Welcome Back message from Superintendent Jacobs.

Good evening Georgetown Community,
I hope you and your families have had a wonderful summer! It was nice to have a little normalcy and time to relax and refresh! Our schools are ready thanks to our amazing staff and we are just waiting for our students in grades 1-12 to come to school for their first full day tomorrow Wednesday, September 1. Our new kindergarten students will have a Meet and Greet and screening on Thursday, September 2, 2021 and their first full day will be Tuesday, September 7. Our Perley preschool program will hold their Meet and Greet on Wed, September 1 and reopen its doors for students on Tuesday, September 7.

The first day of a new school year is always filled with excitement and hope. We are all anticipating the promise of what this new year will bring and I sincerely hope that our students and staff have the best year ever! While we will not be completely back to normal, we are looking forward to a year filled with personal learning, the chance to build and strengthen friendships and the JOY of being back in our schools and classrooms after a very challenging year last year. It is GO TIME and I cannot wait for tomorrow to come! Enjoy the start!

1. Mask Wearing
The Commissioner of Education has mandated that masks will be worn for all staff and students five years of age and older while in our school buildings. Masks are strongly recommended in preschool and our staff will work with students on mask tolerance. Masks do not need to be worn during recess, while eating or on a mask break. The School Committee has directed the schools to follow DESE guidelines and they are reviewing and revising their current policy on face coverings to be consistent with the Commissioner’s mandate. This revised policy will be reviewed and voted on at their September 9th School Committee meeting at 6:30 PM in the third floor conference room at the Town Hall.

The Commissioner has also identified a tentative date of October 1, 2021 when mask restrictions might be lifted if 80% of the staff and students at the Middle High School are vaccinated. They will be providing guidance on how this data will be collected but we are waiting to receive it. It is expected in the next couple of weeks.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the discussion about face masks either by attending the public forum, sending emails and/or completing the survey. I know there are strong feelings about mandating masks on both sides of the issue but I hope we can come together to find common ground and adhere to the policy for the safety of all. Our teachers are mindful of the challenges of wearing masks and they will provide mask breaks and opportunities to be outside when they can. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have an extenuating situation where it is not safe for your child to wear a mask. Last year, when COVID was surrounding us, we had an extremely high rate of compliance among our students even from our students who qualified for an exemption. None of us want to wear masks but right now it seems like the best path to achieving our collective goal of keeping our schools open five days a week for in person learning for the entire school year. I also want to remind you that all visitors, including volunteers, coming into the school must wear a mask.

Here is the link to the Commissioner’s mandate for your information
https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=KDSa366056Y
https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2021-0825mask-requirement.pdf

2. Test and Stay Program
The state is encouraging districts to participate in one or more of the programs they are offering at no cost to the district. We have submitted an application to participate in the test and stay program and are waiting for approval. In cases where a staff or student is identified as a close contact, this program would allow our nurses to administer the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test with parental permission for students. Using this protocol would not require asymptomatic close contacts to quarantine. Under test and stay, asymptomatic close contacts will have the option to remain in school and be tested daily with BinaxNOW for at least 5 days. Vaccinated staff and students are exempt from quarantine if they are asymptomatic. More information will be coming once we get approved so stay tuned for that.

3. Symptoms of COVID 19
We expect that students may get COVID but we want to reduce the likelihood that it will spread in the schools. In order to help us with this goal, we ask that if your child has any of these symptoms you keep them home and contact your physician.
COVID-19 symptoms list:
” Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
” Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
” New loss of taste or smell
” Muscle aches or body aches
” Cough (not due to other known causes, such as a chronic cough)
” Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
” Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
” Headache, when in combination with other symptoms
” Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
” Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies), when in combination with other symptoms

DESE has released it revised COVID protocols for dealing with the virus. I have attached them for your information. I am sure that our nurses will be providing more information and will be contacting you if any of these scenarios pertain to your family. It is a lot to remember but it will be a good reference guide if you want to refer to it as the year goes by.
https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/protocols/

4. School Calendar
I would like to direct your attention to our district website to view the latest version of our school calendar. We are still playing with format it and apologies for the print being small. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. FYI

5. The Georgetown Youth Community Center (GYCC) Fall Program- Check It Out
If you have not checked out all of the great things that are happening at the GYCC Youth Center at Perley, I encourage you to do so. Director Erin Duggan and her talented staff are working tirelessly to develop programs for youth of all ages that are interesting to the youth in town. . Their goal is to provide a safe space for youth to gather safely, practice new skills, and have fun together and just be kids. I have included a link to the Fall Program for your information
Included in the brochure, there is information about memberships that prove some financial help so more great programs can be offered. Every little bit helps and the GYCC is really a community treasure for our students!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GiDSMVMEhVRRYwOmDBKtQzYIc05BYt-7/view

6. Pass the Word- Open Positions Needed IMMEDIATELY
We are reaching out to you to solicit interest from our parents or anyone you might know who would like to join our great district by serving in any of the following positions. Previous training is not needed as you will be trained by district staff.

– Cook Manager at the Middle High School
– Paraprofessionals in the Preschool
– Instructional Paraprofessionals ( MHS and Perley)
-Receptionist for the Preschool
– Daily Subs for paraprofessionals and teachers.
– Building Based Substitute to work every day at Penn Brook
– Part Time Custodians
If you or anyone you know might be interested in any of these position, you can either go to schoolspring.com and upload your information or send a letter of interest or apply in person at the Superintendent’s Office at 51 North Street Georgetown, MA or call 978-352-5777 ext. 142 and speak to Tracy Parker. Thank you for your consideration and help spreading the word.

Have a wonderful start to the year!
Carol