As we begin to wrap up 2020, I want to open by expressing my gratitude to everyone, our entire staff, our school boards, our families, our communities and most definitely our students. Your sacrifices of every shred of “normalcy” throughout this past year are unprecedented. The individual and shared hardships this year has bestowed upon us simply do not measure up to anything most (if not all) of us have had to endure and the impacts that this year has had has touched everyone to some level or another. And yet through it all, here we are about to say farewell to the year we would all like to bring closure to with the hope and belief that the next one will bring relief. So I simply say to each and every one of you - THANK YOU!
Thank you to the more than 2,000 parents/guardians and 500 staff members that responded to the survey sent out last week (as of the writing of this update Monday morning). The survey will have been closed by the release of this update and we will be going through the results over the coming days and sharing the results more publicly at a later date. As expected, there are many beliefs from those that responded with no magic answer that will fully satisfy everyone. The two priorities moving forward will continue to be the safety of our students and staff, and returning to onsite learning.
I also want to thank the many folks that have been reaching out to their child(ren)’s teacher(s), counselor(s) and principal(s) with questions and concerns. I have been receiving feedback that many of the concerns have been resolved through those conversations. As mentioned before, we all want the best possible outcomes for our students and when those lines of communication have been used, we have seen progress on that front.
Included below is the updated COVID-19 data from NH DHHS. If you are looking to follow it yourself on a regular basis, here are the links to the places we pull the information from on a daily basis:
- NH DHHS Daily Update - provides daily count of new cases for the state and individual counties.
- NH DHHS Interactive Dashboard - provides new hospitalization and positivity rates for the state and counties.
- NH DHHS Home - provides town by town cumulative cases as well as active case data. Please note that you will need to download the spreadsheet under the maps to see the town by town information.
I feel compelled to let you know that there is a discrepancy of 11 between what is currently being reported as the cumulative total for Cheshire County and what we have been tracking since the start of this pandemic. Our county total has been taken directly from the daily updates and recorded when they are posted. We have gone back to verify the daily totals we recorded from the updates and they are accurate. We have reached out to NHDHHS on multiple occasions and there has been no clear explanation other than the information that is received on their end is updated continually and not captured in the daily updates. I will reset our county total to match theirs effective on January 1, 2021.
Finally, I am pleased to bring you the second installment from the most recent student challenge on what our students have said they are looking forward to in 2021. There are a total of three slideshows for you to enjoy, again with the talented musical performances of our high school music departments! Interesting just how many of the responses align with the top priorities mentioned above!
Student Challenge: We had quite a number of responses from students in all school levels. Thank you to all the students that sent in their replies. Here is the second installment of the results of that challenge. These are the responses from the “What I look forward to in 2021” portion.
These are the responses from last week on the “What I learned in 2020” prompt. Enjoy!
COVID-19 Data: Providing all of the COVID-19 data that we have been tracking since the onset of the pandemic back in March, 2020.
- NH COVID-19 2020
- Cheshire County COVID-19 2020
- SAU29 Towns Cumulative COVID-19 Data 2020
- SAU29 Towns Current COVID-19 Positives 2020
- Community Transmission Slides
E-Flyer Distribution Program: As a reminder, there are many flyers that our schools are asked to send home throughout the school year. We also post these flyers on our website and it can be found by going to this E-Flyer Distribution Program embedded link.
Mental Health & Cultural Awareness: Below are some resources that may be helpful.
- https://www.novanthealth.org/healthy-headlines/6-ways-to-help-school-age-kids-navigate-fully-remote-learning to help readjust to remote learning.
- https://www.calhoun.org/blog/blog-stories/~board/calhoun-stories-blog/post/tips-for-helping-your-child-adjust-to-distance-learning to help adjust to remote learning.
- https://www.unicef.org/parenting/talking-to-your-kids-about-racism to help talk with your children, our students about racism. This article covers ages ranging under 5 years old, between 6-11years old, and 12+.
- https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/5-ways-stand-against-racism-and-injustice/37355 This article addresses acceptable ways to condemn racism.
- https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/how-white-people-can-talk-their-kids-about-racism/37361 This is a great way to start a conversation about racial issues with your kids. Racism thrives in silence.
- The 5 Signs to help you identify and support others who may be struggling more than usual at this challenging time, or at any time.
Reporting Abuse: If you see something, please say something. You can find guidance on the NH Department of Health and Human Services website.
- Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention - We’re here for you 24/7. You don’t have to be in crisis to call. Call our hotline at: 603-352-3782 or 1-888-511-MCVP
- National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Meals: Free Meal Distribution: Every student in SAU 29 and all children 18 and under are eligible for free meals through June 2021. While SAU 29 districts are fully remote there are two pick-up days each week representing 7 days’ worth of meals.
Due to the holiday break, the final meal pick up of December will be on Tuesday, December 22nd. Each student will receive 5 days’ worth of meals. The order form is now open to sign up for meal pick-up Tuesday, December 22nd. Only use your student's name when placing the order, do not use a parent name. You will receive an email confirmation after placing your order.
The program will resume after the break for meal pick-up on January 5th and January 8th and the order form for those days will be open starting December 28th. Families have 10 locations to choose from with a variety of times covering most of the day.
Please mark your calendars to remember to pick up your meals next Tuesday. Please contact Keene Food Services with any questions. 603-357-9011
Screening Assessment: It is our intent to return to onsite learning after the holiday break on January 4th provided transmission rates have subsided. As such, we are requesting that the screening assessment continue to be submitted during this period. It will allow our school nurses to continue to monitor and provide support with regard to the health of the school community.
Special Education: Special Education continues to work very closely with building leaders to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are met. As always, please reach out to your child’s special education teacher or building principal with questions. You can also contact the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email email@example.com if you have any questions. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Thank you!
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Technology: Please be aware of unsolicited email and advertisements. There are a lot of scams going on right now and it is important to be aware of email phishing efforts. Things to look out for are:
- Emails from unknown senders.
- Emails that look like it is someone you know but the address is not the correct address.
- Ad links in social media advertisements that ask to send cookies.
All of the listed above are common email scams. To better protect your school email it is also recommended not to use your school email for online shopping or social media.
Teachers, we have installed some software for remote teaching. Currently we have Kami which integrates with Google classroom. Screencastify will let you record your computer screen to share with the class. You can also have your image in the corner of the screen as you record the lesson. EquatIO Easily add equations, formulas, graphs to G Suite for Education. It has a scientific calculator, and periodic table charts.
Parents and Students, Chromebooks should be used for your school work only. Please do not eat while using your school issued Chromebook. We are experiencing high volumes of damaged Chromebooks due to spills. Please make sure you fill in the online registration for your students. It is important to have all the correct information in place.
Technology support during COVID19: Please see the update.
Power School update:
Power school online registration help can be found here.
Please remember to fill out the youtube permission form. For KHS and KMS
Help desk number: (603) 352-0640 ext 3871. For help with the Home user and remote learning click here.