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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of December 21, 2020

Dear Families,

Our building will be closed today so that the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) can investigate the source(s) of COVID-19 transmission in our building.  Between the two schools, we have had a least 3 positive cases resulting from the random testing done on Tuesday, December 15th. Teachers and students who were in close contact with the students and staff who tested positive are on a 14-day quarantine.  Anyone else who was in close contact is also on a 14-day quarantine, including Anthony, Ahyesha, and myself.  The DoE will let us know later today if we can return to the building tomorrow or if it will remain closed until after the Winter Break.  Families should be prepared for the possibility of school remaining fully remote until Winter Break.  

A reminder to all families... for any traveler to New York State from out of state, exempting contiguous states, the guidelines for travelers to test-out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine are below:

  • For travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours:

    • Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure from that state.

    • The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.

    • On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test. 

  • For travelers who were in another state for less than 24 hours:

    • The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State.

    • However, the traveler must fill out our traveler form upon entry into New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.

This is a time when we must be vigilant about taking care of our community.  We will continue to advocate for transparency and the safety of our students, staff, and families.  I wish you all a wonderful and well-deserved break.  We will see you Monday, January 4, 2021!

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of December 14, 2020

Dear Families,

Did you know that our library houses the NYC School Library System’s specialized collection of Cookbooks?  A part of the Cooperative Collection Development (CCD) program, our cookbook collection is one of the most popular sections of the school library.  Our collection concentrates on cooking with and for children but also covers all aspects of food—from growing to harvesting to preparation and consumption. Books and other media focus on individual ingredients, regional cuisines, food traditions, and historical periods, as well as nutrition, careers, and important figures in cooking.  

COVID-19 has brought challenges and opportunities to the library program. While we are currently not able to circulate print widely, Cheryl is doing curbside delivery for remote kids and “curbside pickup” in the hallway for our kids who are in-person.  We have also expanded our collection with eBooks available through the Sora app.  We invite you to explore our digital cooking collection and for all our cooking enthusiasts,

we hope you will join us on Thursday at 7 PM for food writer and cookbook author Melissa Clark to talk about her latest book, Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks.  

This is a family literacy event and all are welcome!

This Week at TNS…

  • Our November PTA meeting is on Tuesday at 5:00 PM:  12.15.20 PTA Meeting link

  • Join us Thursday at 7 PM for a conversation with Melissa Clark.  Please register in advance for the webinar.

Looking Ahead…

  • Winter break is Thursday, December 24 - Friday, January 1.

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of December 7, 2020

Dear Families,

Today is a TNS professional development half-day.  In the afternoon, we will think together about how we have conversations with families about race and racism by looking through the lens of teachers’ curriculum letters.  In particular, we will reflect on common threads, our stance as a school, and the opportunities we are creating for dialogue about race and racism with families.  We will also meet in our racial affinity groups.  

Starting tomorrow, families MUST submit a health screening for each child attending in-person. Go to https://healthscreening.schools.nyc/ to fill it out online, then show it on your phone at morning drop-off. All in-person students must have this screening filled out EVERY DAY, either on paper or on a phone, before they can enter the building.  In order for your child to return to in-person learning, you must also submit the consent form for in-school COVID-19 testing by the first day your child returns to their school building.  Schools will participate in weekly mandatory random testing of 20% of the school’s population, which includes 1st - 5th grade students and staff.  Finally, please send your child in with lots of warm layers because all classrooms have at least 2 windows open for ventilation and it can get cold.  

This week at TNS…

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

News & Announcements

Blended Learning resumes Tuesday, December 8

Dear Families,

I am writing to inform you and clarify the Mayor’s message about the return to school five days a week for blended students. After meeting with the TNS Summer Reopening Team, members of the Instructional Leadership Team, and SLT, due to the lower number of students who have opted in this quarter, we agree that it is best for our school community to keep our cohort model as is as we are able to add new blended kids into existing cohorts.  

There are several reasons for this decision:

  • We are trying to maintain as equitable a model of school as possible, given the challenging circumstances.  Two-thirds of our students will still participate in remote learning this quarter.  If blended students come 5 days a week, it means that most of our students, including those with mandated services, will no longer get small group instruction because we don’t have enough remote staff and it will create an imbalanced student-to-teacher ratio.  For example, in one class 6 students will come in person with one teacher while 20 will be remote with the other.  

  • We have also worked hard to create consistent classroom communities made up of blended and remote students.  Moving to a 5 days a week model means that kids from Pre-K through 3rd grade won’t see each other or one of the teachers at all anymore.  

  • We continue to keep the health and safety of our staff, children, and families at the forefront of our planning.  While research shows that school is safe for young children, keep in mind that most of our staff use public transportation to get to and from school.  To that end, we want to keep the number of kids and staff in the building as low as possible to mitigate the risk of transmission. Our cohort model currently does not overlap as many classes only have one cohort (A or B) so we are able to keep our daily in-school population low. This also gives us the opportunity to phase in more cohorts quarterly while maintaining consistency for kids.

  • Finally, if we move kids to 5 days a week, it means that we would not be able to honor our promise of giving families additional time to opt-in to blended learning later in the year because most of our classes would only have a few spots left.

As you know, things are in flux and we are constantly in conversation about transitioning to different models. We will evaluate our model before the next opt-in period (in February) so that we can maintain equity, community, health, and safety for all.

We will begin in-person classes on Tuesday, December 8 only for those who are currently blended or opted into blended learning for this quarter.  Monday, December 7 is a TNS PD half-day and a remote-only day for all students so that teachers and paras can prepare rooms to accommodate additional kids.  

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of November 30, 2020

Dear Families,

I am excited to share that finally, after months of waiting, our Exception Request for a Parent Coordinator has been approved!  This means that we can hire someone to replace Noemi!  Hooray!  It will take some time, but it is in the works and I will share updates with you as I learn more.  

As you have heard, the Mayor announced that all 3K, Pre-K, and grades K-5 will return to in-person learning on Monday, December 7.  Our reopening team meets today and will share plans as soon as possible so families can plan accordingly.  Please note that all 1st - 5th grade students must submit a testing consent form in order to return to the school building.  

As we prepare to be in the building again, I want to share some important updates about ventilation, especially as the weather gets colder.  Thanks to our advocacy efforts and with the support of our custodial staff and superintendent, our building received 24 air purifiers manufactured by Intellipure before in-person school started.  This was a kind gesture on the part of the Department of Education.  Recently, we received additional air purifiers for classrooms and were told this was so teachers can close more windows when it’s cold.  Each school building was also given a CO2 monitor (CO2 is Carbon Dioxide NOT Carbon Monoxide) to regularly monitor airflow in classrooms.  While appreciative of these efforts to keep us safe, the Building Council is still seeking the science in writing that gives specifics about window ventilation and air purifiers for COVID.  We continue to advocate for ALL schools to receive reliable, scientifically sound guidelines about the ventilation in classrooms that are specific to each school building’s unique variables. 

Looking Ahead…

  • Monday, December 7 is a TNS half-day.  Dismissal for all students is at 11:10 AM.

  • The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet on Thursday, December 10 at 2:30 PM.  This meeting is open to all.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89975856001?pwd=KzJ1bm01Y2NhM3AwWTgrL21raC9NQT09

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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