Riverside School PTA Newsletter
Friday, February 26th, 2021
PTA News
With many lunches coming from home, please join the Green Committee on Tuesday, March 2 for Riverside's Waste Free Lunch Day by packing waste free lunches! If you're looking for ideas, Waste Free Greenwich offers helpful tips via "Greenwich Public Schools: Reuse Revolution". Let's keep working to provide our children with waste free lunches! 

Packing a waste free lunch with reusable containers has many surprising benefits over single-use disposables:
  • Safe! Based on the best available science and guidelines from health experts, reusable wares can be used safely by employing basic hygiene and sanitation.
  • Healthier! Choosing reusables reduces exposure to chemicals of concern found in disposable products, like PFAS and styrene, that have negative health effects.
  • Saves Money! Packing a reusable lunch and snack instead of disposables can save families over $400 per student annually.
  • Better for the Earth! Life cycle analyses show that reusables have significantly less environmental impacts than single-use disposables, including energy use and air pollution.
  • Cuts Waste! Every year the average student tosses 67 pounds of packaging and 39 pounds of uneaten food. Lunch in reusable containers could save over 58 million pounds of trash in Connecticut that we pay to haul and burn.

Some tips to turn a wasteful packed lunch into a zero waste meal:
  • Buy snacks in bulk and sort them into reusable bags and containers for less waste and expense than individually prepackaged snacks
  • Choose reusable lunch boxes, sacks or containers over single-use bags, foil or plastic baggies
  • Drink water and other nutritious beverages from a BPA-free reusable bottle instead of single-use bottles, cans, juice boxes & pouches
  • Pack a reusable napkin and utensils

Ask your children to bring home uneaten food, so quantities and selections can be adjusted as needed.
Join PTAC GREEN SCHOOLS on Wednesday, March 3 from 7-8pm in support of Waste Free Greenwich’s Save the Food Challenge with a cooking demo and discussion with Lindsay-Jean Hard, IACP award-nominated author of Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals.

Lindsay-Jean will teach us how to transform often discarded food scraps into delicious and surprising culinary creations. Discover waste-reducing tips for storing and preparing meals. You can cook along with Lindsay-Jean as she creates a mouthwatering Carrot Top Pesto. More info & to register at the Waste Free Greenwich Website.
Hello Riverside School Parents! As your Academic Excellence Rep, I, Caitlin Wardell, will be participating in a Q&A Meeting with Marc D'Amico (GPS Director of K-8 Curriculum) and other GPS Coordinators on March 2. The topics discussed will be curriculum, standards, LinkIt, STAR, etc. Please email me ASAP at: caitlinwardell@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding K-8 curriculum. Thank you for your help! I look forward to representing you and our Riverside School at this important Meeting!
A friendly reminder to help keep our students safe and not leave your car running while parked at school during drop-off and pick-up. Instead, please consider wearing extra layers and your finest Riverside gear to stay warm! Information on CT's 3 minute idling law may be found on Connecticut's DEEP Website.
On Friday, February 26, grades 3-5 visited virtually with Westport-based author Lauren Tarshis. Lauren is the best-selling author of the I Survived series, the Emma Jean Lazarus series, and the editor of Storyworks Magazine. She shared stories about how she became an author and details about her writing and researching processes. Riverside students had the chance to ask her lots of great questions.
This week, our Kindergarten classes got to see the softer side of nature with Animal Embassy's Amazing Mammals program. Students learned that all mammals have a body covering that helps them survive in their habitat - whether it's fur, fins or scales. They also learned that like us, our furry friends take care of their offspring to teach them all of the things they need to know to succeed in life. Kindergartners met a variety of Animal Ambassadors including a ferret, a chinchilla, and a rabbit. Ask your Kindergartner which animal was their favorite!
Please feel free to email PCG with anonymous feedback at programreviewfeedback@pcgus.com. The survey has closed, but PCG is still gathering information from those who want to provide feedback via email. This is for all parents, not just parents of those with IEPs. This email address will remain available until March 31, 2021.

From the Office
Families traveling "Out of Connecticut" for more than 24 hours (current exceptions are the states of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and the USVI), must complete the State of Connecticut Travel Health Form. If you are traveling to one of the states or countries with a travel advisory, it is mandatory to fill out the Connecticut form or face a fine from the state.
The following is only in effect if your child is in-person at Riverside School:

Anyone who is traveling (and meets the criteria above) should:
  1. Let the teacher and nurse know
  2. Provide a "Negative" PCR test that has been performed not more than 72 hours prior to your arriving back in CT (or after your arrival back in CT). All PCR tests, rapid or regular, are now accepted as of 1/11/21, however, subject to change per Governor Lamont. 

Addendum per CT State Travel Advisory has been noted:
According to #19, the travelers "may" get tested WITHIN 72 hours of their arrival back to CT but NO MORE than 72 hours. This means, if they are arriving Sunday night, the test results should state 72 hours from the actual swab being performed, not the Test results themselves. 

Anyone who has not received their PCR Tests prior to attending school must quarantine and remain home until test results have been received. Once you receive your results, please forward to the school nurse for clearance.

Note: some states are mandating Negative tests prior to traveling there (such as MA) and upon their return. These items are very important to follow and can result in penalties from each state. Please review the links above for more information.

Further questions can be directed to our school nurse, Sarah Flynn, who will be able to return parent phone calls and emails during the school day.

Thank you.

- Mr. Weiss, Ms. Key, Nurse Flynn
The Nurse’s Office has received many questions about how the school is making decisions about when the school is sending students home. Extra precautions are being taken in order to do our best to keep students in school. Unfortunately, there will be many students sent home this year even though they may have normally been allowed to stay in school and we hope all families will be understanding. 

Greenwich Public Schools COVID Symptom Protocol:  
  • If a student exhibits 1 low risk symptom (fever of 100.4 or greater, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, sore throat, headache, muscle aches) and has had no exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, the student may return to school 24 hours after symptom resolution (without medication for fevers) 
  • If a student exhibits 2 or more low risk symptoms (see above) or has 1 high-risk symptom (new cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste/smell) AND has had no exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, the student must be seen by a healthcare provider. 
  • If the student has a negative PCR swab test for COVID, the student may return to school 24 hours after symptom resolution (without medication for fevers). 
  • If the student has lab testing and evaluation, or an alternative diagnosis, the student may return to school 24 hours after symptom resolution (without medication for fevers). 
  • If a student has a positive PCR swab test for COVID, the student may return to school after 24 hours without fever (without medication) AND symptoms improving AND approval of local health department (10-14 days); AND release by the primary care provider will be required 
  • If a student is exposed to a COVID positive person, the student may return to school 14 days after last contact unless symptoms develop.  If symptoms develop, the student must obtain a swab. 

Please visit the district site to access the GPS COVID Checklist and the GPS COVID-19 resource page for more information. 

Please contact the School Nurse, Sarah Flynn (Sarah_flynn@greenwich.k12.ct.us) with any questions. 
PLEASE NOTE: All orders MUST be submitted prior to the date ordering for (and up to five days in advance).  Orders entered for same day lunch may not be seen, and cafeteria staff don't want students missing out. Please visit the Lunch Page on rivpta.org for information on submitting lunch orders and a link to the school's order form.
  • Only eligible bus students are allowed to ride the bus in the afternoon. Non-eligible students are not allowed to ride the afternoon bus due to the Covid restrictions, even for playdates. Other arrangements will have to be made.
  • When dropping off anything in the bin outside please LABEL everything with your child's name and teacher.
  • Parents must use School Dismissal Manager when their child will be absent or late for any reason and also if their child will be leaving early. Since parents are not allowed in the building at this time, entering an early dismissal in SDM will take the place of signing them out.
  • When you arrive to pick up your child early, please let the office know you're outside waiting. We will not call a student out of class or send them outside until we know the parent is here.
So far this year, we have had a number of students come into school with braces/casts and assistive devices. Our District Policy requires all students who need assistive devices, having surgeries, stitches or any injuries, to have a note from their doctor stating cause of injury, date seen, date of removal for PE/Recess. Students will also need another doctor's note to return to all activities.

District News
On February 24, PTA Council and LWV Greenwich co-hosted an hour-long virtual forum where info about next year’s school budget and the approval timeline were shared.  This was followed by a Q&A session with GPS Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones, BOE Chair Peter Bernstein, and First Selectman Fred Camillo, where there was much discussion around prioritizing improvements to aging school buildings in the district (including Riverside School). A second Q&A included a discussion of the issues involved in the budget approval process with members of the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation and RTM Education Committee. A video replay is currently available to view.
A new page has been added to the district website that provides information on all public meetings (Board of Education, Board of Estimate & Taxation, etc.) in one place. You can find it at https://www.greenwichschools.org/district-information/public-meetings.
Gather family and friends to test your trivia knowledge and raise critical dollars for the Greenwich Alliance for Education on Friday, March 19 from 7-9pm. The team competition includes six rounds of trivia, as well as an online silent auction and paddle raise. Visit the event page for additional information and registration.
Our teachers have gone above and beyond for our kids this year-- so let's make sure that we give this event the attention it deserves! Please see the attached flyer and video for more information. Nominations must be submitted via email by March 10, 2021 at 5pm.
Need a tutor for your child? Each year, Greenwich Public Schools also compiles a list of GPS staff who are willing to tutor outside of school hours. Please see the 2020-2021 Tutor Booklet for teacher names and contact information.
GPS is circulating this flyer to broaden its search for substitutes to ensure they have a robust list of people who can help cover staffing needs throughout the year. GPS is in need of two types of substitutes: instructional and classroom monitors.

For example: a teacher who is on maternity leave would have an instructional substitute who has at least a Bachelor’s Degree. However, GPS also expects to have secondary teachers who may be quarantined for two weeks due to an exposure at a personal event (grocery store visit, etc.). If the teacher is deemed to be the only one having been exposed, this would allow their students to still be in the classroom. A substitute for this type of situation would simply be a classroom monitor to make sure that the smartboard is on and that the teacher can be seen and heard from home by the students; the classroom monitor would not be providing academic instruction.
Board of Education meetings are easier to attend now that they take place over Zoom--stay informed! Here is a list of 2020-2021 academic year Greenwich Board of Education meetings. Information on how to access the meetings can be found on the GPS Accessing Virtual BOE Meetings page. All meetings start at 7:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

  • Thursday, March 25, 2021
  • Thursday, April 8, 2021 (Retreat, no public comment)
  • Thursday, April, 22, 2021
  • Thursday, May 13, 2021(Retreat, no public comment)
  • Thursday, May 20, 2021
  • Thursday, June 3, 2021
  • Thursday, June 17, 2021
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Community News
Review the RTM News , BOE News, and the Community Calendar 
League of Women Voters Greenwich Student Essay Writing Contest
The LWV Greenwich second annual essay contest will be in honor of America’s first female vice president. This year’s theme is Dear Madam Vice President, where Greenwich students grades K-12 are invited to write a letter (up to 500 words) to Vice President Kamala Harris, sharing their stories, advice and wishes. Submissions are due Sunday, March 21. See flyer for additional information.
Free Online Tutoring at My STEM Help
My STEM Help is a local nonprofit aiming to provide free, high quality online tutoring sessions to students K-12 who are in need of after-school academic support. The support is especially needed during the time of pandemic. These help sessions are conducted like a teacher's "office hour" where students can drop in to ask homework questions or get help on test prep. The tutoring sessions are run by local high school volunteers. There are rigorous tutor selection and training processes in place to ensure the teaching quality (check out the "Meet the Tutors" page for more details). Each session is also monitored by a trained adult volunteer to safeguard online security.
Neighbor to Neighbor Food Donation Drive
Every Thursday at St. Paul's Riverside from 10-11:30am. The need right now is particularly high. Items of greatest need are proteins such as beans, peanut butter and canned tuna, but all non-perishables are gladly accepted and appreciated. Just drive up, pop open your trunk and St. Paul's will get your donations to N2N.
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