News & Updates 12/4/20

Thank you 8th Graders
The 8th grade seems to be on a “spirit lifting” mission recently, and it has really worked on me. A red envelope turned up on my desk today. I opened it quickly, assuming it was another generous donation to our island families partnership with Fairwinds. However, to my delight, there was a note from an 8th grader with carefully drawn holiday art and a beautifully written thank you note. It was the nicest, most sincere note I have ever received from a student, and as I bragged to some faculty members about it, I easily became choked up. There is a level of thoughtfulness in these children that is not found in many communities, and even in challenging times, I am grateful for every second I am able to share with them. This note thanked me for “brightening the day,” but the gift I received from this student feels stronger than anything I have to offer, and yes, I will be mentioning it in your graduation speech. 
Many of you have joined us for the weekly “grade level meet and greets” via Zoom. We still have a couple to host in the next two weeks, and these connections have been a great part of my week. They have clearly illustrated how grateful parents, teachers, and even students are to have this campus open for their school day. In each one of these meetings, you can feel the momentum of the community, and let's keep that momentum going. This week, I have reached out to the hospital, board of health, Covid advisors, and school leaders on and off the island. The clear message I heard back was to maintain the school’s course and to re-emphasize the importance of hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, and responsible behavior. Gary Shaw, CEO of the Cottage Hospital, released a compelling message today, and I urge you to take a look: Statement from NCH President and CEO. We have all heard it before, and we have come so far- let's keep the momentum going at NNS. Thank you!!
Pajama Day
Friday, December 18, is our last day of school before winter break. It will be a half day with a noon dismissal, but more importantly, it is a Pajama Dress Down Day. Please have your children wear appropriate pajamas to celebrate the last day of school. Full sweat suits are also appropriate, and comfort is the key.
After Winter Break Procedure
As we reflect on our first week back from Thanksgiving, we have started to look ahead to our return from winter break. I have been working with a testing lab off island to get access to pooled testing that is more cost effective than individual testing and handled by the same lab that the Cottage Hospital uses to do their Covid testing. If the lab approves us for pooled testing, on Monday, January 4, we would test students in grades 1-8 and staff. I will be trying to schedule testing for K and PK on 12/30 so that they can start in person on 1/5. We would then have remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday for grades 1-8, and in person learning would begin on Thursday for the full school. We would still be subject to a five day travel quarantine if you left the state of Massachusetts, so in order to not miss any school you would need to be back in the state by Saturday, January 2. There may be some changes to this schedule, but please be prepared for student Covid testing and a couple days of remote learning the week of January 4. I will update as plans and schedules are finalized.
Have a great weekend.

Nantucket New School