Georgetown Schools Reopening Plan COVID 19 Update.

Hello Georgetown Community friends,

I hope you and your family are staying well and enjoying life in these crazy COVID times. I know many people are enjoying vacation and hopefully you are all using the safety guidelines to keep yourselves and others safe. It is so difficult to remember that there is global pandemic going on when things seem so normal. Thankfully in Massachusetts the transmission rates remain low and this phased in plan for reopening continues to show positive results. We are in regular contact with the Board of Heath and following the local statistics to help us determine the best course of action when it comes to reopening schools in the fall.

As you may know, the state, through the Governor’s and the Education Commissioner’s Offices, are encouraging schools to return in person for as many students as possible in the fall using the low metrics in MA , the research on the positive effects of having students in school and the advice of some of the best medical experts in the field of pediatrics and infectious disease that are saying it is safe to return to school with health and safety guidelines in place.

This week, an initial draft of a plan that includes three scenarios is due to the Department of Elementary and Secondary for review. The Georgetown School Committee will be receiving a presentation from me tomorrow night July 30 at 6:30 via zoom regarding the specifics of those plans and the recommendation we are making, outlined in the Reopening Schools Plan Fall 2020, which is being also being made available to the staff and community today. While there is no limit to the number of people who can tune in on zoom, the opportunities to ask questions will be limited to the public comment in the chat. I also want to let you know that this meeting will be recorded and will also be available for review on GCTV Community Access television. I will also be posting slides with important information following the meeting.

Following the meeting, I will be hosting a number of meetings where community and staff can come and ask questions. These are posted below and will be on zoom. Links will be provided and posted on the district website and the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Here are the dates and times for these meetings and I hope if you have questions one of these sessions will work for you.
Tuesday, August 4 @ 12:00-1:00 PM GMHS Faculty & Staff; 2:00-3:00 PM Penn Brook Faculty & Staff
Tuesday, August 4 @ 6:30-7:30PM – Parents and Community
Wednesday, August 5 @ 10:00-11:00 AM and 6:30-7:30 PM – Penn Brook Plan
Thursday, August 6 @ 10:00-11:00 AM and 6:30-7:30 PM – Middle High School Plan
Monday, August 10 @ 12:00-1:00 PM GMHS Faculty & Staff; 2:00-3:00 PM Penn Brook Faculty & Staff
Monday, August 10@ 10:00-11:00 AM and 6:30-7:30 PM– Parents and Community
Tuesday, August 11@ 6:30-7:30 – Special Education

I am also in the process of scheduling a few sessions for parents with health experts from our region who are working with us to keep the medical aspects of our plan current and to help us understand the health and safety risks. These dates are currently being scheduled but watch for them. I know when I meet with them I feel more confident in our decision to reopen school with this more cautious approach and continue to work toward returning to full in person school if and when it is safe to do so while we see what this virus does next. We have to learn to live with this virus because even with the progress toward a vaccine, experts are saying that this could be around for a couple of years. Working on a safe and gradual return with clear guidelines and safety protocols in place will give us the chance to ease into this “new normal” that we may be dealing with for some time.

This plan is a work in progress and will change as we get more information and make more decisions on the specifics about how this plan will be operationalized. We are working to answer close to 100 questions and each one has up to ten logistics to figure out. It is a daunting task but one that is important if we are going to bring students and staff back into the safest environment possible so the magic of teaching and learning can happen. There is a lot of information in this plan. I have tried to include as much backup as I thought you might need to understand the plan and feel comfortable making the best decision for your child and family knowing how things will work. I will continue to post updates and share information and you should feel comfortable sending emails directly to me at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us.

I know these are scary and uncertain times. Together we will get through this and I am confident in our leadership team, faculty and staff and teams of experts to make this plan not only work but work well. The safety of our staff , students and families while providing the best education possible will be our goal and I look forward to working with all of you. Please stay well!

Here is the reopening plan for Georgetown Public Schools. You can find it HERE.