Happy summer! I hope that you are all safe, happy, and healthy and looking forward to a wonderful school year ahead. We are delighted to be returning to campus and welcoming both new and returning families to NYA. Many things will be a little different this year, but our primary objectives will remain unchanged. It is always our goal to educate the whole child, and now more than ever, we look to nurture the physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being of every student.
NYA’s Return to Campus Plan outlines the major elements for returning to campus in September. In this first monthly Panther Cubs newsletter, you will find more detailed information to help you prepare for the start of school. In addition, we are hosting a Lower School community meeting on Zoom this coming Tuesday, August 11, at 4:00 p.m. to review our reopening plans.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to an exciting year ahead!
Head of Lower and Middle Schools
LOWER SCHOOL COMMUNITY ZOOM MEETING
A reminder to all Lower School families that we are hosting a community Zoom meeting on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:00 p.m. to provide additional information and updates regarding the opening of the school year. You may register for the meeting here. The registration link also includes space for you to indicate any specific topics that you would like us to cover in the meeting.
CLASSROOM PLACEMENT AND SCHEDULES
We will send out classroom placement and schedules, along with welcome letters from your child’s teachers, in mid-August. We have two Toddler classrooms, two Primary classrooms, one Kindergarten classroom, one first grade classroom, one second grade classroom, one third grade classroom, and one combined third and fourth grade classroom this year. Students’ academic schedules will follow the usual format with some minor modifications. Many specials, such as Spanish and Art, will take place within the classroom, and Creative Movement and Physical Education will take place outdoors whenever possible.
CLASSROOM ZOOM MEETINGS
Classroom teachers will hold Zoom meetings with their students and parents on August 28. Teachers will send the Zoom invitations in the welcome packets. These meetings will be an opportunity for students to get to know their teachers and classmates and have the chance to connect before the start of school. The teachers will run the meetings from their classrooms and will also orient students to the classroom space.
HEALTH AND FAMILY FORMS
An essential step in preparing for the new school year is to make sure that you have completed all necessary Family Forms. Health forms are of critical importance, especially now, and no students will be permitted on campus without the Annual Health Information and Authorization for Health Care Form. Please contact Ashley Moody with any questions regarding health forms.
Every student will undergo a quick wellness check before entering their school building each morning. The check will include a short series of questions about the student (fever, symptoms, potential exposure) and a no-contact temperature screening (with a touchless forehead thermometer). Two staff members will be at each screening location to conduct the wellness checks. Staff will be wearing face masks and shields and may wear additional PPE. All family members over the age of two must wear approved face masks and maintain physical distancing during the wellness check and while waiting in line. We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we all become accustomed to this new process.
Drop off procedures each morning will include the wellness check (see above).
For students in Primary through grade four, families will line up to enter on the ramp entrance to the Merrill Lower School front porch. Only one family will be on the porch at a time. The second family will wait at the top of the ramp, the third family will wait on the walkway at the bottom of the ramp, etc. The line will go down the walkway in front of the drop-off parking spaces. All family members over the age of two must wear approved face masks and maintain physical distancing. There will be markings to help maintain physical distancing while in line. After the wellness check, students will enter the building and proceed to their classroom. Younger students will be escorted by a staff member to drop off items in their cubbies and then to their classroom. No one except students and staff may enter any school building. Please plan your goodbyes for before the wellness check! Parents and siblings will then exit down the front steps off the porch.
For students in the Toddler House, families will line up on the back deck to enter through the kitchen door. Only two families will be permitted on the deck at a time, one by the door for the screening and the second waiting at the designated spot. Additional families will wait in the Toddler House yard area. All family members over the age of two must wear approved face masks and maintain physical distancing. The staff members for the screening will include a teacher from each classroom. After the wellness check, the appropriate teacher will escort the child into the classroom where the second teacher will be waiting to help them settle in for the day. No one except students and staff may enter any school building. Please plan your goodbyes for before the wellness check! Parents and siblings will then exit down off the deck. Once the first family has exited the deck, the second family will proceed toward the door for the wellness check, and the third family will move to the designated wait spot, and so on.
To help streamline the drop off process, we are staggering drop off times for the different age groups:
- Toddler: 7:50-8:10 a.m.
- Primary: 8:10-8:30 a.m.
- Kindergarten – Grade 2: 7:50-8:10 a.m.
- Grade 3 – Grade 4: 7:30-7:50 a.m.
- Families with multiple children should come near the upper end of the earliest time slot (e.g. a family with children in Primary and first grade would come around 8:05 a.m.).
End of the day pick up will take place at the same location as morning drop off.
For students in Primary through grade four, families will line up to enter on the ramp entrance to the Merrill Lower School front porch. Again, only one family will be on the porch at a time, and all family members over the age of two must wear approved face masks and maintain physical distancing. A staff member will be waiting at the porch door (greeter), and a second staff member will be waiting in the reception area (runner). Staff again will be wearing face masks and shields. When a parent arrives for pick up, the greeter will let the runner know, and s/he will summon/escort the student to meet the parent at the door. Teachers will have the students already packed up and ready to go. Families will then exit down the front steps off the porch. For the small number of half day Primary students, the process will be the same except only one staff member will be waiting.
For students in the Toddler House, families again will line up on the back deck near the kitchen door and only two families will be permitted on the deck at a time. All family members over the age of two must wear approved face masks and maintain physical distancing. Parents will be greeted at the door by a staff member in a face mask and shield, and the student will be brought to meet the parents on the deck. Teachers will have the students already packed up and ready to go. Families will then exit down off the deck. Once the first family has exited the deck, the second family will proceed toward the door for pick up and the third family will move to the designated wait spot, and so on.
To help streamline the pick-up process, we have extended the stagger between pick-up times for the different age groups:
- Toddler: 2:25-2:45 p.m.
- Primary: 2:15-2:35 p.m.
- Kindergarten: 2:35-2:45 p.m.
- Grade 1: 2:45-2:55 p.m.
- Grade 2: 2:55-3:05 p.m.
- Grade 3 – Grade 4: 3:00-3:20 p.m.
- Families with multiple children should come near the early end of the latest time slot (e.g. a family with children in Primary and first grade would come around 2:45 p.m.).
FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL
To ease the students’ transition as we begin our new school year, we are making some modifications to the first week of school. Tuesday, September 8 will be the first day of school for students in Kindergarten through grade four, and the first day of school for Toddler and Primary students will be Wednesday, September 9. In addition, Toddler and Primary students will have a later time slot for drop off and wellness checks on Wednesday, September 9 and Thursday, September 10. We hope that these changes will allow for a more peaceful entry into school for our youngest students. Pick-up times will remain as usual.
Drop-off times for Toddler and Primary students on Wednesday, September 9 and Thursday, September 10 only:
- Toddler: 8:50-9:10 a.m.
- Primary: 9:00-9:20 a.m.
With the new protocols for morning wellness checks, we are providing additional parking for families by designating parking along Main Street and the short-term parking spots along Curtis driveway for Lower School drop off and pick up. Please note that parking is not permitted along Storer Street, in the turn-around, in the spaces designated for Admission, or in the handicapped parking space without a permit.
Attendance will be taken daily during wellness checks. Parents should call 846-9051 or email email@example.com by 8:15 a.m. if a student will be absent all day, will arrive late, or will be dismissed early. Because late arrivals can be disruptive to the student and the class, we ask that families make every effort to consistently arrive to school on time. This is especially important due to wellness checks. Families arriving after the end of wellness checks will need to report to the Middle School building for a screening and will receive a late slip in order to join their class.
BEFORE AND AFTER CARE
Our Before and After Care programs are now fully enrolled. We will begin After Care each afternoon with children in groupings of Toddler, Primary/Kindergarten, and Elementary, and the groups will combine at approximately 4:00 p.m. as the number of attendees begins to decrease. Students staying for After Care should pack an additional snack, as no snacks will be provided. Morning drop-off for Before Care will begin with a wellness check on the Lower School porch. We will utilize a walkie-talkie system for pick up from After Care. Additional information will be sent to families enrolled in these programs prior to the start of school. Please contact Leslie Durgin with any questions.
PICK-UP PERMISSION FORMS
If anyone other than a parent will be picking up a child from school, it is imperative that we have a signed permission slip on file. Pick-Up Permission Forms are available upon request. Forms must be completed annually. We will also need to see a photo ID the first time the individual picks up a child from NYA.
FOOD AND DINING
Food and dining play an important role in the child’s school experience and provide an opportunity to nourish both body and mind. There will not be weekly snack families this year as everyone will bring snacks from home in lieu of a communal classroom snack. We encourage families to pack a healthy lunch and snacks for children and to include ample variety and quantity. Many children will eat a morning snack and an afternoon snack in addition to a full lunch. Busy days promote busy appetites! Everything that the child needs for his or her lunch and snacks must be sent from home, including utensils and a water bottle. As we will often be eating outside, we suggest sandwiches and cold finger foods. Please use a thermos for warm items as we will not have ready access for heating up lunches.
Students in grades one through four will also have the option of purchasing lunch through NYA Dining Services. Teachers will assist students who wish to purchase lunch with the pre-ordering process each morning. All items will be charged to the student’s pre-loaded dining account. Lunches will be packed to go and delivered to the Merrill Lower School building. Families may set up dining accounts through “myschoolaccount.com.” Student IDs, which are used for setting up dining accounts, will be available for new students in late August. Please note that there is not the option for cash sales this year. Contact Lisa McGlinn in the Business Office with any questions. Lunch menus are available on Family Web.
A reminder that all Lower School classrooms are entirely nut-free. No peanut butter, peanut, or nut products of any kind should be brought to school. Other food allergies will be addressed on an as-needed basis.
Below you will find information on the main supplies needed for students. Classroom teachers may share a few additional class-specific requests.
Toddler: Families should provide two complete, seasonally appropriate changes of clothing, including socks and underwear, plus a regular supply of pull-ups and wipes as needed. NYA will provide all basic classroom materials, and the teachers will have supplies for each student, including a container to store their change of clothes. Students will also need a water bottle clearly labelled with their name to bring to school each day.
Primary: Families should provide two complete, seasonally appropriate changes of clothing, including socks and underwear. Families with young Primary students may want to send in two additional pairs of underwear and/or pull-ups. NYA will provide all basic classroom materials, and the teachers will have supplies for each student, including a container to store their change of clothes. Families need to provide cloth face masks (labelled with your child’s name). We ask that each child bring two masks to school each day and have two spare masks in their cubby to use if needed. Students will also need a water bottle clearly labelled with their name to bring to school each day. Finally, we are asking that all non-essential items be left at home and encourage using smaller bags if possible.
Kindergarten and Elementary: Teachers are putting together supply packages for students including notebooks, folders, pencils, erasers, and assorted other supplies. Items will be replenished as needed by NYA throughout the year. Families should provide a complete change of clothes to have on hand as a back-up. Families also need to provide cloth face masks (labelled with your child’s name). We ask that each student bring two masks to school each day and have two spare masks in their locker, desk, or cubby to use if needed. We also ask that students bring a beach towel. This is not for trips to the beach, but to be utilized for outside classes (almost as fun!). Beach towels not only provide something to sit on, but as they are usually approximately six feet long, they also provide quick and easy physical distancing. Students will also need a water bottle clearly labelled with their name to bring to school each day. Finally, please leave all non-essential items at home and forego backpacks or other large bags if possible (this is especially important for students in kindergarten through grade 2).
Tuesday, September 8 is a Dress-Up Day: dress; skirt or dress pants with blouse or dress top; dress pants with collared shirts, plus ties for grades one through four. Please be sure to review and follow all aspects of the student dress code (Toddler, Primary, and Kindergarten and Elementary), which can be found in the Lower School Family Handbook on the NYA website. We appreciate your support!
LOST AND FOUND ITEMS
Below are the remaining “found” items from the Lower School. Please contact Mary Goodrich to claim an item. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity at the end of this week.
A reminder to all parents to be sure that you have set up a parent account in Family Web. Family Web is a section of our website where announcements, directory information, calendars, lunch menus, and additional school information can be found. You can access Family Web under the Parents tab at the top of the NYA homepage. If you have not yet set up a parent account in Family Web, follow these instructions and then review the information on how to use Family Web. You will also want to check that your directory information is accurate and make any changes if needed. Contact Chris Mazzurco, Director of IT, with any questions.
LOWER SCHOOL MUSIC
Music is a favorite special for our Lower School students. There is currently much study regarding the spread of COVID-19 through aerosol droplets produced by singing. Singing is a fundamental skill, but is only one of many aspects of primary and elementary music classes. We will start off the year with activities based in instruments, movement, and composition/creation, and will return to singing in class as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
LOWER SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB
The Lower School Drama Club performance has been a highlight of the fall for Lower School families over the last several years. It is our hope and plan to be able to offer this experience in some format to our students this spring. More details will be forthcoming this winter.
LOWER SCHOOL VIRTUAL PARENT NIGHT
Parents, mark your calendars now. We will host a Lower School Virtual Parent Night on Wednesday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m. The evening will begin with an information session for all Lower School parents as well as the opportunity to meet our staff. Parents will then participate in breakout sessions with individual classroom teachers to receive additional information about your child’s class and have the opportunity to ask questions.
FOR YOUR PLANNING:
|8/11||Lower School Community Zoom Meeting||4:00 p.m.|
|8/12||Middle School Community Zoom Meeting||4:00 p.m.|
|8/13||Upper School Community Zoom Meeting||4:00 p.m.|
|8/28||Lower School Classroom Meetings via Zoom|
|9/2||New Middle & Upper School Student Orientation|
|9/8||First Day of School for Kindergarten-Grade 12; Dress-Up Day|
|9/9||First Day of School for Toddler and Primary – Late arrival||Toddler: 8:50-9:10 a.m. Primary: 9:00-9:20 a.m.|
|9/9||Lower School Virtual Parent Night||6:30 p.m.|
|9/10||Late arrival for Toddler and Primary||Toddler: 8:50-9:10 a.m. Primary: 9:00-9:20 a.m.|
|9/16||Upper School Virtual Parent Night||6:45 p.m.|
|9/17||Middle School Virtual Parent Night||6:30 p.m.|
|9/18||Sky Day Project|
|9/21||International Day of Peace|
|9/26||Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Falmouth Country Club||7:15 a.m.|
|10/12||Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly Columbus Day)||NO SCHOOL|
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