COVID Update #14

COVID 19 Update 14 May 9, 2020
Hello Georgetown Friends!

I hope you are all staying well and hanging in there. I am excited that we are making some important decisions as we move forward during the month of May. There is a lot to do to close out the year and begin planning for what school will look like when we hope to reopen in the fall. I appreciate your patience as we figure things out since COVID 19 is like nothing else we have
Ever had to deal with in our lifetime. The biggest challenge is that scientists are telling us that the virus is not yet under control while we are all craving the opportunity to return to a sense of normalcy. Some describe this time we are in as a “new normal” whether we like it or not and predictions are that we will be dealing with some restrictions for quite a while up until a vaccine is available. In the meantime, we are all seeking ways to reassure ourselves that we will stay safe going back to work and our lives. A major issue on my mind is trying to deal with a virus that is highly contagious and spreads by contact with people who may be asymptomatic and do not know they have it. While many people with the virus do not experience the worst symptoms, they can and do pass the virus onto others when in groups where social distancing is not used or available. It is a misnomer that children are not affected by this virus as confirmed by the scientific data and the situations where the greatest spread is seen is when groups gather. As we make our decisions about how to proceed, I know that not everyone will agree with what we decide although I hope we are unified in a commitment to taking actions that keep people safe. It is a delicate dance between taking a measured approach to reopening our facilities and programs and the desire to get back to normal as soon as possible. This will be a fluid process as guidelines from state and local officials change and I appreciate your patience as we consider the information we have available and make the best decisions possible. As promised, I am sharing information as decisions are made and please contact me at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us if you have any questions of thoughts.

1. Picking Up Student Belongings
This is the number one question I have been asked so I am pleased to let you know that a schedule will be included in Principal Maher’s This Week and Principal Richard’s Blog and email blast this weekend. Pick Up times for parents at each school have been scheduled during the week of May 25th. Details are in the information you will receive. Parents in Preschool- grade 8 should plan to come alone and not bring your children. There will be a separate schedule for seniors to retrieve their belongings when their cap and gowns come in. If you have any questions, please contact your Building Principal at maherm@georgetown.k12.ma.us or richardsd@georgetown.k12.ma.us

2. Reimbursements
Now that we know school will be closed through the end of the year, we have reached decisions about providing reimbursements to families for the following programs.
– Sports User Fees- All user fees for spring sports will be returned. Any families that owe for fall or winter sports must pay their balance by June 1st. Any questions, please contact olearyc@georgetown.k12.ma.us
– Perley and Penn Brook Extended Day Programs- Refunds for these programs are in process. Checks will go out in the next 2-4 weeks.
– Preschool- Parents who paid in full at the start of the year will be reimbursed for two months or have the opportunity to apply these tuition funds to next year. Checks will go out in the next 2-4 weeks. Parents paying on a 10 month schedule will not owe any more money for the year but the March payment made for April will not be refunded because teachers have been providing remote learning since the closure and will be doing so through the last day of school on June 19th.
– Penn Brook Extended Day Program will be collecting registration information but will not accept payment until we know if and when we can safely open a program in September.
– Field Trips At Penn Brook The reimbursement for kindergarten and third grade field trips are delayed because we are waiting for refunds from the vendors. We will get them to you as soon as we can. We have not forgotten you.

3. Summer Programs
The district will be offering Extended School Year Programs ( ESY) for special education students this summer using a remote learning format.

All other camp programs usually offered by the district are cancelled for this summer. This is a very difficult decision for us because we know that parents and students look forward to taking advantage of our camps. However, the guidelines for phasing the reopening of activities, strict restrictions around the size of gatherings and requirements for social distancing and the uncertainty of testing to reassure parents, staff and students of their safety are the reasons for our decision. If you have sent a deposit for the summer camp program at PB, you will receive a refund.

4. Extended Day Registrations for the Fall
We are hoping that when school opens, the state will be in Phase 2 which will allow us
to run our extended day program with modifications but we have to wait and see as the summer progresses if and when we can begin our program. Parents may continue to register their children so we will know of your need and interest but we will not be accepting any registration fees at this time. If you have sent one in, you will be refunded.

5. Celebrating Our Wonderful Staff
I would like to thank you and your children for taking the time to recognize our teachers, nurses, Principals and school lunch heroes his week! We are so very lucky to have such a dedicated staff of caring, kind and dedicated employees keeping the needs of our students in the forefront always. We all appreciate your kind words of thanks and encouragement for the work we do. We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts!

6. Sharing Success
Hopefully you have heard that we are trying to get the word out about sharing positive news and information, pictures, affirmations of students etc. on our district’s Facebook page Georgetown MA Public Schools. I have seen many wonderful posts on personal Facebook pages that I would love to see shared on our page. If you are not already following our page, please do so. If you have something to share for all to enjoy, please send the information in a little blurb and/or picture/video to georgetownconnects@georgetown.k12.ma.us We have a team of great people who will grab the information and post it on the page. I have heard many positive comments about the things we have been posting so far but would love to have more contributions from families. I would love to keep this positivity and fun going, so please help us by sharing good news, positive messages, examples of student pride and learning and family fun during this time of quarantine. We are missing our end of the year fun and celebrations. Help us end the year by sharing happy moments and making us all smile!

7. Happy Mother’s Day
I want to wish all of our mothers a heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day! There is nothing more special than a mother’s love. Here is a short poem in celebration of your special day.

Of all the
Special joys in life
The big ones and the small
A mother’s love and tenderness
Is the greatest
Of them all

Have a wonderful weekend! See you next week!