Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of June 1, 2021
It is hard to believe it is the first of June! In some ways it feels like we are just getting rolling, and we cannot be close to the end of the school year, but in other ways it has felt like the longest year ever. I am sure you can appreciate all of the mixed feelings about this challenging year. I have been so pleased with all of the teaching and learning that has occurred during this year, whether it was online or in-person. Thank you, to all caregivers, for your incredible patience and flexibility through all the changes and bumps along the way. We can certainly celebrate the love
and support in our Ryan Road School Community! It has been the glue that held us all together!
I sent this last week, but in case you missed it…
Although Governor Bakers shared new guidance stating students no longer have to wear masks when outdoors, even if distance cannot be maintained effective as of May 18th, the district’s Face Covering Policy will remain in place. All students, staff, and caregivers must wear masks on school property, in the school building, and on buses. We will keep you posted if anything changes within the school district.
Placement Plans for Next Year
It is hard to believe that I am starting to think about the 2021-2022 school year (mostly, just looking forward to being back to normalcy!), but I wanted to let you know that we will conduct the process of class placement similarly to the way we did the last several years. Class placement decisions will be made by the end of this school year, and your child’s teacher for next year will be communicated to you with his/her end of year report card. Also, we plan to have a brief gathering of next year’s classes and teachers on the last day of school. We have found that this process eliminates some of the summer anxiety that can occur by waiting until the end of the summer. I have received positive feedback about the process from students, teachers, and families.
I will be working carefully with teachers to create class groupings that work well together and build positive, productive learning communities. Families cannot select teachers, and I have confidence that we will all work well together to ensure a good year ahead for all of our students. All of the teachers at our school are committed to developing positive relationships and nurturing academic success. However, if you feel that you have necessary information to share with me before this process begins, please do not hesitate to contact me by Monday, June 7. Thank you!
• This week’s photos show some of our wonderful readers enjoying books outdoors, recess racers, gardeners preparing a new bed, one of our creative chalk artists, and a couple of our students providing a wonderful morning concert at arrival last week. It was a fabulous way to start the day. Also, in case you missed it, we received some new trees located by our school sign. Our others did not make it through the winter. We got a good deal on the trees from the Hadley Garden Center, and the Celluci family planted them! Thank you, and they look great!
• I wanted to inform you that the district elementary schools have made the difficult decision to not attend Nature’s Classroom (as we have known and loved it) moving forward. For those of you who have been part of our community for many years, it has been a wonderful opportunity for our 5th graders to learn out in the wild up in Becket for 4 days and 3 nights. However, it has been getting hard to ensure that the trip is accessible to all students because of the overnight aspect, and we really have to make sure that all of our learning opportunities are inclusive for all. It was also getting difficult for teachers to commit to that much time away from their families.
So, looking ahead, we are working on plans for a 5th Grade Nature Week full of daily adventure, exploring science and nature in our region, and participating in team-building activities. They will have the opportunity to explore various places in the area. I understand that this will cause some great disappointment, especially for our 4th grade students and caregivers. Please let me know if you have any questions.
• COVID news–I want to make sure everyone understands the COVID routine if someone in our community tests positive. Anyone who has been within 6 feet of that person for 15 minutes or more is considered a “close contact” and needs to quarantine and get tested. Contact tracers will notify close contacts and answer any questions you may have.
I know that it is unsettling when we have a positive case (fingers crossed we are all done with them!), but we are being very careful here at school and continue to have no school transmissions. Please remain vigilant regarding safety protocols and procedures, as a positive case impacts many children and families. I encourage all caregivers to get vaccinated.
• Here is the information regarding “Pool Testing”. Some caregivers have asked for this again. Also, with the Pool Testing, no news is good news. You do not get contacted if we have negative results (which is only what we have received so far!). You can sign up at anytime.
The district will begin a voluntary free weekly COVID-19 testing program on or about May 7, 2021. Regular pooled testing of students and staff for COVID-19 will be an additional layer of protection for safe in-person learning. We strongly encourage you to join our pooled testing program. Pooled testing can quickly detect, trace and isolate COVID-19 positive individuals. Testing is quick, easy and is not painful. This testing program will help identify positive cases in people who do not show any symptoms of illness. Pooled testing will help lower the risk of transmission and allow us to have more consistent in-person instruction.
Pooled testing for Northampton public schools will happen each Friday. The County Ambulance COVID Response Team will provide direct nasal swab testing and will observe self-swabbing by students and staff. The nasal swab may be self-administered for students grade 2 and above. The nasal swab is performed by gently swabbing the lower inner nostril on each side. Health services staff will provide follow-up antigen testing for any individuals in a positive pool.
This program is voluntary and caregiver consent is required for the participation of minor students. To enroll in the pooled testing process, please complete the informed consent form found at this link.
MCAS Remaining Dates (plus we will have to complete a few make-ups)
Fifth Grade (both classes)
Friday, June 4—Math
Thursday, June 10—Science
From our Nurse, Karen Schiaffo:
The COVID-19 protocol is as follows:
In order to minimize risk and keep the school community safe, district nurses are required to send students home that have 1 symptom. Symptoms include: headache, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, chills, fatigue, body aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, or fever since these mimic COVID-like illness. Caregivers will be asked to contact their health care provider to see if testing is needed. There may be other diagnoses that cause these symptoms and your provider can discuss that with you. In order for your student to return to school, you will need to provide a negative test result or a note from your provider documenting an alternative diagnosis as the cause for the symptoms.
Many students experience seasonal allergies at this time of year and allergy symptoms can mimic COVID-like symptoms. Please consult your child’s health care provider about treating your child’s seasonal allergy to avoid your child being sent home for symptoms that appear Covid-like.
Remember to review the Student Daily Checklist before sending your child to school.
Thank you for your cooperation.
• The 2021-2022 school calendar has been approved by the school committee. Here it is. Please note the change in school hours (in the lower left-hand corner) that were recently approved by the School Committee to allow for a later start for high school students.2021.2022.Calendar
Next year, our school hours will be 8:00-2:10.
• Looking for information about Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 School Year?
Also, I have had many questions about whether or not we are planning to have our kindergarten students in-person full time, and that is certainly our plan. We are all looking forward to a typical and spectacular start at Ryan Road School!
Important Upcoming Dates:
• Wednesday, June 2: Water Fun in PE classes! Thank you, Ms. Minton!
• Friday, June 4 at 6:00: Virtual Talent Show!
• Tuesday, June 15: Chromebook Collection here at R.K. Finn RR! Please have your child bring their Chromebooks to school
• Wednesday, June 16 at 1:30: Outdoor 5th Grade Celebration (Rain Date Thursday, June 17).
• Wednesday, June 16 at 6:30: Last PTO Meeting for this year!
• Friday, June 18: Last day of School! 12:20 Dismissal
Stay up to date with all of our school activities on our School Website’s Calendar!
I hope that all families feel welcome, comfortable, and valued at our school. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Sarah Madden, Principal