Weekly Update 9/17/21

Weekly District Update 9/17/21
Posted on 09/17/2021
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.
Sept 17, 2021
Superintendent Memo
Early Release Day (all grades)
September 22
Please refer to your school (or the district) calendar for information and planning.
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15)
Wednesday (Sept 15) marked the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
During this month we celebrate the history, contributions, and achievements of Hispanic Americans.
Email the School Committee with questions, concerns or comments
Dear Natick Families,
It has been nice to bump into so many of you recently and "see" you at pick up and drop off. 
It's been nice to see the kids, the buses and the teachers getting into their grooves and making connections in support of each other. 
We have guided teachers to focus on developing relationships, class culture, and on building executive functioning (organizing and planning) skills that have atrophied during pandemic schooling. Focus on these important aspects will help us to support learning more deeply and effectively.
Have a lovely weekend!
Covid Cases
Please know that the department of education has begun reporting cases each Wednesday on it's website. We will be reporting to you the week's cases on Fridays, so you will see a discrepancy. 
For example, this week, DESE reported that we had 0 cases, and that was true as of Wednesday but, today, we had two staff cases at Wilson. So, our count is 2 staff cases. DESE did not report on weeks prior to this. If your student is a close contact you will be notified and all the procedures are in our Return to School Handbook.
Vaccination and Pooled Testing
The School Committee passed a staff vaccination policy recently and we are working through negotiations to implement the policy. 
At their meeting Monday, the Committee will take up the discussion of vaccination OR pooled testing policy (basically students have to either be vaccinated or tested weekly) for students who participate in extracurricular activities. Here is the information for the meeting:
Join Our Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 203 856 6119
Passcode: 987179
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Meeting ID: 203 856 6119
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COVID Procedures
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).
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. NPS is also awaiting consents from over 2000 families to allow the testing.
Please know that the school committee may decide to mandate both vaccinations and pooled testing for any eligible student who wants to participate in athletics or extra curricular activities of any type. Get started on the consent form (in your PowerSchool annual forms) and getting vaccinated now -- don't let anything disrupt your child's full schooling experience.
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.)
All COVID updates from March 2020 through June 2021 have been archived and are linked on that page.
The links below are updated every week and also available on your school website!
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) & Update on Nutrition Resources
As the new school year starts, families may have questions about the availability of P-EBT and school meals. P-EBT was temporarily created to replace meals during the pandemic while schools were closed to in-person learning. Based on federal rules, students attending school in-person are not eligible for P-EBT. Universal free school meals are available for all Massachusetts students this school year.
More information will be shared for this school year when available. Districts are asked to please advise families to keep their P-EBT card if they have one. Districts can also share that many families who were eligible for P-EBT are eligible for SNAP.
Households can find information and apply at DTAConnect.com.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Natick Families
SNAP benefits allow you to purchase healthy food while stretching your grocery
budget. Benefits of SNAP include:
  • Monthly funds to purchase foods that meet your dietary needs, and that you enjoy.
  • Automatic enrollment in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which gives you back $1 for each dollar you spend on eligible fruits and vegetables purchased from a HIP vendor, up to a monthly maximum.
  • Ability to stretch your grocery budget even further by shopping at HIP authorized vendors at the Natick Winter Farmers Market.
Eligibility for SNAP is based on income, household size and certain expenses. Please call to complete an application or for more information on how our Human Services Department can offer your family assistance.
Debbie Budd, LSW
Natick Human Services
508-647-6540, ext.1906
“This institution is an equal opportunity provider”
Upcoming Events
Natick 180 Workshop for Parents and Caregivers:
Learn a Better Way
LEARN A BETTER WAY is a virtual family communication skills workshop providing hope, learning and support for parents and caregivers facing substance use in their families.
Natick 180 helps to sponsor of this is a workshop series and is intended for parents and caregivers who face substance use in their families. The workshop provides these individuals with communication tools and support that are helpful when a family experiences substance use challenges. 
The first day of the workshop is Thursday, October 7th from 7-8:30PM and the workshop has two 5-part weekly series that families can participate in.
Upcoming Event with SPARK Kindness
How to Navigate Re-entry (to School) Stress
Wed, Oct 20, 2021 7:00 PM EST
School meals will free for all students through June 30, 2022!
*The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the extension of free school meals for all students now through June 30, 2022. This extension allows us to serve free meals to all students.*
The free meal extension from the USDA is temporary and separate from our regular Free and Reduced Meal program.
If your family might require free, or reduced-priced, meals after this extension, please complete a free and reduced meal application.

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