COVID Update #11 April 13 2020

Hello Georgetown Community,

I hope you had a peaceful and blessed Easter and Passover this past week if you observe these holidays. While it was certainly anything but “normal” for most people, I was inspired by the creative ways people found to make memories with their families and friends despite social distancing and staying at home. As the spring blooms, so do my feelings of hope which I hear is keeping many of us going during this very challenging time. While there is tragedy happening around us and the state is preparing for a surge in COVID 19 cases, there is growing evidence that the efforts we are ALL taking ARE having a positive effect on reducing the spread of this deadly virus. While my heart breaks for all of the families that have lost a loved one or friend to COVID 19, we can’t let up now despite the challenges every day brings for us emotionally, socially and financially. This was a very difficult holiday for me spending it alone but it will be worth it if the progress we are making continues to lead us in the right direction and closer to being back together again as soon as possible.  While we are waiting to hear officially about when schools will reopen, we continue to miss our students, families, friends and colleagues so very much! While we are “physically distancing”, let’s continue to seek out and cherish the opportunities to stay “socially connected” and hopeful for better times to come! 

 

  • April Vacation

 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey about April vacation. The School Committee will be meeting tomorrow night, April 14th at 6:00 pm to discuss the results and make a final decision about whether April vacation will go on as originally planned or remote learning will continue through the vacation week and the four days will be applied at the end of the year.  This is a public meeting so you can tune in via zoom if you wish to do so. The meeting information is:

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/639564505?pwd=YXNhbzgwd1lRTlJWTlN5MVFvbmc5Zz09

Meeting ID: 639 564 505

Password: 4mhlIY

I received a couple of questions about the date of June 19th so I want to offer a brief explanation and perspective.  The original calendar for this year had the last day of school as Thursday, June 18 but because we had two snow days , the tentative last day was moved to June 22.  When the pandemic happened and schools were closed, the Commissioner of Education waived the 180 school day requirement and said that schools could end on the 185th day in the scheduled calendar and for us that would be Thursday, June 25th. When the discussion of April vacation came up, the Commissioner said that for districts that worked through April vacation, the school year could end four school days earlier in June. Patriots Day will be a day off for everyone. There are many who feel that working through the vacation will provide continuity in our more structured remote learning program which has been up and running for a short three weeks and ending the year four days earlier in June would be better for everyone. After  what might be three full months of social distancing, physical isolating and remote learning ( unless we go back to school), our students, staff and families are going to appreciate the chance to be able to enjoy the summertime weather and potential return to some sense of normalcy as the curve may hopefully be flattening by then. The later school goes into June is usually more difficult to keep students engaged in a normal year, and I predict it will be even more challenging this year. I realize there are some people who want to see students work through April vacation and go to school later in the summer because of concerns about what their children may be missing this spring. While we share your concerns, we also realize that four additional days in the summer is not going to make up for that. We hope that by moving forward with the most important concepts we will reduce this impact to the extent that we can. We also know that we are going to have to make adjustments at the start of next year so I hope this will lessen your fears. If the decision is made to have April vacation, school will go until June 25th and staff and parents will do their best to keep students engaged and enjoy a break next week. We will make this work no matter which way the decision goes tomorrow night. 

 

  • When Will We Know When Schools Can Reopen?

 

The Governor has been asked about this often in the past several days and he responds that they are working on it which I am sure is the case.  As I have seen in managing this situation from my seat, I have been amazed at the number and complexity of decisions that have to be made. I can’t imagine being the Governor and all he has to think about and manage.   The Superintendents across the state are having a conference call with the Commissioner of Education tomorrow, April 14th at 1:00 PM. I am not sure if he will offer any insight into the answer to this question but as soon as I know I will let you know. I know there are many considerations to make and details to coordinate but it would appear that the “science” indicates that we might be facing another delay. Not to worry. We will continue with Georgetown Connects for as long as this closure lasts.

 

  • MCAS Cancelled for This Year 

 

You have probably heard by now but the MCAS test for this year has been cancelled by the Governor and the legislature.  All of our seniors have already passed MCAS so no one has to worry about this. 

 

  • District Facebook Page

 

Several of us are working on ways to use the district’s Facebook page to connect with our school community by sharing successes with remote learning, fun family activities, short videos showcasing talents and positive messages, students showcasing work and  celebrating our senior class just to name a few ideas. More information will be coming out and I hope you will join in the fun! I enjoy seeing many of these things posted on personal facebook pages and I would love to bring this excitement into our school community.  It will help us keep hope alive and bring smiles to our faces. More to come!

Continue to be well! #Georgetownstrong  #Royallyproud