Express Newsletter

OES Lower School Express Newsletter

Lower School Hours for the 2021-22 School Year

  • 8 a.m.–3 p.m.  All Days (Except Wednesday)
  • 8:45 a.m.–3 p.m. Wednesdays Only
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A Message from the Division Head

by David Lowell


Curriculum Meetings for Parents

This week the Lower School Administration held the first two of four virtual Lower School parent meetings. Links for the meetings were emailed last week and are posted on the Parent Portal calendar. Recordings of the meetings will be made available in the Parent Portal when we have completed the series of meetings..
The next two coffees will include information about

  • All School COVID response from Peter Kraft, Associate Head of School
  • Changes that will be possible in LS once COVID subsides
  • Review of new progress report forms being sent home in February

Each coffee will cover similar topics from 9:00 - 10:00 am. The content about the progress reports changes according to grade levels. On Monday, January 24, parents of 5th graders will have the opportunity to hear from Ann Sulzer, Head of Middle School, about the Middle School Program starting at 9:30. I hope you will join us.

Grades Dates Topics
PreK and Kindergarten Monday, January 10 Placement 2022-23
Beginning Years (PreK-1st) Friday, January 14 COVID response
Progress reports
AS Program
2nd and 3rd Grades Friday, January 21 COVID response
Progress reports
AS Program
4th and 5th Grades Monday, January 24 COVID response
Progress reports
AS Program
MS Preview(5th Grade only)

Lower School Lunch
Bon Appetite has hired additional staff and is getting ready to start serving lunch to Lower School students. The menu will be somewhat limited due to supply chain challenges. Bon Appetit will publish a list of allergens that will not be served in these cold lunches and a weekly lunch menu.

  • cold lunch, sandwich, chips and assorted sides
  • omnivore, vegetarian and gluten free
  • Monday, 1/24 - 3rd - 5th grade lunch provided
  • Monday, 2/7 - PreK - 2nd lunch added to lunch service

Look for an email today containing a link to the Lower School Lunch Survey. Please complete the survey by noon on Wednesday, 2/19 if you are interested in having your student receive lunch at school for the first month of service. We will send a survey monthly to determine the number of lunches that we need to provide for the coming month.

COVID Update
The first cases of COVID have arrived in Lower School. We have clear protocols set up to address COVID positive test results and close contacts. The testing center on campus is an invaluable resource. Due to the variety of responses and circumstances I will highlight general guidance here.

  • When a child tests positive at school, they will be brought to the LS isolation room and parents will be instructed to pick up their child.
  • The parents of all close contacts of the child will be emailed with instructions for next steps
  • We will make good use of the OES testing center.
  • We will contact parents whose children test positive, but not the parents of those children who test negative
  • Please do not call the Lower School office to ask about test results so we can focus on caring for the students, scheduling testing and communication with parents and employees.
  • Please do call the LS Office or contact if you have additional questions.

Vaccine Deadline for Lower School is Friday, January 21, 2022

Vaccination Documentation/Exemption Requests 
Vaccination records are uploaded directly into Magnus, our secure student health database. Here’s how to upload your child’s vaccination card:

  • Please do not upload the vaccination card until both doses have been received and recorded on the card.
  • Go to the OES Parent Portal and then click on the orange box labeled “Complete Your Magnus Health Forms.”
  • You will see a message asking you to meet the requirement to provide proof of your child’s vaccination.
  • Please follow the instructions to upload a photo or scan of your child’s vaccination card (jpeg of pdf format).

Having a high vaccination rate in Lower School will help us keep students learning in school. 

COVID Mitigation
Community spread of COVID-19 has increased three-fold in the tri-county region as of 1/9 compared to the previous week. Test positivity rates in the tri-county area are in the 20 - 25% range. Both are numbers never seen before. With the goal of keeping our students learning in school, we will be mitigating the spread of COVID by following the practices that have served us so well thus far:

  • Wearing masks inside and outside
  • Tending to hand hygiene
  • Maintaining physical distancing inside
  • Eating outside
  • Having students and employees stay home when sick

Extra Curricular Activities and Social Gatherings
You can help us prevent the spread of COVID by implementing your own COVID mitigation practices outside of school. If you are choosing to have your child participate in activities outside of school, be sure to confirm the organization is practicing robust COVID mitigation practices:

  • Vaccine requirement
  • Mask requirement
  • Hygiene practices
  • Physical distancing/ cohorting

Remember that children bring whatever COVID exposure they have had outside of school into school. Any of your efforts to reduce their exposure enhances our chances of keeping children in school.

Dress Warmly
The Lower School building is cold because the windows are open to increase air circulation as part of our COVID mitigation practice. In the cooler weather, the temperatures in the classrooms are ranging between 55 and 65 degrees. On colder mornings temperatures can hover around 50 degrees. 

Until further notice we will be relaxing the uniform policy so students can come dressed for the weather outside and the temperature inside. Students are welcome to wear uniforms with additional layers for warmth or to come dressed in practical warm clothes. 

  • Warm, waterproof coat for outside
  • Dry, warm fleece or coat for inside
  • Hat and gloves
  • Warm pants or leggings
  • Warm socks
  • Boots for outside, dry sneakers for inside

Lower School Calendar
The weeks ahead include holidays, admissions days, report writing and conference days. There are no Lower School classes on the following days:

  • 1/17 - MLK Jr. Day
  • 2/3 & 2/4 - Admissions and Report Writing Days
  • 2/17 & 2/18 - Lower School Conference Days
  • 2/21 - President’s Day

Daily Wellness Checks until 1/24
Lower School will require daily wellness checks until 1/24, the Monday after the Lower School Vaccine deadline. We may extend the use of the Wellness Checks until the rate of community COVID spread is dramatically reduced.

State of School Address
Each year Mo Copeland presents the State of the School address. This year she will present at two different times, the evening of Monday, January 24 and the morning of Tuesday, January 25 on Zoom. Join us at one of the State of the School addresses to learn about school wide initiatives and plans for the 2022-23 school year. 

The application deadline for Lower School is January 20. Reach out to Sarah Ross-Bailly, Lower School Admissions Associate, if you have questions. Also, note that we have two Admissions Days, February 3 and 4 when there are no Lower School classes.