Superintendent's Message

A Few Updates

January 10, 2021

Dear Families:

I hope you had a great weekend.  I offer several updates.

Weekend COVID Cases

1 CCHS adult

1 Alcott adult

There were no school close contacts.

District COVID Data Dashboard

The District Data Dashboard is updated as of yesterday morning.  With these two new cases, the total number of cases since we reopened is now 91.

Concord Carlisle COVID Data

The MDPH weekly numbers were released in the community report on January 7, 2021.  Both Concord and Carlisle remain in the yellow range.

Remote Learning and Travel

We have had a number of requests to learn remotely from various locations outside of the primary residence in Concord, Carlisle, or Boston.  While we understand the question, we just simply cannot handle more variables for students to learn remotely for various time periods from various locations.   Homeschooling is an option for these situations if you opt to still consider them.

Asymptomatic Pooled Testing

The Joint School Committees will discuss the plan proposed by DPH and DESE on Tuesday night.  The agenda is posted here.  Other agenda items include budget development and updates on our objectives to hire more faculty of color.

Vaccine Distribution at CCHS

First responders will be vaccinated in the CCHS parking lot on Thursday and Friday after school and during the evening as well as all day Saturday.

Have a great evening.




January 8 COVID Cases, Patterns, and Testing

January 8, 2021

Dear Families:

I am sharing four new COVID cases today:

  • 1 CCHS student
  • 1 CMS adult
  • 1 Ripley adult
  • 1 CCHS adult

I have been asked a number of times about the patterns we see in transmission.  I thought I’d list what I see as most prevalent during this current spike:

  • immediate family transmission
  • travel
  • small, informal social gatherings

School is not a source of spread so far from what we know without asymptomatic testing available which is of course very good news.  The School Committee will be discussing options on Tuesday night for surveillance testing hoping we can put something into place including perhaps the program the Governor rolled out today.  We will have more information over the coming week.



Thursday’s COVID Cases

January 7, 2021

Dear Families:

I write to update you on today’s 7 positive COVID cases.  None of the positive cases have been in school this week so there was no contact tracing

1 student     Alcott

3 students   CMS

2 students   CCHS

1 adult         CCHS

This brings the total case count since Sunday to 25.

Have a good evening.




Today’s National Events and Our Plans

January 6, 2021

Dear Families:

I write in response to events that occurred this afternoon in Washington D.C. and continue to evolve this evening.  This unprecedented use of violence to threaten the democratic process is intolerable and unacceptable.  This country prides itself on a peaceful approach to leadership and governance.   The public schools are key components in ensuring access to education for all and the future of democracy.  For us to do anything but abhor what happened today would disgrace the core values on which we operate.   This is not a political discussion.  It is a discussion of what is important and what we believe as Americans.

We are prepared to provide a structured response for all students tomorrow. It is best to acknowledge today’s events age appropriately.   Upper elementary, middle, and high school students will convene in brief discussions with the staff as to the events of what transpired.  We will stress the following facts:

  • we are all currently safe
  • violence is unacceptable
  • the American democratic processes must be protected

The youngest students will guide us in their need for discussion at an individual or group level through their questions.  Individual students at all levels will be encouraged to voice a need for support or request time with a counselor.  Of course, as parents, please reach out to our counseling and administrative staff about your child’s needs or your needs as parents.

I included resources listed below for you in how to support young people during traumatic events.  These documents will guide you but clearly, at the core, it is about relationships.  Creating environments where those relationships are the focus is the key to our success during difficult times.  The chronic crisis brought by COVID has shown our strengths as a caring, extraordinary community.  I trust that this newest difficult, painful chapter will result in the best of us all coming together at the local, community, and national level.

Thank you so very much for the support and partnership.



Talking with Your Children About Traumatic Events

Children and Trauma

Talking to Children About Violence


Today’s Postive COVID Cases

January 4, 2021

Dear Families:

Today, we learned of the following positive COVID cases:

2 CCHS Student

2 Willard Students

1 Alcott Adult

1 CMS Adult

One of these cases resulted in close contacts due to school-related activities over the break.

While the patterns we are seeing are not unexpected, I do hope it helps us all to remember our part in slowing the spread of the virus.

  • Traveling has risks to it and we have seen that on multiple occasions.  Please consider staying local until the virus rates have reduced.  We are appreciative of the adherence to the protocols when travel does happen.
  • Simple gatherings of friends can also spread the virus.  If even small groups of adults or students are going to be together, it is very important to wear masks and physically distance.  Of course, not gathering in any groups outside of the immediate family is best.
  • I do offer a reminder that the impact of a positive case is not just about the individual or family member involved.  Quarantine has a significant impact especially on the lives of young people when they cannot attend school for extended periods.  Of course, those at greatest risk can get seriously ill.

We are so grateful for your support.

Have a good night.



New Year Updates

January 3, 2021

Dear Families:

Happy New Year!  We hope this past week was one of time together with family.  I know 2021 brings a renewed sense of optimism toward what will be eventually.  In the meantime, it will require patience, vigilance, and a commitment to working together to get us from here to there.  Tonight, I share updates to our district COVID data as well as other reminders of our protocols and upcoming community events.  

COVID Cases Since December 28

I did not provide notification of cases if student contact tracing was not required over the vacation.  Below is a list of the additional 9 cases brought to our attention since December 28.  

1 Alcott student

2 Willard students

3 CMS students

1 CCHS student

1 Thoreau adult

1 CCHS adult

District COVID Dashboard 

The District COVID Dashboard is posted on the webpage as of January 2, 2021.  Including the additional cases since then, the district total from September through today is 64.

Concord Carlisle COVID Data

The Department of Public Health released updated community numbers on December 31, 2021.  The DPH report is posted to the district webpage. Both Concord and Carlisle are in the yellow range.   

Travel Order

If you traveled, your child needs to be tested after returning to Massachusetts.  If we do not have a negative test result on file, your child should not attend in-person learning until we have it.  We expect this protocol to remain in place while case counts are high so please incorporate it into your plans.  We understand the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation. 

Siblings Stay Home if Anyone in the House is Ill

Please remember that our current protocol is for all siblings to stay at home until the ill family member receives a negative COVID test.  Given the spread of COVID among immediate family once it is in the house, this is a conservative approach to reducing the number of potential close contacts and quarantines at school.  If someone in the house is a close contact to a positive case, we also ask that all children remain home until the close contact has a negative test.  

COVID Testing

We are pleased that the COVID testing option in Cambridge has been helpful to many of you.  If you need the contact information, please email the school nurse.  We will soon be testing staff who are symptomatic or close contacts at CCHS with students to follow.  Please watch for additional information.  

Safety Reminders

The best way to slow the spread of the virus is the same as has been since March by wearing masks, remaining 6 feet apart and not gathering with those outside of the immediate family.  There is no doubt that even casual time with people whom you know well can spread COVID.  Please do not have students socializing, on playdates, or on sleepovers.  


Given tonight’s predicted light snowfall, I expect a regular school schedule tomorrow.  I will be monitoring the forecast very early tomorrow morning and provide any necessary updates.  As a reminder, delayed in-person openings are not an option this year given the current elementary school plan.  Tomorrow would be a remote day if somehow we needed to stay home.   I have definitely heard some of the feedback about traditional snow days and will be continuing to take that into consideration.  

Upcoming Events:

Concord Free Public Library

The Concord Free Public Library shared an overview of their upcoming winter events that is found on this link.  

ConcordCAN Sustainability Webinar

The schools partner with the Concord Climate Action Network to share information about upcoming events.  At the bottom of this email you will information regarding the webinar on January 19.  

We look forward to a great start to 2021 in the schools!  Thank you for your ongoing support! 




Zero Carbon, Zero Bills for Concord, 

a Live Webinar

Tuesday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m.

On Zoom

This webinar is taught by David Green, who has completed an energy transformation of his own home and has written a book about it. (Zero Carbon Home). The improvements he has made by installing insulation and air-sealing, heat pumps and solar PV have reduced his energy costs and carbon footprint to zero, resulting in an excellent return on investment, and he will tell you howGreen describes himself as “an energy geek, with a degree in physics from Oxford University, and a finance nerd with an MBA from Harvard Business School.”  After a presentation by Mr. Green, there will be an opportunity for Q & A. All attendees will receive a free ebook copy of his book.

For more information and to register, click here.

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