Monday, December 20, 2021

Week of December 20th

 UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 17
December 20th, 2021

Principal Message

Omicron Concerns.  As you know, the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, is rapidly spreading through NYC and the world. In our own little corner of the world at UAI, we've seen first hand what this looks like. Over the weekend, we had three self-reported cases & two confirmed positives from our school community alone. (One of the self-reported cases was actually proven negative by the situation room, but the other two are still under investigation.)

As we move through this week, the anxiety of the press, our peers, social media - everything is going to be overwhelming. This does feel like a new pandemic all over again. The amount of daily new cases is eclipsing same new case rate when the pandemic first peaked in April of 2020. That's freaky!

But remember, the amount of vaccination and treatment options in April of 2020 was nil. Today, we are in a much different situation. Hospitals have several treatment options - including Remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies. We all have vaccinations and boosters (go get yours now if you can!). When you look at the amount of deaths we're seeing today vs. April 2020, the data is like night and day. At the peak in April 2020, there were ~8K new cases with over 700 deaths in one day. Yesterday, NYC peaked with ~18K new cases with 21 deaths. The ratio of 8K:700 of the first wave to the ratio of 18K:21 of today shows that we are not crazy - COVID is spreading like wildfire, but the risk of severe outcomes is extremely low due to our medical and scientific advancements in treatment and vaccination AND our social practices of masking, hygiene, and physical distancing.

Bottom line - we are in a much different place with the pandemic. When it all first began, we were powerless and things were out of control. Today, we have options and agency.

So, here's all the things we need to do this week!
  1. Get your booster ASAP!
  2. Remember to keep masks on and remind your students to keep them on too! Use this data to help leverage your point!
  3. Wash your hands and surfaces (tell the kids the same)
  4. Maintain physical distancing of 3' or more when possible
  5. Keep your air purifiers turned on! (You can open windows, but they are not necessary with building HEPA filters). The room purifiers are an added feature to the MERV filters.

Hopefully very soon, the new Merck and Pfizer pills will relegate COVID to the status of the Flu. We'll never be rid of it, but it is getting close to the point that it will not present more if a threat to us than the Flu. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that point is right on the other side of the holiday break!






Important dates this month.  

  • 20DEC21:  Staff Circles - Remote at 4PM
  • 23DEC21: Rapid Dismissal at 1:45PM for All Students (Same Staggered Dismissal as Thanksgiving)
  • 24DEC21 - 02JAN22:  Winter Recess - NO SCHOOL

Committee Updates

Equity Team.  No Updates this week Please review the meeting minutes.

Circles Committee.  Our next circle will be via zoom at 4PM on Monday, 20DEC21.

Consultation Committee.  No Updates this Week.  Please review the consultation committee notes from the last meeting on Thursday, 18NOV21.  The next meeting is scheduled for 12JAN21.  The agenda will be shared out in the Sunday blog on 09JAN21.  Damon will be facilitating, so please do share agenda items with him!


Announcements


Spirit Week. This week is spirit week!  Check out Jen's Newsletter to get your spirit up and happening!

Student Attendance & Google Classrooms.  There are a number of folks on quarantine this week due to inconsistent mask-wearing/distancing and not being vaccinated.  As a reminder, unvaccinated students who are exposed to students, who may not have had their mask on,  must quarantine for 10 days.  They can test out of quarantine on day 5, and if negative, they can return on day 8.  Because exposure was last Weds/Thurs/Fri (different cases had different days), the large majority of students will not return this week.  They have all been instructed to check their google classrooms and to reach out to you directly with questions or needs for help.

Dance and Arts Clubs start after Holiday Break.  We are partnering with a new organization called Broadway Arts for Education and they will be teaching our dance program beginning January 4th AND they will be offering elective programming for Acting, Podcasting, and Poetry that will take place during learning labs.  Students will have a chance to sign up for the spring electives starting this week and will be removed from learning labs for the remainder of the year . 

In addition, if any staff would also like to run their clubs during the learning lab time, please email me to let me know.  I'm shifting the compensation to pay prep period coverage for that club AND give 1 hour of after school per session (for planning time for the club).  After school per clubs will get 1 hour of after school per session).  Please email me what you'd like to do!



 


To Do This Week

PAY ATTENTION TO THE YELLOW HIGHLIGHTS
This is the stuff that requires your attention AND it's stuff you need to do!

Bathroom Minimization. We need to minimize Omicron spread as much as possible.  Bathrooms will be limited to 1 person per bathroom this week.  As a complicating factor, we also have had many staff out on the same day, leaving us extremely short staffed on bathrooms.  So... 
  • Bathrooms are closed the first and last 10 minutes of class and during passing.
  • Please only send out ONE student at a time for the bathroom.
  • Only the 3rd and Basement bathrooms will be open this week

Hallway Presence. This week, administrative & counseling support staff will once again be pulled into managing ongoing campus logistics as we continue to work through this latest safety event.  Please be present and in the halls to help keep them clear and to check in with any students to provide them connection and stability throughout this week.


Wrap Around Support.  Some staff have requested that we have meeting time to discuss how we're strategizing to support our neediest students.  Currently, because students have opted into their programs this year, grade teams no longer capture all of their teachers (except for 6/7/ teachers).  Thus, we need another structure to bring folks together to meet.

Starting after the break, we will begin holding meetings on Wednesdays via zoom at 4:30PM to discuss strategies for supporting students.  There is no commitment necessary, but each week via the blog, teachers will be welcomed to submit student names, and based on need, those students will be on the docket for the Wednesday meeting.  I'm calling these meetings Student "WARM-UPs" - Wrap Around Research Meeting to Uplift Performance.  As you all know, I'm terrible at naming things - so please do share your other ideas!  Please complete THIS FORM if you would like to meet to discuss the student.  All participants will receive per session for the meeting.  The first meeting will be Wednesday 05JAN.


Per Session Postings

  • Club Teachers.  If you are interested in running a club during Lunch, Learning Lab or After School, please email Kiri and complete the Per Session Interest Form.  For Lunch/Learning Lab clubs, you will be paid a prep period coverage and one hour of per session per day.  In-day clubs must be during your prep time for a prep-period coverage.  After school clubs (per session only) can meet as often as you'd like.  Clubs must have at least 8 students to be viable.  Teachers will submit student attendance along with per session sheets.  <Posting Remains Open for more clubs>
    • Applied:  Kristina (Book Club), Tom (photography club), Jenetta (Astrology Club), Rebecca (Crafting), Rachel (Journalism), Shana (STEAM)
    • Staffed:  Kristina (Book Club), Tom (photography club), Jenetta (Astrology Club)
      Rebecca C (Crafting), Rachel (Journalism & Tutoring), Shana (STEAM)

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