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Weekly District Update 10/8/21

Weekly District Update 10/8/21
Posted on 10/08/2021
NPS Engage District News - Weekly Message - Natick Public Schools - Parent Academy Logo - www.natickps.org
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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.
     
Calendar
Oct 11 - Schools Closed (Columbus Day)
Oct 13 - Early Release Day
Observances
  • Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
  • National Bullying Prevention. Month
  • National School Principal Month
Please also refer to your school calendar for school community activities & information.
School Committee
Next Meeting:
Email the School Committee with questions, concerns or comments
Observances
Columbus Day
Columbus Day is a holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492, when he landed in the Bahamas. He became the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings established colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.
Columbus Day is traditionally observed on the second Monday in October, and brings attention to the impact Columbus had on globalization between the Americas and Europe. Additionally, for some, Columbus Day also serves as an opportunity to celebrate Italian-American heritage.
Indigenous Peoples' Day
While many people may be celebrating Columbus Day on Monday, there are some who may also be observing Monday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Since 1991, various cities/towns and states have observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday of October. The purpose of this observance is to honor the history and cultures of Native/Indigenous people in the United States by promoting representation of Native/Indigenous history and raises awareness to the past and present challenges faced by Native/Indigenous people.
Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
Learn more about the activities the Learning Disabilities Association of America has planned for each day this month to shine light and educate the public on learning disabilities.
During this month people in the disability community, advocates, and supporters strive to bring national awareness to learning disabilities.
National Bullying Prevention Month
More than one out of every five students will be bullied this year, chances are this is happening to someone you know and care about.
Bullying is a community-wide issue that cannot be ignored.
National School Principals Month
Each October, National Principals Month recognizes the essential role that principals play in making a school great.
Our principals are among the hardest working individuals in education. They set the academic tone for our schools, and it is their vision, dedication, and determination that provide the mobilizing force for achieving student success in Natick!
Superintendent Memo
Dear Natick Families,
It has been a pleasure to see you at our open house and curriculum events, and we all very much appreciate the lovely notes you have sent to us/our offices celebrating the ability to come together, see others and see our teachers in action. We want YOU to know that WE are so grateful that you came and your energy and positivity buoys us up!  
Enjoy the long weekend and we look forward to seeing you at many of our fall traditions/events which we have worked to reshape to be outdoors and as safe as possible.  
I have recently attended the New England Regional Superintendent's conference and presented on our district's focus on relationship-building and connection/relationship-mapping for our students. I continue to be grateful for the strong work of our teachers, the support of our community and school board as we work on our strategic plan focused squarely on maximizing outcomes for every child—moving them from where they are to their next best version of themselves.  
A few key updates from the district are below:
UPDATE
Annual Form Completion
As of Wednesday, September 29th we have 4,739 out of 5,322 2021-2022 Required Annual Forms submitted successfully — that's 89% completed! But we need 100% completion by the end of September! 
Why is it important to fill out the Required Annual Forms for each student annually?
  • Update important emergency, contact, and medical information for your child.
  • Complete required consent forms for the year including photo release and use of technology tools for the classroom.
  • Complete surveys related to Covid testing this year.
Need help completing the form? Contact pssupport@natickps.org or your child's school office.
NEW DISTRICT POLICY
Vaccination or Pooled Testing Updates for Students in Grades 7-12
Now that School Committee has passed policies for extracurricular activities and vaccination or test requirement, our nurses will be reaching out to families about this matter. 
As part of our health information system, the State shares vaccination status with our nurses in a protected manner through our State database. If a child's status is unknown (or not recorded) in the State database, and the child is involved in extracurricular activities or athletics, our nurses will be reaching out to understand the status of these students who are eligible for vaccination. 
If your family would prefer to participate in the testing option and you have not consented to in school testing via the Powerschool portal, please do that now. Our staff and the state are not designing the pooled testing processes for this next phase of policy implementation.
UPDATE
Mask Mandate from the Department of Education
The Department of Education has extended the mask mandate in schools through November 1 and our Board of Health still has a local mandate in place.
I will again visit the Board of Health on November 1 and we will determine if this mandate will be extended or ended.
Surveys on Social Emotional Needs, School Culture and Student's Sense of Belonging
If you have been a parent or guardian of students in NPS for a while, you know we survey you, our staff and our students grades 3-12 on various topics in a given year. This year, we are surveying students with an eye toward gaining a baseline understanding of their social emotional status and needs in addition to measuring their connectedness to school, friends, and adults. 
We will be surveying our staff on their well-being and we will, in January, ask you to talk to us about how you're feeling about school, our collaboration and your child's needs.  
The student surveys will come in the next few weeks at all schools for the grades noted above. Staff will be surveyed in November. We will seek info from you in January. We will use the results to continue to target and refocus our recovery efforts and to personalize learning and maximize outcomes for each student.  
We will share results as they emerge.
See below for links to your school newsletters and additional updates.
Have a great weekend,
Anna
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.
COVID UPDATES
10/8/21 UPDATE
Weekly COVID Case Update
Please see below for the weekly COVID case updates. Click on the image to enlarge.
Chart Terminology:
CC's = Close Contacts
Important to note:
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.
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).
10/8/21 UPDATE
Pooled Testing (grades PreK-6)
Weekly Update:
No infected pools this week.
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 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.)
WEEKLY SCHOOL UPDATES!
The links below are updated every week and also available on your school website!
NATICK HIGH WEEKLY UPDATE
KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST ON WHAT'S HAPPENING AT NHS
ADDITIONAL INFO FOR FAMILIES
Upcoming Events
SAVE THE DATE!
Kennedy Middle School Ribbon Cutting and Planetarium Dedication
We are pleased to invite you to celebrate the ribbon cutting of this milestone project, where we will also recognize Mr. Ed Jameson with the dedication of the new planetarium in his honor.
COMING SOON
Natick is United Presents:
Racial Justice Series - Brave Conversations on Advancing Social Justice
Please join Natick Is United for a unique three night experience. Each session will build on the last, as we work together and in small groups to create shared language, and forge deeper connections by telling our stories and listening to the experiences of others. By the end of the third evening we will have a deeper understanding of each other, and be able to utilize what we have learned to move awareness into action in our own lives.
This is a FREE virtual event with limited capacity.
Questions? Contact us at natickisunited@gmail.com
WE'RE HIRING!
Join the Natick Team
We’re looking for people who care about kids and have a passion for education.
Sound like you or someone you know?
Then let’s work together! Check out a few of the district openings below and apply today!

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