Principal's Newsletter

Watchung Weekly News -October 3, 2021

Important Dates: 

October 4 – ASE Fall classes begin
October 4 – 0ctober 8 – Week of Respect
October 6 – Walk and Roll to School Day
October 11SCHOOL CLOSED – Professional Development

Watchung’s Week of Respect – Spirit Days

Monday 10/4 - “Hats Off to people who show Respect” Students should wear their favorite hat to school
Tuesday 10/5 -“Crazy Hair” Students should wear crazy hair to show we are all unique and different, and we should respect our differences.
Wednesday 10/6 - “Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti” Students should wear as many colors as they can!
Thursday 10/7 -“Team Up Against Bullying!” Students should wear their favorite team/sports gear
Friday 10/8 - “School Spirit Day” Wear your Watchung Spiritwear to show that we are all a team.

Updates/Reminders: 

Back to School Night – Thank you to everyone who was able to participate in our Back To School Night presentations. If you were not able to attend, please reach out to your child’s teacher to see if they can forward you their presentation or discuss it with you. Use the link below to view the introduction video.

No Toys/Pop-its/Pokemon Cards to school –
To begin the school year, many students have been bringing in toys from home to school. More recently the Pokemon cards and pop-its have been coming to school. This is a reminder that students should not be bringing in cards or toys from home. They become a major distraction to learning. The office and teachers also have to waste valuable time because a trade went bad or items were lost/stolen. This is time that can be more well spent. Thank you for your cooperation.

Travel Guidance - The Road Forward explains the CDC recommendations for traveling and subsequent quarantine:

While there is no statewide travel advisory or mandate in place at this time, schools are encouraged to have a policy for exclusion for students and staff that is consistent with CDC COVID-19 travel recommendations. The CDC recommends that travel be delayed for those who are not fully vaccinated. If travel cannot be delayed, domestic and international travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if they test negative. If testing is not completed post-travel, individuals should self-quarantine for 10 days. International travelers who are fully vaccinated should also get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel, self-monitor for symptoms, and isolate and get tested if symptoms develop. For those traveling to/from New Jersey, domestic travel is defined as lasting 24 hours or longer to states or U.S. territories other than those connected to New Jersey, such as Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware.

What does this travel guidance mean for you and how is the district handling it?

If your children are not fully vaccinated, they should be tested within three to five days of return and quarantine for seven days, even with a negative test. Without a test, the quarantine period increases to 10 days.

Please follow the CDC recommendations and delay unessential travel. If you cannot delay travel for unforeseen circumstances; for instance, a funeral, we will provide virtual instruction during quarantine. If your travel does not meet a significant need, virtual learning will not be available. I know this is a strong statement, but during this global pandemic, I’m asking you to curtail non-essential travel to the greatest extent possible. The district will look at holiday travel and advise you of their stance by the end of October.

Montclair Public Schools Covid-19 Guidance Click here to view a document that has been place on the district webpage. This document was created by the Montclair Health Department and has been reviewed by our district Physician. The document gives you guidance in the event that someone you know or you test positive for Covid-19.
   
Student Health Screeners – Reminder that parents of elementary students should be filling out the student health screener on Monday & Wednesday.

Labeling Student Items – Our lost & found is already growing at a rapid pace. This is the time of year, when students where sweatshirts to school and then take them off as the day warms up that it begins to overflow. If we find items and they have a name on them, such as a lunch box, water bottle or sweatshirt, we call the student down and return it. Only un-named items end up in the lost and found. So please label everything!!! Over-label!

Recess Update – I met with two Lieutenants from the Montclair Police Department to discuss the portion of North Fullerton adjacent to the school, to see how we could block the road more efficiently while still keeping it open for any emergency vehicles that may need to access it. After speaking with them, they recommended that we no longer have our recess on the street. Earlier this week, Tuesday, we began having recess on the front lawn. This safer option will be used until the playground and field are ready for use (see below)

Playground/Field Update
– The most recent update I have received was that the field would be finished by October 5th and we would be able to use the field beginning October 12th. The playground is waiting on a part that is delayed. The part is supposed to arrive by 10/22. When that part arrives, we will be able to begin to use the playground once assembled. A k-2 part of the playground has been added. Equipment has been approved and will be ordered. I will continue to reach out for updates and update the Watchung Community.

Walk/Roll to School Date - Next Wednesday is Walk/Roll to school day. As in the past, we are hoping some staff members can go to a location and walk with the students. See the designated spots below. Email me if you are willing to meet.

8:00 am -Meet at one of the designated meeting spots
8:05-8:30 -Walk or bike* with classmates, parents, and teachers
8:30-8:40 -Meet at Watchung field for water, snacks, and cheers!

DESIGNATED SPOTS TO MEET:
Brookdale Park – entrance of the park at Grove Street - Coach
Montclair Avenue & Chestnut Street – Mrs. Weber/Senora Fuentes
Upper Mountain Avenue & Watchung Avenue – Mrs. Olson/Mr. Krenn
Park Street & Chestnut Street - Mr. Fantozzi
Park Street & Bellevue Avenue – Mr. Boote

The W’s of WatchungClick Here to find out all of the W’s of Watchung (who, what, when, where). This quick reference sheet gives you all the important information you will need in one easy place.

Shoes for Scholarship Program - Turn your gently used sneakers and athletic shoes into scholarships for Montclair students sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Montclair. Collection bins are available at each school. A minimum of 700 pairs of shoes are needed to create scholarships for our students. Please tie donated sneakers/athletic shoes together to keep as a pair. Click here for flyer.

Dogs – I had this at the bottom of last week’s newsletter but had to move it up. Reminder that dogs are NOT allowed on school property. I realize that many of our families have dogs and most are family friendly or little puppies but that doesn’t make some of our students less afraid. Please make sure you keep your pets on the sidewalk and away from areas that a student has nowhere else to go but to pass it. Thinking of our bussers. Thank you.

Pooled Testing - We will be testing once a week at every school. The results will come back within 48 hours. If a positive test is found, those students/staff in the pool will be notified and individualized COVID testing will be performed for them by Ginkgo Bioworks following all necessary safety protocols. At no time will students be intermingling during this individual testing period.

When a positive case is identified, we will follow our routine contact tracing and notifications will be done. Please review a general video and one from Baltimore City Schools showing how testing works. Health and safety is of paramount importance.

Nut-free Classrooms and tables at lunch –All of our classrooms are nut-free, even though we try to go outside for snack as much as possible there are times students will eat inside. Please be aware of these guidelines when packing your child’s snack. We also have multiple tables for eating outside that are nut-free. Anyone can sit at these tables as long as their lunch does not include nuts.

Birthdays – Teachers have a variety of ways to make a student field special on their birthday, a guest reader, a crown on their head and a class “Happy Birthday” sing-a-long. One thing we do not do is bring in snacks, cupcakes, doughnuts or any type of food or goodie bag on this special day.

Masks – Please make sure you have placed some extra masks in your child’s backpack. Our students go through several masks a day because they get wet or dirty, so they will need to be replenished or washed weekly. Also, please make sure they have youth masks on. Adult masks are too large and will not fit right on our children.


Montclair Public Schools Summary of District Testing 2021-2022 .

From the PTA:

After (and Before) School Enrichment classes –  We are looking forward to ASE beginning on Monday, October 4. We are so excited to have over 240 students participating in 19 classes this fall!

Amazon Smile - Support the Watchung PTA through AmazonSmile! If you are an Amazon user, you can make a difference while you shop on Amazon. Please use this link and designate 18544 Watchung PTA as your desired beneficiary and confirm that you would like to support the Watchung School PTA. Then simply shop as you normally would and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the PTA. It’s that easy with no additional work necessary! You only have to do this once - be sure to bookmark Smile.Amazon.

SEPAC - The next SEPAC General Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 7th at 7:00 pm via Zoom. This meeting is open to all members and will include introductions of the Pupil Services Team - Dr. Goldblatt, Ms. Finnerty, Dr. Trim, and Ms. Perez. There will also be time for Dr. Goldblatt and the team to answer questions. Please use this form to send any questions that you would like addressed during the meeting. Please submit your questions by October 4th at the latest, so the Pupil Services Leadership Team can have time to thoughtfully reflect on their answers. A Zoom link for the meeting will be sent out next week.

General Information - You can easily join the PTA by visiting our website where you can apply for membership, shop for spirit wear and find other key contacts and information or go directly to the memberhub store.

If you are on Facebook, please join "My Child Goes to Watchung" page. It is a private page and anyone can/should post.

As always, please feel free to reach out to us or at watchungptapresident@gmail.com

kindly, Patty, Alex, Jen and Hillary


Have a great weekend!

Patrick Krenn

Principal

Watchung Elementary School




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