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Family Newsletter 4.16.21

Harwood Families -

The resilience fostered and practiced in the last 13 months of uncertainty and continuous change should continue to remind us all of our strength and adaptability.

We are stronger together and will continue to charter this new reality by learning from our experiences to date, maximizing the opportunities surfaced during this time and prioritizing that which is most sacred - community and connection!

To this end, our pivot to 4 days on site as an entire Harwood community when we return from April break on 4/26/21 will be one focused on that which our students identified needing:

  1. A safe learning environment

  2. A scaffolded start that prioritizes our health and well being

To accomplish this we will:

  • maintain our routines and expectations

  • create time to build team as our black and gold cohorts come together for the first time this year

  • maximize learning time outside

  • ensure time to adjust to the increase in stimulation through mask, brain and body breaks

As we did at the start of the year we have put together a Q&A (see below) to provide clarity for families and students. Please reach out with any lingering questions.

In partnership,

Meg, Laurie and Duane




What are expectations for attendance for students - even if they have a job?

  • Students are expected to be in onsite for school all 4 days - they will be marked unexcused unless they are out for:

    • Illness - Mental Health/Physical Health (with doctor’s note after 3 absences); Chronic absence due to illness will be marked unexcused absence

    • Death in the family

    • Post Postsecondary opportunity visit

Will there be any changes to our current Wednesday schedule?

  • No

What are the expectations for screening starting on 4/26?

  • All students are required to complete the daily screening form and take their temperature before coming to school.

  • If your family is in need of a thermometer please contact the nurses office. or call 802-583-8151

  • The daily screening form is located on the school website.

  • Our screening staff will continue to greet students, verify the daily screening is complete, and assist students with completing the screening form if they were unable to complete the form at home.

  • Students will be asked to use hand sanitizer upon entry.

  • The new screening questions will be:

  • In the last 24 hours have you had a fever over 100.4 degrees?

  • Have you felt unwell with any of the following symptoms?

    • Shortness of breath

    • Cough

    • Loss of taste or smell

    • Fatigue

    • Muscle or body aches

    • Headache

    • Sore throat

    • Congestion or Runny Nose

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Diarrhea

  • Within the past 14 days, have you been in close physical contact (6 feet or closer for at least 15 minutes) with a person who is known to have COVID-19?

If you answered “yes” to any of the screening questions do not come to school!

  • Complete an absence form

  • Contact the school nurse for guidance and procedures.

  • Students and Adults who are NOT fully vaccinated must complete a COVID-19 PCR test within 3 days of return to Vermont. (Fully vaccinated means that you have received all doses of your COVID-19 vaccine and it has been 14 days from your final dose of COVID-19 vaccine)

  • NO quarantine required after travel while waiting for the test results

  • You are NOT required to report or provide a negative test result to the school in order to return. If you receive a positive Covid-19 test result-

Parent’s/Guardians are expected to immediately notify the school nurse at or call 802-583-8151

to travel internationally, please contact your school nurse in advance of


  • If you’re planning to travel or gather, please review these prevention steps, and tips on weighing the risk before going out or making plans.

  • As a reminder, please stay home if you are sick and follow the current guidelines.

What are the distancing expectations with the new guidance?

  • 3 ft. between students

  • 6 ft. between students at lunch

  • 6 ft. between staff

  • 6 ft. between staff and students except for quick check ins for feedback and support

What will our schedule be when we return on 4/26?

  • We will maintain our current schedule with the exception of:

    • Flex block (block 4) = Mon/Thurs ONLY

    • ELO (HS only) (block 4) = Tues/Fri

Can students be excused from classes for approved Flexible Pathways such as Independent Studies, Internships, Dual Enrollment and service minutes?


  • Students who have approved internships (through Next Step) and have been utilizing their asynchronous days to schedule this work, will be allowed to continue in their current position, understanding that reasonable adjustments to their schedules will be made when possible. Students are responsible for completing any classwork missed, as they would be for any other absence.

  • Students who are involved in an approved Independent Study and Dual Enrollment that necessitates meeting with other community members to fulfill the expectations, and have been utilizing their asynchronous days to schedule this work, will be allowed to continue these meetings, understanding that reasonable adjustments to their schedules will be made when possible. Time for independent work is to be managed outside of their school class schedule. Students are responsible for completing any classwork missed, as they would be for any other absence.

  • Students receiving direct instruction from a Special Educator will be excused from class through communication between the Special Educator and the classroom teacher. The regular “pass” system will be utilized when leaving/returning to the classroom. The completion of missed classwork will be negotiated on an individual basis.

How will students be assigned to ELO’s during block 4 on Tuesday and Friday?

  • We will continue to utilize the Adaptive Scheduler programming. The additional blocks will be set up for access.

  • Sign ups should be completed by the end of TA on that day (either Tues. or Fri).

What time will Harwood open each morning for screening?

  • As has been the case all year Harwood will open at 7:45 for screening.

  • Please note all Entrance doors will be closed until 7:45.

  • Students who arrive after 8:17 are expected to go through the front door and sign in at the front office where their screening will be completed.

How will we screen so many more students at the start of the day?

  • We will have 3 entrances for screening:

    • HUMS entrance - for all Middle School students

      • All Middle School students are asked to walk to the front door of the Middle School after being dropped off.

    • Front Entrance - for High School students taking the bus

    • South Entrance - for all students being dropped off or student drivers

How will we monitor traffic in order to keep our community safe during drop off and pick up?

  • As we did at the start of the year, a staff member will be designated as a traffic monitor at the south end of the building to assist with the number of vehicles (parent/student) arriving at HU each day.

What will our traffic pattern be with the return of the entire study body?

  • As we did at the start of the year, Harwood will utilize the same traffic pattern for arrival and dismissal. We will hire a Washington County Sheriff to assist with ROUTE 100 traffic flow for two weeks.

Will parking assignments change for students?

  • No - when assignments were given this fall there was no doubling up of spots for students in different cohorts.

What will breakfast logistics look like?

  • As has been the case all year, students will pick up breakfast after their screening and go straight to their TA room as has been the case all year.

How will we ensure 6 ft. distancing during meals?

  • Classrooms that can’t meet the 6 ft. distancing will be reassigned to other locations in the school - cafeteria, checkerboard and outside the auditorium.

  • That said, we are strongly encouraging everyone to eat outside when possible

  • Specifically, HUMS will utilize the cafeteria for both the 7th and 8th grade cohorts at different times in order to support them in adjusting to how lunch will be next year.

What will lunchtime logistics look like with all our students back onsite?

  • Breakfasts will be available as they are now - students will bring breakfast to their assigned TA spaces.

  • We will assign times to each lunch room for when they can go down to the cafeteria for lunch - there will be a schedule of times when you can dismiss for lunch - we are working on this document and will be available the week of April 12.

  • A staff member will be assigned to the cafeteria to monitor students while waiting in the lunch line.

What will dismissal look like with all our students back onsite?

  • As has been the case all year, dismissal will happen over the loudspeaker from Block 4

    • 2:39 Student who are being picked up

    • 2:43 Students who drive

    • 2:47 Bus Students dismissal

  • Once dismissed - please go directly outside to your car or bus.

  • If after being dismissed you have to wait outside for your ride please remember to maintain physical space.

How will bus transportation be impacted with all students returning to onsite learning?

  • As has been the case all year windows will continue to be open during transportation

  • There are no restrictions for seating other than the seat directly behind the driver.

Will we start using lockers with all students returning?

  • No - in order to minimize time in the hallways students will still NOT be allowed to use lockers.

Teaching & Learning :

How will teacher’s balance the reality that Black and Gold Cohorts are in different places currently?

  • Teachers will adjust and accommodate lessons to support all students in getting to a common place once we return. We expect that this will take some time and teachers are planning accordingly.

What are our Teaching and Learning expectations now that we’re back 4 days?

  • To accommodate this major transition teachers are asked to prioritize reviewing routines and expectations in our first week back as a full Harwood community.

  • For the remainder of the school year we will maintain the same work expectations we have had all year and adjust to the increased time together to provide feedback and support.

What does decreased work for the first week back look like?

  • No homework in order to allow everyone to rejuvenate each night. The exhaustion of the transition will be enough to adjust to and in order to increase our capacity we will all need “time off task each night” in order to increase “on task behavior during the day.”

  • More body, brain, mask and stimulation breaks during each block

What is our homework policy for the last 7 weeks of school?

  • With the final push towards AP exams - teachers should do what they need to in order to most effectively prepare students. Taking into account that less can be more even in the final stretch ;)

  • As we seek to maintain workload we ask that you consider how you provide practice and independent think time in class in order to greatly limit homework.

    • This can also allow for more effective learning as you can use that time to circulate and provide feedback as well.

Can students attend a study hall instead of ELO on Tuesday and Friday?

  • Some larger spaces will be available for “independent work space” during ELO time for those students not assigned or signed up for ELO.

Will the library be open based on the new guidance?

  • As we seek to minimize transitions and changes - beyond the obvious - to our routines for the last 7 weeks the library will be used for the remainder of the year as it has been throughout the 2020-2021 school year.


What are some universal classroom strategies teachers will be using in class to support our students in regulating and norming to the change in noise level, physical space et al?

  • Welcoming and inviting every student into the school and classroom

  • Teacher Advisory/Advisory Program - Every student has an advisor for the duration of high school. TA meets daily, including on the remote Wednesday. Students can access their advisor with any questions, concerns, struggles.

  • Regular check-ins, connecting with students during breaks

  • Positive Circles - Building Community and Connection

  • Creating cool down and regulating spaces where students can independently regulate within the classroom (tools and resources will be provided)

  • Consistent messaging of classroom and safety expectations

    • Providing all students the understanding of why it is important to uphold our accountability, responsibility, and respect to each other that has enabled us to maintain a safe space for our students to learn and grow, and be together.

  • Brain breaks

    • Energizers (Re-Charge)

    • Regulate (Re-Focus)

  • Movement breaks (Activities available indoors and outdoors)

  • Open communication and feedback for what is working or not

If students are feeling dysregulated and none of the universal strategies are working where can students find additional support?

  • Students can utilize the Wellness Center: Jen Dreimiller

  • Students can connect with their School Counselor: Eriz Dezell, Tara Cariano, Sally McCarthy, Jen Dreimiller (Middle School)

  • Students can can access and connect with the Director of Students and Well-Being:

Dr. Melody Frank

  • Students can access Student Support Specialists: John Dubuc, Bernadette Bloom

  • Students can access to our Substance Abuse Counselor (SAP): Mara Urban

What regulating activities do Students have available?

  • Students will have access to indoor and outdoor activities that target physical, social/emotional, and cognitive regulation needs. Ask your student what they accessed during their school day, as there is a long list of menu offerings!

  • Student Led Groups (YEWS, Student Council) are working on leading regulating activities and opportunities for students

How can Students access these activities?

  • Students will be able to access these activities spontaneously throughout the day as part of their typical class time. Students will be supervised, but will be in classes engaging. Student support team members, school counselors, and administration will also be visible in the building throughout the day.

Who can Parents/Caregivers access for support if they notice their student is noticeably struggling?



Calendar Updates:

  • 4/19 - 4/23 - April Vacation - NO School

  • 4/26 - All Harwood students return to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

  • 05/24 & 5/27 - Parent/TA conferences

  • 06/07 - 06/11 - Spirit week

  • 06/11 - Last day of school

  • 06/12 - Harwood Graduation *details forthcoming

Parent/TA conferences

It has become Harwood tradition over the last several years to hold Spring, student-led conferences. This has been an opportunity for students to explore and share their personal and academic growth over the course of the year. This year, we intend to continue this tradition with a bit of a different focus. Recognizing the resilience shown this year due to the many challenges faced, our focus in conferences will be on reflection. Dave Melnick, LICSW, in his 2020 Resource Document (COVID-19 ~ End Well, Prepare Well, Begin Well: Reestablishing the School as Community) states: “During collective crises, it is even more important to make meaning of the events that have occurred. Meaning making is a process of reflecting about, learning from, integrating knowledge, and improving oneself following significant events.” In TA we will be considering a series of guiding questions to support students to reflect on the year considering how they have grown in response to the challenges faced this year. When we meet with you in May, your student will share their perspective on this growth and how it may serve them in the future. Students are also being challenged to create a representation of this growth in a manner they choose (s/a video, visual art, audio, music, video, etc.).

What: Student Led Reflection Conference

Who: Student, Parent/Guardian, Teacher Advisor

When: May 25th and May 27th from 3:00 - 6:00 PM

How: Through Zoom meetings

Sign Up: Please be on the lookout for a message from your child’s Teacher Advisor who will be sending out a google sign up during the week of May 3rd.

It is our hope that this collective conversation will be one of the steps in moving forward into a post-pandemic world.

You are the most important partner for your student in supporting their success, so it is essential that you be part of this process. We are also on board to support their reflection as they look forward into the future. Please feel free to contact us with questions you have about the process.

Thank you for the ongoing support of your student’s growth and learning. (not for grade 12)We look forward to continuing our partnership through the conferences and beyond. (Grade 12) It is hard to believe this will be our last “official” meeting with you and your student. It has been an honor to be on this four year journey with you.

SBAC update

Please note that Harwood Union will be participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) this spring. The SBAC is designed for students in grades 3-8 and 11, and measures achievement in English Language Arts, Science and Mathematics. Our schedule for testing students will begin on May 3 and end May 21. Assessment results will not be utile for accountable measures this school year. There is no opt out option for families

Z-Pass Update with busses

All Harwood bus riders will be required to swipe their Harwood Transit Cards when boarding, riding or departing a school bus. In the event a student loses their ID or it is damaged, they will receive an additional ZPass ID free of charge during our pilot time period. If a student loses their ID, they will not be denied transportation; however they will need to obtain a replacement ID from the main office in a timely manner. Daily bus students will be required to use their Transit Card each time they enter or exit a bus. At this time we are only utilizing this system for daily school bus transportation.



Harwood Student Government and Rotary Interact Sponsored Blood Drive ~Ellett Merriman

A big Thank You again to the community for helping the Rotary Interact Club raise money and collect bottles during our bottle drive. Rotary Interact and Harwood Student Government are co-hosting the annual Blood Drive. You may be wary about donating this year however there is a large demand for it. It would be greatly appreciated if you were able to donate. You may wonder why is this year so different? It just so happens that with the ongoing pandemic, the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors. The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of that effort, plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.

We will be hosting the Blood Drive at St Leo's Parish in Waterbury VT.

This will take place on April 28th, 2021 from 10:30 - 3:30.

The eligibility requirements are the following:

  • Be in good general health and feeling well.

  • Be at least 17 years old in most states (16 years old with parental consent in some states).

  • Weigh at least 110 lbs. Additional height and weight requirements apply for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school student donors.

  • Have not donated blood in the last 56 days.

We would really appreciate your help at this time and are grateful for the already outstanding community that we are! We hope you will consider donating on April 28th!

Everyone Eats and Share MRV Free Healthy Meals:

  • Free meals to anyone in the community who has been impacted in any way by the pandemic. Not only will you get a delicious meal, but you a re helping your local economy by supporting a valley restaurant and its employees. Come to the Big Picture Theater and grab a meal for you and your neighbor on Saturdays 11-1:00.

  • For more information, call 8802-505-9149 or send an email to ShareMRA

Free Meals for Children 18 & Younger

  • Did you know you can get free breakfasts and lunches for your children 18 and under? That includes littles not yet enrolled in school! Sign up for meals here. Free meals are not only for families in need, and you won’t be “taking away” a meal from someone in need if you decide to get a meal for your child(ren). Please take advantage of this wonderful benefit, the more meals served, the better it is for the HUUSD Food & Nutrition Program.

Updates from our Health Office-Please contact the school nurses with your questions and to report any test results. At 802-583-8151 phone 802-882-1197 Fax


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