Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of March 22, 2021

Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of March 22, 2021

Dear Caregivers,

I hope you were able to enjoy the lovely weekend! Spring is in the air!

Photos

• This week’s photos show fun on the playground. I cannot tell you how many “items” I have received through that little window on the playground. Imaginations abound! And, our kindergarten students recently received some wonderful new blocks from our PTO. They will be wonderful for outdoor play, too!

In case you missed the email communication last week…Here it is again! And, a little bit of new information at the end.

Here is some information about school starting on April 5 that might be helpful:

• A question I have already received quite a bit is what the school hours will be when we return. They will be 8:30 (adult supervision starts on the playground), 8:50 school begins, and 3:00 dismissal (just like the pre-COVID days!).

• We will continue to make breakfast available outdoors starting at 8:30. Please have your children come before the bell at 8:50 if they are interested in receiving breakfast.

• Most aspects of in-person school will stay the same as they have been for the last several months during the hybrid learning (masking for all, sanitizing, washing, not sharing materials, use of plexiglass barriers when needed). One change is that the amount of social distancing has changed from 6 feet to 3 feet, so desks and seating for learning will be closer together. We still will not be having morning meeting in circles or paired reading on the floor (hopefully next year for that!), but students will be a bit closer together than they have been. 

Here is an article about that. Here is a study of 3 feet compared to 6 feet of physical distancing in Massachusetts schools.

https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciab230/6167856

 • We have had some classrooms that are currently double long because of a collapsible wall, but those walls will be returned, and two separate classrooms will again be in place.

• Specials will most likely return to in-person.

• I am working on the lunch schedule and trying to keep students distanced as much as possible. We are getting some large tents, and we also have some smaller ones, so at this point I am thinking that the older students (grades 3-5) will mostly likely eat outdoors.

• Breakfast and lunch will remain free for all for the rest of the year.

• We will continue to have HEPA filters and fans in all areas.

• Our staff is getting vaccinated, but we will not all be fully vaccinated by April 5. Please be vigilant about keeping yourselves and your children safe. We will certainly be doing that, too.

• I am again attaching the Student and Family COVID checklist that we will continue to follow. 

• We will utilize outdoor learning as much as possible.

• Many caregivers have asked about after-school care. I know that people are problem-solving about this, but I have no additional information at this point. Currently, there are not plans for before or after school care taking place in our building for the spring.

• For Dismissal, which will be at 3:00 (FYI sometimes students are already outside at dismissal time and will be out on the playground):

Location for Pick Up
Central Front DoorKindergartenParents will need to pick up out front (masked and socially distanced from one another)
Right Corner Front Door (by nurse’s office)Grades 4 and 5Parents can pick up (masked and socially distanced from one another)
Back Door (by custodial entrance) Have them walk down the path toward the swings. Parents can wait on blacktop.Grade 3Parents can pick up (masked and socially distanced from one another)
Left Front Door (by the cafeteria)Grades 1Parents can pick up (masked socially distanced from one another)
Side Corner Door (near the back of building)Grade 2Parents can pick up (masked socially distanced from one another)

We are really looking forward to having more students at school and getting back to more of our “normal” routines. We know that some students will make the transition easily and that it will be more difficult for others. Here is a reminder about all of the adults who support our students at school. We are a strong team at Ryan Road School and will take good care of your children. Contact any of us if you have concerns or questions.

Adults-who-Support-your-Children-at-School-R.K.-Finn-Ryan-Road-Elementary-School

New Information:

We have had a couple of members of our school community who have tested positive for COVID-19, but those cases have come from outside contacts. We have had zero (0!) cases of school transmission, and I hope we can keep up with this record! 

If you would like to change your mind from remote to in-person this spring, you can do that once, with in-person learning starting on May 17. Just let me know if/when you change your mind.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Parent Workshops

Also, check out the information regarding upcoming parent workshops! 

Wish List:

Picnic Tables (two or three) for staff members to eat lunch outdoors. We’ll be using existing tables for student lunches, and it would be wonderful to get these for an outdoor area designated for staff lunches. 

2021-2022 School Year

• 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

• Looking for information about Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 School Year?

http://www.northamptonschools.org/kindergarten-2/

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!

• And, information about the transition to JFK is also coming out.
Here is the caregiver letter from JFK. The letter includes information about our New Student/Caregiver Information Session Tuesday March 30th from 6:00-7:00pm 

https://zoom.us/j/93026034701

Meeting ID: 930 2603 4701

Passcode: 054154

• If you have a Zoom issue during the day, the best thing to do is to call the office (587-1550) or email my Administrative Assistant, Vanessa Keillor. vkeillor@northampton-k12.us

I would love to help, but I am often not at my computer, and I usually do not know how to help. Luckily, Vanessa is becoming a genius with this stuff!

Broken Chromebook??

• If you have a problem regarding your child’s chromebook, the plan going forward is listed here:

There are two options for caregivers, and if you need help with any of this, please call the school office (587-1550):

Important Upcoming Dates:

Monday, April 5: Return to full in-person learning!

April 19-23: Spring Vacation

Tuesday, May 11: Half day with a 12:20 dismissal (Teacher Work Day)

Monday, May 31: No School for Memorial Day

Friday, June 18: Last day of School!

Stay up to date (under normal circumstances or not!) 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.

Sincerely,

Sarah Madden, Principal