Fall Reopening Plan & Addendum

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE FALL REOPENING PLAN & ADDENDUM

We’re Back!

We are excited to announce that the schools and district offices for

the Georgetown Public Schools will be reopening 

 Monday July 13, 2020

CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION!

COVID 19 Update – October 19, 2020

I am writing to inform you that a student at the MHS has tested positive for COVID 19. 
The Georgetown Public Health Nurse spent the weekend contact tracing and today that process was 
completed.  The eight students who are close contacts have been notified and will be quarantined 
and tested.  This process included both contact tracing within the school and outside of school. 
The GMHS nurse and Principal Richards worked with the Public Health Nurse today to determine 
if there were close contacts within the school and the result was there were no close contacts 
within six feet of the COVID positive person for 15 minutes or more.  The exposure occurred outside
 of the school. The faculty and staff have been notified and spaces have been cleaned for added 
precaution.  We will continue to follow our safety protocol of six feet of social distancing, 
mask wearing and proper hand hygiene. I urge you to work with your children to use this safety 
measure when outside of the school to avoid potential spread within the school and the community.  
If you have questions, please let me know at jacobsc@geogetown.k12.ma.us.  
Carol

COVID 19 Update – October 16 , 2020

COVID 19 Update # 24 October 16, 2020

Hello Georgetown friends! We were very excited to be starting our third week of hybrid learning. I am pleased with the way our teachers made remote learning work as school began and I have confidence that if for any reason we have to return to remote learning we can seamlessly transition since the procedures and structures are already in place. I have had the pleasure to spend time in classrooms watching the remote learning process firsthand and, in the past three weeks, see how things changed when the in person students came in. I am very impressed with the way the teachers were dedicated to using the technology tools while trying to maintain the attention of students whether learning in school or remotely. I am sure you can imagine that this is not an easy task but our teachers and staff are working diligently to make this work and I know they are very committed to ALL of their students and they will find their rhythm as the weeks roll along. We are also mindful of the challenges parents are facing managing the remote days and the asynchronous learning while they may also be trying to work or manage the school day at home. I know that the Principals and teachers have been communicating with you about procedures and expectations. As you can imagine there has been a lot to consider. I am sure as we move ahead in the transition back to school, we will find out things we had not thought about or considered and we expect there will be adjustments to be made. Again, we thank you for your patience and, as always, if you have any questions, please send them along to jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us .

 

1. Clarification Letter to Parents About the Hybrid

This is a whole new world for all of us and we have been working on a document that defines how we will navigate this hybrid world. We have consulted with administrators, teachers and staff and the questions and feedback we have received from many parents who have reached out to us. With this in mind, I have written a letter that discusses the state of why we are implementing the hybrid model. I hope you find it useful and please let me know if you have any questions.

 

2. Medical Guidance on Managing COVID 19

Many people have asked how the school will respond to COVID cases and our medical team has developed a document that is based on the CDC and DESE guidelines to share with you. Thankfully as of today, we have had only one confirmed case of a student who is learning remotely that has tested positive for COVID and the town’s Public Health Nurse is handling the contact tracing for this case. It has been determined that there is no risk of transmission in the school because the child is not attending in person school.

In addition, the medical advisory group has been developing a set of metrics in addition to the weekly tracking of average daily cases per 100,000 people and/or percent of positive cases to track and use when making decisions about when to move from one model to another. The School Committee will be meeting with the medical team to discuss this document this Thursday October 22nd at 6:30 PM via zoom. The link is below.

One of the things that will be discussed is the fact that this document assumes that the goal is to maintain the hybrid model at least until January but perhaps longer depending on the metrics. I mention this because the School Committee and I have been receiving more inquiries recently about when we are playing to go back into school full time especially since the numbers are staying low. It is the consensus of the medical team, the administrators and, I suspect, most teachers in the district that we need much more time in the hybrid model to be sure it is working to control spread of the virus before taking a chance. As challenging as the hybrid model can be for all of us, we believe that the success we are having is because of the reduced numbers and the ability to maintain the safety protocols. The School Committee will be discussing this on Thursday and the medical advisory team will be on the call but we are not expecting to even consider a return to full in person learning for many months if not most or all of this year. This is why we appreciate having a document to which we can refer when making our decisions. Safety will always be our highest concern! Thanks to everyone for your help in keeping our schools and our students safe!

3. Social Justice Initiative

The School Committee and the Leadership Team are launching an initiative that we want you to know about and perhaps become a part of as we establish working groups within the next month. Last spring, the School Committee and I were presented with a petition signed by 300 people expressing their concern about the district’s commitment to social justice, inclusion and anti-racism. They cited experiences from many current or former students to illustrate their point. After a number of meetings with a core group of alumni, the School Committee developed a public statement and a process to work on some of the major areas that were cited in the petition. Central to this work is the establishment of five working groups that are going to be operating simultaneously. The first meeting of these working groups is scheduled for November 9th at 6:45 PM via Zoom. We are looking for people from all groups including middle and high students, parents, teachers and staff, SC members and community members to participate in this project. The working groups will be facilitated groups who will be assessing the current situation and making recommendations and action plans for improvement which will be presented to the School Committee and district leaders. We would love to have you join us so if you are interested, complete the form at the bottom of the link and return it by October 27th. . We are hoping to see a lot of interest in this initiative and thanks for your consideration.

Check out this link to see the statement, the summary of the working groups and the signup sheet. https://www.gssapp.org/GeorgetownPublicSchools/school-committee/social-justice- initiative/

 

4. SEPAC Trick or Trunk Rolling Spooktacular

I hope all of your ghouls and goblins are able to come out tomorrow Saturday October 17th to enjoy a little Halloween fun sponsored by the SEPAC. They are hosting a drive through Halloween trick or treat event where families can wear costumes and decorate their cars and receive safely packaged goodies from 6 local businesses as they roll by in their cars. To add to the fun, they are encouraging families to decorate or carve pumpkins which will be on display in the “pumpkin patch” by the PB School main entrance for everyone to enjoy as the cars roll by. I want to applaud the creativity of this group for coming out with a new version of their annual Trick of Trunk which could not be held due to COVID this year. What a great way to bring the community together and enjoy some Halloween fun! Here is the schedule:

– Drop Pumpkins Off at the School between 9-10 – The Spooktacular Rolls On from 2-4
– Retrieve pumpkins from the school between 6-7

 

5. Free and Reduced Lunch for All

I want to be sure everyone knows that breakfast and lunch is FREE for EVERY student this year. The staff and federal government have passed a waiver to allow all students and families to take advantage of this opportunity. There is information about the logistics. We hope you will take advantage of this because every meal is reimbursable from the state. Since we are not collecting any revenue, this funding is being used to pay our staff that is preparing and serving these meals.

 

Message From the Director of Food Services Sean Riley:

As of October 1st breakfast and lunch at GMHS will be available daily for all students free of charge. Monday (no students on campus) Breakfast and lunch pick up will be at GMHS from 7am-9am outside the cafeteria per usual or inside during poor weather. Students will have a grab and go breakfast available to them upon entry of school from 7:00am-7:45am Tuesday-Friday. Lunch will be in the cafeteria per usual during assigned lunch times. Upon dismissal of the school day students will be offered a bagged breakfast and lunch for their remote learning day.

Have a wonderful weekend! Stay safe and enjoy the waning days of October! We are making history and together we are reinventing education though a global pandemic. Who would have ever thought? Stay strong and stay in touch. As always, if you have questions let me know at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us

Carol

Meal Service during Hybrid Learning, starting October 1, 2020.

MEAL SERVICE DURING HYBRID LEARNING GMHS

  • As of October 1st breakfast and lunch at GMHS will be available daily for all students free of charge. Monday (no students on campus) Breakfast and lunch pick up will be at GMHS from 7am-9am outside the cafeteria per usual or inside during poor weather. Students will have a grab and go breakfast available to them upon entry of school from 7:00am-7:45am Tuesday-Friday. Lunch will be in the cafeteria per usual during assigned lunch times. Upon dismissal of the school day students will be offered a bagged breakfast and lunch for their remote learning day.

MEAL SERVICE DURING HYBRID LEARNING PENN BROOK

  • Starting on October 1st breakfast and lunch at Penn Brook will be available Tuesday-Friday to all students free of charge (Monday from 7:00am-9:00am at GMHS).Students will have a grab and go breakfast available from 8:15am-9:15am in the cafeteria.Lunch options will be ordered during the attendance roll call then delivered to classrooms at appropriate time for students to eat in classrooms.Upon dismissal we will have bagged breakfast and lunches available for remote learning days at exit doors.

We are encouraging all families to fill out a 2020-2021 MA Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals for when this program expires.    (Please see attached)

Explaining Communications Processes and Procedures: Letter from Superintendent/Principal.

Dear parents, caregivers, and guardians,

Our first responsibility as we begin this school year is to keep our students, teachers, and staff safe. We have spent the summer months getting the school building and staff ready to execute all of the safety guidelines and best practices based on guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the medical community. From sanitizing and utilizing space in new and different ways to purchasing extra masks for students who might lose or forget theirs, we have been working hard to make sure our school buildings are as safe as possible. This year, like never before, will require partnership between schools and families to ensure that students are wearing their masks, washing their hands, and physical distancing. However, the most important thing you can do as a parent/caregiver is to keep students at home at the first sign of a symptom or exposure to the virus.

Our planning process has included thinking ahead about what we will do and how we will communicate with you should a student or staff member show symptoms at school or test positive for COVID-19. We want to share those with you in advance so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect. While some specifics may vary depending on the situation, there are some common steps that will be taken if someone in our school community is symptomatic, comes in contact with an affected person, or tests positive:

  • –  Evaluate the person’s symptoms
  • –  Separate them from others
  • –  Clean and disinfect spaces visited by the person
  • –  Test for COVID-19 and stay at home while awaiting results
  • –  If the test is positive:

o Remain at home for at least 10 days and until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms

o Watch symptoms

o Notify the school nurse and personal close contacts

o Answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative to identify close contacts and help them prevent transmission

o Secure release from contact tracers (local board of health or Community Tracing Collaborative) for return to school

o Any students or staff who were close contacts will be notified immediately

– If the test is negative for someone who was a close contact of someone who tested positive:

o They can return to school after the required 14-day self-quarantine period.

 

– If the test is negative for a person who is symptomatic but was not in close contact with someone who tested positive:

o They can return to school once 24 hours have passed with no fever and improvement in symptoms, without the use of fever reducing medications.

 

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, please visit:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

 

Please contact us immediately if you or someone in your home begins to show the following symptoms:

  • –  Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
  • –  Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • –  Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • –  New loss of taste or smell
  • –  Sore throat
  • –  Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • –  Muscle aches or body aches
  • –  Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • –  Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
  • –  Congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies), when in combination with other symptomsThe best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to keep your children home when they don’t feel well or when they demonstrate any of the above symptoms. We are committed to continuous communication with our families and will continue to update you if potential cases occur. If you have any additional questions, please contact the school nurses.

Thank you for your continued support.

COVID 19 Update – September 20 , 2020

Hello Georgetown Community . I hope you are well and enjoying this beautiful Sunday! Well, we survived the first week of remote learning. It was not without some hiccups and I heard mixed reviews about the technology and the amount of screen time but I also heard many positive comments about the work the teachers have been doing to engage the students, work through the bugs with technology and start the year off on a positive note. I am so happy to hear this because I know how hard everyone is working and we have to remember that much of this is new to our teachers as well. As with anything new, it does take time to get comfortable and adjust but I know things will get much easier as time goes on. I want to thank all of our staff for their tireless work and the parents and students for hanging in there and working with us on this venture in these unprecedented times. We are implementing a very different program than we did in the spring and it does require more time and commitment during the day for everyone. We realize that this new system poses a challenge for some working parents and we ask that you do your best. Our teachers will do their best to teach their students to be as self sufficient as possible but if there are issues, please let your child’s teacher know so they can work with you. The reason we have set up a schedule as we have done is because it mirrors the one the students will be using when we return to school in a hybrid. Students will already be in the swing of the daily schedule and the transition back will be more seamless. If you are having problems just work with your child’s teacher so that your child can be as successful as possible.

I am sure you are aware by now that the district will be reopening our schools in a hybrid on Thursday, October 1, 2020. Cohort Blue, which are the students who will attend school in person on Tuesday and Thursday. will come on October 1st and Cohort White, which are the students who will attend in person on Wednesday and Friday, will attend for the first time on Friday, October 2, 2020. Since we were originally planning to open in a hybrid, many of the important decisions and procedures have been worked out and are ready to go but we will be very busy over the next two weeks finalizing everything so that we can welcome our students back! It has been such a strange start to the school year and we can’t wait to see the kids! Please watch the school websites and updates from the Principals at your child’s school for details about what is coming next. They will be releasing details about how things will be handled so that you and your child can be prepared.

I am pleased to report that the medical team of advisors we have convened to help us manage COVID unanimously supported having students return to school on October 1and approved the safety procedures we have put in place . In addition, the members of the Board of Heath toured the schools last week and gave us an A+ in terms of readiness and safety. I can promise you, we are going to do whatever we can to make this return to school safe so we can remain in school once we begin in the hybrid. This does not mean we can guarantee that no one will get COVID and/or bring it into school, but we will follow the CDC and DESE guidelines regarding notification, quarantine procedures, deep cleaning and closures. I know there is a great deal of anxiety about how situations will be handled but we have very capable nurses and advisors who will guide us through any situation. Our cleaning protocol calls for daily cleaning throughout the day and we are employing four new custodians just to sanitize the schools and to clean high touch surfaces. Our classrooms are ready for students. Each student will have a desk that is designated only for them with plastic shields around the desks in grades K-6. There are hand sanitizers in each room where there is not a sink and also in the hallways, no touch features in the rest rooms, clear delineation of the traffic pattern in the hallways and stairwells and barriers in the office and teacher’s work spaces. Every one will wear masks at all times except teachers when working alone in their rooms and when students and teachers are on mask breaks. If your child has a medical excuse from his/her physician or has a behavioral or emotional condition that makes wearing masks impossible , please send the documentation to the school office. The experts are saying that mask wearing is the number one way to stop the spread of the virus along with social distancing , frequent hand washing and staying home when sick. By using a hybrid model , we are phasing bringing students back in smaller groups. We will have the chance to implement these procedures and watch the numbers . We ask that you help us by following these same safety procedures at home and when out in the community. As we know the virus spreads through droplets from an infected person who may or may not have symptoms so we all have to be vigilant in keeping ourselves and others safe. For those families who have decided to remain fully remote , your teachers will be engaging students through zoom, live streaming and assigning asynchronous work that is consistent with what the students are doing in school.

Monday Schedule

Beginning tomorrow Monday, September 21, 2020, the schedule for Mondays will be a little different than Tuesday- Friday. It will still be a full day for staff and students but the morning will be live in person teaching on a schedule that you and your child will be provided and in the afternoon after lunch students will be working on asynchronous assignments and projects related to the curriculum and their courses. Teachers will be given time in the afternoon for remote learning preparation, collaboration with colleagues and to attend meetings if necessary. This time is necessary to provide our teachers with more time to perfect the skills they learned during the professional development and they need to align their teaching to meet the needs of both their in person and remote learning students . The assignments that are provided for students to work on in the afternoon will be meaningful and required although any challenges students have during this time will be addressed by the teachers the following day.

Yom Kippur

Monday, September 28th will be an early release day for staff and students in observance of Yom Kippur. Instruction will occur in the morning and no assignments will be given for the rest of the day. Our Jewish families will begin observance of Yom Kipper on Sunday evening through Monday evening. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year and it is the day of atonement after the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah. Many Jews fast for 25 hours and others do not fast but observe the holt day. I want to wish all of our Jewish families an easy fast and a Good Yuntif or Yom Tov ,which are Yiddish and Hebrew respectively, for have a good holy day.

Medical Team

Several people have asked me about the members of our medical advisory team. I am delighted to share that we are so fortunate to have a team of medical and health officials who will be working with us as we make our way through living with this virus. Their experience and expertise has been and will continue to be invaluable to us and I would like to thank them publicly. Thanks to our school physician Dr. William Medwid, Nurse practitioners Jennifer Pollard and Shane Murray, registered nurses Deb Cook, Lea Tabenkin, Mary Beth Doherty, Kathy Hatch and Alana White and Public Heath Director Deb Rogers from the Board of Health for agreeing to help us through these crazy COVID times.

Fall Sports

The School Committee has approved the fall season which will include field hockey, boys and girls soccer, golf and boys and girls cross country . Volleyball, football and cheering were moved to a fourth season in late February – April between the winter and spring seasons. These sports will operate with strict safety guidelines and ,in some cases, the modifications will affect how the game is actually played to make it safer. Sign ups have just concluded and at first glance the numbers are down. This week we will be reviewing the numbers and determining if we will be able to run all of the sports . Financially we need to make sure that the budget allocation plus the user fees (which will not change) can cover the expenses of the programs. We are hopeful but the budget and the revolving account are very tight.

Before and After School Program at Penn Brook

This past Friday we had to make the difficult and heartbreaking decision that we will not be able to run our before and after school program at Penn Brook due to low enrollment numbers. Director Elizabeth Carroll collected registration forms from families and there are less than 60 students planning to enroll in the program. This is down from 150 students not including a number of students who dropped in when needed. Based on the projected revenue and expenses, we will not even be able to break even. This is also considering that any changes will cause us to go into the red. As noted above, the budget and revolving accounts are very tight and without enough revenue coming in we can not pay the expenses. Many people have let us know that they do not need the program right now but may later on in the year in case they have to return to the office and/or if we go to school full time at some point during the year. We may be willing to revisit this decision if the need increases but for now we can’t sustain the program. This, like the preschool program, are some of most successful and well regarded programs and ,believe me, we do not make these decisions lightly. I am looking forward to the post COVID times when we can resume these great programs to serve our community again. I know this will be another hardship for parents but we do not have another solution at this time. We feel awful about this and apologize that this is necessary. I also apologize for the late notice but we just got the confirmations for enrollment mid -week and then met with the School Committee Budget and Finance subcommittee late afternoon ton Friday to make the decision. I am so sorry.

Retirements

For those of you who know Jeanne Trembley and Marianne Botman, you will want to join me in congratulating them on their retirement from our schools. Jeanne has been employed as a preschool paraprofessional for 30 years and Marianne has worked in the district for 20 years as a lunch and recess monitor. Both women have touched the lives of so many children positively over their tenure . Their love of their job and their children was obvious in the way they did their work every day and they will be missed! I know you join me in wishing them both a long, happy and healthy retirement. Thanks you Marianne and Jeanne for sharing your career with us!

Bus Routes

The bus routes are done and will be published early this week. Barry Belanger will be receiving the routes from the bus company and posting them right away. We will be adding a second bus route on Bus 5 due to the bus capacity and the number of students registered to ride that bus. The buses will be operating according to DESE guidelines. Student must wear masks the entire time they are on the bus regardless of age and they will be assigned a seat. Bus passes will be distributed but students will receive passes when they enter school on their first day. No passes will be distributed ahead of time. Watch for the posted routes and if you have questions , let us know.

Instructional Paraprofessionals Needed

If you or someone you know would like to work with students as an instructional paraprofessional, please encourage them to let us know. The hours are fulltime during the school day and the employee would work under the direction of a certified teacher. You must be willing to be trained.

I hope you are finding time to enjoy your family on this beautiful late summer/early fall day. I will be in touch as we begin the hybrid but if you have any questions, always feel free to contact me at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us or call me at 978-352-5777 ext. 140. My new Assistant Tracy can also help you at parkert@georgetown.k12.ma.us. Take care and stay well! #Georgetownstrong!

School Committee votes to move the Georgetown Public Schools from remote learning to hybrid learning beginning Thursday, October 1st

More details to come but in the mean time, please review the Royal Reopening plan at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14KWDV3tJ3E5ptTSTREEkQi–OfiCfnvEv21-5bEvffo/edit?usp=sharing