NAMS Principal's Post - April 7, 2021

posted Apr 7, 2021, 4:32 PM by Jorge Goncalves   [ updated Apr 7, 2021, 4:34 PM ]

Return To Learn - Alpine School District


April 7, 2021


Good Evening NAMS Families,  

 

This message is intended to provide you with some preliminary information related to the full return of students, scheduled for Wednesday, April 28, 2021. This Friday, April 9th you will be receiving additional information and details related to the full return of students.


Background:

On March 18th, the school committee approved the middle school’s return to full in-person learning for all students to begin on Wednesday, April 28th. The entire NAMS staff and I are very excited to welcome our students back to full in-person or remote learning five days a week for the rest of the school year. 


Today, a Joint Letter from the North Andover School Committee and the North Andover Teachers Association was released outlining the return to full in-person learning for students in grades 6-12. The Memorandum of Agreement includes information on schedules, classroom spacing, live streaming, snack time, and lunch.   

  

The following message contains important information about our return. I will be sending additional information at the end of this week and again next week. All messages will be available on our NAMS website as well.


Please know that students attending school in person will be, at minimum, separated by 3 feet. The only time we need to maintain the 6 foot distance is when masks are off for a mask break or for eating. However, we will make every effort to space students as far apart as the classroom space allows. 


The table below identifies the return dates for NAMS students:

 

Monday

April 26th

Day 1

Tuesday

April 27th

Day 1

Wednesday

April 28th

Day 2

Thursday

April 29th

Day 1

Friday

April 30th

Day 2

North Andover

Middle School

Cohorts A, C, & D

Full-Day


Students dismissed at 2:10 p.m.

Cohorts B, C, & D

Full-Day


Students dismissed at 2:10 p.m.

ALL Students



Early Release at 12:55 p.m.

All Students

Full-Day


Students dismissed at 1:55 p.m.

All Students

Full-Day


Students dismissed at 1:55 p.m.


April 26th and April 27th - Preparing Students for Full Return

  • We will be using these 2 days to prepare students for the full return on Wednesday, April 28th by reviewing protocols and expectations through explanations, presentations, and videos throughout the day.

NAMS Schedule (April 28th-June 17th)

  • We are finalizing student schedules and will be sharing these with you this Friday, April 9th. These schedules will identify the exact times for classes throughout the course of the day, including early release days. 

  • NAMS staff were presented these schedules today and we are reviewing them for any adjustments that will need to be made before sharing with students and families.


Student Schedules

  • With the return of all in-person students, students schedules will need to be updated based upon the new daily enrollment.

  • Updated schedules will be available in PowerSchool after April vacation.


Arrival Time

  • Students arriving by bus will start arriving at 7:20 a.m. and be dropped off outside of the cafeteria, where they will wait until 7:30 a.m.

  • Students being dropped off, walking, or riding can begin arriving no earlier than 7:20 a.m. and should also wait outside until 7:30 a.m.

  • We are working on updating our drop-off documents and video to add another drop-off location. You may find the current drop-off/pick-up maps here and a video here.

  • Students will be allowed to enter the building at 7:30 a.m. and should report directly to their homeroom.

  • Breakfast is available for students in the Grade 8 Cafeteria from 7:30-7:45 a.m. daily.

  • Any student arriving at 7:50 a.m. or later should report to the main office to check in and will be considered tardy to school.

  • The streets around NAMS are congested at drop off and pick up times.  We ask that all individuals who drive students to or from school use extreme caution when driving on or near school premises. Drivers, walkers, and riders should always be alert for pedestrians, students on bikes, buses, and other cars. Thank you for your anticipated understanding and cooperation. 


Snack and Mask Break

  • All students will have a 25 minute scheduled snack break scheduled during one of their classes in the middle of the day.

  • Snack and mask breaks will take place outside when weather permits.

  • Students and staff should be prepared to go outside each day and bring any necessary clothing or accessories (i.e. hats or sunblock). 

  • IF outside, teachers will escort their classes to designated locations on campus outside of the building where they will have plenty of space to spread out over 6 feet.

  • Students will all be issued a yoga mat to bring outside with them if they choose. 

  • IF inside, students will eat snacks in the classroom, hallway, cafeteria, or other location based upon available spacing.

  • Students and families who wish to have a free snack can continue to order using the NAPS meal system. All snack orders must be submitted online by 7:45 a.m. each day. 


Lunch

  • NAMS will offer a grab and go lunch at the end of the school day. 

  • Students and families who wish to have a free lunch can continue to order using the NAPS meal system. All lunch orders must be submitted online by 7:45 a.m. 

  • NAPS lunches will be organized by homeroom and will be distributed to students at the end of the day before they are dismissed.

  • Students will be dismissed at 1:55 p.m.

  • Students taking the bus or leaving campus are not allowed to eat on the bus or on school grounds. Students must remain masked and at a 3 foot distance.

  • The cafeteria will be available for lunch from 1:55-2:20 p.m. for students who are staying after school for school-based extracurricular activities at NAMS. The cafeteria will contain seating areas that are spaced at 6 feet.


Departure

  • All students will be dismissed on a typical day at 1:55 p.m. 

  • On early release days (4/28, 5/12, 5/26, and 6/9), students will be dismissed at 12:55 p. m. 

  • Please be patient during dismissal as we’ll have about 90% of our students back on campus.

  • We are working on updating our drop-off documents and video to add another pick-up location. You may find the current drop-off/pick-up maps here and a video here.

  • The streets around NAMS are congested at drop off and pick up times.  We ask that all individuals who drive students to or from school use extreme caution when driving on or near school premises. Drivers, walkers, and riders should always be alert for pedestrians, students on bikes, buses, and other cars. Thank you for your anticipated understanding and cooperation. 


Bus Transportation

  • As stated in Dr. Gilligan’s Knightly News in March, Transportation Coordinator Lucy McCarthy (978-794-1503 extension 41275) is working to coordinate busing for NAMS. 

  • The Transportation Department will be providing information on the possibility of adding additional busing for NAMS in the coming weeks.


Reporting Absences 

  • If a student will be absent or tardy, a parent/guardian must call the school at 978-794-1870 then press 2 and provide the student’s name, grade, and reason for the absence or tardiness. The voice mailbox is available 24 hours per day. This call should take place before 7:10 a.m. on the day of the absence or tardiness. Please do not email your child’s teacher as a means of reporting the absence. 

  • Absences due to personal illness, death in the family, observance of religious holidays, emergency medical or dental treatment, or other serious emergencies are considered excused and will be coded as AE (Absent Excused).  Absences due to vacations will be coded as AT (Absent Travel). 

  • Parents/Guardians are requested to schedule appointments for physicians, dentists, or special lessons after school hours.  Students who have been absent during the school day may not participate in after-school or evening activities.


Illness Dismissals

  • If after nurse assessment there is any question that your child has any symptoms of COVID-19, your child will be accompanied to the medical waiting room and you will be called and asked to pick your child up promptly. 

  • You will be asked to have your student tested for COVID-19 or receive an alternative diagnosis from a provider.  If you choose not to have your student tested or see their provider your student will need to be out of school for a minimum of 10 days with return only after symptoms have improved and the student is fever free for 24 hours. 

  • The results or physician note need to be sent to the health office prior to a return to school.


Seasonal Allergies

  • Many seasonal allergy symptoms mimic signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Over the counter medications can help keep these symptoms at bay. If your child has seasonal allergies, please consult with their pediatrician about beginning their seasonal allergy medication. We want to help avoid any dismissals from school for symptoms that may also be consistent with COVID-19 symptoms. 

  • Please ask your child’s pediatrician for a note so that we have a record of their diagnosis and any medications they may be taking. 


COVID-19 Safe Practices at School

We will continue to use several  mitigation strategies in the building to keep our students and staff safe. 

  • Social distancing - students will be spaced at least 3 feet apart while masked and at least 6 feet apart when unmasked. 

  • Students will still wear masks during the school day.

  • Handwashing and disinfecting of classroom desks will continue.

  • Please continue to review the nightly checklist. In order to keep all students and staff safe, we need to ensure that people do not come to school if they have COVID-19 symptoms (Self-Certification) or if they have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person. 

  • Parents are expected to follow the MA Travel Advisory (Covid-19 Travel Advisory). 

  • If parents have a question about whether to send their child to school, the on-call nurse is still available every morning from 6-8 a.m. at 978-794-4842.


Contact Tracing/Close Contact identification 

  • If a student tests positive and has attended school during the contagious period, contact tracing will be done and close contacts will be identified and notified. With students sitting at a 3 foot distance,  this will increase the number of close contacts identified from the school day.

  • There are 3 quarantine options for someone determined to be a close contact with the last day of contact being day zero:

    • 7 days quarantine with a negative Covid-19 test on Day 5: return to full activities on Day 8 if asymptomatic

    • 10 days quarantine without testing if asymptomatic; return to full activities on Day 11

    • 14 days quarantine if individual has experienced any symptoms even with a negative test

  • Please contact NAHS Nurses Kathleen Pease or Jessica Wolfe with any questions. 


Visitors

Due to COVID-19 health and safety measures, at the start of the 2020-21 school year, visitors will be significantly restricted from entering the building. The following procedures will be used to reduce the number of people entering the building during the school day:

  • While parents are strongly encouraged not to schedule appointments during the school day, students who are tardy (after 7:50 a.m.) should report to the main office. Prior to 7:50 a.m., students will go directly to their classrooms. 

  • If a student must be dismissed early from school, parents/guardians should communicate in advance the reason and time the student will be dismissed. When parents arrive at the school, they should ring the bell to announce to the main office staff they are here. At that time, parents/guardians remain outside until their child exits the front of the school. 

  • An important part of our job as parents and middle school educators is helping our students develop the key attribute of responsibility. Please work with your child to develop strategies to insure that they bring all necessary materials (i.e. lunch, homework, instrument, etc.) to school daily. Parents/guardians should not bring forgotten items to school for their children. If it is absolutely necessary for a parent/guardian to bring materials to school, the parent/guardian will need to get buzzed into the building and then check in at the main office. The item will be placed by the parent/guardian in one of 3 grade-level bins and the student will be called to come pick up the item.

  • Any meetings between parents/guardians and teachers, including IEP meetings will be held remotely.

 

I will continue to communicate with you about other details of our return to school plan as they become available. We will be working on some videos for students and families that we hope to share with you by the end of next week. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation throughout this school year.

 

Respectfully,

Jorge Goncalves

Principal

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