Weekly Update 9/24/21

Weekly District Update 9/24/21
Posted on 09/24/2021
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.
Please refer to your school calendar for information and planning.
School Committee
Next Meeting:
Email the School Committee with questions, concerns or comments
Superintendent Memo
Dear Natick Families,
As of Monday, September 20th we had 4467 (out of 5314) of our 2021-2022 Required Annual Forms submitted successfully.  That's 84% of forms completed! (Thank you!)
But we need 100% completion by the end of September! 
Why is it important to fill out the Required Annual Form 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.
Pooled Testing Update
Routine COVID Safety Checks, or pooled testing, will begin on Monday, September 27 for students in PreK through grade 6. We are sharing what the process will look like (below) so that you can talk with your child(ren) about what to expect. We appreciate your patience as we geared up for this new process with a new company.
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. (View this kid-friendly video.)
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.  
Testing schedule:
  • Mondays: Wilson, Lilja (including PreSchool) and BenHem
  • Tuesday: Kennedy, Brown, and Johnson
  • Wednesdays: Memorial (including PreSchool) and Natick PreSchool at NHS
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.
Vaccination Update
For Students
This student policy, which is included in a larger pandemic policy, discusses (in yellow) the plans for student vaccination or test for all those students who will participate in athletics or extra curricular activities.
For Staff
A mandatory staff vaccination policy has been voted. The procedures of it, in this Return to School MOU, have also been voted by the School Committee and the EAN (teachers' union). 
Covid Case Update
This will be the format with which we update the community weekly on covid case updates. 
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.  
I share the close contact information and remind everyone that vaccination helps to avoid needing to quarantine should a close contact occur.
Weekly COVID stats. Please refer to the HTML version of this email to read the chart.
Click image to enlarge.
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. 
                                        THERE IS HELP.
                                        National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255
                                        Crisis Text Line Text C2T to 741741
Crisis Helpline Prevention Stickers on Student Devices
This past summer, two 8th-grade students from Kennedy did their Civic Action Project on teen mental health.
Their research led them to advocate to the School Committee and the Superintendent about the status of teen mental health needs post-pandemic. They felt student crisis helpline stickers should be made available to all students (on school-provided devices) with information, just in case any students need help.
Their work was so well done and researched that the District adopted their idea, and students from grades 5-12 will be asked to affix a sticker on their laptop and their attention drawn to a helpline. See the image below for reference.
See below for links to your school newsletters and additional updates.
Have a great weekend,
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 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.
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.)
The links below are updated every week and also available on your school website!
Info for Families
Tax Credits for Kids
It's not too late to file your taxes. You are eligible for the Child Tax Credit, even if you have no income.
The new child tax credit offers qualifying families up to $3,600 for kids under 6 and $3,000 for kids ages 6 to 17.
There is no minimum income requirement. Families will receive advance payments monthly beginning in July 2021. Claiming the credit will not affect eligibility for other benefits.
A coalition of non-profit organizations has created FindYourFunds.org to help eligible families get thousands of dollars in federal tax credits (like the Child Tax Credit) and stimulus payments, even if the families do not usually owe or file taxes. Outreach materials are available in 11 languages.
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.
Families should keep their P-EBT card, if they have one. Many families who were eligible for P-EBT are eligible for SNAP. See below for Natick SNAP information.
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.

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