Friday, December 10, 2021
Dear Watertown Public Schools Families and Faculty,
PART I: UPDATED COVID MITIGATING STRATEGIES
As mentioned earlier this week, the number of Covid positive cases continues to increase in the State of Connecticut. Regionally, the Watertown Public Schools community is also seeing a rise in cases. Please see the most recent Covid Report 12.7.2021.
In response to this spike in cases, the Watertown Public Schools will be implementing or returning to the following mitigating strategies to help curb the spread of COVID cases so that we can continue to safely attend school over the next couple of weeks leading into vacation.
These mitigating and operational strategies will begin on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
In addition, all mitigating strategies will be re-visited immediately returning from break to determine what changes, if any, need to be made.
COVID Email Notifications and Phone Calls: With the increase in Covid cases, nurses will be emailing impacted students to notify them of an exposure. The email will be accompanied with a recorded phone message alerting parents to check their email for an important message from their child’s school.
Update POWERSCHOOL Information: Emails and phone calls will be directed to the contact information provided in Powerschool. ALL Parents should UPDATE POWERSCHOOL Information by clicking here by next Tuesday to ensure messages are not missed or delayed. If you need assistance updating your information on Powerschool please contact your school on Monday and a secretary will help you.
Screen and Stay Students and After School Activities: Students who are contact-traced and elect to take part in the Screen and Stay program should Not attend after school activities. This includes: athletics, school sponsored events, and any after school community events. For example, Parks and Recreation, concerts, playdates, etc.
Booster Shots for 16-17 Year Olds: On December 9, CDC opened up eligibility to 16-17 year olds to receive Pfizer booster shots. Please click here for more information.
Visitors in School Buildings: At this time, WPS administration will be closely monitoring the number of visitors entering our school buildings and will be minimizing large crowd events, including athletic home games when possible. Visitors are required to be fully masked when entering any school building and should remain socially distanced at 6ft as best as possible.
Large Crowd Events: Administrators will be reaching out to families in preparation for upcoming Winter events such as concerts (WHS), Movie Night (Swift) and Gingerbread Night (JTPS) to share the mitigating strategies required to attend the event to keep everyone safe.
Working with our Local Health District: As Covid rates continue to climb, WPS is working closely with our local area health district to review all current Return to School protocols for Screen and Stay and Athletics to determine if any adjustments need to be made. If any changes are made, they will be communicated immediately to the WPS community.
PART II: WORKING AS A SCHOOL COMMUNITY TO BUILD THE POWER OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
In response to some of the events that have been occurring in school districts across the State and in our WPS community, I would like to share an important message with all families, faculty and students.
The Watertown Public Schools is a place where we welcome ALL students and families. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure a safe and engaging environment for our students so they can have the best learning experience possible. As of late, in response to what is happening in the media, WPS has been experiencing an uptick in behaviors among our student population.
At one of our schools today, WPS jumped into action by holding assemblies with students to talk about the following topics:
The role students have when they receive troubling messages via social media.
Who students should approach for help.
Personal responsibility and decision making that impacts more than just oneself.
Consequences students can face when poor decisions are made.
The assemblies were a powerful moment for students to hear and share stories of times when they were faced with having to make difficult decisions. It was also a time for students to consider the meaning of words and how deeply words and impulsive actions can impact situations and people.
The assemblies asked students to reflect on what it means to take personal responsibility for their actions and explore what Honesty and Integrity mean. It also provided an opportunity for us to remind students that each WPS school works to keep students safe by having security personnel, including Armed Security Officers and School Resource Officers as part of the team. In addition, students were reminded that WPS works closely and partners with our local emergency responders like the WPD, Watertown Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.
Students identified the trusting adults, faculty/staff, counsellors, psychologists, and administrators with expertise in their field who are there to support/help them academically, emotionally, and socially.
In short, the assemblies reinforced the fact that it takes everyone in a community to make it the best community that it can be. The message was clear: It’s a team effort that asks faculty, staff, AND students to take personal ownership of their actions in order to build the community they want to live and go to school in. As always, WPS is committed to the safety and wellbeing of ALL Watertown students.
Have a restful weekend,
Happenings and Useful Information
Dates to Remember
December 13 - WHS Choral Performance, WHS Auditorium, 6 pm
WHS Instrumental, WHS Auditorium, 7pm
Regularly scheduled BOE meeting, 7 pm
December 15 - Adult Education Manufacturing Open House at WHS, 6-8:30PM (PRESS RELEASE)
December 16 - ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’, 6PM
December 16 - Movie Night at Swift MS
December 16 - CSDE Webinar: An Evening with CT Medical Experts for Parents and Families
December 23 - Early Dismissal Day
December 24 - 31 - Winter Break
Events from Around the State
Staying in School Safely During COVID-19: An Evening with CT Medical Experts for Parents and Families
The CSDE, together with Connecticut Children’s and the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is hosting a webinar on December 16, 2021, from 5-6 p.m. to share the latest medical information for keeping students safe, healthy and in school during the winter months. This session will be recorded and posted online with closed captioning in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. Everyone registered will receive a notice when it is posted.
Flyer attached and linked here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/COVID-19/professionalsupportseries_series28.pdf
Health and Safety
- DISTRICT: As we did last year, the Daily Covid 19 Tracker will be updated on the main district website. Click here.
- LOCAL: Our local Torrington Area Health Department continues to provide weekly reports on: Covid-19 positivity and vaccination rates within the torrington area health district (TAHD) jurisdiction Click here for all weekly updates
- REGIONAL: Covid Report 12.7.2021 | Vaccine Rates 12.7.2021
Quote of the Week
“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people”. ~ Spencer Johnson