News you can use from the MCS principal

And it comes straight from the farm so to speak

Hello Norwich, This message is from Shawn and Greg from the MCS.

Good Morning MCS Family:

I am not certain about you, but summer is sure flying by for me!  On a personal note, my family has enjoyed time at our home in Newbury.  My apiary is thriving this summer with 13 booming bee colonies and 45 pounds of honey recently harvested.  We welcomed 5 Dexter calves to our herd this summer bringing our total to 12 beautiful bovines.  I enjoy my time with the animals to process and think about my other favorite subject, school!  I have included a few photos that my MCS student friends might enjoy...and perhaps even their parents.  Certainly as August has rolled around, many of you have school on your minds.  Here is some information to get you up to speed.

Our district pandemic response task force met today as we continue to fine tune our reopening plans for the 2021 school year.  We continue to be fortunate to live in Vermont where the vaccination rates remain high and the community infection rates remain low.  Currently we are planning to return to school in person, full time, with no plans for a remote option.  Last school year was draining, but a huge success.  That success was in large part due to the support that each and every member of the Norwich Community gave on a daily basis.  I continue to be in awe of our accomplishments of full year, full day, in-person during a global pandemic!

Some of you have asked how you can help prepare for the school year.  At this point, the one major family task is to complete the online registration information.  As we enter this school year, we will need the most accurate information.  If you have not done so already, please take the time to complete the registration today...and I will put a shiny gold star next to your name on my “stellar families” list!

The preliminary recommendations of the task force (and recommendations from the State of Vermont) include:

Masking will continue until we have 80% of our student population fully vaccinated.  Since the vast majority of our students are not eligible for the vaccine yet, please plan to have your child masked.  The Vermont guidance does state that students can be unmasked outdoors if properly distanced (3 feet or more distance between students).  Please note that there will be children and families who prefer to have their child masked inside and outdoors.  That is perfectly acceptable and as a school we will embrace and support any level of masking that is at or above the recommendation. 

At this time we have plans to have some cohorting of our students.  Recess this school year will be primarily by grade level.  There may be more than one grade on the playground at a time, but they will be in different zones.  We will also be limiting gatherings to no more than three grade levels, but ensure that students will be distanced a minimum of three feet apart.  

Screening of students (and faculty) for fever and other COVID symptoms will take place at home.  It is vital that everyone who feels sick stays home.  Please have the student stay home until their temperature remains below 100.4 for 24 hours without medication.  This is the #2 piece of Vermont guidance and will be strictly followed.  Please be prepared to pick up your child if they develop symptoms during the school day.  On a side note, this practice allowed us to have the best attendance rate last year of the past five years!  

Masking will still be required on busses.  We will evaluate drop off and pick up procedures as we get closer to the start of school. 

Visitors to the school building will need to be by appointment only and masked.  At this time, we will continue to limit the number of non school employees in the building during school hours.  We take seriously our responsibility to keep kids safe.  Even though it is not as friendly to have people wait in the vestibule, it does allow an added layer of protection.  

We will be working on a way to have a modified open house that will allow families to visit classrooms to see where your child learns.  More details will come out in the next few weeks.  Most likely, we will have staggered nights with one grade level coming to the open house.  Not as much fun as the school-wide open house celebration...but this will still get families through the door to get a peek at classrooms.  

The first day of school for students is Monday, August 30.  School will start with a 5 day week this year, followed by a 4 day week (Sept. 6th is Labor day).  

We will welcome a number of new staff and new families to MCS in the fall, details about this will follow.

As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns,  

Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer,
Shawn and Greg