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Dyanthe's Weekly Letters

Week of 1.10.22

Dear Families,

Thank you for your support, flexibility, and patience during this incredibly demanding time.  The drastic uptick in positive cases means I am sending emails alerting our community at all hours of the day.  Still, sharing this information as soon as I learn of it is crucial to help avoid any potential spread of infection. 

The increase in cases in our school is disruptive for families and has also made running school extremely challenging.  I am sure you have heard about staffing shortages across the city. For example, at TNS last week, most of the office was out, and we scrambled to cover classes because no substitutes showed up to cover teacher absences.  Many of us are parents, too, and need to take time off to care for our own sick or quarantined children.  We are all spread thin, and kindness and understanding go a long way! 

I hope many of you will join TNS staff tomorrow at 8 AM in the front courtyard (on 3rd St.) to rally for safe schools.  We are advocating for weekly, on-site COVID testing for ALL students and staff, More PPE, and a centralized remote learning option for children who have to quarantine or whose families choose to keep them home.

Finally, please bundle your children up this week!  It will be freezing, and we need to keep classroom windows open to ensure adequate ventilation.  

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe's Weekly Letters

Week of January 3, 2022

Dear Families,

The surge of cases experienced before and during winter break, delays in test results, and longer turnaround times in response from the Situation Room have made it difficult to get accurate case counts in schools. To give you a clearer sense, we have at least ten active, positive cases to date in our school. Additionally, we have a handful of community members under quarantine as close contacts due to exposure over the break.  Many students also are home today awaiting test results.  

Students who test positive must isolate for ten days and can return to school on Day 11 if they have no symptoms.  No negative test is required to return to school.  Please

Quarantining protocols have changed with at-home COVID tests.  Unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated students who are in close proximity to a positive case no longer have to quarantine and can continue attending school if they do not have symptoms and do not have a positive test result from a COVID test. All students and adults in that classroom will receive two take-home rapid tests and take  over five days. In Pre-K, the quarantine policy will remain the same, meaning that any Pre-K student who was in close proximity to a positive case will have to quarantine for ten days. 

The DoE is not offering remote options for students who test positive or whose families choose to keep them home. I understand this is frustrating for children and families staying home because of the rise in COVID cases in NYC or because they need to quarantine. However, please understand that teachers can’t work in person all day and then prepare work for our students at home and offer office hours. So instead, I strongly urge you to reach out to our new chancellor and mayor about offering remote options for students across the city.  Nonetheless, there are many activities that your child can do at home that will support their learning:

  • Read!  Your child can access Sora for books.

  • Many of our older children can use Zearn for math.

  • Younger students can staple or glue multiple pages together and have them write or draw a story; you can mix this activity up by cutting out different-sized booklets or using different kinds of paper.  Older children can also write stories or journal daily.

  • Cook or bake with your child.

  • Play games like Candyland, Memory, chess, checkers, or Uno.

Please also try not to worry about learning loss if your child is absent due to COVID.  Most classes are not covering new content or skills because so many students are out this week, and our teachers will work hard to support your children when they return to school.  

Finally, please submit your child’s testing consent through their NYC Schools Account. Starting this week, in-school testing will expand, doubling the number of students tested. This is one way to detect asymptomatic cases and keep us all safe!  If you have submitted consent this school year, you do not need to again.  

We know this is a lot of information, and we ourselves still have many questions and concerns. As new information becomes available from the DOE, we will update you.  

Warm regards,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe's Weekly Letters

12.31.21

Dear Families,

I hope you are having a relaxing and restful break. It is heartbreaking that many of us canceled gatherings because of the Ominicrom variant; I know that we were all looking forward to spending time with our loved ones after such a difficult year.  

As we continue to brace for a challenging winter ahead, we are preparing to welcome students back into the classrooms on Monday, January 3. Our highest priority is the health and safety of our children, families, and staff. 

Get tested before returning on January 3

To keep our school community safe when we return to school buildings, I strongly encourage all staff and students to get tested before returning to school on January 3, regardless of their vaccination status. The City continues to offer many free options for testing. In addition, families and staff members can go to any City-run testing sites to pick up readily available at-home rapid test kits. For a list of testing sites, including sites with at-home rapid test kits, call 212-COVID19, visit online at http://nyc.gov/covidtest, text “COVID TEST” to 855-48, or call 311 to find a nearby testing site.   If your child tests positive for COVID, I ask that you complete this form instead of sending me an email.

 

Masks

We ask that all students wear surgical or KN95 masks rather than cloth masks when they return. We have a good supply of surgical masks at school, but if your child is used to wearing a cloth mask, I encourage your child to begin wearing the recommended masks they will need to wear at school starting next week.

 

Increased In-School Testing  

Consent to in-school testing. Parents can complete the online form in their NYC Schools Account or return a signed paper form to the school. On January 3, the program will expand, doubling the number of students tested. Information on testing for students can be found on the DOE website.

 

New Quarantine Policy 

  • Unvaccinated or not yet fully-vaccinated students who are in close proximity to a positive case will no longer have to quarantine and can continue attending school if they do not have symptoms and do not have a positive test result from a COVID test. Instead, all students and adults in that classroom will receive a take-home rapid test kit and take two tests over five days. 

  • In Pre-K, the quarantine policy will remain the same, meaning that any Pre-K student who was in close proximity to a positive case will still have to quarantine for ten days. 

The DoE is not offering remote options for students who test positive or whose families choose to keep them home, but we will be in touch with you if guidance changes. Much of what I have shared is covered in the attached letter from our new Chancellor, David Banks. Please read it carefully and let me know if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you and your children on January 3, 2022!

Warm regards,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe's Weekly Letters

Week of December 20, 2021

Dear Families,

We need to prepare to pivot to remote learning as COVID cases continue to increase at an alarming rate across the city and at TNS.  This means that every student needs access to a device.  Please complete this survey as soon as possible if your child needs to borrow a device.  We will distribute Chromebooks Wednesday and Thursday.

I strongly encourage you to get your child tested if you suspect that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive. Frequent testing is our best defense against uncontrolled spread, and vaccination is the best defense against serious illness.  According to the CDC, “studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective, especially at keeping adults and children from getting seriously ill even if they do get COVID-19.” Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated. Also, please remember to upload your child’s vaccination information to the DoE portal https://vaccine.schools.nyc/, so the school also has access to this information.

As of today, more than half of our classrooms have had to close or partially close in the last week due to positive cases.  We are currently processing 5 new positive cases.  It is an alarming and challenging end to an exhausting and difficult year.  I very much hope that you can still spend time with your family and friends over the winter break.  I wish for a brighter 2022.  Please stay safe and well.

With Love,

Dyanthe 

Dyanthe's Weekly Letters

Week of December 13, 2021

Dear Families,

I hope that you will be able to attend our PTA meeting tomorrow, December 14 at 6:30 PM.  I will discuss TNS’s approach to “lockdown drills”, share information on quarantine policies for fully vaccinated kids, and the process for applying for Kindergarten for current TNS Pre-K families.  Here’s the meeting link.

I also hope that you will join Cheryl this Wednesday at 7 PM for “Bedtime Stories with Cheryl.”  This is open to TNS kids of all ages.  Here is the meeting link.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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