As you know, our students and educators have been working hard to prepare for project shares next week. We've built incredible instructional momentum and as I do my daily "walkabouts", I come across happy children working with paint, canvases, costumes, and more. They're so excited to share their progress with you!
Our dilemma is that at the same time, all RI schools (including ours) are seeing record levels of flu this year (in addition to Covid and RSV cases). We know that inviting all of our parents into the school increases everyone's exposure to Flu, Covid and RSV.
We've consulted with the RI Dept of Health for their guidance in this situation.
RIOOH has recommended that Project Shares proceed next week so long as the following mitigation strategies in place:
Opening all windows for additional ventilation: Keep your coat close by as it will likely be chilly in the rooms!
Using the largest rooms available and/or distributing students/audiences into small groups across multiple rooms as applicable.
RIDOH strongly recommends universal masking during the hour of the project share.
Note that there is no policy in place to require masking, but RIDOH strongly recommends that staff, students and parents mask during the event.
The exception would be for the student presenters during the time of their presentation. Many of our students will be performing in plays or small group presentations. They have been practicing with the same group for weeks and their exposure is already well established, making the project share no different than any other day. In those situations, student presenters will be unmasked while they are presenting.
You may not have a stack of masks like you once did earlier in the pandemic; we will provide them at the sign in stations.
Separating the parent audience from the student presenters. This works out because our performances naturally lend themself to the performers being separate from the parent audiences.
With these steps in place, we've decided that "The Show will go on!"
A Final Note About Being A Gracious Audience :)
As I shared earlier, some of our students have experienced extended absences leading up to these performances. Some may still be absent on project share day.
That means that you may be observing a presenter who didn't have as much practice time with the group. You also may be viewing an understudy in a play.
We're teaching students an important life lesson about overcoming obstacles and barriers in order to still reach a milestone. Thank you for supporting that message and for clapping just as vigorously for the understudy as you may have for the original actor :)
May you and yours stay safe and healthy this holiday season.
P.S. Stay tuned for the step-level specifics about this week's shares from your child's teacher. All steps (except for the Discoverers in 3rd/4th who are sharing in February) have shares planned M-W.