COVID 19 Update – December 30, 2020.

Hello family and friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and your children are  enjoying  their school vacation week. Even though COVID made us alter our plans to gather with friends and families, I hope you enjoyed a peaceful and happy time with those in your bubble. 

 

As mentioned in my recent message, I said I would be in touch about the plans to reopen the schools on January 4, 2021. In the last couple of days , I have been in touch with the School Committee members, district and school administrators and the members of our medical advisory team. We looked closely at the positivity rate in town, the metrics that were developed by the medical team, and the current conditions with virus in our town and in the region. The number of positive cases continues to remain high and over the past five weeks in a row , the town has been in the red zone. Members of the medical team report that the hospitalizations are are critical levels and there is a surge on top of the surge from Thanksgiving that is expected as a result of Christmas and New Years. Our school nurses feel that even though we did not see a spread in the schools after Thanksgiving, we were lucky since a significantly higher number of the positive cases in town involved parents and their children. 

 

I want to be sure that you know the School Committee is calling a special meeting tomorrow Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 2:00 PM. At this meeting, we will be discussing delaying the reopening of in person hybrid for one week until the  week of January 11, 2021 to get past the projected surge and ensure we can continue our record of no cases in our schools. We will be discussing the recommendation from our medical advisory team who are dealing with this virus everyday and can help us determine if a delay is recommended from a medical perspective . The main issue is to decide whether staying remote for one more week and keeping students home can help minimize the effects of the spread over the holidays and keep everyone safer. The effect will be an additional two days of remote learning for each cohort of students and hopefully this will be the last time that this will be necessary as the holidays are over and hopefully the numbers will moderate and decline. We remain firmly committed to the benefits of in person learning and are proud of the fact that we began the hybrid at the end of September and have maintained it with the exception of 3.5  days before the holidays for all students and 2.5 days at the middle high school in the fall just before Thanksgiving. When many other district switched to remote , we stayed in hybrid and many districts started the hybrid must later than us. 

 

While we know that if we remain remote for an additional week it will pose additional challenges for everyone but we want and need to keep our staff students and families as safe and healthy as possible.  I know this is inconvenient and I am hoping that we can come together to deal with what I hope is going to be the beginning of the end of COVID with the vaccine coming to educators in February and to the general population as early as April. We have made it through 10 months without transmission in the schools and we can all be so proud of that. We just need to hang on in the months ahead to get through this strange and crazy year with our students in school as much as safely possible. Hopefully after this spike from the holidays, we will be able to resume and remain in the hybrid model until it is safe to return full time.

 

If we decide to delay the hybrid for one week, we will still plan to bring the high needs special education students that attended in person at the start of the school year back to school on Tuesday January 5, 2021. The schools will be open for teachers and other staff to teach remotely next week if we stay remote. 

 

If you are not able to attend the zoom meeting, it will be recorded and available on Georgetown Cable Television. 

 

Happy New Year to all and here’s to returning to a sense of normalcy in 2021 and to bringing our students back into school full time with their teachers and friends where they belong. Better times are ahead and please remember we are all on the same team. As you can imagine in situations like this there  are many things to consider, many moving parts, many different perspectives and no way to please everyone. However,  I promise you that our goal in any decision is to do what is right and best for the health and safety of our students, staff and families in the midst of a global pandemic and to deliver of the best education we can in a year that is anything but normal, easy, predictable and /or like anything we have had to manage in our educational careers. We continue to appreciate your support and understanding as we start the new year and I ask for your vigilance in wearing masks, social distancing , hand sanitizing and keeping students  home when sick so we can ensure that our students can be in school as much as possible. 

 

If you are unable to attend or watch the meeting, I am happy to take questions and provide information at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us  I will also send out a message to let you know if students will be returning the week of January 4 or the week of January 11 following the meeting tomorrow afternoon.

 

Take care,

Carol 

Zoom meeting link

 

 https://zoom.us/j/93551734822?pwd=eG9VZHA3cktPKytEZlpRQU9hb1diZz09