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April 9, 2021
Dear Friends of Gateway:
Here is your latest issue of Breaking News for the 2020-2021 school year!
Quote of the week: “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” ~ Peter Marshall
EARLY RELEASE DATES: With the return to full in-person, the district modified the calendar to include four additional early release days. These will be April 14th, April 28th, May 12th, and May 26th. Our last day of school is currently scheduled for Tuesday, June 15th. Reminder that April 13 is an already scheduled early release day.
UPDATED COVID CLOSE CONTACT INFORMATION: The Gateway School District COVID guidelines have been updated to reflect new information. Click here for the new guidelines.
MIDDLE SCHOOL AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM: Information was sent home with all middle school students about an after school program beginning on April 26. More information can be found here.
SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: Gateway Regional School District School Committee voted to appoint Kristen Smidy (Westfield, MA, Principal, Hampshire Regional) as the next superintendent. Current superintendent Dr. David Hopson will be retiring following the 2020-21 school year.
RETURN TO IN-PERSON LEARNING: The Gateway Regional School District returned to a fully ‘in-person’ learning environment for kindergarten to 12th grades on Monday, April 5th. The daily schedule will remain as it currently is in terms of the starting and ending times for schools. Updated bus schedules are available on the district’s website. The middle and high schools will also remain on the current six-period daily schedule to maintain consistency with current classes and teachers. The goal is to provide as much consistency moving forward and to avoid as much disruption to child care as possible.
While the state has not mandated a full, all grades, return to school on April 5th, we understand the many difficulties that students and families have faced over the past year and want to provide as much equality and opportunity for every student. Everyone should understand that there will be changes in protocol to allow us to return to school in-person. These include:
a reduction from a 6-foot social distance to a 3-foot social distance for students (staff will remain at a 6-foot social distancing (these distances are reflective of CDC and DESE guidance)
lunches will be in cafeterias with plexiglass dividers
mask breaks will continue to be outside when the weather permits
masks will remain mandatory for everyone unless they have a documented medical reason
handwashing and hand sanitizing will be frequently required
desks will need to be shared throughout the day (particularly in the middle and high schools).
social distancing will be greatly reduced on buses (two per seat) as per DESE guidelines.
Families that have concerns over the changes we must make to accomplish a full return to school can opt to have their own children remain remote (if families haven’t done this they can contact their student’s building office by March 31) and the district will continue to provide synchronous learning as we have during the use of the hybrid model. Families choosing to do remote learning will be expected to remain in remote learning mode for the remainder of the year. For families choosing in-person learning, please be aware that students must attend in-person unless unable to for medical or other excused purposes.
The district will continue to monitor COVID cases in the school and work collaboratively with our local boards of health for contract tracing but it is possible that if we have an exposure at school that more of our students will be deemed to have been in ‘close contact’ and therefore may be subject to a quarantine period and COVID testing. The district will continue to report COVID cases and close contacts as we have throughout the year.
As we will have students in closer proximity than we currently have, it will be even more important to monitor your children’s health and ensure that anyone having symptoms of COVID be kept at home. As we are coming up on our spring break, it will also be important to ensure that anyone who travels during this time fully complies with the Massachusetts travel regulations. As children are not able to be vaccinated at this time, it is very important to monitor their health during and after travel.
MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL IN-PERSON RETURN INFO: Middle High School
LITTLEVILLE/CHESTER IN-PERSON RETURN INFO: Littleville Chester
CURBSIDE MEALS TO GO UPDATE: Beginning Wednesday, April 7th we will be changing our Curbside Meals to Go hours to every Wednesday from 7am-9am. Please continue to sign up every Monday for Wednesday meal pick up. We will be providing 5 breakfasts/5 lunches, every Wednesday, for families who are choosing to have their children remain in “Remote Learning” or for siblings, or any other unenrolled children up to the age of 18. All enrolled children who will be attending “In Person Learning” will NOT be eligible for Curbside meals because they will be offered meals while in school. Our staff at Gateway Food Services will continue to do our best to meet the needs of our community. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Tasha Hartley @ 685-1005 or email email@example.com
STAFF DUCK DECORATING CONTEST: During the month of March, the Gateway middle and high school staff held a decorating a duck contest. Here are a few photos of submissions.
HAMILTON VIRTUAL CHOIR: Members of the Gateway Regional High School choir got the experience of a lifetime in February when they participated in a virtual workshop with members of the Broadway show Hamilton. Check out the full story here- https://www.grsd.org/News/choirhamilton#sthash.TR7dixTI.dpbs
GRHS BASEBALL/SOFTBALL SIGN-UPS: Sign-ups for baseball and softball are now being accepted through April 19th. Tryouts will begin on April 26th.The season will take place pending Board of Health and School Committee approval. The link to sign up is: https://www.formality.io/v/eXS1fXMCYv and for more information on athletics, visit https://www.grsd.org/athletics.
PERSPECTIVES MAGAZINE: A new edition of the Gateway High School Perspectives magazine is ready to view! Take a lot at some of the exciting things happening here.
PARENT IEP WORKSHOP: The Gateway SEPAC will be hosting a virtual workshop on the parents rights and responsibilities plus how to develop and effective IEP. More information on the workshop and how to attend, click here.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS: 14 students from eight schools around the region, including Gateway got together with the Southern Hilltown Domestic Violence Task Force to discuss their recent leadership group on healthy/abusive teen relationships. Here is video of their discussion about the training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVjC_SBZ8NE
STUDENT ACTIVITY SURVEY: Gateway MS/HS is seeking interested volunteers to help expand the club/recreational opportunities for students grades 7-12. Clubs could be either online through GoogleMeet or in person at the school (once COVID restrictions are lifted). If you would be interested in getting more information about this initiative or would like to volunteer, please complete this brief survey, or email MS/HS principal Jason Finnie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KINDERGARTEN 2021-2022 INFORMATION: If you or someone you know has a child turning age 5 before September 1, 2021 please contact our elementary schools for more information and to register for kindergarten screening taking place in May. Blandford, Middlefield and Chester residents, contact Chester Elementary at 685-1360. Residents of Huntington, Russell, and Montgomery, contact Littleville Elementary at 685-1300.
APRIL GATOR STORE PROMOTION: Throughout the month of April, we are offering 15% off on your Sideline Store purchase of $70 or more! The below promotion is good for the entire month of April. This will end on 4/30/21 at 11:59 P.M. EST. Start shopping here.
EBT BENEFITS: P-EBT benefits will be extended through the rest of this school year. If your student qualifies for Free or Reduced meals under the National School Lunch Program, then they would qualify to receive this extra financial help each month in the form of a P-EBT card. If you have not received this card, it may mean that your family does not qualify. This year the USDA extended free meals to all, but this may not necessarily qualify a family for this extra financial help. If you have not been receiving this P-EBT card and you feel your family would qualify, please contact Tasha Hartley at email@example.com or call (413) 685-1005. You may also send in a Free/Reduced meal application if you feel you would qualify through income. Families who qualify through income will be sent a notification letter by email or USPS as soon as possible.
INCLEMENT WEATHER (SNOW DAY) FAQ’S: If an ‘in-person’ school day needs to be cancelled due to inclement weather, the district will be moving to a “Remote Snow Day” where staff will teach all students remotely (a replacement to our Blizzard Bags).
GATEWAY'S MOBILE APP AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY & APP STORE
CURRENT SCHOOL CALENDAR: Key dates for phased return to hybrid in-person can be found on page 19 of the Full Reopening Plan here.
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