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Update for the Week of September 13th
Update for the Week of September 13th
Paul Barrette
Sunday, September 13, 2020

Hello OCRS families,

All of the teachers and staff have been working extremely hard this week to finalize all of our planning and preparation and we are excited to welcome our students back to school on Monday, both in-person and virtually! We know that there has been a LOT of information shared with families by both the district and the school throughout this summer. Here is some of the most important information that families will need for tomorrow and this first week of school.

Morning Student Drop-off and Walkers

Construction and COVID-19 protocols mean some changes to the morning student drop-off procedure for this school year. We have been working with the Smithfield Police and Fire Departments to map out the safest morning drop-of route and procedure. Please see the steps below:

Morning arrival does not begin this year until 8:10 a.m., a 15 minute change when compared to last year. Please plan accordingly. The school doors will not open prior to 8:10 a.m.

  1. Parent vehicles and school buses will enter the campus using the entrance on the right (north) side of the building.
  2. Separate lanes for parent drop-off and buses have been clearly marked using paint and cones as you enter the parking lot. Parent drop-off will stay in the left lane while school buses will stay in the right lane. School buses will continue around the outside of the parking lot and proceed behind the school to the south side of the building where the gym is located.
  3. Parent vehicles will follow their lane to loop around the visitor parking spaces back to the entrance at Door 10. A student drop-off zone has been clearly marked with cones right in front of Door 10. Students will exit their parent's vehicle and proceed directly to the school staff members who will be waiting to collect their daily health screening ticket and to take their temperature with a touchless thermometer.
  4. When the student has safely entered Door 10, the parent vehicle will proceed to exit the campus via the same exit that was used to enter the campus.

Students that are walkers will also be using Door 10. A staff member will escort them from the sidewalk into the campus to Door 10 for the student's safety.

Afternoon Pick-up and Walkers

Afternoon dismissal begin this year at 2:40 p.m., a 15 minute change when compared to last year. Please plan accordingly.

  1. Parents will enter the campus using the same procedure as detailed above for morning drop-off.
  2. When a parent pulls up to Door 10, a staff member will ask them for the name(s) of the student(s) they are picking up. The staff member will radio those names to staff within the building to send those students to Door 10. In order to keep students appropriately socially distanced, we will not have students waiting in the hallway near Door 10 or the classroom near Door 11 this year.
  3. A staff member will escort the student(s) to the car, watch them safely enter the car and exit the campus, and then signal for the next car to pull up to Door 10.

Similar to last year, walkers will be escorted to the sidewalk or crosswalk by a staff member.

School Lunch and Breakfast Information

Free lunch and breakfast through December 31st

Due to a federal program, school lunch and breakfast is free for all students through December 31st. This program is for both students attending school in-person, as well as students participating in virtual learning. We encourage all OCRS families to take advantage of this program. Please see the attached flyer for additional information.

Lunch and breakfast distribution for virtual learning students

Families of students who are participating in virtual learning may pick up meals Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Please see the attached flyer for additional information.

Lunch and breakfast menus

The lunch and breakfast menus for this week are attached. The district staff are working to get them posted to the school websites for east access. Lunch choices are simplified this year and will be "grab and go" as all students will be eating lunches in their classroom. Finally, ordering ONLY milk is not an option this year.

Ordering lunch or breakfast

In order to keep students appropriately physically distanced, students will not stop at the cafeteria when they arrive at school. Students will report directly to their classrooms when getting off of the bus or after being dropped off. Lunch and breakfast orders will be handled in the classroom by the teacher. Finally, ordering ONLY milk is not an option this year.

No nut products at all allowed in school this year

Due to allergy considerations and the fact that all students will be eating in the classrooms, no nut products of any kind will be allowed to be brought into school for snack or lunch. Thank you for your cooperation in helping to keep all of our students safe!

Mask Wearing Guidance and Information

Guidance from RIDE and RIDOH is that all students and staff will be required to wear masks while at school.

  • Students will be able to remove masks while eating and during scheduled mask breaks. Students will need to wear masks outside during recess.
  • Whenever possible, mask breaks will take place outside. The outside areas that will be used for mask breaks are the school fields or playground. Classes will rotate on a schedule to ensure that too many classes are not outside at once and are able to remain physically distanced.
  • Families should send students to school with at least one clean mask clearly labelled with your child's name every day. If a student needs a mask, the school will be able to assist.
What types of masks are acceptable for school?

Per new CDC guidance, bandanas and neck gaiters are not recommended as face masks. Cloth face coverings need to be at least two layers thick and should also fit snugly around the nose, mouth, and chin. Masks should not have any sort of valve or vent as these can allow for droplets to pass through the mask when we exhale. Face shields can be worn in addition to a mask, but a face shield does not replace the need to wear a mask.

Construction Update

Summer construction that was scheduled to take place in areas occupied by students has been completed and the building is ready to welcome students for this school year! As of this weekend, the Project Manager from Colliers International that was hired by Smithfield as the "OPM" reports that Old County Road School was inspected by the Smithfield Building Zoning Official, the Smithfield Fire Department as well as the Smithfield Police Department. All areas inspected by the authorities were found to be satisfactory and in compliance with the State of Rhode Island Building Code Law and the Smithfield Fire Department requirements.

There will be construction continuing all year as the new addition is built in front of the existing building and upgraded utilities infrastructure is installed. The areas under construction are fenced off to prevent access by students for their safety. The ongoing construction will not prevent the school from engaging in regular safety and evacuation drills and we will continue to partner with the Smithfield Police and Fire Departments on school safety.

Virtual Learning Information

Virtual learning is something new for all of the Smithfield schools this year in that this will be the first time that teachers are working with students in-person in their classrooms, as well as with students that are learning virtually and on a different schedule at home. Teachers spent much of this week working on developing weekly templates and daily agendas to make the process of virtual learning simpler for both families and students. Here are some things that families of students that are participating in virtual learning can expect:

  • You will receive a weekly schedule from your child's classroom teacher first thing on Monday morning. You will also receive daily agendas to help structure the day of learning at home.
    • The schedule and agendas should include the topic of the lesson and links to instructional videos and lesson materials.
  • Students will meet with their classroom teacher via Google Meet at least twice a week.
  • Teachers will continue to provide interventions and special education services to students participating in virtual learning.
  • Assessments may look different than the assessments that are happening in-person, however the assessments will cover the same essential academic standards. These assessments will continue to be both formative and summative.
  • Teachers will maintain and report grades and monitor their students' progress.

We are also working on innovative practices and tools to enable teachers to support their virtual learning students efficiently and effectively. New and adjusted strategies will continue to be rolled out throughout the year as we see what works best for our virtual learning students. Teachers are also purposefully planning for ways to include their virtual learning students in some of the live social activities within their classroom.

Technology Password Support

If your child is participating in virtual learning and they are having trouble logging into their Chromebook, the district technology staff is hosting some call-in hours the next two nights for families that need support.

Sunday- Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. - 9.p.m
Monday- Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

During these hours, call the district Technology line at 401-231-6606, then press 5 and press 1 for assistance with password resets. It's been a long summer and the technology staff know students may have issues logging in. Call with your child's device handy and the staff can reset their password live during the above hours.

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility during this challenging time. OCRS teachers and staff have worked incredibly hard to prepare for the first day of school tomorrow. Our daytime custodian, Mr. Regniere has been amazing and he even worked this weekend to make sure that everything was all set!

All of the OCRS teachers and staff appreciate the positive outlook that OCRS families are taking towards the new school year. We are all going to need to demonstrate a great deal of Patience, Flexibility, and Empathy to support each other throughout this school year during which we will be teaching and supporting our students during a pandemic AND school construction! We are sure that we will all need to continue to make adjustments as the year progresses. As long as we approach those changes with the best interests of our students as our priority, I am confident that this will be a safe and successful year.

Mr. Barrette