3/9/21 Hello VCS Families, Each year, the Veazie Community School, like other public schools in Maine, receive federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Looking ahead to the 2021-2022 school year, VCS intends to use these funds to introduce a tiered intervention program called Ci3T. We also hope to use these funds to support professional development efforts of our teachers, and to support our STEM enrichment programs (robotics, coding club, gardening club, etc.) One of the requirements of ESEA is that we provide input opportunities for our students and staff. Please use this brief survey to provide your input on how we can better serve our students using federal ESEA funds. Thank you. Survey Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdWULEGsyZSU5DNROno64aILGEAbvykGpC885ewMeMKa9a64g/viewform?usp=sf_link Respectfully, Mr. Cyr
Yearbooks are ready to order!
The Bangor YMCA has exciting news to share!
Hi all, I want to make sure my students have what they need to succeed, so I just created a DonorsChoose classroom request: Make Rainbows With Code! (https://www.donorschoose.org/project/make-rainbows-with-code/5427246/?rf=email-system-2021-02-project_submitted-teacher_7767341&challengeid=21723366&utm_source=dc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=project_submitted) Give to my classroom within the next seven days and your donation will be doubled thanks to DonorsChoose. Just enter the code "LIFTOFF" during checkout and you'll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $50). In return, you'll get awesome photos of your gift in action and our heartfelt thanks. Thank you so much, Adrian Code Club Fundraising effort led by Mr. Arias-Palomo: My students are getting started in the world of physical computing and prototyping and continuously amaze me with their creativity and their energy. In this unusual year we have tried to give the students access to a more creative and motivating curriculum and we are really pleased at how well they have responded. Interested students join me for Code Club after school where they explore programming outside the constrains of a formal curriculum to create games, animations and art. These microcontrollers will help my students explore more aspects of computing and coding while stimulating their creativity and imagination. I recently finished the Microsoft MakeCode Infosys Pathfinders Winter Institute where I learned about the Circuit Playground Express and was really impressed by the possibilities that these devices bring to the classroom. From interactive electronic greeting cards to game controllers and costume accessories, the sky is the limit. It was incredible to see the Circuit Playground Express used in the classroom setting and having this experience inspired me to bring them to our school. Using these microcontrollers, students will be able to create their own toys, gadgets and wearables and will learn about how to use code to control electronics. They will be able to make connections with other subject areas such as math, science and art. With this project I am hoping to get more students interested and excited about computer science by exploring their interests and having fun.
Tuesday, February 8, 2021 12:15p.m. EST Good Afternoon VCS Families, I am writing to share our schedule for the remainder of the week. Our safety plan is currently in place with 16 close contact individuals currently in quarantine, including both staff and students. We feel very strongly that our safety protocols, specific timelines of this case, and the weekend helped to significantly reduce overall risk levels. Thank you to all of you for supporting our protocols including daily health screenings, wearing face masks in the public and openly/honestly communicating health related concerns directly with myself and/or the school nurse. Individuals in quarantine will remain that way until the latter part of February School Vacation. If all secondary testings come back negative and these individuals remain symptom free, we should be able to have a "normal" return following February Vacation. Here is our schedule for the remainder of the week: Middle School: Due to quarantining, we do not have sufficient staff to safely bring middle school students into the building on their next in-person days: Thursday & Friday. As a result, the middle school will be remote for the remainder of the week. Intermediate: Grades 3 - 5 are already scheduled to be remote for the remainder of the week and will stick with this schedule. Primary: Grades PreK - 2 will return to in-person learning beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/10/21. RECAP: PK - 2 will be in-person for the remainder of the week. Grades 3 - 8 will follow their remote schedules the remainder of the week. FEBRUARY VACATION TRAVEL: All out-of-state travel guidelines established by Governor Mills remain in effect. If your child and/or family will be leaving the state or country over vacation, please notify myself (email@example.com), our school nurse (firstname.lastname@example.org), or our office manager (email@example.com). After doing so, you will be contacted with instructions on mandated quarantining and testing guidelines. I am hopeful that each of our efforts will continue to keep our kids safe, mitigate transmission of COVID-19 within our school, and help to slow the spread within our community. Thank you and have a great rest of the week. Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr Superintendent & Principal
2/8/21 4:00p.m. EST Dear Veazie Community School Families and Staff, This notice is to inform you that our presumptive positive student in question has indeed tested positive. All close contacts have already been notified and advised of next steps such as quarantine, symptom checking, and testing. If you have not been individually contacted, you do not need to take any additional steps. Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 8, 2021) will be a remote learning day for all students as originally announced. I am still awaiting important information before being able to announce learning programs for the remainder of the week. PK - 2 parents should expect a communication from your child's teacher about tomorrow's schedule. Grades 3 - 8 will operate using their normal remote learning schedule. As always, please remember to conduct daily screening and communicate all health related issues immediately and directly with the school nurse, Amber Peters: firstname.lastname@example.org; and, superintendent/principal, Matt Cyr: email@example.com. Or by calling the school directly 947-6573. For general Covid-19 questions, please dial Maine’s helpline at 211 or 1-866-811- 5695. You can also text your zip code to 898-211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please call your healthcare provider with questions about symptoms. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Thank you for your support. Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr Superintendent & Principal
2/7/21 8:00p.m. EST Good Evening VCS Families, Veazie Community School was just notified that we have a presumptive positive student in the 8th grade (meaning based on information we have at this point in time, we are taking immediate precautions as there is a strong likelihood that the student is positive). The entire 8th grade class and any staff member working with the student is presently being treated as a presumptive close contact. The entire 8th grade class and any staff member working with them will begin a precautionary quarantine immediately. Due to the significant staffing shortage that this creates, I am shifting the entire school to remote learning only on Monday and Tuesday, or until we receive test results. At that point in time we will regroup and decide next steps. Grades 3 - 8 will operate using their remote learning schedule on Monday and Tuesday. Grades PK - 2 should use Snow Day Packet #2 for tomorrow (Monday). We will use the day tomorrow to asses next steps. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we navigate this situation. Have a good evening. -Mr. Cyr
Our middle school is looking for used (but functioning) tennis racquets for creative outdoor games they've invented. Get a head start on your spring cleaning by donating those dust collecting racquets to the Veazie Community School! :) These items can be dropped off at the main office when school is in session (7:30 - 3:30). Thank you for your support!
February 1, 2021 9:10a.m. EST Dear VCS Families, The National Weather Service is predicting a significant winter storm tomorrow, with high confidence. The potential exists for 5-9 inches of snow mixed in with up to 1/2 inch of sleet/icing, and wind gusts up to 30 mpg. The timing of this storm spans both Tuesday morning commutes and afternoon dismissals. It is not often when winter storms time themselves in a manner that allows for an early safety decision. I believe the timing and track of this storm has checked all of the boxes. For the reasons outlined above, Tuesday, February 2 will be a Remote Learning Snow Day for all Veazie Community School Students. Please find your child's Snow Day Packets sent home in November. 2/2/21 will be Remote Learning Snow Day #1 for VCS. There will be no in-person learning tomorrow, 2/2/21 due to the forecasted storm. Your child's teacher will be reviewing our remote learning snow day schedules over the course of today. Our kitchen staff will be sending home bag lunches with today's in-person students that requested a lunch today (the intent will be that this will serve as tomorrow's school lunch). Please put these lunches in the fridge when students get home. Email your child's teacher(s) with questions. If you misplaced your Remote Learning Snow Day Packets and schedules, you can find them on our school website, or here: https://sites.google.com/veaziecs.org/vcssnowday I'm guessing New England groundhogs will not be able to see their shadows tomorrow morning. Be safe! Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr VCS Superintendent & Principal
January 28, 2021 Dear Staff, Students and Families, Notice of 2 Positive COVID-19 cases at Veazie Community School This letter is to inform you that two individuals associated with the Veazie Community School recently tested positive for COVID-19. We have taken steps to follow Maine CDC and DOE guidelines to notify staff and students as appropriate. We believe it best to share what we can and we are informing you out of an abundance of caution. The 2 individuals who tested positive have not been at Veazie Community School since noontime on Thursday, January 21, 2021, and these positive test results do not impact the school community. Per Maine CDC and DOE guidelines, we do not have any individuals considered to be close contacts. We ask that each of you continue to be vigilant and honest with your reporting of illnesses, and adhering to our preventative measures including daily health screenings. Please note for the future, if you are a staff person or a student who is identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 at school, you will be notified by the school through a phone call or email and provided initial guidance on next steps, including quarantining and testing. Once you have received notification from the school, the Maine CDC’s Sara Alert will begin sending you follow up guidance via text messages. Sara Alert is an automated system that uses daily text messages to help people who have been identified as close contacts to monitor for symptoms after exposure. All students and staff will be enrolled in Sara Alert if they are identified as having been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person while at school. There is nothing required of you to be automatically enrolled in this service. If, however, you would like to opt out of Sara Alert, please contact Amber Peters, our school nurse. If you do opt out of the Sara Alert system, and are later identified as a close contact to a positive case, you will receive follow up phone calls to confirm you have opted to not receive the automated text messages from Maine CDC. Additional assistance is provided to Maine residents who have been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person, and need support during quarantine. You may request this assistance by using this online form: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/form/covid-19-referral-form Additional information about community care and social support is available here: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus-resources/support-for-isolation-quarantine, or you can send an email to dhhs.covid.socialsupport@Maine.gov COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and in those with underlying conditions. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Signs and symptoms include: • fever or chills • cough • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • fatigue • muscle or body aches • headache • new loss of taste or smell • sore throat • congestion or runny nose • nausea or vomiting • diarrhea Please keep in mind that many things can cause respiratory illness, so students and staff should be up-to-date on influenza and routine vaccinations. Maine CDC recommends prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include wearing a face covering over your nose, under your chin and snug against your cheeks, practice physical distancing, and wash hands with soap and warm water. When soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email email@example.com. Call a health care provider for questions about your symptoms. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Questions for the school can be directed to the following individuals: Superintendent & Principal, Matthew D. Cyr: firstname.lastname@example.org School Nurse, Amber Peters: email@example.com
1/20/21 Dear VCS Families, Yesterday, we received official notification from the Department of Education that our Corona Relief Fund Day Programming Grant will be extended through the remainder of the current school year. These grant funds pay for daycare costs associated with students needing child care on remote learning days. (Note: This grant does not cover school vacations, weekends, holidays, after school care, or teacher workshops. Also, if your child care costs are already being covered by another funding source such as DHHS, you and/or the child care provider are not eligible for additional funding/reimbursement.) Presently, we have a MOU with the Bangor YMCA, and are in the process of finalizing an agreement with Fields4Kids in Hampden. We are sending out this survey to find out if there are any other state approved daycare programs that our families are using on remote learning days (these must be state approved programs). If you are currently using, or are interested in using daycare programming (for remote learning days) through the remainder of this school year, please fill out this survey so that we can provide accurate data to the Department of Education. Once we have this information, we can begin to work with you and your state approved child care to fully cover daycare costs associated with remote learning days. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions. -Mr. Cyr firstname.lastname@example.org Survey Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScJlXPCNWtfKxahcBqmY0iS-_OL-mWyvQdRRWhxN5PsPyosDg/viewform?usp=sf_link
First Grade learned about moose today. Mrs. Richard brought in some moose antlers she had found up North. She also shared information, pictures and a video of moose she has seen in the wild. We read books to learn even more. We think they are a-moose-ing!
The VCS Robotics Team is looking for your help with their team project for this year's competition. Please consider completing this short survey. Thank you! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdFoj5Dln2kmttaw8Wdy5-8nOv6RoXJ7W-fFBJfNg1P93oH0w/viewform?usp=sf_link
Welcome to Monday morning, 2020. Moments after I sent the previous message, Google services were restored. I guess preparing for the worst, and the hoping for the best works out pretty good! Have a great day everyone!
Google services are down this morning. This just happened within the past 20 minutes. We are still awaiting more details on how long and widespread, but it appears to be an international problem at this point in time. Zoom should still be working for our remote workers. We will continue to do our best with what we have, and provide updates as we learn more.
December 11, 2020 12:00PM EST COVID-19 MEMO #21 UPDATED: VCS Red/Yellow/Green Scheduling Dear VCS Parents and Caregivers, Penobscot County continues to maintain a ‘Green’ health advisory, and as of today, is no longer considered to have a ‘monitor asterisk.’ In today’s announcement, the Department of Education noted: “While Penobscot county has a relatively high positivity rate, its new case rate declined from last week and thus no longer has an asterisk.” The VCS School Reopening Advisory Committee (SRAC) continues to meet as needed (twice this week). At last night’s meeting, 12/11/2020 the SRAC approved a proposal to modify the VCS Red/Yellow/Green scheduling. In short, if Penobscot County were to be shifted to a ‘Yellow’ health advisory, Veazie Community School would continue to maintain current scheduling: PK - 2 students would continue to attend school in-person Monday - Friday; Grades 3 - 5 would attend in-person on M/T and remote W/Th/F; and the middle school would be remote M/T/W and in-person Th/F. There were several driving factors behind this shift, and safety continues to be the top priority: *Safety: It will be safer to keep our PK - 2 students separated by current pod structure 5-days/week. *Access to Learning: Our youngest learners struggle the most with remote learning. *Staffing: The former ‘Yellow’ schedule would stretch the limits of our staffing capacity and significantly impact our overall ability to safely operate the school in the current hybrid model. *Parents: We recognize the childcare challenges the former ‘Yellow’ schedule would have placed on our families. Maine CDC Quarantine Policy for ‘Close Contact’ Individuals: Maine CDC recently updated their quarantine policy by providing the option of shortening the quarantine period for individuals known to be close contacts of cases of COVID-19 to 10 days. One reason for this change was hopes that there would be greater compliance. Despite the change, Maine CDC also stated: “It is important to note that a shorter quarantine period carries a risk that an exposed individual could become positive and potentially transmit COVID-19 to others after quarantine.” Maine CDC also noted: “…a 14-day quarantine period is still epidemiologically preferable.” That last statement is most important, and for this reason, VCS will continue to require a 14-day quarantine period. (NOTE: Maine CDC makes it clear that individual facilities or organizations can decide to keep the 14-day quarantine, or move to the 10-day quarantine.) It is also important to note that if you are considered a close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, you must quarantine for the 14 days even with a negative test. Holiday Travel Reminder: Any staff or student/s who travel to any state other than New Hampshire or Vermont (no restrictions for these two states only as of 12/11/20; subject to change), will be required to either: 1. Quarantine for 14 days upon return to Maine, or 2. Quarantine until receiving a negative test result Any staff or student/s who travelled to restricted states will not be permitted inside the school building until either the negative test result or 14 days of quarantine has occurred. This is not dependent on the length of time spent within the restricted states, meaning that a day visit still requires the person to quarantine for 14 days, or until a negative test result is confirmed. All members of the household who travel must test or quarantine if over 12 months old. Testing site information for Maine can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine/keepmainehealthy/testing Any person who is quarantining should stay home, and not have in-person contact with others. Wilcox Wellness & Fitness Training: Our Wilcox Group Fitness Training classes have been going very well! Please remember that students must submit a signed Wilcox release form in order to receive a Zoom meeting ID. We will continue to separate groups by age level. Contact Ms. Lindsey in the office if you need another form: email@example.com REMINDER: FREE Breakfast & Lunch for ALL STUDENTS for remainder of the year! The USDA is extending a critical food program through the entire school year. As a result, all VCS students are eligible to receive a free school breakfast and lunch—even on days they are remote! Please contact our kitchen manager, Betsy Brooks if you would like to learn details on pickup times and dates for remote learning days. firstname.lastname@example.org REMINDER: Snow Days will be Remote Days: This is a reminder that this year we are piloting a new protocol—Snow days will be Remote Learning Days for all students. Snow Day packets were sent home last month. Please keep these in a safe place (contact your child’s teacher if you have questions.) We are also built a web-resource for VCS Snow Day Learning which can be found on our website. Here is a direct link: https://sites.google.com/veaziecs.org/vcssnowday We want to remind parents that student participation on snow days is not an option. Students not completing expected work within three days of returning from a snow day will be marked as absent. Our last day of school for students will be Friday, June 11. We continue to do our very best to balance risk, safety and education. I want to thank each of our families for consistently being open and honest about COVID related information taking place outside of school. Your vigilance, along with the VCS safety plan, have proven to be very effective. We will continue to revisit all protocols as needed and be transparent with any changes. I am thankful for our amazing staff. I am thankful for our amazing families. I am thankful for our amazing community. Have a great weekend! Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr VCS Superintendent & Principal
The Veazie Community School Mitten Tree has gone virtual! If you are interested in helping to provide holiday cheer for families right here in Veazie, please click onto this link and follow the directions. Contact our school counselor, Mrs. Dineen if you have questions. Thank you! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d45aea623a1f4c61-veazie
November 20, 2020 12:00PM EST COVID-19 MEMO #20 STEPPING UP SAFETY PRECAUTIONS Dear VCS Parents and Caregivers, As you are aware, community transmission is on the rise and both public and private sectors are being asked to step-up their safety plans. Public schools have been asked to place even greater emphasis on social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and mask wearing. The Department of Education published a priority notice on 11/19/20 which outlined many of these increased safety measures. Most notable were increasing structure around mask breaks, including the following: Students must have masks on at all times with the exception of eating, and mask breaks. Mask breaks should be limited to 5 minutes each, up to a maximum of 15 minutes per day. During mask breaks and while eating, individuals must be stationary, 6 feet from one another, facing the same direction, and quiet—there should not be any conversation or other activity (during mask breaks) that could spread the virus. The DOE specifically stated that students must have masks on during all outdoor recess and free-play. Holiday Travel Reminder: Per orders of the Governor, any staff or students who travel to any state other than New Hampshire or Vermont (no restrictions for these two states only as of 11/20/20; subject to change), will be required to either: 1. Quarantine for 14 days upon return to Maine, or 2. Quarantine until receiving a negative test result Any staff or students who travelled to restricted states will not be permitted inside the school building until either the negative test result or 14 days of quarantine has occurred. This is not dependent on the length of time spent within the restricted states, meaning that a day visit still requires the person to quarantine for 14 days, or until a negative test result is confirmed. All members of the household who travel must test or quarantine if over 12 months old. Testing site information for Maine can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine/keepmainehealthy/testing Any person who is quarantining should stay home, and not have in-person contact with others. Wilcox Wellness & Fitness Training: Our Wilcox group training kicked off this week with our older learners. Please remember that students must submit a signed Wilcox release form in order to receive a Zoom meeting ID. We will continue to separate groups by age level. Monday, November 23 will be Intermediate students starting at 4:00p.m. Contact Ms. Lindsey in the office if you need another form: email@example.com REMINDER: FREE Breakfast & Lunch for ALL STUDENTS for remainder of the year! The USDA is extending a critical food program through the entire school year. As a result, all VCS students are eligible to receive a free school breakfast and lunch—even on days they are remote! Please contact our kitchen manager, Betsy Brooks if you would like to learn details on pickup times and dates for remote learning days. firstname.lastname@example.org REMINDER: Snow Days will be Remote Days: This is a reminder that this year we are piloting a new protocol—Snow days will be Remote Learning Days for all students. Snow Day Packets will be sent home at the end of this week, or early next week. Please put these in a safe place. We are also finalizing a web-resource for VCS Snow Day Learning which can be found on our website. Here is a direct link: https://sites.google.com/veaziecs.org/vcssnowday We want to remind parents that student participation on snow days is not an option. Students not completing expected work within three days of returning from a snow day will be marked as absent. The support of our community is necessary for the safety everyone—and, required for us to be able to keep our schools open for in-person learning. Emerging data is showing that schools are safe places because we follow safety protocols and guidelines. We will continue to do all that we can to keep staff and students safe on in-person learning days. The big question, “when/why do schools switch to remote learning?” is a direct result of community spread happening outside of our schools. Each of us play such a critical role in this delicate educational ecosystem. Please stay safe, and help us to keep our school community safe and able to provide for the students we serve. I wish each of you a safe, health, and Happy Thanksgiving! Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr VCS Superintendent & Principal
Please check out the great items listed on our upcoming PTO Online Auction. This fundraiser is very important to our PTO and school. Thank you! https://www.32auctions.com/vcsptoauction2020
PreK-2 is doing a STEM activity in response to the book, Balloons Over Broadway. We are making our own Veazie Day Parade (Macy's Day Parade). On Friday, November 20th, we will walk the same parade route as our Book Character Parade. If you have time, feel free to come park and watch us! We'd love to wave to you!