Dear PS 321 Families,
I hope that you managed to have a good holiday! It is wonderful to see the children excited about being back in school and to see the wonderful lessons teachers are facilitating, including such thoughtful age-appropriate ones on current events. Definitely the best part of my day is spending time in classrooms!
I wanted to update you on several things:
COVID TESTING IN SCHOOL
• We now have weekly random testing of approximately 20% of the children and staff who are in the building on a given day.
• On Wednesday, 91 randomly identified students and staff members were tested. Children who were tested brought home a form that includes information on how to access your child’s test result if it is not sent to you via email. If your child was tested and did not bring home that form, if you do not get an email by Sunday with test results, you can contact Bioreference Laboratories at firstname.lastname@example.org with your child’s name, date of birth, and date the test took place (1/6/21). As of now we have not heard of any positive results from this random testing.
• We are scheduled for testing again next week. Although the DOE has committed to moving the testing days around, it is still possible that the same cohort will be tested a few weeks in a row.
NEW COVID CASE
• As you probably know from the email from the DOE, we have one new COVID-19 case in school. It was not identified through the random testing. Any child or adult who was a close contact with the person who tested positive has been notified and is quarantining. If you have not been notified, your child was not in close contact with this person.
• As you may recall, you will continue to get daily notices about this case for the duration of the quarantine period; it does not mean that there is a new case. (If there were to be a new case, you would be notified.)
STAYING SAFE IN SCHOOL
• I appreciate how conscientious families are being about completing your health screening before you arrive at school. If you have not yet installed this on your phone, please go to www.ps321.org for instructions on how to do this.
• I want to remind you that there are two kinds of masks that are not allowed in DOE schools. One is the gaiter mask and the other is a mask with a vent. Please make sure that the mask that your child wears is not one of these.
• Please check that your child’s mask fits correctly and stays over his/her nose. Most of the children are fine, but in some cases the mask is too large and keeps falling down.
NEW SPECIALS AND ENRICHMENTS
• I am pleased to report that beginning next week, all of the all-remote classes will have a synchronous special each week. Fourth and fifth graders in our all-remote classes have already begun synchronous Science with Patty Hewitt. Beginning next week, Kindergarten all-remote classes will have synchronous Movement/Yoga/Meditation with Millie Dorregaray. First grade all-remote classes will have synchronous Music with Frank McGarry. Second grade all-remote classes will have synchronous Science with Millie Dorregaray and Third grade all-remote classes will have synchronous Music with Adam Lane. The classroom teachers will let you know the schedule, and the log on information will be on the Google Classroom.
• Thanks to our very generous PTA (all of you), each grade will have a 9-10 week synchronous enrichment via Zoom this year. Fourth and fifth grades have been engaged in a Creative Dance/Musical Theater Enrichment with Together in Dance. Third grades will begin Chess with Nick Chatzilias the week of January 19. Kindergarten and first grades will begin a drama enrichment with Freestyle Repertory Theater the week of January 25. And, second grades will have Chess with Nick beginning in April. These enrichments are for all of our students, hybrid and all remote. For children in Cohorts A & B, they will be offered on the learn-at-home days. Log on information and schedules for enrichments will be on the Google Classrooms.
KINDERGARTEN AND MIDDLE SCHOOL REGISTRATION DEADLINES
• If you have a child who is eligible for Kindergarten in September of 2021, the deadline to register online is January 19. I will be holding my final Virtual Kindergarten Tour on Tuesday, 1/12 at 5pm on Zoom. If you would like the Zoom link, sign up at www.ps321.org.
• As per the emails 5th grade parents have received, the deadline to complete the online middle school application is February 8. The applications will open early next week on MySchools.nyc. If you need to connect with a guidance counselor about your middle school application, Ben Halioua is the liaison for classes 5-301 (Kyla), 5-330 (Julie/Caitlin), 5-325 (Abby), and 5-R1 (Laurie). Jon Alvarez is the liaison for classes 5-328 (Kat/Maureen), 5-R2 (Priya), 5-324 (Gary), and 5-337 (Ronda).
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
· We have set the dates for our MARCH PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES (which we often change from the citywide dates based on our PROSE proposal). Conferences will be the EVENING OF THURSDAY, MARCH 18, AND THE AFTERNOON OF FRIDAY, MARCH 19, with 11:20 Dismissal on March 19.
• We have a very special Parent Evening planned for Thursday, January 21, sponsored by our Parent Equity and Inclusion Committee. Joe Phillips, our Kindergarten music teacher who is on sabbatical this year, will discuss his opera, “The Grey Land.” The New York Times listed it as one of the “Best of 2020” and notes that it is a “stirring, stylistically varied mono-opera that draws on its composer’s reflections on being Black in contemporary America.” Tickets (offered on a sliding scale from $0 up) are available at www.ps321.org.
• A virtual Green and Healthy Family Night will be held on Thursday, January 28.
Thank you PS 321 families for the amazing support you are giving to our community! Wishing you all a Happy New Year and hoping that 2021 brings many good things to all of us.
Liz Phillips, Principal