Hello OCRS families,
Wow, what a difference in the weather this weekend when compared to last weekend! It's a good reminder that things can change quickly in New England around this time of the year. In spite of the leftover snow and cold temperature, I hope that families that celebrated Halloween were able to safely enjoy some fun this weekend.
As we move into the holiday season, it's going to be especially important for all of us to make sure that we continue to follow the mask wearing, social distancing, handwashing, and health screening guidelines to keep everyone healthy and safe. Students at OCRS are continuing to do well following the guidelines while at school and we are extremely proud of them!
NO SCHOOL, Tuesday (Election Day)
Just a quick reminder that there is no school for all students, in-person and virtual, this Tuesday, November 3rd. All Smithfield teachers will be participating in a professional development day and the school buildings, including OCRS, are being used as polling locations. The district has a plan and staff in place to ensure that any areas within the school where members of the public will be present are cleaned and disinfected prior to staff and students returning on November 4th.
School Pictures being taken on Monday, November 9th
School pictures for students are scheduled to be taken on Monday, November 9th by Lifetouch. Pictures for in-person students will be taken during the school day by classroom and the process will follow proper physical distancing and cleaning guidelines. Virtual learning students will be able to sign up for a time after school between 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to come into OCRS and get their picture taken. Mr. Barrette will share an online schedule to allow the families of virtual learning students to select a time slot to come to the school to get their picture taken. There will not be typical "class pictures" this year where all of the students are crowded together for a classwide picture. However, Lifetouch will create class pictures by merging the individual photos from each student (in-person and virtual) into a composite class photo.
Welcome to a New Teacher and a New Staff Member
Please join me in welcoming a new teacher and a new staff member to the OCRS community!
Mrs. Katherine (Kasey) Ellis will be joining us Monday, 11/2 as a special educator. Mrs. Ellis comes to us with a number of years of experience working and teaching in Massachusetts and she will be focusing on teaching and supporting students in our Therapeutic Classroom. We are excited to welcome Mrs. Ellis to OCRS tomorrow!
Mrs. Lorraine Brown has joined us as a lunch/recess monitor. The district has hired a lunch/recess monitor for each elementary school to work two hours each day supervising students during lunch and recess. Mrs. Brown also works as a Smithfield bus monitor during the morning and afternoon, so she is familiar with Smithfield schools and students. We are happy to have Mrs. Brown's assistance at our school during lunch and recess for the rest of this school year!
Returning to School after Negative COVID Tests
A reminder from Mrs. Forte about returning to school after negative COVID tests. If, for any reason, a student or staff member needs to get tested for COVID-19, that student or staff member needs to remain at home until they receive the results of BOTH negative tests. This includes the negative results of the rapid test AND the PCR test. The results of just the rapid test are not sufficient to be able to return to school.
Student Arrival/Drop-off Procedures
Change in Daily Arrival Screening Procedure
We appreciate the care parents are taking to ensure that their children do not come to school with potential COVID-19 symptoms, including a fever. Our procedure for daily health screening has included a temperature scan with a no-touch thermometer upon arrival to school as a means of double-checking students' temperatures when they arrive. These thermometers become unreliable in colder weather so we will be discontinuing this practice and, instead, will be taking temperatures randomly or as needed. Please continue to take your child’s temperature each morning and complete the daily entry ticket indicating that your child is symptom-free. If you need them, you can download copies of the Daily Health Screening Tickets on the OCRS website under "Explore > Parent Info".
Arrival and Dismissal Traffic Pattern Reminder
Over the past seven weeks we have had a number of students switch from virtual learning to in-person learning. It has been wonderful to have these students physically in school, but it has also added to the number of cars that we have moving through the morning drop-off and afternoon pickup traffic pattern. As you know, because of school construction, space is in short supply at OCRS, so the student drop-off and pickup traffic patterns are tight! Because of all of these factors, I thought that it would be a good idea to review the procedure and traffic pattern for student drop-off and pickup to make sure that we can safely and quickly accommodate as many cars as possible each morning and afternoon.
- Parent vehicles will enter the campus using the entrance on the right (north) side of the building. Use the left lane to enter and begin to line up.
- Once you have entered the parking lot, a staff member (most likely Mr. Gruczka) will direct you when and how to proceed. Cars for parent drop-off/pickup will stay in the left lane and loop around the parked cars while school buses will stay in the right lane. School buses will continue around the outside of the parking lot while parent cars stay to their left.
- At this point the school bus and parent car traffic needs to cross. A staff member (most likely Mr. Barrette) will be standing at this point to safely direct traffic. When signaled by the staff member, parent vehicles will continue to proceed behind the school around the outside of the parking lot. Parent vehicles will continue completely around the building and turn left at the end of the building.
- After turning left, a student drop-off zone has been clearly marked with cones right in front of Door 5. 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. Please have your child's daily health screening ticket ready prior to arriving at Door 5. Having your child's daily health screening ready to go saves time for all of the families in line behind you. Some families have it tucked into the side pocket or top pocket of their child's backpack and that strategy has worked really well.
- When the student has safely entered Door 5, the parent vehicle will proceed to exit the campus using the entrance on the left (south) side of the building near the construction.
Heating Fuel Assistance
The Tri-County Community Action Agency is offering heating fuel assistance for families that may need it. Please call the Tri-County CAA North office at 401-519-1917 for more information and see the attached flyer.
OCRS PTA Information
All students received a PTA fundraising packet during the past week. Each packet has important information about how to participate in and support the PTA's efforts to raise funds for our students. If you have any questions about the fundraiser and how to participate, you can email Jon Poyourow the OCRS PTA President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please sign-up to be a member of the OCRS PTA for the 2020-2021 school year. OCRS PTA membership fees this year are $5.00 for the 1st family member, and $3.00 for each additional family member. Families can sign-up and pay for the membership online at https://my.cheddarup.com/c/ocrspta OR complete the attached flyer and return to your child's teacher with a check made out to the "OCRS PTA".
PTA Meeting, November 4th at 7:00 p.m.
The next PTA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4th at 7:00 p.m. As most meetings this school year, the PTA meeting will be virtual and families can join via any internet connected device using this link, https://meet.google.com/irt-bnxy-anm. Families can also join by phone by calling 1-315-795-1364 PIN: 811 884 762#
PTA Board Nominations
There are currently three open PTA Board positions for the 2020-2021 school year; Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice President of Events. If you would like to nominate someone (or yourself) for one of the above board positions, please email the PTA President, Jon Poyourow at email@example.com. In order to serve on the PTA Board, you do need to be an active member.
PTA Ideas and Input for the 2020-2021 School Year
The OCRS PTA is requesting your help in 2020/21 to submit your ideas! In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to take advantage of the extensive expertise and talents of the OCRS community to come up with new ways to provide our kids with rewarding experiences and activities. As we brainstorm ideas for these activities, we want to ensure that we are considering the needs of families whose students are learning virtually at home, as well as families whose students are attending school in-person.
Please submit YOUR ideas to the PTA using the link below to help us create safe, engaging events and experiences for our students that also allow us to raise funds to support the PTA!
Upcoming Dates and Events
Election Day, NO SCHOOL, Tuesday 11/3
OCRS PTA Meeting, Wednesday 11/4 at 7:00 p.m.
School Pictures, Monday 11/9
Veteran's Day, NO SCHOOL, Wednesday 11/11
Ongoing thanks to OCRS families for your Patience, Flexibility, and Empathy. Those three words are guiding us throughout this school year and we will all need to continue to make adjustments as the year progresses. As long as we approach those adjustments with the best interests of our students as our priority, I am confident that this will continue to be a safe and successful year.
Students having fun while learning