Weekly News and Notes, 11/13

We have a few updates from UHS this week.

Winter Athletics

The MIAA sport committees will be providing information to the Sports Medicine Committee next week, after which recommendations for the winter season will be forthcoming. Right now, we have very few certainties.

If we are able to have a winter season, please know that our district will not likely be starting immediately after Thanksgiving, as is the typical practice. We also are not sure if the athletic pod for the winter will be consistent with the pod alignment from the winter. Given the rising metrics and ongoing issues with COVID-19 in both the local and regional areas, we are sharing this concern now because we know that the community has much interest in decisions about athletics. The reality is that it is impossible to speculate at this point, and we will let everyone know what the winter will include once we are certain.

In the meantime, winter registration will be opening on FamilyID in the next week.

Thanksgiving Travel

We are looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of the month. Please be aware of all travel guidelines and restrictions. If out-of-state travel occurs during the holiday weekend, individuals must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

Picture Retakes

We have not yet scheduled picture retakes for this year. We will let everyone know when that date and time is finalized.

School Council Opening

We are still in search of a grade 8 and grade 9 parent to participate on our School Council. We meet monthly. Please reach out to Mr. Rubin directly if at all interested.

Spirit Week!

Thanks to our Student Council for organizing a Spirit Week next week. Themes are:


Parent Feedback

The parent feedback that we got from last week's survey (almost 250 responses!) was tremendously helpful. We will be reviewing the composite data with our School Council and leadership team, and, fortunately, the positives outweighed the negatives. For the most part, there seems to be confidence in the building's safety, concern for the upcoming cold and flu season and the virus' autumn surge, and gratitude for the efforts of the staff and administration. We realize that there are some areas where the schoolwork has been challenging to navigate, in terms of assignment and quantity, and we could do a better job of articulating due dates in some areas.

The challenge that was most overwhelmingly identified was that the students in the two cohorts are generally disconnected from each other, which is to be expected, given the logistics. There were also a number of comments that most consistently indicated that some parents, at least those who shared those, want students back in school more days. Some parents also indicated that they do not understand or value the work being asked of students on Wednesday, namely the idea of a passion project, though in grades 8 and 11 these are centered around specific requirements, such as the civics project (grade 8) and financial literacy (grade 11). 

Further, for every person who indicated that there was “too much work,” there was someone indicating that students could be challenged more. Additionally, for some of the specific teachers who were mentioned as needing support in terms of organization or work assignments, there were other parents who commended the same teachers for the same areas. Please know that we continue to work hard at differentiating and adjusting the workload in all our classes, that there is never a perfect solution, and that we are starting to hear successes and challenges typically heard in any given school year is a sign that we have normalized the hybrid schedule, to some extent.

Finally, in the past couple of days, we have had a number of people reach out following the town's recent uptick in positive cases. Please know that we continue to operate very safely at UHS. One of the pieces of advice we have provided our staff is to treat everyone as if they are potentially carrying the virus - meaning maintaining distance, washing hands, and being masked. Because of the many safeguards we have in place, we know that UHS is safe and that risk is minimized. We know that this is inconvenient for everyone, but we are confident that better days are coming. Feel free to reach out if you or your families need any support, particularly as we head to the holiday season.

Have a great weekend!