First and Second graders made whimsical, life-sized “person selves” with the Vermont Arts Exchange teaching artists during art class last week. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more photos.
This week we had two positive COVID-19 cases in two different grades, and our conclusion from the contact tracing we have done is that they are unrelated. One case was identified because the student became symptomatic at school; the other was discovered because of our COVID-19 surveillance testing. The name of this testing might be off putting, as one teacher rightly pointed out (I wish Vermont referred to it as one New Hampshire school district does: “Safer at School Screening”). However, the name aside, the surveillance testing proved its value this week in identifying an asymptomatic student and enabling us to limit the spread of the virus by being able to close a classroom proactively.
I appreciated receiving a parent’s email last night thanking our school and letting us know she would be signing up her student for the COVID-19 Surveillance Testing. “It’s something I definitely want [my child] to be a part of, keeping the school safe.” While the screening is voluntary, the more students who participate, the greater our chances of protecting everyone.
If you have not yet registered your student(s) for the screening, you can do so at any time. The screening information and a link to the consent form is available on our website: https://vsnb.org/covid-surveillance-testing/. Students do a quick and easy nasal swab every Wednesday; it takes less than 20 seconds per student. Our school sends the samples to binx Health for testing, and we (and you) get the results directly from “binx” in less than 48 hours. All student confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.
We will be in touch separately with the families of our first and second grade students to let them know when their students can return for in-person instruction. Thank you to our teachers, staff, students, and families for once again pivoting quickly to remote learning. Your support and flexibility is unbelievable and greatly appreciated! We are sending our well wishes and good thoughts to those who are ill. We sincerely hope there is no further spread of COVID-19 among our community and that everyone remains healthy.
Please read below for a few important announcements, as well as community events and offerings.
Half-Day Dismissal – Friday, Oct. 29th
Next Friday, October 29, is a half-day with dismissal at 11:30 a.m. Students can order a bagged lunch with their teachers next week. The After Care program will be available on that day until 5:30 p.m. (and some extra fun activities are being planned). If your student is signed up for the full week, there will be no additional charge for After Care on Friday. Families who need just the half-day care may register for it separately as a fee. Click here for more information and/or to register for After Care. If you have questions, please contact Director Kayla Becker at email@example.com.
During our classroom closures this week, you should have received a text message from our “Remind” communications system informing you of the school’s COVID-19 cases. If you did not receive these texts, please let the school office know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-442-5955. We use the Remind text system for all emergency notifications and weather-related school delays and closings, and it’s important we have your current cell phone number in the system.
Absent / Tardy / Early Dismissal Procedures
All of the comings and goings of students these days make it extra important that everyone is following the school’s procedures for when students will be absent, tardy, or dismissed early. Please click here to review the procedures on our website.
29th Annual North Bennington Halloween Parade
The Vermont Arts Exchange North Bennington Halloween Parade will take place on October 31st at 4 p.m. (starting from the VAE building, next to the post office). Click here for more details and to see this year’s Halloween Parade poster.
Quarantine Resources from the McCullough Library
The McCullough Library has many free services and materials available to help students and families get through quarantining. Examples include book requests, DVDs, and audio books; quarantine craft kits; and access to a new video streaming service called Kanopy Kids. Click here for a book pickup request form. Click here for a membership application.
Kanopy Kids features a collection of films and TV series that inspire and inform, helping children develop social-emotional skills and reinforcing valuable learning topics, such as history, science, and new languages. Kanopy Kids has a diverse selection of educational and entertaining content that ranges across Movies, TV Series, Animated Storybooks, Live Action, and Animated favorites. Kanopy Kids is appropriate for children ages 2 and up, with a focus on Kids age 2-8.
First and Second graders made whimsical, life-sized “person selves” with the Vermont Arts Exchange teaching artists during art class last week. They used papier-mache and paint to make their faces and cardboard for the bodies. They glued on yarn for hair and fabric for clothing. They measured themselves and measured their work and then attached movable limbs using brass fasteners. They even painted their hands and made prints to make their person-self hands match their own.