. Indoor high school singing and events were held. Indoor sporting with spectators for volleyball has been held. At the middle school, however, we have not held indoor performances, since 50% of the kids are NOT vaccinated and were not eligible until this week. Kids in MIAA sports are grades 7 and 8 and ARE eligible for vaccination. We also passed a policy for staff and vendors that all would be vaccinated across the district. That went into effect 10/30.  
All of these factors have been phasing in and have been confusing people--it's a lot to keep track of, believe me! I write to indicate that there is no new policy on anything but the policies for staff, visitors, and kids in extracurriculars has been enacted. If you have not yet consented to testing, and you know your child is not vaccinated, please consider filling out the consent. Many parents (hundreds) have not filled out their beginning of the year forms despite calls and emails from our principals and nurses.
We have asked all sports banquets from the prior season to be held outside and have pushed back any concerts until all the vaccine and test documentation is ready--we anticipated this would be December 1. At that time, since all kids in grades 7-12 will be protected by either testing or vaccination, we can (we hope) resume mostly normal audiences and living since the kids will be protected in some manner.
For grades PK-6, the vaccinations have begun and will be provided for children on Saturday and Sunday of this week at the KMS school. The links are below
Upcoming Vaccine Clinics
Pfizer's COVID vaccine has been approved for ages 5-11, a clinic for the COVID vaccine will be run on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the Kennedy Middle School.
This is for ANYONE who needs a vaccine, adult or child, ages 5-100!
Here is a registration link for the clinic: https://natick-1113.youcanbook.me
Our local partner VCare Pharmacy, led by Natick Resident Vipul Patel, will be holding a free COVID vaccine clinic for kids 5-11 on Sunday, November 14, from 9am - 2pm at Kennedy Middle School.
Please register using the registration link for the clinic: hipaa.jotform.com/VCarePharmacy/NPSVaccineSuperheroes
For your students' second dose, guardians will be given the appointment date and time at check-in for the first dose on November 14.
COVID Vaccine Updates
As you may know, the state has kept a mask mandate for schools through January 15. A vaccination rate at each school of 80% or greater means that I could apply for an exemption to this for that building. NHS is close but shy by 100-150 students. Nurses and administrators continue to reach out--but you could do your part by filling out testing consent or contacting the nurses once your children are vaccinated. They check the state database, but not ever Dr. includes their vaccinations in it. Please get vaccinated! It's the fastest route to our leaving masking and making a full return to normal.
As grades PK-6 become eligible for masking removal, I will advocate for the same. I am developing a flexible masking advisory/policy to guide us through the time post Jan 15, when DESE will make its next decision, or if we are eligible for 80% waiver before that.
Grades and Reports
Please read your principal newsletters today as we have agreed as a team to talk about the impact of grades and scores in this time in the pandemic. Framing the discussion of grades around effort, building stamina and not expecting everything to "turn back to normal" is smart to do. 
We have been having similar conversations with staff—like students, we all expected just to jump back into the swing of it all, and we cannot expect to stay exactly on pace or with pre-pandemic expectations. Thank you for helping your child have this type of framing conversation.
Not seeing the School Newsletters or Community Updates section?
At the bottom of this email, click on "View Entire Message" to see the full Engage newsletter.
11/12/21 UPDATE
Weekly COVID Case Update
We have hit a major high in elementary unvaccinated student cases of COVID and are working with our test and stay protocols and contact tracing each day. Please know this is consuming the entire nursing and leadership staff. 
We encourage you to sign your children up for vaccination and continue to be vigilant about COVID protocols. The horizon for the end is near but many can still become infected.  
COVID stats for 11/12/21 that show: 1 student case at Brown (no close contacts); 1 student case at Ben-Hem (no close contacts)
Chart Terminology:
CC's = Close Contacts
CC does not mean that these students are in quarantine. Depending on the circumstances, masking and vaccination status, location. As a reminder, direct contact from school nurses and principals occur if a person is a close contact.  We share the close contact information and remind everyone that vaccination helps to avoid needing to quarantine should a close contact occur.
The following close contacts are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols:
  • Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts: Individuals who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols. 
  • Classroom close contacts: An individual who is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom while both individuals were masked, so long as the individuals were spaced at least 3 feet apart, is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.  
  • Bus close contacts: Individuals on buses must be masked according to federal requirements. As such, individuals who are masked on buses when windows are open are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.  
  • Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days: An individual who has been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and then becomes a close contact of someone with COVID-19 is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols if:  
  • The exposure occurred within 90 days of the onset of their own illness AND
  • The exposed individual is recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms.
11/5/21 UPDATE
Pooled Testing (grades PreK-6)
Weekly Update:
There was a positive pool at Brown and Kennedy this week but as you can see, lots of close contacts across the district. Nurses indicate most are from in family spread, but we did have one case of spread within Brown School.  
Testing Schedule:
  • Mondays: Wilson, Lilja (including PreSchool) and BenHem
  • Tuesdays: Kennedy, Brown, and Johnson
  • Wednesdays: Memorial (including PreSchool) and Natick PreSchool at NHS
Routine COVID Safety Checks, or pooled testing, will begin on Monday, September 27 for students in PreK through grade 6. (View this kid-friendly video to see how samples are collected.)
A staff member will come to the classroom door. Students who have consent will blow their nose, sanitize their hands and then go out into the hallway. Students will be provided with a swab, which looks like a Q-Tip. Students will be instructed to swab both nostrils by placing the swab slightly into one nostril and rub it in a circle 4 times and then repeat with the other nostril. The swab will then be placed into a tube with other swabs. This is the pool. Students will then return to class. 
If a pool comes back positive, parents will be notified and the students will then be tested with the BinaxNow rapid test. This will allow us to identify the positive case. If the pool comes back negative, no further testing or notification will occur.  
If your child has tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days, please complete the form linked below, as we do not have updated information from the Board of Health. If students have been positive in the past 90 days participate in pooled testing, this will result in a positive pool. We need to ensure that these students are not tested within the 90 day period. This information will remain confidential.
COVID Procedures
Included in this link are all the COVID Return to School Processes and Protocols (link) you need to know about our return to school. If you and your child are eligible to be vaccinated, please do so. It is the most important step to helping our community. Our three-part testing program, which allows students to avoid unnecessary quarantine and allows us to begin routine, weekly pooled COVID testing as we did last year, will begin as soon as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides us the resources (tests and person power) to execute the program.
PLEASE NOTE: Our school nurses are here to serve students and their medical needs. Please do not call school seeking advice if you or your family are sick or quarantined, traveling or testing. If our nurses contact you, it will be about contact tracing within school and outcomes of our testing programs in school.
Our school nurses are NOT contact tracers or advisors for the Natick Department of Public Health like they were last year. If your child is a close contact and eligible for any symptom or test and stay testing you will be notified directly. All other calls should go to your Dr. or department of public health relative to your community based COVID cases.  
COVID Information Website
We have updated our COVID information website to include all the relevant information that we share in this weekly email. We encourage you to save the NPS COVID information page (link) and visit often. (The direct link is: www.natickps.org/covid.)
The links below are updated every week and also available on your school website!
Upcoming Events
Natick Drama Workshop presents:
"Showtime!" (this weekend - Nov 13-14 at Wilson Middle School)
Natick Drama Workshop is proud to announce that after nearly two years with empty stages and audience seats, live theater is BACK!
"Showtime!" celebrates the past, present and future of NDW with highlights from some of our favorite shows, and you're invited to join the celebration!
Tickets are now on sale for all three shows, happening over November 13-14, 2021 at Wilson Middle School. Tickets can be purchased online. (Note: Tickets are no longer available for purchase as the event has passed.)
Masks will be mandatory for all audience members to protect theater-goers, actors, and crew.
SPARK Kindness presents:
Kindness Week (Nov 13-19)
Kindness Week in Natick - that will kick off Saturday and be running all starting tomorrow (November 13-19).
Have you seen the banner across Main Street!
This is an opportunity to spread the word about how your organization gave or received kindness this year. A brief story, a post, a picture on social media are all welcome (and NPS is so good at this!) Simple is powerful.
If you share and tag SPARK Kindness and use the hashtag #KindnessWeekNatick, we will spread the word and amplify the good!
Natick 180 hosts Jon Mattleman for a talk about The Secret Lives of Teens
Natick 180 is hosting a presentation led by Jon Mattleman entitled The Secret Lives of Teens.
This presentation will take place over two evenings - November 30th and December 7th from 7:00 - 8:00 PM. The target audience for this presentation is parents, caregivers, and community members caring for teens and tweens (mostly those at the middle and high school level).
Attendees will automatically be registered for both evenings. If you are unable to attend both nights - no worries! A recording of both evenings will be available for 4 days after each session.
Advanced Child Tax Credit
There is still time for families to get more money through the Advanced Child Tax Credit - up to $1,800 per child this year, plus any missed stimulus payments ($600-$3,200 per person).
Your family can have no income or low income to get this money, and the application process is easier now! Families should sign up by Monday, November 15.
How to Have Difficult Conversations (with Kindness)
November 16 @ 7:00 p.m.
Though conflict is part of life, many of us struggle with how to communicate during challenging situations. In this program, Roxy Manning, PhD, psychologist and expert in Nonviolent Communication, will offer strategies to address conflict (and stand up for ourselves and others) with a compassionate approach.
ASL interpretation will be provided at this event.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.