Monday, December 21, 2020

News to Use- December 21, 2020

Upcoming Important Dates:
Early Release Dismissal @ 11:15AM                                             December 23                

No School: Winter Recess                                                                Dec. 24-Jan. 1

School Resumes                                                                                     January 4

No School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day                                      January 18

We wish you and your family a safe and healthy winter vacation, and look forward to seeing students in 2021! Happy New Year!

Winter gear
While the winter weather has us mostly eating lunch inside now, we still will go out for recess daily and will eat outside as the weather allows. It's the one time of day that kids really can move and play without as many restrictions as they face inside. Thank you for making sure your child has appropriate boots, coats, mittens, and hats to be comfortable while we are outside multiple times each day.


December 2020

We wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. Please see the CDC's winter holiday health and safety tips.


Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infectious person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. A COVID positive individual is considered infectious or contagious starting 2 days prior to their symptom onset, or 2 days prior to their positive COVID test in the case of asymptomatic individuals. During the contact tracing process, positive individuals are interviewed to see who they have been in close contact with during their infectious period, and close contacts are then notified of the need to quarantine. Masks reduce risk but do not eliminate exposure completely.


The CDC and MA DPH have provided new quarantine guidelines based on data on the typical timing of developing COVID after close contact exposure. For individuals who do not have, and have never had, symptoms during their quarantine period there is now a 7 day option with testing or a 10-day option without testing. Local public health nurses work with individuals to release them from quarantine, or from isolation in the case of positive individuals. Here are the quarantine options from the MA DPH:


All Massachusetts residents are required to comply with the COVID-19 travel order. If you are traveling to a non-lower risk state, you need to follow the travel order which requires that you quarantine for 14 days upon return to MA or seek COVID-19 PCR testing no earlier than 72 hrs prior to your return to MA. A negative COVID-19 PCR test needs to be submitted to your school nurse prior to your child(ren)'s return to in-person learning. If your children are 10 years old or younger, they are not required to receive a COVID-19 test, but you will need to share documentation of your adult household member's negative tests to your school nurse prior to their return to in-person learning. Please notify your school nurse of any travel plans during our December vacation.


If your child is experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms please keep your child home from school and/or contact their health care provider and seek testing if advised. Testing also needs to be done to comply with the travel order. We ask you to seek a COVID-19 PCR test which is considered the gold standard for testing. MA has many free stop the spread testing locations, including locations in Salem which do not require an appointment and are open 6 days a week. The towns of Hamilton and Wenham are also offering COVID-19 testing to their residents, HW school employees and their families, and all HW students on certain dates in December at the Miles River Middle School parking lot.  See the website for eligibility requirements and testing dates. 


All MA students are now required to be vaccinated against influenza by December 31st, 2020. This is critical during the pandemic as it will reduce the impact of COVID 19. Vaccination for influenza will also aid in the protection of vulnerable populations and decrease the burden on the healthcare system. Both the flumist and the flu shot are available this year. You will be/have been notified if we are missing documentation of your child(ren)'s flu vaccine. If you have not already done so, please provide documentation of your child(ren)'s flu vaccine to your school nurse as soon as possible.

For more health and COVID-19 information please visit our HW nurses' website. 


Community Supports 💙

During these times of uncertainty, we understand that many families may be experiencing hardship. We have been fortunate this year to be able to offer some of our families gift cards for holiday needs.  Please reach out if you are in need of assistance.  In addition, here are some local resources that you may find helpful.

Acord serves clients in Essex, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Topsfield, and Wenham. They offer weekly food distributions, holiday meal programs, school vacation lunch bags, nutrition education and outreach, and emergency meal assistance. They also partner with local farms to provide fresh produce to their clients every week. They can be reached at 978-468-7424 or

The Hamilton Foundation was created to help meet unexpected, urgent, and short-term needs of Hamilton residents due to job loss, death, divorce, or catastrophic illness. It also maintains a directory of over 60 regional social service agencies and refers people to those programs when appropriate. 
Please call 978-233-1816 and leave a message and someone will return your call.
WISSH assists Wenham residents in need of temporary financial or social service assistance. Their mission is to identify the social service needs of Wenham residents and to coordinate and implement appropriate immediate unmet financial assistance to those in need.  You may call WISSH at a confidentially maintained phone number, 978-468-5520 Ext. 9.  
Beverly Bootstraps provides critical resources to families and individuals so that they may achieve self-sufficiency. They offer emergency and long-term assistance including access to food, housing stability, adult and youth education, counseling and advocacy.  The best way to contact them is to fill out this form and a case manager will reach out to you.  You may also call them at 978-927-1561 and a message will be relayed to a case manager for you.  

Community Service Projects 💙

A group of our fifth graders is still hard at work with their first community service project.  They are hoping you can help by donating some of Acord's most needed items.  Students may bring items in or if you would like to drop something off, there is a donation bin in the gallery.  They are collecting through Thursday, December 18th.  Thank you so much for your donations!
Here is a list of Acord's most needed items:
  • Breakfast items: Jam/jelly, cereal (hot & cold), pancake mix, syrup
  • Canned goods:  Chili, hearty soups, canned meats (white tuna, chicken, salmon, ham), baked beans, beef stew, Chef Boyardee
  • Dry goods:  Coffee, tea, cocoa, baking mixes, macaroni & cheese, couscous, quinoa, and other grains
  • Snack items:  granola bars, raisins, pudding, peanut butter crackers, other crackers
  • Condiments:  Mayonnaise, salad dressing, mustard, ketchup, and other condiments
  • Personal care items:  Soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products
  • Baby items:  Diapers, formula, baby food
I maintain connections with all of the above organizations.  If you need any help accessing them or if there are other supports that I might assist you with, please do not hesitate to reach out.  I am happy to help out in any way that I can.


Ann Creilson
Cutler School Adjustment Counselor

#HWgivesback - Coats for Kids Drive

Two years ago, students at the high school launched a a charitable giving campaign, #HWgivesback, to promote awareness of challenges impacting members of our Hamilton and Wenham and surrounding communities and raise money to support these causes. Our goal is to collaborate with community leaders, public safety officials, business owners and families to work together to make a difference. Our goal for this year is to provide opportunities for all students to hear about the idea of  #HWgivesback and connect it to the many charitable causes they are currently supporting.


Over the next month we are joining forces with Anton’s Cleaners to help make their annual Coats for Kids drive the most successful year yet! We would love to have the elementary school students join us in this effort. We will begin collecting new and lightly used coats in all sizes (children to adult) on Monday, December 7th, and conclude January 8th. Coats will be collected in the box located in the Gallery.


    Please join Early Childhood Partners CFCE for a series of FREE drop-in parent workshops to connect local families during these unprecedented times. Each week we will focus on self-care strategies, share parenting challenges & opportunities and discuss ways to better support our children. These workshops will be facilitated by Maryellen Collamore, MSW, LICSW, a local child & family clinician who specializes in parenting and childhood mental health.







    Please register at to receive the ZOOM link. Feel free to join us for one or all of the workshops!

    Early Childhood Partners CFCE offers FREE storytimes, playgroups, workshops, community events, advocacy, connections, and support for families and children aged 0-8.

    To learn more and to register, please go to our website or call 978-468-5489.

    Funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care awarded to Hamilton-Wenham RSD. All educational and non-academic programs, activities and employment opportunities at Hamilton-Wenham RSD are offered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness, age and/or disability, and any other class or characteristic protected by law.


    All Early Childhood Partners programs are FREE
    and available on our Website, Facebook Page, & ZOOM! @EarlyChildhoodPartnersCFCE

    MONDAYS “FIRST FRIENDS” Interactive Story Time @ 10am on ZOOM. Themed circle time, songs, stories, group activities, and so much more! This program is best for parents/caregivers & children ages 2-8!

    TUESDAYS “STORYTIME YOGA” is a pre-recorded mindfulness & movement storytime for children ages 2-6yo & a parent/caregiver. Participate in basic yoga stretches & breathing exercises inspired by a book.

    “THE PROCESS ART WORKSHOP” is designed for children ages 3-8yo & their parents/caregivers. Participants will enjoy links to online read-aloud stories & activities that practice process art methods. Available for those who pre-register: FREE PROCESS ART TAKE & MAKE BAGS!

    WEDNESDAYS “PRE-K HOORAY” is a virtual storytime focused on literacy, arts, music, movement, & science! Designed for children ages 2-6yo & their parents/caregivers. Includes SPECIAL EVENTS & GIVEAWAYS!

    “WIND-DOWN WEDNESDAYS” Parenting Workshops @ 7:30pm on ZOOM. Focus on self-care strategies, share parenting challenges & opportunities, and discuss ways to better support our children.

    THURSDAYS “LITTLE LEARNERS” Interactive Story Time @ 10am on ZOOM. Families with children ages 0-5 will enjoy stories, songs, & fingerplays. An opportunity to virtually meet and connect with other parents!

    “WENDY’S STORY ART“ is designed for children ages 0-5yo & their parents/caregivers. Participants will develop literacy & fine motor skills through links to online read-aloud stories and play-based art experiences. Available for those who pre-register: FREE STORY ART TAKE & MAKE BAGS!

    FRIDAYS “STORIES AND SONGS” Interactive Story Time @ 10am on ZOOM. Join us for a fun early literacy music & movement story time for the whole family. Play, move, sing, read, and have fun together!

    “SCIENCE FRIDAYS” is STEAM fun! Parents/caregivers and children ages 2-6yo will listen to online read-aloud stories and explore links to science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities! Includes SPECIAL ACTIVITIES AND GIVEAWAYS!

    "M IS FOR MUSEUM" & ”POPPETS PLAYDATES” is a pre-recorded story time with the Wenham Museum. Join us for a virtual version of our popular monthly preschool and toddler programs.
    Available for those who pre-register: FREE TAKE & MAKE ACTIVITY BAGS!