Riverside School PTA Newsletter
Friday, January 22, 2021
PTA News
WELLNESS WEEK STARTS MONDAY
We will be celebrating Wellness Week at Riverside from January 25-29, a week to focus on our mental and emotional health in addition to our physical health. Each day will have a different theme and there will be simple and fun activities you can participate in throughout the week with your family, including stress-relieving exercises, yoga and much more.
 
We encourage you to visit the Wellness Week homepage to learn more about the activities and resources available. Stay well!
TURN YOUR KEY & BE IDLE FREE!
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 Connecticut's 3-minute idling law can be found on the State of Connecticut website.
SPECIAL EDUCATION REVIEW UPDATE
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.
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5th GRADE YEARBOOK UPDATE
We have just kicked off the process to upload photos for the yearbook (various school event photos and one baby photo). This is the first part of the process. Deadline of February 5, 2021. Questions - please contact Katie Hertzmark (khertzmark@gmail.com)

In addition, the 5th grade has lots of other fun events planned including a community service project, a parent party in June as well as a Recognition Day and End of Year Party after graduation for the students.  More information can be found on the RIVPTA.ORG website.
PROVIDE A MEAL FOR INSPIRICA'S FAMILY SHELTER
Please consider grabbing a friend or two to partner in providing a meal, ordered and delivered from a local restaurant. You will be feeding anywhere from 20-35 people, children and adults. This has been a trying time for families living in the shelter, unable to find work or a home. Visit the Inspirica website to sign up. Thank you!
HOLIDAY LIGHTS RECYCLING DRIVE
A sincere thank you to all who contributed to this year's Holiday Lights Recycling Drive! The Green Committee is taking 40 strands of unwanted and/or broken strands to the collection center at Holly Hill. Your support is appreciated!
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VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE TO CELEBRATE DR. KING
Last week, all students at Riverside School were treated to a virtual performance by Rochel Coleman, on the life and legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Grades 3-5 also had the opportunity to engage with Mr. Coleman virtually, in two separate Q&A sessions, where they were further able to delve into Dr. King's legacy and how it lives on today. 
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SCIENCE ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS
On January 11 & 12, Kindergarteners took a virtual field trip to Stepping Stones for a presentation on "Eco Kids Unite!" They explored the work of citizen scientists, kindness ninjas, planet hunters and others who are making a positive difference in the world. They also learned how to embark on real-world STEAM excursions of their own to implement eco-friendly solutions to environmental challenges.

On January 14 & 15, the 4th graders had Dirtmeister's virtual Electric Show. This program is designed to introduce students to the physics of electricity and trace its development from a being a simple scientific curiosity to its use as the most versatile energy source in the world today. Along the way they answer several important questions including the differences between current and static electricity, how batteries produce electrical current, and how light bulbs work. The show concludes with a look at how electrical power has been produced in the past and what the future holds for "green" alternative energy sources including solar and wind power.

On January 11 & January 27, the 1st graders zoom(ed) to the moon with High Touch High Tech to learn about shadows, the phases of the moon and how eclipses work. HTHT sent materials so the kids got a hands-on experience to deepen their understanding of the subject.
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UPCOMING ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS
February 1-2: HTHT's Weather Wizards (Kindergarten)
February 2 & 4: Eli Whitney Museum's program on Electricity and Sustainability (Grade 5)
February 3: Marcie Aboff - author visit (Grades 1-4)
February 4-5: Greenwich Historical Society's Patriots vs. Loyalists: The American Revolution (Grade 4)

These programs are sponsored by the Enrichment Committee of the PTA and were paid for by your generous donations. Thank you!
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PRESENTATION ON RACE AT LAST WEEK'S PTA MEETING
Following the business section of last week’s Riverside PTA General Meeting, Rebekah Gienapp presented on speaking to children about race and racism, followed by Q&A.  Please see last Friday’s email to access a recording of the presentation, as well as Rebekah’s slideshow and antiracism resource guide.  

If you did not complete our Zoom exit poll at the end of the meeting and you have a viewpoint on continuing conversations about equity, race, and bias, we encourage you to complete this very brief survey by Friday, January 29.  Though we’re still working on what this all entails, we would love to have a continuing dialogue on this topic.

From the Office
PROTOCOL FOR FAMILIES TRAVELING "OUT OF CONNECTICUT"
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, Melissa Luiso, who will be able to return parent phone calls and emails during the school day.

Thank you.

- Mr. Weiss, Ms. Key, Nurse Luiso
IN-SCHOOL COVID-19 SYMPTOM PROTOCOL
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, Melissa Luiso (Melissa_luiso@greenwich.k12.ct.us) with any questions. 
ORDERING LUNCH (IN-PERSON STUDENTS)
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.
PARENT REMINDERS
  • 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.
NURSE'S NOTES
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
PRESENTATION BY GPS HEAD OF NURSING & GPS MEDICAL CONSULTANT
We encourage you to join the public portion of the next Greenwich PTA Council meeting on Friday, January 29 from 11:00-11:45am.  The session will feature Mary Keller, GPS Head of Nursing and Dr. Katherine (Katy) Noble, GPS Medical Doctor Consultant.  

Mary Keller will talk about the past, present and future of the district’s COVID response, while Dr. Noble plans to focus on topics most relevant to GPS families from the perspective of a local pediatrician on the front lines in primary care.

We will distribute the Zoom link as soon as it becomes available.
PTAC ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE COMMITTEE'S PARENT WORKSHOP
The PTA Council Academic Excellence Committee invites all parents to attend its January Workshop:

The Home-School Connection
Presented by GPS Staff
Tuesday, January 26 at 10:30am
DISTINGUISHED TEACHERS AWARD: NOW OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS!
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.
THE 2020-2021 GPS TUTOR BOOKLET IS NOW AVAILABLE
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.
PARENT CHAT SUPPORT FROM GPS DISTRICT PSYCHOLOGISTS
During these challenging times, please join us for a virtual “Parent Video Chat” facilitated by one of our GPS psychologists. Connect virtually with other parents in our community and learn effective strategies to manage personal stress and discuss relevant topics (how to establish routines at home, manage challenging behaviors, build your kids resilience). You can join whenever and stay for as long as you can. We are here to answer questions and provide support. See attached flyer for more details. The theme of January's sessions is "Fostering Resilience at Home".
GPS TEMPORARY POSITIONS AVAILABLE
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.
BOE MEETINGS NOW VIRTUAL
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, February 18, 2021
  • 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
GPS WEEKLY DISTRICT DIGEST
Subscribe to receive the Greenwich Public Schools weekly "District Digest" e-newsletter directly to your email inbox.

Community News
Review the RTM News , BOE News, and the Community Calendar 
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.
PEEK AT THE WEEK
Access Peek Archive for past issues
If you are not receiving an issue every Friday please email constantcontactriv@gmail.com 
SUBMISSIONS
Have something to add? Email us at: peekweekriv@gmail.com Deadline for submissions is 3pm on Wednesday of the school week