Tuesday, 3/24/2020 - SAU29 COVID-19 Update

Good Afternoon,

So, this actually happened as seen in today’s Union Leader:  “Vice President Mike Pence praised New Hampshire teachers and school administrators Monday, saying Granite State educators are “setting the pace” regarding efforts to transition to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During a briefing by the  Coronavirus Task Force late Monday, Pence said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education are setting up a website and best practices for K-12 distance learning.

“And she actually told me that the states of Florida and New Hampshire are really setting the pace for K-12,” said Pence.”

By the responses that have been coming in, it is clear that our communities are proud of the efforts that have gone into making remote learning a reality.  On behalf of our hard working staff, thank you!  

Earlier today I issued a “Snow Art Challenge” to basically everyone.  Strictly voluntary with no requirements aside from creativity and appropriateness.  The responses to that have been overwhelming as well!  Thank you for taking the time to pause from the grind and enjoy the outdoors.  The volume of photos that have come in will require us to create a slideshow as everyone’s work is a masterpiece and deserves to be included.  Please check the SAU29 and KSD Facebook pages tonight.  For the record, I issued the challenge to some community partners as well.  You can find that on my Twitter account I shared yesterday.

It is probably appropriate here to remind people that we’re on Facebook as well. Check us out at SAU29 or at Keene School District.

Stay safe everyone and please remember to check in with others and yourself.

Be well,

Robb

 

***New or updated information in BOLD.***

Remote Learning:

The positive comments continue to come in from parents, teachers and yes, our students!  We will continue to monitor the remote learning progress in all of our buildings to determine if any considerations need to be made with regard to the structure that we currently have in place.

Communication: We were alerted to an issue about parents not receiving messages that went out toward the end of last week.  It seems to be a setting preference for notifications that can be updated individually.  If you have been receiving these updates via text message only, please log into your PowerSchool portal and enable the email notification as well. We will be updating our website with common help request to help you find answers quicker

Help with classroom. We are also asking if you could fill out the survey to help us gather information to help improve online learning in our Districts.

Special Education:

Special Education Leaders from around the state gathered remotely this afternoon to discuss the challenges that New Hampshire is in this area. It was reassuring to learn that SAU 29’s Special Education Department on target with regard to remote instruction, IDEA timelines and Special Education referrals.  In fact, the SAU 29 Special Education Department sees this as a potential opportunity to learn and connect in ways that may extend well beyond this pandemic emergency.  Bottom Line: our staff continue to make substantial progress on how to deliver specialized instruction remotely. As of yesterday, all families should have the learning materials and resources that are needed for remote learning.  Please reach out to your child’s building administrator if you feel your child’s instructional needs are not being met.  An administrator from your child’s building will reach back very soon.  

Also, please continue to keep an eye out for any additional important FERPA releases that may be issued as they relate to group therapy, confidentiality and group instruction. Lastly, the Student Services Office continues to  move forward with the daily business of Special Education (evaluations, meetings, Medicaid ) remotely.  Thank you!

Meals:

During the first 6 days of the curbside meal program, our dedicated food service staff has distributed nearly 3,200 meals.  Students DO NOT have to be present during meal pick-up. Given remote learning time conflicts, parents/guardians will be allowed to pick up meals for their student(s) and the program will shift the pick-up time for Keene sites. Meals for any student in SAU 29 can be picked up behind Franklin School and behind Keene High School from 7:30am-11:30 am every school day. We will be handing out two days worth of meals on Mondays and three on Wednesdays so that families only have to make two trips per week. If you cannot pick up on Monday or Wednesday we will still be open for meal pick up Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  If your child cannot be present due to online learning schedules, you can still pick up meals and we will record their first and last name and the number of meals you are picking up.

In addition to the two pick up locations in Keene we added an option for those families that live in the surrounding town districts. Delivery to SAU#29 town schools started yesterday and will continue tomorrow, Wednesday March 25. On Mondays (2 days of meals) and Wednesdays (3 days of meals) for pick up at noon at each school. An email to those eligible will have the order form that will need to be submitted by Thursday of each preceding week. One form per student please. Keene High Students living in Winchester may use their town's school lunch program or may opt to use either aforementioned Keene sites.  Menus will vary based on availability and we will continue to update families as things change.

For further clarification please call Food Services at (603)357-9011.

Homeless Students:

The McKinney Vento Liaison for SAU #29 has been working with individual families and their respective schools to ensure that students who are homeless are able to fully engage in remote learning. 

Technology:

The technology team is working to finalize the deployment of chromebooks to remaining students without devices while working hard to answer tech questions from students, parents and educators.   Please continue to share the help desk number, (603)355-5351, with students and families.  It is the quickest way to get needed support.  Bob Miliken and his entire staff will be working to provide technical assistance. If you need support with Google classroom please try here for help first. If the guide fails to solve your issue do not hesitate to call our help desk.

School Buildings:

or this week, March 23 through March 27, all school buildings are open to staff only. There are no visitors permitted to enter the buildings. Buildings will limit hours, opening  from 7:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. These limited hours will facilitate a disinfection schedule so we can rest assured that our facilities will be safe for staff to arrive each morning.  All buildings will be closed on the weekends to all staff.  

Social Distancing:

While many students may view this period as vacation time, it has the added benefit of slowing down and preventing the transmission of the virus from one person to the next.  It is our recommendation that everyone carefully consider the impact of participation in daily routines and activities not only on your own family but also the impact it may have on others as well.  

Contact Information:

Dr. Rick Matte is the lead contact person for all COVID-19 inquiries and concerns at all SAU 29 schools and districts.  He can be reached at rmatte@sau29.org

Governor Sununu has also activated a 24 hour COVID-19 hotline for all related needs and supports. The hotline can be reached by dialing 211.

COVID-19 Resources: