News you can use, just in case you missed it. (Check out the info links).

An update from Chief of Police, School Superintendent and Marion Cross School principal.

Hello All,

I am combining 3 articles/stories into one as they are all relevant to keeping you informed. This method also saves you from receiving 3 separate e- mails.

29. COVID-19 update: 8/3/2020
From: "Frank, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Frank@vermont.gov>
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2020 01:35:52 +0000

1. Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont:
- Total cases: 1,427
- Currently hospitalized: 1
- Hospitalized under investigation: 13
- Total people recovered: 1,240
- Deaths: 57
- People tested: 97,238
- Travelers monitored: 1,172
- Contacts monitored: 29
- People completed monitoring: 5,417

2. Vt COVID-19 summary overview:
- The daily # of COVID-19 cases in Vt peaked on 4/3.
- The highest % of positive tests in VT (11%) was on March 23, 28, and 30.
- Rates of COVID-19 are disproportionately high among rhise 80yoa and older.
- Females and males have similar rates of COVID-19.
- Approximately 57% of people with COVID-19 have a pre-existing condition.
- 1 in 6 Vermonters with COVID-19 are health care workers. 7 in 10 health care workers with COVID-19 are female.
- Average illness duration: 14 days
- Sign or Symptom % of Symptomatic Cases: Cough 70%, Fatigue 66%, Headache 53%, Muscle Pain 51%, Fever 49%
- 29% of cases are associated with an outbreak

3. Current COVID-19 Activity in New Hampshire:
- NH Persons with COVID-19: 6,660 +26
- Recovered 5,848: (88%) +28
- Deaths Attributed: 417 (6%)
- Current COVID-19 Cases 395: -2
- Total Hospitalizations 697: (10%) +1
- Current Hospitalizations 23: -1
- Persons Being Monitored in NH: 3,025

4. Regional Report:
- New Jersey: Is retightening the restriction on indoor gatherings after the statewide rate of transmission nearly doubled over the last month. Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25% capacity with a maximum of 25 persons, down from 100. Face coverings will be required for all students at all times while inside a school building, regardless of social distancing.
- Florida: Reported at least 4,716 new cases of COVID-19 among Floridians, 73 additional resident deaths and 7,969 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
- 4,649,102 (+243,170) U.S. cases and 154,471 (+4,188) domestic fatalities.
- 17,918,582 worldwide cases and 686,703 worldwide deaths.

5. Link to NPD community survey:
https://forms.gle/nFoxuWurUC9MDv389

Chief Jennifer Frank, Norwich, VT Police Department
10 Hazen Street / P.O. Box 311, Norwich, VT
(802)649-1460 (Office), (802)649-1775 (Fax)
Jennifer.Frank@Vermont.gov
(Sent via mobile device)

Update and Clarification From the School Superintendent:

Dear SAU 70 School Community,

This has been a very busy week for our School Start Task Force as we work to have a draft plan ready for your review on Wednesday, August 5.  Our team is divided into several work groups focusing on teaching and learning, health management and safety, operations, facilities, whole child supports, transportation, technology, and communication.  Some of those work groups will be able to provide comprehensive plans, others will submit works in progress, depending on the data available. 

Following the release of our draft, we will hold a town hall style Zoom meeting on Thursday, August 6th at 6:30 PM to gain your feedback and answer as many questions as we can.  Also on August 6th, we will be holding meetings with all of our staff to accomplish the same ends: provide information, answer questions, and hear concerns. We will have a panel of task force members, including administrators, school nurses, teacher leaders, and medical experts available in order to answer questions and to illuminate the reasoning behind the recommendations.

This is a difficult time.  We are all anxious – pleased by the low prevalence of COVID-19 in our region, but worried that the resurgence of the disease in other regions of our country will find its way to the Upper Valley.  In all of our planning, contingencies for responding to a new outbreak are prominent.  We truly appreciate your responses to our recent family survey as well as the many thoughtful emails you’ve sent with suggestions and concerns.  All of that feedback will help us create a better plan for balancing our students’ and our community’s safety and educational needs.

Finally, some messaging last week may have given the impression that our teachers interests have been neglected in the planning process.  I assure you that this is not the case, as we have been collaborating with our Hanover and Norwich Education Association leaders since early May in anticipation of the 2020-21 school year.  Their partnership has been essential, their work on the Task Force invaluable, and I am including a clarifying statement that they have shared below. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Jay Badams

July 31, 2020

Dear SAU 70 Community

Over the past few years, SAU 70 has seen a lot of change, particularly since March. The Hanover and Norwich Education Associations have appreciated the commitment to a collaborative working partnership. It is with this in mind that we wanted to take a moment to speak to the role that the Hanover and Norwich Education Associations have played in the SAU 70 Reopening Plans. Both of us, Liz Murray and Ania White, Presidents of the Hanover and Norwich EAs respectively, have been part of the SAU 70 Task Force since the middle of June. Our job has been to represent teachers in terms of safety, working conditions, and contractual matters that may arise as a result of Covid-19 response. 

Both the Superintendent, Jay Badams, along with the building administrators, Shawn Gonyaw, Lauren Amrhein, Tim Boyle, and Jim Logan, respected our staff request for limited communication in July. In the last week, each building has established an internal Task Force that includes teaching staff to plan the day to day operation of buildings, changes to instruction and learning, and phases of reopening schools. 

Moving forward, it is important to recognize that each of us has our own feelings, often fears, regarding reopening - for ourselves, for our students, for our families, for our community. This will ebb and flow as the days progress in this unprecedented time. What will not change is the commitment of Norwich and Hanover educators to the SAU 70 students, staff, and community.

Best,

Liz Murray, HEA President

Ania White, NEA Co-President

Cross Words

07/31/2020

Message From the Principal

Dear MCS Families,  

I hope this note finds you enjoying the beautiful summer weather and building positive memories.  On a personal note, this summer has been a blur and I am in shock that the calendar will be switching to August...how can that be?  

Earlier in the summer I partook in a building project.  I spent time last fall and during the winter reading and watching videos about different ways to house bees.  Up until this point, I have lived in a world where there was only one way for a beekeeper to house bees, the traditional Langstroth hive that stacks box upon box to create a vertical hive. 

This method of beekeeping is taxing on a person's back as a box of bees and honey can weigh nearly 100 pounds and unstacking and restacking to check the hive can become daunting.  Last fall, I read an article about a horizontal beehive that holds the same amount of bees, but in a horizontal (coffin shaped) hive.  This hive has a cover which is the only part that ever needs to be lifted.  After spending the winter researching and contemplating, I embarked on my building project.  I used what I know about bees and what I learned from my research to build horizontal hives that would work for this area and my particular apiary - correct distance from the ground, able to hold 45 frames, entrance that is mouse proof, ventilation, insulation, bee escapes - a mini bee mansion!  The result so far is two hives of happy bees that are thriving and out producing my traditional hives.

You may say, why bore us with your building project?  There are many correlations between my backyard project and the planning that is occuring around the start of the school year.  Both hives still include bees, frames, and a structure - the basics.  The difference is that one has elements that I never thought possible before doing the research and starting the project.  This school year is similar, we have students, staff, and a campus.  Our challenge is how to use the information that we know about COVID-19, incorporate the guidance given to us by medical professionals in and outside of our community, and build a custom hive!  

Other places that rolled out their plans, some quicker than us, have found themselves going back to the drawing board to make revisions.  As much as I am in the camp of wanting a plan right away, I am comforted that we are taking the time to include a wealth of stakeholders.  We are building a plan that has in it the elements that are needed to keep us healthy.  Many of you have sent me emails looking for answers.  It pains me to not be able to give you concrete answers.  Please know that when you send questions I will answer them to the best of my ability from what information I have available.

 Here is a very brief summary of where we are at…

  • There is a large SAU70 task force which will be finishing up on an SAU70 plan soon.  Dr. Badams will be sending out information about a Town Meeting event where parents can learn about our plan and ask questions.

  • A smaller MCS task force began work this week.  We are consulting guidance from the SAU70 task force, State of Vermont guidance documents, and CDC recommendations to create a plan specific to our school.  

  • To date, there are three possible choices for families to choose from - in person, remote, and homeschooling.  A survey went out to families asking what format they prefer.  This information is essential for our planning purposes and will be used in the task force meetings next week.  

  • The district nurses, with support from local medical professionals, and administration are working to create protocols around all health related pieces of our plan.

  • School will begin in person or virtually for those who choose those formats on September 8th.

In closing, I am ever so thankful to be working with the Norwich Community and MCS staff.  This community is willing to be respectful, think about what is best for kids, and pull together to make it all work.  Please know that the SAU70 task force is working thoughtfully and crafting a plan that will be best for all involved.  Continue to ask questions and reach out.  I fully understand that waiting is hard and that for many the format for school starting greatly impacts other parts of your life.  We are doing the best that we can and are taking seriously the impact that every decision made has on the wellbeing of the community.  

For my building project, making the plan for building the horizontal bee hives took longer than the actual construction, yet it was the piece not observed by my friends and neighbors.  They watched construction in my garage and noted movement of the final product to the bee yard.  They didn’t see the countless hours in the evenings spent researching, drafting, and modifying plans.  At the moment we are immersed in making the plan that will help our children stay well and thrive in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Resources for your consideration:

Vermont_APA_Press_Release_COVID_Schools.pdf

Guidance Related to Reopening Schools Issued 6/17/20

Welcome New Staff!

On a lighter note, please enjoy learning a bit about our new staff members!  We hired a talented pool of staff.  A huge thank you goes out to staff, community members, and parents who were on the many hiring committees.  I asked each new staff member to share a bit about themselves and a photo so you could welcome them.  I should have thought to have them share a photo of each wearing a mask! 

My name is Michael Janerico and I am thrilled to be a part of the Marion Cross community. I am originally from Falmouth, Massachusetts. I graduated from Rivier University with my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Special Education in 2016. While attending Rivier University I was a member of the baseball team. I previously taught fourth grade in Manchester, New Hampshire. This year I will be teaching third grade, and I am ecstatic about getting this year started! Some of the things I enjoy are spending time with friends and family, walking my dog Jake, and catching up on all things Boston sports. My favorite book has to be any of the Harry Potter novels. I am eager to get this year started and join the Marion Cross family. I look forward to meeting you all very soon, and hope you continue to stay safe and healthy. 

Yannick's Perfect Day

If I could do everything in one day that I enjoy doing it would include these activities: Learning to surf some waves in warm water, eating Mexican food, traveling to a new place, walking in the woods with my two Goldens, swimming some laps, working on my latest short story or novel for publication (Yannick Murphy is my maiden name/pen name), eating some seafood, baking something sweet and chocolatey, playing the card game “Egyptian Rat” with the family, reading a good book by one of my favorite authors like Cormac McCarthy, going to bed with the window open.  Listening to the sounds of the coyotes singing, and the owls calling to one another, and knowing that in the morning I’ll be going to work, teaching technology in a great school like Marion Cross Elementary School!

Courtney Kylander

After decades of dreaming of living in the Upper Valley, I, my husband, Doug, and our children, Olivia (22) and Matthew (21), and dogs Boulder, Vail and Moose, call Lyme home.  I attended St. Lawrence University and holds an MAed in Elementary Education from The College of William and Mary. I love coffee, candy, traveling, cross country road trips, long walks, reading, striking up conversations anywhere with anyone, and spending time with my family. Last school year I enjoyed working as an Ed Assistant in 4th grade and am so excited to be teaching PreK this year at MCS.

Patrick Gordon

 I am excited to join the Marion Cross School as a co-teaching Learning Specialist in the first grade. I come to Norwich with 5 years experience teaching first grade in Windsor, VT and two years as a Special Educator in the Northeast Kingdom. Professional interests include researching and implementing proven instructional practices and designing school-wide systems to meet the needs of all learners. I am certified as a classroom teacher, special educator, and, most recently, as a principal. When not at school, I can be found chasing after my energy-filled 21-month old toddler-saur, Theodore, or cooking meals for my family. After a long day at work, I enjoy watching my beloved Yankees or playing video games with friends. Recently I purchased a home in Hartford, VT and plan to add a puppy, Franklin, to the family shortly.

Hi, I'm Kelley Grace, and am so excited to be joining the Marion Cross family this year as the sixth grade math and science teacher! After graduating from Saint Michael's College, I taught third grade for five years, and in 2016, I graduated from the University of Vermont with a Master of Science In Teaching degree through the Vermont Mathematics Initiative. After finishing my graduate program, my love of math brought me to Woodstock, where I served as the fifth and sixth grade math teacher. I love being outdoors, whether hiking, swimming, or playing basketball, and I love spending time with my two amazing dogs, my family, and my friends. I currently live in White River Junction, VT, and love exploring and experiencing all that Vermont has to offer.

Molly Gentine

I am excited to be teaching second grade at MCS this year.  Before moving to the Upper Valley, I was a teacher first in Chicago, and then Colorado.  Since moving to Vermont, I have had the pleasure of tutoring students in a variety of subjects and levels.  I have three children who greatly enjoy Marion Cross, and my husband teaches at Hanover High School.  My favorite hobbies are skiing, fishing, baking, reading, and solving fun math riddles.  I’m looking forward to a great year! 

Ross McGee

I am excited to return to the Marion Cross School as a classroom teacher! I grew up in Norwich and have many fond memories of my elementary school days, and cannot wait to help create similar experiences for the students at MCS. I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, snowshoeing and gardening as well as indoor activities like cooking, playing board/card games, canning vegetables and reading. My wife is the school counselor at the Ottauquechee School and we have 5 pets - 3 dogs (Bodhi, Marley, Oliver) and 2 cats (Bebe and Knuckles). We like taking them for swims or walks and playing with them at our house in Hartland. I have spent the past ten years teaching in Quechee.  I spent my first five years as a fourth grade teacher and the last five as a math specialist. I am excited to bring my passion for teaching to MCS, and cannot wait to meet my students next month!

Important Dates

  • August 24 - MCS Staff In-Service begins

  • September 1-4 - Parent/Student Orientation Days (information to follow)

  • September 8 - First Day of School for Students

School News and Information

How to Return MCS Library Books

  1. There’s a cart in the vestibule on the right side as you enter where you can place your library books.

  2. This cart is only for library books.  

  3. Please practice appropriate social distancing and wait outside to return your books if someone else is in the vestibule.

  4. The vestibule is open from 8:00am until 3:00 pm

Contact Joy Blongewicz if you have questions. 

Thank you very much!   

Important Links

Community Interest

Please see the Community Interest page on our website for more information. Please be advised, that these events are not school sanctioned, but may be of interest to our community members.