Hello Hayhurst grown-ups,

As I reflected on the past year, and did some planning for the new year, I thought so much about you and us and our kids and our school and our school staff. I believe it when I say that Hayhurst School is the heart of our neighborhood, and I love every familiar face I see walking and running (slowly!) around this place we all call home. Before my daughter started at Hayhurst, I did not have those feelings of fitting here that I now have. Feeling very grateful and wanted to say so…

It also made me remember that not everyone feels connected to our school like we do. I am excited to focus the rest of this year on how to involve more families in the way that feels right for them. Not everyone wants to run a project or come to a meeting – but I think most everyone wants that feeling of belonging. One way will be an initiative I will be spearheading this month to make this PTA newsletter into our school newsletter, with the PTA pulling it together and the school sending it out. That means no more people “opting in” to stay in touch, and it will hopefully allow us to help staff get the word out about their work more easily and more often. Stay tuned for that shift!

I am guilty of burying the lede here. I know that you want to talk about the omicron varient and what’s happening to keep our kids and grown-ups safe. The school is following PPS guidance. Our educators and lunch volunteers are working to remind everyone of the rules and help kids understand that now is the time to be more careful than ever (and probably pushing hand sanitizer and tightening masks along the way). .

The reality is that this new wave is hitting a school already suffering from the nationwide staffing shortage. More staff is already missing from work this week. And yet, having been in the school this week, I can vouch that everyone in the building is doing all they can to keep our kids cared for and safe. I hope that we can all be patient and understanding – to roll with the punches since we know from cities and states ahead of us that the punches are coming. Please feel free to reach out and I will see if I can answer questions or help with concerns from my role (president@hayhurstpta.org is always the best way to find me).

It feels fraught to share any advice on helping to keep our kids, teachers, and support staff safe. But I will put here the latest advice from Portland Public Schools, and share this link to a self-screening we have been asked to do everyday. Bottom line, if your child or a family member is sick with something that could be Covid, please stay home…

All my best to you and yours this wave and this year,

-Christy Splitt

First Grade Mom, Illinois Street Neighbor, PTA President