Arcadia This Week 7/30/2021
Hello, Arcadia families, students, and friends!
To all of our new students and families, welcome to Arcadia!! "Arcadia This Week" is the weekly newsletter that I send out to keep everyone informed about the happenings at Arcadia. I sometimes include articles and information about education- and child development-related things, too.
I hope you have all had the opportunity to take a breath this summer, if not a longer break, after the sustained period of challenge we experienced over the course of the last school year due to the pandemic.
Before moving on to the things that I am excited about for this coming school year, I want to acknowledge that many of us experienced losses--of people we love, of jobs or income, of a sense of security or stability--that added to the stress of COVID and made it difficult to cope. If you need support, we are happy to direct you toward community resources that can help. Here are links to online resources:
Now the exciting part: We are thrilled to open school this year with everyone back in person! According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the weekly COVID case rate in Rice County is under 5/10,000 in a one-week period (currently at 1.1/10,000), and all but a few of our youngest students are eligible for vaccination. Super exciting!!
Masks will still be universally required inside the building. (Masks are also required on public transportation, including the school bus.) Here are the takeaways from “Best Practice Recommendations for COVID-19 Prevention in Schools for the 2021-2022 School Year” from the MDH website:
All people ages 12 years and older should get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to in-person school, sports, or other activities to protect themselves and people around them who cannot get vaccinated. Talk to a health care provider or Find Vaccine Locations near you.
All students, teachers, staff, and visitors in school buildings should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Schools should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms whenever possible. When it is not possible to maintain 3 feet of distance between students, it is especially important to layer other prevention strategies.
Students, teachers, and staff should stay home if they feel sick and should contact a health care provider for testing and care.
Students, teachers, and staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to stay home even if they have had recent close contact with a confirmed case so long as they do not have symptoms and do not test positive. Follow CDC testing guidance for anyone exposed to a confirmed case.
People who are not fully vaccinated and returning to in-person school, sports, or extracurricular activities (and their families) should get tested regularly for COVID-19 according to CDC guidance.
Schools should encourage ventilation, contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning, and disinfection as important layers of prevention.
If your child is not yet vaccinated, but is eligible for vaccination, please consider starting that process now so that they are fully vaccinated at the beginning of the school year. It is the most powerful tool available right now to prevent the spread of COVID-19! Here is more information from the CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens
The Northfield School District is also maintaining a Vaccination Opportunities document if you are looking for more information about where to get vaccinated, and how to sign up for an appointment.
Goal Setting Conferences and Opening of School
We recognize that many students have not been in a school building or around peers for over a year, and this return may feel overwhelming. We are, of course, planning Arcadia’s 2021-2022 school year opening with this in mind.
Every year, Arcadia starts out with goal-setting conferences for every student. This year, we will hold goal-setting conferences on August 30th and 31st, and September 1st. These 30 minute long conferences are an opportunity for students to reconnect with (or meet) their advisors, visit the school building, and prepare for their transition back to what will look like a much more “normal” school experience! (Normal for us, anyway!) We will also have stations set up where parents and students can fill out back-to-school paperwork; learn how to log in to our student information system, JMC, to check attendance and grades; and learn to manage information from Google Classroom to support their child.
Advisory placements and conference sign-up links will come out the week of August 16th.
When school starts, the first two weeks of school will be focused on rebuilding our sense of community and connection with one another. We will be participating in a school-wide “expedition,” which is a fancy term for an experiential, project-based learning unit, based on civics content and resulting in the development of a school-wide social contract.
Planning for Lunch
In the last survey in June, only 20 people indicated that they were interested in hot lunch for the 2021-2022 school year, and we need a minimum of 25 orders (daily) to make hot lunch work for our caterer (Maria Estrada, of KAHLO Restaurant and Catering fame). I’m sending the survey out again to make sure I catch all new families! If we don’t have enough interest in hot lunch, all students will need to bring a lunch every day. Microwaves will be available, but will need to be sanitized after each use by the student who used it. (Materials for sanitizing will be provided.) We will continue to send groceries home with families who qualify for free and reduced lunch. I did add a question to the survey to see if we could come up with other lunch ideas!
No doubt, more information will be coming your way throughout August! We can’t wait to see you all!!
August 17th, 6:30pm-8:30pm: Arcadia School Board Meeting (This meeting will be held both in person at the school and online--video call link: https://meet.google.com/tmk-nfcx-szi
Or dial: (US) +1 513-796-6467 PIN: 493 475 105#)