Weather cool, Athletics/Activities heating up

We saw our teams hit the fields and courts this week with a full range of Upper School athletics and activities starting their offerings. Hundreds of kids turning out for our Fall sports and activities. The weather has not kept us from moving forward and the Fall buzz is in the air – excitement along with a bit of wind and rain. We have a wide range of coaches across all of our offerings and your students were introduced to their choices at recent fairs which I attended. For myself, I’m looking forward to November and the start of my Middle School MUN group meeting for the first time with 21 students already signed up. I know we also have drama options in action with a musical under casting and initial production.

Our after-school athletics/activities (ASA) offerings are an important part of our holistic program and complement the core academics with engaging and enriching opportunities. New items have been added to our growing list this year and we are finalizing the elementary options that will start a bit later in September with a similar array of choices. We encourage all students to consider participating and it’s not too late if you missed the first couple of days to still get added to the rosters. Go to CHQ (you’ll find it in PowerSchool) and you’ll see the options. Read further down in eNotes to find more information as well.

Vaccination in Upper School

As you know, we’ve been gathering immunization information for COVID-19 vaccines and I can report initial information on the counts so far. We are two weeks into our initial safety review period of 4-weeks and important to keep you informed of vaccination rates as we currently understand them as this will be part of our decisions going forward. We know that for the lowest end of this spectrum (Grade 6) we may be waiting for age requirements to be met, but the following will give you a good picture of the current status:

Part of this may mean that we still need you to provide documentation and our records are not yet complete. Please send confirmation of vaccination for all students 12+ to aswhealth@aswarsaw.org – please include in your message the dates of both doses for our records. Also, please update us on any other childhood vaccinations that we may need to add to our records. Thanks in advance for your help in this!

We’ll assess this information in another week with regards to our future planning and we’ll send a message to parents of students without vaccination information to make sure that our records are correct. Our hope is that vaccination will continue to increase in order to improve the safety of our community. Please reach out if you have any questions about how to access more information.

Reminders about safety and security…

Here’s your annual reminder about safety concerns before and after school in our parking and pedestrian area. We are challenged by our continued protocols, but generally, we are doing well. Here are the reminders for you to consider.

1. Parking:
Please do:

• Park in reserved parent parking zones away from the building.  

• Remember that you should never be too far from your car in the Kiss-n-Go Zone and you should not stay in this area for very long. Cars parked in these areas create a risk for children. With small children in our facility, there is a high risk for potential injury when students walk between cars and this is the main reason we do not allow parent parking closest to the school in the elementary area. Instead, we reserve parent parking away from the building.  

•  Always use the crosswalks – never teach children to cross between cars as this is very dangerous.

Please do not:

• Park on the curbed or yellow areas nearest the buildings and thank you for keeping these areas clear.   


 2. Use of ID cards 
Please do:  

• Remember that the driver of the vehicle must have proper identification as a parent or helper and that this identification be used for access.   

• Have your own ID and please be sure to wear it at all times on campus to avoid being asked about it. ID cards for parents or other adult caregivers can be requested online HERE (You’ll need to have a Google account to use this – forms also available at main reception).

3.Relationship between guards and parents

Please do:  

• Treat our guards with courtesy and respect. I expect them to do the same. We are all focused on the same objective — to be safe and care for all of the children in the school. That is our only intent when asking for compliance on any of our rules.


4. Bicycles. 
Please do:  

• Remember that bicycles must be walked at all times on campus.  Given our current load of vehicles and the number of pedestrians, it is not possible to provide for a safe environment while mixing bicycles and traffic in our parking lot.  

Stay to the side of the sidewalk while waiting to meet someone and while allowing others to pass.

Please do not:  

• Block sidewalks 


5. Speed
Please do:

• Monitor your speed at all times in the parking lot and not just at the speed bumps. Once you enter the campus, there is no need to be in a hurry and everyone is safer when we all take our time.


6Air quality.  

Thanks to all for doing a great job keeping engines off when waiting for students. It means cleaner air for all of us!!

Parking area rules summary has been updated and is HERE.

The year begins in earnest…

We are off to a wonderful start for the new school year and the joy on faces was evident, even with masks in place. I think I saw almost every student yesterday and today, whether greeting on the sidewalk before and after school or peering through windows as classes working on initial routines and information that is always part of the early days. But, learning was also evident with math lessons in 2nd grade, writing in middle school, and background refreshers for upper school science students. Much engagement throughout the building to get new ideas flowing in the first day.

In opening assemblies, I shared with students that we have to treat the current situation just like a serious injury, like a broken leg or arm (many in the audience could relate and I saw two casts). I talked about how there are two stages to these types of injuries. The first stage is the initial intervention, meant at protecting from infection and making sure that everything is set right for the next stage of healing – putting the cast on. The second stage is recovery and recovery is always the longest part where we give the body the time it needs to repair and build back strength that was lost to the injury. The second stage requires the most resilience and patience. You have to nurture it and remain careful so that you don’t unintentionally cause more injury.

I suggested to all of the audiences that the COVID-19 pandemic is similar. Last year was the initial injury and we fought hard to find the end of the first stage through our practices and now vaccination. As we’ve seen, there are continued challenges associated with our recovery and we must remain diligent.

Late yesterday, we identified our first case – a middle school student. There was no exposure to the community, so I’m reporting it here rather than through a Special Update. There is reason to applaud because everything was done right in this instance:

  • The family returned from travels just before the start of school, like many of you.
  • They noticed symptoms in one of their children – a high temperature.
  • They isolated and contacted our nurses.
  • We arranged through Epixpert home testing
  • The result was received in the late afternoon and conversations shortly confirmed that there was no exposure to other students or community members

I can only thank the parent in this instance for a job well done!! The attestation and focus on potential symptoms were crucial in preventing any exposure to the school or other children. We should always default on the side of caution in this regard and this is the main reason for the daily survey. In this instance, I should also report that the student in question has previously had COVID. This confirms the literature that points to the potential for re-infection. The natural protection of recovered status seems to be limited to about 8-9 months, but the clear numbers are not yet certain and this is only an estimate.

Vaccination is a critical factor here and I want to remind you again that vaccination is available for ages 12 and up. Our next vaccination event is this coming Saturday, August 21, starting at 9a. We will be sending reminders tomorrow, but it’s not too late to sign up. The link is HERE. If not at school, you can find vaccination easily at local clinics and via many doctors. Also, please communicate your child’s vaccination status to our school nurse by sending a scan of vaccination cards to aswhealth@aswarsaw.org.

So, let the recovery continue with both patience and care. We continue to be a community dedicated to a common purpose, driven by our core values. We are always learning in the true spirit of education, and we encourage your comments and feedback at every step of the journey!

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