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Superintendent's Message

Thoreau

Power Outages

October 7, 2020

Dear Families:

We are aware of the widespread power outages in the community.  Clearly, we do not expect that homework will be complete if you are without power.  We will be monitoring the situation overnight and early tomorrow morning for impacts on the schools and throughout the towns given the challenges of remote learning when there is no electricity.

Please stay safe.

Best,

Laurie

Updates and Events October 4, 2020

October 4, 2020

Dear Families:

I am sharing a few updates and upcoming events.

Positive COVID Case on Opposing JV Field Hockey Team

Earlier tonight, we learned that one of the JV field hockey players on the opposing team at yesterday’s CCHS game is COVID positive. The public health nurses in both towns and MDPH are in agreement that the CCHS girls do not need to quarantine or be tested.  We will continue to communicate with anyone who has questions or concerns.

 

Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard

I’ve linked this week’s Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard

 

District COVID Data Dashboard

Also, we updated the District COVID Data Dashboard as of Friday.

 

What is Racism? For Grades 2-5  October 6 4 p.m.

Concord Free Public Library Program

The Concord Free Public Library is hosting a program called What is Racism? facilitated by Wee the People on Tuesday, October 6 at 4 p.m (online). Wee the People is a Boston-based social justice project, and their workshop is geared for 2nd – 5th graders. Attached, please find the event flyer and press release. Interested students can sign up for the event here: https://concordlibrary.org/news-events/events-calendar. If you have additional questions, please contact Mrs. Royce N. McGrath, Supervisor of Children’s Services at the Concord Free Public Library.

 

Unconscious Bias:  Interrupting the Cycle Part II

Adult and Community Education Begins Oct 14

This was a popular series run by our Adult and Community Education Program for adults to examine unconscious bias, understand how to have conversations with others around this topic, and learn tools to use in our daily lives to counteract this.  More information is found here:

http://www.concordcarlisleace.org/unconscious-bias-interrupting-the-cycle-part-ii/

 

Historic Tours of Concord for Families

The Concord Museum and The Concord Visitor Center are teaming up to offer children exciting and fun opportunities to learn about local history while attending to all COVID 19 safety protocols.  This flyer has the details and instructions to make reservations.

 

I hope you were able to enjoy this gorgeous autumn weekend.

Best,

Laurie

 

School Calendar Updates November and December

September 30, 2020

Dear Families:

Last night, the Joint School Committees approved revisions to the 2020-2021 school calendar for the months of November and December.  Included in these dates are conference days for the elementary and middle schools.  Also included are professional days for staff since we did not implement all of the days made available with the Commissioner’s reduction of the school year to 170 student days.    Upcoming dates for October through December are as follows:

Monday, October 12- Columbus Day

Tuesday, October 13- Professional Day- No Class for Students

Wednesday, November 4- Elementary Conferences- No Class for Elementary Students

Wednesday, November 11-  Veterans Day

Monday, November 16- Professional Day- No Class for Students

Wednesday, November 25-  Half Day

Thursday, November 26- Friday, November 27-  Thanksgiving Break

Friday, December 11- Professional Day- No Class for Students

Tuesday, December 15-  CMS Conferences- No Class for CMS Students

Wednesday, December 23- Half Day

Thursday, December 24- January 1 Winter Recess

We recognize the need to balance and monitor the number of in-person days for the middle and high school rotation.  We have additional professional days to schedule when we review the calendar for the remainder of the year.  As of right now, we expect that February and April vacations will remain as planned and the last day of school for students to be approximately June 16.

The state continues to see a rise in cases.  In Concord and Carlisle, the case counts remain very low which is critical to our ability to remain in school.  Please remain diligent in mask wearing and distancing.  Please remind older students that the choice on one night to be with a large group of friends can result in a school closing for everyone as continues to happen in districts across the state.  As you see, the calendar offers a number of long weekends and breaks.  If you travel to certain states, it is important to abide by the travel order and be tested or quarantine after traveling to higher risk states.

We are very grateful for the partnership with the safety measures, teaching and learning, and social and emotional support.  We look forward to this continued collaboration as we turn the calendar to October!

Best,

Laurie

 

September 26 Updates and Information

September 26, 2020

Dear Families:

Magnificent Students

We celebrate the attitude and vigilance our students are showing toward all of the safety protocols as well as their engagement in remote, hybrid and in-person learning.  Please share our positive thoughts and encourage ongoing cooperation.  Our kids are great!

CMS Positive COVID Case

The quarantine, testing, and close contact process has evolved uneventfully this week furthering our confidence that the case is isolated and contained.

1:1 K-5 Devices

The technology department has been busy imaging the new devices for the rollout of 1:1 deployment to K-5.  This process will continue over the coming week with distribution expected shortly thereafter.

Fully Remote Learners Returning to In-Person Learning

We have had some requests for 100% remote students to return to in-person learning.  The initial commitment was for the first quarter or trimester of the school year.  If families make a request, we will review the availability of in-person seats.  If we can easily have the student return to school, we will consider an earlier return.  At times, however, there is impact on class size and distancing that requires more complex planning and will mean that we need more time.  We will soon be surveying 100% remote families as to their expected plans for the year to help us be as flexible as possible.

Bike Safety

Hundreds of students are now riding their bikes to school.  We ask that parents review safety rules of the road.  The School Resource Officers will also be informally meeting with bike riders to remind them of how to be on the road safely.

2020-2021 School Calendar

On Tuesday, the School Committee will consider proposed professional and parent conference days for the months of November and December.  The updated draft of the 2020-2021 calendar is posted with the agenda.  Confirmation of the dates will be shared after the meeting.  We remind you that October 14 is a professional day for all schools.

Symptom Screener

The symptom screener is an important tool in our safety plans.  The school nurses follow-up on every “yes” response and work with the family to ensure testing and a safe return to school.  We are building a process that will text you if we have not received the response so we ensure everyone participates.

Emerson Hospital COVID Testing Information

Emerson Hospital is collaborating with the schools to ensure access to COVID testing.  They shared a document, COVID-19 Testing Information for School Use, that I hope you will find useful.  Included here is a Baker Avenue drive thru site that just recently opened.

Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard

This week’s local COVID Data Dashboard is posted on the school webpage.  Local cases remain very low.

District COVID Data Dashboard

This week’s District COVID Data Dashboard is also posted.  Our numbers reflect the lack of community spread and provide evidence of the CMS case remaining confined.

Remaining Diligent

It is very important that we all remain diligent in our safety practices since is why the local cases are low and remain under control when individual cases occur.  Wearing masks, physical distancing, and avoiding large groups is still very important.  As one of my colleagues shared in another community, there is no room for error.  Cases are creeping up state wide which indicates the need for heightened focus, not less.  This takes everyone’s ongoing commitment and dedication.

Enjoy the beautiful fall weekend!
Best,

Laurie

CMS Will Reopen In-Person on Monday

September 19, 2020

Dear Families:

Thank you so much for your engagement and support over the past two days.  Through discussion and review of all of the information we needed, the Concord health officials and I are confident that the COVID case at Sanborn is isolated and contained allowing for a safe return to school.  As a result, CMS will reopen on Monday for in-person instruction.

We will continue to provide other information as needed.  The safety protocols and processes are working effectively as is the response plan.  We will of course continue to debrief and make any necessary modifications.

Please enjoy this beautiful weekend.

Best,

Laurie

Final Updates for Today

September 18, 2020

Dear Families:

I start with great thanks to everyone involved today as we processed the first positive COVID case in the schools.  The work in collaboration with Susan Rask, Concord Health Director and Tricia McGean, Concord Public Health Nurse was very effective.  We are so appreciative of their support and guidance.  It is very clear that the safety procedures that are in place are working as is the response protocol that we developed this summer.

Middle School Update

All of the parents were notified if their child was a close contact.  Given our distancing and processes, these contacts were made with a very conservative mindset.  We are awaiting a few more pieces of information before deciding when we will reopen the buildings.  I will provide that information on or before Sunday to middle school families.

Webinar Recording

Above is a link to the recording of this afternoon’s webinar:

Contact Information in Aspen

Please again check to be sure all of your contact information is updated in Aspen.  If you need assistance, please reach out to the administrative assistants in the main offices.   That information is also pulled into the automated notification system used when school is closed or moved to remote learning.

Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard

This week’s local data dashboard linked above was created yesterday.  There were NO cases in Concord and Carlisle until last night when this one occurred.  This is evidence of a lack of community spread right now locally.  We believe our efforts today will allow that to continue to be the case.

District COVID Data Dashboard

Since the COVID symptom list is so common and our protocols so strict, there is a continual flow of staff and students being tested.  We are using this data to create a district COVID dashboard to help communicate what is happening in the schools.  We are categorizing it according to individuals who are close contacts to a diagnosed case and quarantined, those who travel out of state, and those who are symptomatic and need a negative test to return to school.  The data to date is linked to the heading above.

Who to Contact Positive COVID Diagnosis

If your child receives a positive COVID diagnosis, please email the school nurse, building principal and me so we are sure to see the email in a timely way.

Thank you again for your support.   Enjoy the weekend.

Best,

Laurie

COVID Case Updates and Parent Webinar at 4 pm

September 18, 2020

Dear Families:

I wanted to offer updated information and an invitation to meet this afternoon regarding the positive COVID case at Concord Middle School.   The student did not have siblings or contacts in any other schools so the case is contained to the Sanborn building.   Contact tracing has begun this morning.  Families of those in close contact with the child will be notified during the day today by Concord’s Public Health Nurse.  Upon gathering that information and any other pertinent data, decisions about the length of remote learning for middle school students will be determined.  It is unclear if we will know today or if it will take a few more days to make that decision in conjunction with the local health officials.

This afternoon at 4 pm,  a webinar will be hosted for all Concord Middle School parents.  Everyone is welcome but the focus will be on the middle school.  I will be joined by the local health officials and Principal Cameron.  Zoom information is shared below.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.

Best,

Laurie

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Sep 18, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Parent Session

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://concordps.zoom.us/j/95382612111?pwd=cjhOU294M0d3S2E2SkV5STNjNmpkQT09
Passcode: 322909
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13017158592,,95382612111#,,,,,,0#,,322909#  or +13126266799,,95382612111#,,,,,,0#,,322909#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 929 205 6099  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833
Webinar ID: 953 8261 2111
Passcode: 322909
International numbers available: https://concordps.zoom.us/u/anKkLHzCw

Positive COVID Case Sanborn Building Concord Middle School

September 17, 2020

Dear Families:

I am writing to inform you that a person in our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe. We have been planning for this scenario during our reopening planning process and have a comprehensive plan in place to sanitize the school, inform families whose students were at risk of exposure or in close contact, and support the affected family as they navigate this stressful experience.   In order to fully clean the school, both buildings of Concord Middle School will learn remotely tomorrow, Friday, September 18, 2020.

Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.

We cannot provide specific information about our school community member who tested positive.  Please continue to monitor your child for symptoms, and keep your child home if he/she/they shows any symptoms or is not feeling well.  Parents of students who were in close contact with the community member will be notified privately. All close contacts should be tested but must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive, regardless of test results.  We are also following all Department of Health protocols, including collaborating with our local board of health to complete contact tracing.

To further prevent transmission of the virus to other staff and students, we have sanitized the school with a focus on those areas frequented by the community member that tested positive. We will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue in person learning.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-.

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.

We will provide additional information as we have it over the coming days.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.

Best,

Laurie

Thank You, Emergency Contact Information, Extra Masks

September 17, 2020

Dear Families:

Thank you all so much for the support in the successful opening of the school year,  We also extend great appreciation to your children who are following the safety protocols and processes with remarkable independence after just a week (or less for the hybrid students).

We thought it would be helpful to remind everyone to pack extra masks.  That way, if you forget it when you run out for the bus or arrive at school, there will be one in the backpack.    We do not have extra masks on the buses so we will need to turn students away.

It is also important that you review your contact information in Aspen.  We have had a couple of instances where it was difficult to reach someone because the phone numbers were not updated.

Best wishes for a wonderful night.

Best,

Laurie

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