Welcome Back Message From Dr. Lucero! - Stamford Moms
SPS Families,
It is hard to believe with all the planning, preparing, and thoughtful consideration, we are a few days away from Stamford’s official first day of school.  Last week we welcomed back staff for seven days of professional development and training.  Staff members had an opportunity to participate in a variety of training options to best prepare them for this unusual school year. As we continue to put the final touches on our Hybrid and Distance Teaching and Learning Academy educational plans, we remain focused on health and safety for all.
With that focus in mind, we are requesting that our families and staff do their part to keep us all healthy and safe, as we begin the 2020-2021 school year. Following are a few key steps you should take.
PowerSchool Parent Portal: All families need to create an SPS PowerSchool Parent Portal account. The portal is where you will find important forms to complete for technology access, your student’s schedule, grades, attendance records and bus assignment. Bus information will not be mailed home nor printed in the newspaper. You must log onto the portal to get your student’s bus assignment.  Please contact your child’s school for assistance with setting up an account if you do not have one. To ensure you receive all messages from your student’s school and from the district, make sure your phone and email contact information is accurate in the portal, as well as those of your emergency contacts.
Subscribe to News and Alerts: In addition to emails and voicemails, the district and your child’s school regularly posts news on their websites. Take a minute to subscribe to the information most important to you. We highly recommend you subscribe to those items listed in red.
Daily At-Home Safety Checklist: We are asking all families and staff members to complete a self-assessment prior to leaving for school every day. If you have traveled this summer, remember to follow the directives in the governor’s Executive Order Regarding Travel prior to returning to school. Additionally, anyone who is feeling ill should stay home and contact a medical doctor for guidance and support.  If you do not have access to a primary care professional, please contact your school nurse for a list of providers in the area.
What Happens When Someone Tests Positive for COVID-19: Unfortunately, during a pandemic, it is possible that someone in your family may test positive for COVID-19. When any member of our staff or a student tests positive, we have specific protocols in place. First, the staff or family member should notify their school principal or nurse.  The nurse will conduct a risk assessment and contact tracing in collaboration with the Stamford Health Department and inform any individual who needs to quarantine. For information directly from area health professionals, you may want to watch the Health and Safety Webinar posted on the SPS YouTube channel.
Back Up Plans: As we know, advance planning in case of an emergency is always important. During a pandemic it is even more critical that every family has an emergency plan for picking up a child within 30 minutes of notification by a school official or nurse.  While all schools in Connecticut are required to have an isolation room for students who exhibit COVID-19-like symptoms, it is imperative that we quickly transition students out of the school in a timely manner for the well-being of all in the building.
Families and staff members should also have contingency childcare plans.  As you may recall in previous years, September and October, as well as May and June, often bring high temperatures and heat indexes. For our schools and classrooms without air conditioning, this often proves problematic and occasionally requires an early release or school cancellation. If the district chooses to dismiss early or close for an entire day, due to heat, we expect that the impacted students will participate in distance teaching and learning.
Mask Policy: Finally, it is important to remember that masks are required on all school buses and school campuses for all staff and students.  If a student or staff forgets a mask, a disposable mask will be provided at school or on the bus.
Reminders: As you can see, we have put many safeguards in place in order to keep our school communities safe and healthy.  I will remind us of the three things that our health professional’s stress are our best strategies for reducing the risk and keeping us safe.
  1. Develop and exercise a regular hand hygiene routine that includes hand washing and sanitizing.  Also, avoid touching your facial areas, especially your eyes.
  2. Wear a face covering when on a school campus or bus.
  3. Social distance by at least 6 feet, and avoid being within 6 feet of another person for more than fifteen minutes
Returning to school safely only works if we work together, as a committed team. Thank you in advance for doing your part to keep Stamford Public Schools communities safe and healthy.
Dr. Tamu Lucero
Superintendent of Schools

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