“What good is the warmth of summer, without
the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
– John Steinbeck
It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the final month of 2021! Happy Hanukkah to our families to celebrate! A special thank you to our superstar Nadia for bringing in the story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel to share with her classmates!
I hope you and your family are settled in after the Thanksgiving holiday break. This is the time of year when winter takes a toll on school attendance. Snow and slushy weather can keep parents from getting their children to school. So can the colds, fevers and earaches that often come with the winter months, and that’s in addition to COVID-19.
These absences, even if they are excused, can add up to academic concerns. If it is a snowy or rainy day but school is still open, students miss out on learning if they aren’t in class. These absences can result in lower test scores and grades.
There’s not much we can do about the weather, but there are two key steps every family can take to help avoid absences this year.
- Develop back up plans for getting your children to school in winter weather. That could mean checking with other families who have a car that can manage in the snow or forming a “walking school bus” to walk your children to school with other parents. If you’re stuck, call the school at (978) 374-3471. We can connect you with district and staff members who can help.
- Keep your children healthy. Dress them warmly for the cold weather and make sure they’ve got hats and gloves. Encourage them to wash their hands regularly. If your children do get sick, talk to a doctor or the school nurse about whether they should come to school and when it is okay for them to return.
Above all, let us know how we can help. We want your children and all our students to succeed, and that means attending school every day when they are healthy. Please see below for other updates. Have a great weekend!
Here are the updates for this week:
Mark Your Calendar!
- Tuesday, December 7th: K-8 Report Cards Issued
- Tuesday, December 14th PTO Meeting 6:00 pm
- Thursday, December 23rd: Early Release (Dismissal is 11:35 am)
- Friday, December 24th: Christmas Eve- NO SCHOOL
PTO Dollar Fundraiser: Our PTO is sponsoring a Dollar Drive Fundraiser. Envelopes with the fundraiser went home with students on Friday, December 3rd. This fundraiser is open until January 7, 2021.
PTO Recipe Request: Do you have a favorite family recipe? Share it with the Walnut Square Community! Last year the Walnut Square School published a cookbook with favorite family recipes that our students brought to school. It was such a big hit, that we have decided to do it again. This is a school wide project where every family can participate. All we need are one or two of your favorite recipes. Please take the time to write your recipe on the sheet that was sent home on Friday, December 3rd and send them back to school with your child. If you would like to send a picture of your child or a picture of the recipe, we will add that to our cookbook as well. We will compile all the recipes and photos over the next month or so and publish a cookbook full of appetizers, entrees and desserts!
- PTO: Our family involvement groups met this week as well. Our PTO meeting was held Tuesday evening, and we had new members join! If you haven’t attended a meeting yet and would like to, you can find more information about PTO by clicking here. All meeting dates, agendas, and meeting minutes are included on the Walnut Square School website under the Parents tab. Our next PTO meeting is December 14th at 6 pm.
- Site Council: The Walnut Square School Site Council participated in the district Site Council Training on Thursday evening. To learn more about Site Council and view our current School Improvement Plan, please visit the Walnut Square School website under About/School Improvement Plan and Title 1.
- DESE Family Learning Guides: Our Walnut Square School website, https://walnutsquare.haverhill-ps.org/, has many resources to help families help their children learn and grow. One resource I’d like to share is the DESE Family Guides that include the Massachusetts learning standards. The guides help families understand what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of each grade. I hope these guides provide clarity for you as we all work together to help all of the children in our Walnut Square community learn and grow!
- Walnut Square School Social Media: In addition to the Walnut Square School website, you can also “like” our Facebook page, Walnut Square Elementary School and follow us on Instragram @walnutsquaresuperstars to get updates and see all of the fun and learning that happens at Walnut Square.
Progress Reports and Title 1 School-Parent Compact
Please sign and return progress reports and the Title 1 School-Parent Compacts to school as soon as possible. Thank you for your help with this!
Please send your child to school with the following supplies:
- Water bottle (to refill at our water bottle station)
- Extra masks (can be kept in a plastic bag in backpack)
- Extra change of clothes (can be kept in backpack)
- We are in need of packages of boys underwear for our clothes closet if you’d like to donate.
- Bartlett School is hosting a food drive if you’d like to donate.
- Haverhill Public Library is also hosting a food drive. Starting Monday, December 6th through Saturday, December 18th, the Haverhill Public Library will accept non-perishable food items for their annual food drive! Library members will get a piece of library swag as their thank you for donating to this great cause. They cannot accept glass containers, expired food, or open packages. Please bring donations to the Circulation Desk. Any questions please contact the library at 978.373.1586 or email them.
COVID-19 Safety Checks
Pool Testing is scheduled every Monday at Walnut Square School.
The COVID Safety Check (pool testing) this year is 1 swab. One goes in the pool. If the pool is positive then the pool will retest.
Here is the link for staff or families to sign up for testing: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null. Individuals can choose to complete link in a variety of languages
For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our COVID-19 testing program at school. This program has three components: symptomatic testing for students/staff who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school, routine COVID safety checks to prevent the spread of the virus undetected among students who are not showing symptoms, and test and stay for students/staff who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms. Each of these is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, these are not uncomfortable and easy for students/staff to do themselves.
Students/staff only participate with permission from a parent or guardian/self for staff. It is important to Haverhill Public Schools that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we can answer any questions that you might have in advance of asking you to sign the electronic consent form (https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null). Below we describe each of the three parts of our testing program, how they are conducted, and what they are used for.
Symptomatic testing is used when a student/staff is showing symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students/staff should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the cold or flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student/staff member has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of this test within 15 minutes. If a student/staff member has minimal symptoms and tests negative, they can remain in school.
Routine COVID safety checks minimize disruption to learning by helping us catch potential spread of the virus before it starts. Each student/staff administers the safety check on a weekly basis. Samples are collected at school in groups of 5-10 individuals. The samples are group together at school OR in the lab. Once the samples get to the lab, all the samples in the group are tested for COVID-19 together. In almost all cases, it will take less than 24 hours to receive safety check results. Students/staff can continue to come to school while awaiting safety check results; they do not need to quarantine while awaiting results. If a safety check test is positive, the students/staff in the group will take individual tests to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test//the lab will automatically process each individual sample to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test.
Test and stay allows students/staff who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student/staff is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these individuals will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. Students/staff participate in test and stay for at least five days after they may have been exposed.
If a student/staff tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine at home for the CDC-recommended ten days since symptoms appeared or ten days since the positive test before returning to school. The student/staff member must also be without a fever for 24 hours.
Although students/staff who are vaccinated are much less likely to spread or contract the virus, it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.