The Birney Buzz 09/03/2021

The Birney Buzz 09/03/2021
Posted on 09/03/2021
Birney Bee

Hello Birney Bees,

Wow, what a week!  I sure am ready for a three-day weekend, thank you, Labor Day! It is so exciting to see all the kids back at school.  Every day has gotten better and better – and the kids seem to LOVE being back at school. Next week I will start sending the kid’s version of the Birney Buzz home in backpacks, and will continue emailing you with updates as well. 

We have spent the week practicing our social distancing, hand sanitizing, masking and all the other stuff to keep each other safe, and yet we still ended up with a couple of positive COVID-19 cases at school. This just proves the strength of the Delta variant, just like all the news reports are saying. The contact tracing and quarantine protocols are in place and everything is working, and the non-close-contact parent notification is linked here. Our Health & Wellness department called the families of close contacts (less than 6 feet for more than 15 cumulative minutes) and are currently following the required protocols required. The students who are home are doing well. 

We are doing our best to mitigate any circumstance where students might be exposed both in the classroom and out. I know that every family is sincerely invested in making sure all our students remain safe and would like to keep the school and its classrooms safe and open.

I know we all agree that in-person school is beneficial for our students and we have a collective agreement that this is what our children need. For this reason, in the interests of utmost accountability and safety, effective Tuesday, September 6, we will put in several additional safety checks, which were originally dropped for this year:

  • Symptom screening checklist:  Every two weeks we will send home a packet of 10 symptom checklists. Detach one checklist each morning, answer the questions, sign and include the phone number you can be reached at during the day IN CASE your child experiences symptoms that resemble symptoms of COVID-19.  The students will take the checklist to class and in the event they feel ill, the student will be sent to the health office with the screening checklist so contact can be made and you can pick them up. 
    • Clearpass preferred?  You can continue to use Clearpass but you must show your Clearpass at the gate and email the results to your child’s teacher.
    • Please keep in mind that using Clearpass requires additional work on the part of the teacher and the school.  We have to check reports and read emails instead of being able to get right down to instruction. 
  • Temperature screening at the entrances to the school:  just to keep us all safe, we will add a layer of safety by screening for fever at the school entrance.
  • Lunchtime seat tracking will reflect the seating charts teachers are using in the classroom so we can trace the exposure should one of the students test positive.

Last Thursday we held our first COVID-19 testing clinic for adults and children. Thank you for sending in your forms indicating if you wished for your child to participate. I will ask that you complete the informed consent and release of information form as well and return that to the teacher. Testing will occur every Thursday from 8-11.

PARENT PORTAL ACCESS:  The Birney office has been short-staffed since before the start of school, which has created undue burden on all of us since even with additional help we are still getting up to speed. The launch of the Parent Portal is a time-intensive job, which involves receiving an emailed request from you, verifying that the email matches the one in the system, and attaching directions and the access letter in return. I thought we would be ready by Wednesday, but that is also when I thought I would be sending this email!  I am ready to start. If you wish to gain access to the Parent Portal pver this weekend, email with the subject PARENT PORTAL – provide me with your name and your child’s name, or names. You will receive the access code and password and a job aid to set up the portal. Otherwise, I will be sending out the same via the classroom next week.

ENTRY and DISMISSAL parent requests: Please continue to maintain appropriate distance when waiting at entry and dismissal, and please leave the area in front of the gates open to facilitate passage of students to and from school. 

PTA Merchandise will be on sale after school in front of the auditorium every Wednesday and Friday afternoon at dismissal.  Stop by the front of school before or after picking up your child.

FAMILY FRIDAY NEWS: More new to come about Back-to-School teacher presentations and Family Friday.  Family Friday is next Friday, September 10, at 2:30. Families are welcome to join us then at Ms. Amanda’s personal meeting room (password was sent home in your email version of this Buzz):  We will kick off the Fall Fundraiser, introduce you to key Birney staff and answer your questions about being back at school, I am sure you have plenty.

For those of you who recently registered and have missed out on my previous communication, I am including the link to the Birney FAQ page which includes all my past emails!

I hope you have a woinderful 3-day labor Day weekend - see you next week,

Ms. Amanda

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