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 .


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. 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