Principal's Newsletter

Watchung Weekly News - January 11, 2021

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed a healthy and restful winter break and that you are rejuvenated and ready to take on 2021! We are eager, as a district, to welcome students back into Watchung on January 25th.

Important Dates:

Jan 18 – District Closed – Martin Luther King, Jr Day

Jan 19 & 22 – Asynchronous Learning

Jan 25 – Elementary Students begin Hybrid Learning

Jan 28 – Abbreviated day – Curriculum Thursday

Updates/Reminders:

Contract in Genesis - For students returning to the classroom for hybrid learning, families must complete the COVID-19 health and wellness contract in Genesis. In addition, please make sure your child’s required health records have been submitted to the school nurse.

Special Education - The schedule for Special Education students PreK-5 when we begin hybrid instruction will be as follows:

• Classified students who receive Resource Room or In Class Support will attend school according to their designated cohort, Mounties or Bulldogs. They will follow the hybrid plan.

• Paraprofessionals attend in person when students are in the buildings and provide virtual support when students are home.

• Self-Contained students in grades 6-12 will not begin in-person instruction until February 8.

Physical Education for the Week – If possible, please make sure all students have a tennis ball or a similar size ball that bounces for PE class this upcoming week. Happy Sunday!

Brave Space Community Dialogue – The YMCA of Montclair invites you to the first 2021 Brave Space Community Dialogue on the eve of MLK Day, Sunday, January 17, from 7-8pm. The event is free, and all are welcome register by clicking on the link below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkdOmpqjMuH9Mo2lsNhZXYel1cazeHIGyo

From The Nurse:

In anticipation of our hybrid opening, we want to communicate a few instructions for parents/caregivers. Please email the nurse in your child’s school if:

• Your child has recently tested positive for COVID-19
• Household members of students returning to hybrid have recently tested positive for COVID-19
• Your child is in quarantine due to an exposure to COVID-19
• Your child has or will travel out of state or country within 14 days of re-entry (exception being New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware)
Our community does a very good job of communicating with their child’s teachers but it is important to include the nurse on any correspondence. And remember, if hybrid is going to work it is going to rely on everyone being honest and transparent communication between Watchung and our community.

Please email me if you have any questions.

From the Counselor:

COPE has resumed offering free parent workshops - running remotely, via zoom. The workshop for January is Let’s Talk About… STRESS. COPE is offering multiple sessions to optimize opportunities for parents to participate and also to help to keep group size small.

Stress-Jan-2020-Montclair.pdf

Remember, if you, your child, or someone you know right now is feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. The district has access to resources, informational pieces, and counseling services to meet social and emotional needs. This pandemic has been an emotional roller coaster, and we want you to know that we are here for you and want to support you. If you or a loved one is struggling, please know we want you to reach out to your child’s teacher, principal, or me. Additionally, the following places on our website, Community Resource Guide, have a host of resources including hotlines, local health agencies, educational materials, articles, video support and more.

However, please remember I am only an email or phone call away.

Best Wishes,

Debra Polizzano

District Updates:

Health and Wellness - The New Jersey Department of Health issued new guidance yesterday regarding students who may present with any major or minor symptom of COVID. If a child goes to the nurse’s office with a symptom of COVID, they must be sent home and cannot return to school until a negative COVID test result is submitted or they have had 10 days of quarantine. This may result in more calls home and we wanted you to be aware. As always, as the guidance changes quite often, we will keep you updated.

Food Service - Please note that additional meals will be distributed on January 13 because the district is closed on January 18 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Beginning January 25, on Mondays and Thursdays meals will be distributed at all elementary schools beginning 30 minutes after school dismissal for a period of one hour for students who are remote. Students who attend in-person can pick up meals upon dismissal from school on Mondays and Thursdays. Middle School and High School students can pick up meals at any elementary school until they return to in-person on Mondays and Thursdays as aforementioned. Food service is available for every child regardless of free and reduced meal status.

Mask-Wearing - As you know, all students will be expected to wear masks upon return to in-person learning. Nurse Mcshane will be providing classroom lessons on proper mask-wearing protocols. If you would like your child to participate in a 1:1 session with Nurse McShane to learn about and practice mask-wearing, please reach out her by email (mmcshane@montclair.k12.nj.us). You can help by giving your children time now to practice mask-wearing for extended periods of time (covering the mouth, nose, and chin and having elastic loops or ties), having a variety of appropriately-sized masks around your home to increase interest in mask-wearing, allowing your child to select a mask that they prefer, talking to your children about the health benefits of wearing masks (click here for the CDC’s explanation), and washing your masks with your children. For more information, you can visit the CDC’s website.

Ventilation - As a reminder, Watchung classrooms will be ready for students and staff either through mechanical ventilation, air purification, windows being opened and reduced class sizes. We currently have 26 rooms identified as having mechanical ventilation and 16 rooms which now have air purification systems. The CDC recommends that we provide as much fresh air as possible. We will continue to provide you with updates as repairs are made to the ventilation systems.

Health & Safety - Re-entry health and safety contract is open on Genesis for parents/caregivers of students who will be participating in hybrid learning. Immunizations and physical exams for K and new students must be complete and on file in the nurse’s office for all students, fully remote and hybrid. Medical action plans and medication forms must be submitted to the school nurse asap for all hybrid students. Please call your child’s school nurse with any questions. Parents/caregivers please work with your children to ensure they can tolerate a mask for the entire time they will be in school. Parents/caregivers...please email your child’s school nurse if your child or a household member has tested positive for Covid.

Technology - The district has recently entered an agreement with Comcast Essentials for in-home wifi access. This service is only available to families that have no existing Internet and is subject to approval by Comcast. This service is not intended to supplement any existing Internet service. Families that fit this criteria are encouraged to reach out their building principal. A work order will be completed on the family's behalf and someone from the Department of Technology will be in contact.

Please utilize our technology helpline 301-259-1510 should you need technical assistance. Our standard operating hours is Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM- 3:00 PM.

MESSAGE FROM THE PTA

Welcome back families! We hope everyone had a peaceful holiday break. The time off seemed to fly by for sure!

We will be looking into new initiatives for 2021 so please stay tuned for more information.

If you haven’t joined the PTA yet now is a great time to do so! You can do so here on Memberhub.

Happy New Year! Kindly, Patty, Alex, Liz, Jen and Hillary


Enjoy your Sunday!

Patrick Krenn

Principal

Watchung School
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