COVID UPDATE – December 16, 2020

Hello Georgetown Community! I hope you are all staying well and finding time to enjoy the holiday season despite COVID restrictions. I am hoping that the vaccine will be a game changer in 2021 and that we will begin to regain some sense of normalcy including getting our students back in school full time! I am very proud of that fact that, with the cooperation of everyone, that it is now December and we have not experienced any spread of the COVID virus in the schools. As you know, we have seen some positive cases in town among our parents and students (16 students and 4 staff) since October 1 in every case people have appropriately quarantined and all identified close contacts have tested negative. I attribute this success to the protocols we have in place, the amazing commitment of our staff and students to staying safe while in school and the numerous cleaning, sanitizing and air quality enhancements that we have put in place. As the cold weather has begun and the fact that windows can no longer be left wide open, we have recently placed air purifiers with the most effective anti-virus filters in every classroom. This, along with plastic barriers, UV anti-virus light towers, socially distanced desks and seating in all common areas and sanitizing stations and hand washing options in classrooms and hallways are working to stop COVID from spreading in our schools. Many people predicted that all schools would return to full remote by November 1st and we are still in hybrid model in December. This has not been easy but we are committed to providing in school learning for as long as it is safely possible to do it. Safety does come first so we will continue to watch the data, plan and make decisions accordingly.

 

  1. Change in School Schedule- Please Read

 

  1. Snow Day on Thursday December 17 I have been following the weather forecast closely and we are expected to get a sizable storm in our area with heavy snow, blizzard conditions, high winds and potential power outages on Wednesday night into Thursday mid-day. With this in mind, I want to let you know that this Thursday will be a traditional snow day and remote learning will not be scheduled. The reason for this is that there is a prediction of widespread power outages which will make remote learning difficult to manage for teachers and /or families. Our plan, as I mentioned in a previous update, is to designate most snow days as remote learning days (which is still the plan) but we need to consider every situation on its merits and make the call based on the available information. Remote learning can work well as long as we all have power and I look forward to using this option as the winter progresses. I hope this notice assists you in planning and I hope you enjoy a family snow day.

 

  1. Full Remote Before the Holidays With the holidays approaching and a short week next week, I want to let you know that Friday, December 18, Monday December 21, Tuesday December 22 and Wednesday December 23 (1/2 day) will be remote learning days. I will be closing the schools for in person learning so that we can all stay in our homes for a few days before the holiday to provide less opportunity for exposure and eliminate the need for contact tracing for our staff during the holiday. This will also provide our staff and families with some peace of mind before seeing family. Monday is already a remote day so this will add 2.5 days of additional days of remote learning for all students including our high needs students. Originally, Friday 12/18 was scheduled for an in person day but with the snow day on Thursday and the following week scheduled as remote days, we expect that attendance may be spotty and the consistency of four remote days for everyone would be more productive.   I want to be sure parents know that teachers will be structuring these days in the same way they did in the first three weeks of school when we were all full remote. They will be providing live instruction and synchronous and asynchronous assignments throughout the day. Please make every effort to ensure that your children attend school on these days because attendance will be taken and teachers will be planning for a regular full school day. I regret that this change in schedule will affect holiday parties in the schools and spirit week activities next week but I am hope alternative plans can be made so they can still happen if possible. I hope staff and families can make this work and I realize it will require some additional scheduling which I know is not always easy. Thank you for understanding that this will give many people the chance to spend time with families more safely and all students will have the chance to continue learning during these 3.5 days of remote learning. I appreciate your understanding and if you have any questions, please let me know.

 

  1. Happy Holidays I want to take a moment to wish you all a very happy holiday season in whatever way you celebrate. I hope you have the chance to enjoy time with family in a very safe way, enjoy special celebrations and rituals of the season and have a peaceful and relaxing winter vacation. We have all earned it and desperately need it! We will watch the COVID numbers over the break and hope they moderate or decline for the good of everyone. As of right now, we plan to return to the hybrid model when we return to school on January 4, 2021.   Please help us make this happen by using safety protocols even at home, wearing masks, social distancing especially when gathering with close friends. We definitely saw an uptick in positive cases after Thanksgiving due to small group gatherings and hopefully we can continue to keep COVID out of our schools with your help. Thank you in advance for making this a priority as you enjoy your well-deserved time away. There is no doubt that this year has been difficult for all of us in many different ways but we can’t stop now. Better times are ahead and, with that said, I want to wish each and every one of you the very best in the New Year 2021. Thank you as always for your support and see you next year! Warmly, Carol