February 26, 2021
Thank you so much to those who participated in the first week of asymptomatic pooled testing. It has gone very smoothly. We used the week to streamline the consent process so that it is now housed in Aspen. If you would like to enroll your child and have not yet submitted consent, please go into Aspen. In the same spot as the symptom screener, you will see a link to the sign-off. It looks like this:
Click here to give permission for COVID testing for your student
If you already provided consent, then you do not need to do anything at this time. Thanks to all of your amazing kids too for their help this week
February 24, 2021
I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! A few updates this afternoon:
We learned of 3 student cases over the past few days:
2 CCHS students that did not require contact tracing
1 CMS student that did require tracing that was complete this morning.
The student testing process is off to a very successful start. We will reopen enrollment shortly for those wishing to engage.
In-Person Learning Time
As you saw, the Governor and Commissioner announced plans to increase in-person learning time for students. We are learning the state’s plans as they are shared with us which started today.
As I shared at last night’s School Committee meeting, we had already planned to review possible options this week after returning from the break to increase time in the schools. The warmer weather and lower case counts allow for some different ideas. Of course, we need to do this in balance with the safety measures that have been so effective and the structures that have served us so well since we opened on September 9 and allowed us to remain open ever since. Our starting point is different than many districts given that and the fact that our students have had access to instruction five days per week through in-person and live streaming. We will use this week and next week to craft the options. I will bring those options to the School Committee at the March 9th meeting.
Our work to date has been built primarily on strong connections and relationships between teachers and parents, leadership and union, community, and schools. I am sure that this work will continue into the spring with those same foundations and positive outcomes.
February 21, 2021
I hope you had a wonderful break. I have just a few COVID-related updates and reminders tonight.
Over the break, we learned of the following positive COVID cases:
2 Thoreau students
1 Alcott student
1 Willard student
2 CMS students
1 CCHS student
1 CCHS Staff (from the asymptomatic pooled testing)
All but one case involved no school exposure. There were no student close contacts in all 8 situations, some of which were related through familial connections. These cases bring the total case count to 135.
Tomorrow, we look forward to beginning the asymptomatic pooled testing of students. At this time, almost 1300 students across all of the schools are slated to participate. For the moment, we have turned off the consent form to enroll so we can organize the logistics for this week’s testing. We will open it again later this week since we want to encourage as many families as possible to participate.
If you traveled out of state, please be sure to send negative test results following your return home to the school nurses prior to a return to in-person learning this week.
Your partnership, support, and collaboration is so appreciated. We look forward to this next phase of the school year!
February 11, 2021
Today, we had two new positive student cases at CMS. One case required contact tracing which is complete. Also, as we look forward to one more day before the start of the break, I offer a few reminders.
If you travel out of state, our protocol requires a test upon return to Massachusetts. If you previously tested positive in the past 90 days, you will need to provide evidence of the positive test. We did see asymptomatic cases following travel at the close of the December break, so if you go please consider returning early so there are multiple days between your return and Monday, February 22. Thank you for the cooperation and collaboration with this process.
I also offer a reminder that even simple playdates and small social gatherings with people you know well can lead to transmission. We’ve seen that multiple times over. We know it is hard but remaining at home with immediate family is the safest plan.
Since most staff will be on vacation next week, please use the COVID email account for correspondence from all of the schools like we did over the holidays. That address will be monitored throughout the week so you can get a timely response. The address is:
I find it remarkable that we have been able to successfully be in school and maintain consistency since September. That is a result of the investment and commitment of everyone. Thank you so very much.
February 10, 2021
Tonight, I write to share information communicated by CCHS Principal Mastrullo earlier this afternoon about a racist incident that occurred at CCHS yesterday and was reported to us today. Mr. Mastrullo’s letter is posted here. As stated in his letter, we will not tolerate actions that make school an unsafe place, physically or emotionally, for any students.
The district has very actively continued its work in anti-racism and cultural competency. This work has been a top priority this year. Regular updates have been a focus at an ongoing series of Joint School Committees. All of those presentations are recorded and posted on the Cultural Competency and Anti-Racism school webpage.
Also of great importance is the opportunity for families to talk with young people about these types of events. We held a webinar last spring about talking to children about race which is linked below:
How to Have Difficult Conversations about Race with your Children Webinar
Our schools must be inclusive, welcoming, accepting environments. Thank you for partnering with us to accept nothing less.
February 10, 2021
I write to provide an update at Alcott. We learned of a case late last night of a positive student case that required contact tracing. The student was exposed through a family connection. This leads us to believe the cases of school transmission are still contained and so school can remain open based on the input of the local and state health officials. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
February 8, 2021
I write to share a number of updates and reminders.
Positive COVID Cases
This weekend, we learned of 2 CCHS student cases. Both students have been out of school for an extensive period. In addition to a CCHS adult case today, we learned of an Alcott student. The student has not been in school due to quarantine and has no school contacts so we know the case is not connected to last week’s cases.
The District Dashboard is updated as of Saturday morning. The total case count since we opened is 124.
The DPH Community Dashboard from the end of last week is also posted. Concord remains in the green category. Carlisle dropped down to the lowest category of gray.
Asymptomatic Testing Webinar and Wednesday Deadline
This afternoon’s webinar regarding asymptomatic testing is linked here. Thank you to all of the school nurses and nurse leaders Lisa Koski and Meg Jensen for their work on this process. Our second round of staff testing last week again yielded all negative pools.
The February 2, 2021 email with the detailed information and documentation is linked here.
The form to provide consent for testing after the break is found below. The deadline to submit the form is Wednesday.
Electronic Consent Form
COVID Email Account Over Break
Again next week, please utilize the district COVID email account for all COVID related correspondence across all of the schools. We only use it during vacations. It proved to be a valuable tool in December.
Food Pantry Wednesday, February 10 and 17 1-2 pm
Please see the attached flyer for the details of this week’s Concord food pantry.
It looks like an interesting weather day tomorrow. We will review the early morning forecast and make decisions then about in-person and remote learning days. I guess we were bound to have some regular snowfall at some point this winter!
Enjoy the night!
February 5, 2021
I write primarily to address Alcott families but expect everyone is interested. We learned of another positive case at Alcott today. This case is connected to the previous ones through family transmission. This allows us to be comfortable that it is related and continues to be contained through the quarantine process and protocols already in place.
Given that, in-person learning can continue in accordance with the local health officials. Should a case at Alcott emerge that appears more random or unrelated, we will need to move to remote learning given the inability to distinguish between school spread and an isolated event. I hope that clarification is helpful.
Have a great evening!
February 4, 2021
Tonight, I am sharing about a positive student case at CMS and a positive adult case at Ripley. Neither individual has been at school recently so there was no contact tracing.
With the recent cases at Alcott, we understand it can bring the wish for more details and information. We also understand that since we are not able to provide that for confidentiality reasons, it is human nature to fill that in. Several speculative stories have been brought to us this week that we understand are being shared by email, etc. None of them have had the facts accurately and we have been glad to have a chance to correct that with the individuals who asked. For example, it was important to clarify that travel is not a factor in the cases. I hope that we can all understand that sharing unsupported information could lead to painful situations or to concerns that are not based on actual events.
We are always happy to provide whatever information that we can and encourage you to ask individual questions. That is productive and valuable since we need the feedback and we can often provide reassurance.
As always, we appreciate the support and the extraordinary collaboration of this entire community.
February 3, 2021
In addition to a positive adult COVID case at the district level, we also were notified of a third positive student case related to the previous cases at Alcott.
We continue to communicate with the local and state officials as to the situation. The officials remain confident that if the cases remain within the two classrooms that are currently quarantined, Alcott can continue to offer in-person learning. Should we get another case outside of those two classrooms at Alcott, we will shift to remote learning until the February break. We are also certainly looking at the protocols and safety measures for what we can learn or improve.
I am encouraged by the decline in case numbers in the state and continue to ask that we all do our part. It may be tempting to gather to watch the Superbowl this weekend but please, please remember that aside from familial spread, the most common source of transmission is a small gathering of those you know best. We also ask that you minimize travel over the upcoming break and ensure that you follow the travel protocols where you must test after returning to Massachusetts.
Our common purpose this year has been very successful to date. School transmission at Alcott reminds us that it is fragile. Thank you again for your support.
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