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Superintendent's Message

Two Positive COVID Cases at CCHS

October 25, 2020

Dear Families:

A short while ago, we were notified of two positive COVID cases at CCHS.  The two cases are siblings in the same family.  We have already begun the contact tracing process. 

After discussion last week with the Concord health officials, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, students sitting in seats 6’ away from the positive student will not be deemed close contacts providing they stayed in those seats and there are no other factors to consider.  

It will take the afternoon and evening to reach everyone involved.  I will provide a follow-up email when everyone has been notified.   We will disinfect the school again very early tomorrow morning before staff and students arrive.  

Please reach out if you have questions or concerns. 

Best,

Laurie

Updates and Information October 25 2020

October 25, 2020

Dear Families:

I hope this update finds you well on another beautiful fall morning.

 

District COVID Data Dashboard

This week’s District COVID Data Dashboard is posted to the webpage.  Total school related cases remain at 5 with no new cases this past week.  There was no transmission of the virus within the schools as a result of the 5 cases.

 

Local COVID Community Data

The Concord and Carlisle dashboard is being updated after a late release of the community data from the state this week.  The state’s data indicates that Concord remains in the green range and Carlisle in the white.

 

Halloween Advisory

The Concord Town Manager and Concord Board of Health released a Halloween Advisory.  Please read carefully in order to ensure a safe and fun Halloween for everyone.

 

Theater and Kicks for Cancer

Congratuations to CCHS Theater for bringing the stage back to life through a creative approach to an outdoor performance.  Another tradition at CCHS, Kicks for Cancer, is occuring virtually and culminated in a modified day of soccer yesterday to raise funds and support those impacted by the disease.

 

Appreciation and Caution

The low virus rates locally reflect ongoing commitment to safe practices.  With rising cases across the state, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and exercise caution.  Wearing masks, physically distancing, and limiting social groups is crucial.  Our ability to offer programs and in-person school depends on the rates remaining low.

 

WIQH Special Programming

The radio station is hosting special programming related to cultural competency, equity, anti-racism, and cancer awareness through authentic conversations between students and faculty.  The programs are available on the WIQH website if you are not able to listen to the broadcasts.

Suspension of Snow Days

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education officially approved remote learning days in lieu of snow day cancellations.

Survey

A survey of staff, parents, and students will be distributed in November.  The results will guide us as we enter the middle of the school year.

Concord Free Public Library Events

The Concord Free Public Library continues to offer virtual programs for families and students.  Among the list of events is a Spooky Family Trivia Night on October 30.

 

Upcoming Meetings

The Joint School Committees meet on Tuesday evening.  A SEPAC parent forum with me and Director of Student Services Ruth Grube will be held on Thursday night.  Special education parents received an email with the Zoom information.

 

Upcoming Dates

November 4-  K-5 Elementary Conferences- NO CLASSES

November 11- Veteran’s Day- NO CLASSES

November 16-  Professional Day- NO CLASSES

November 25-  Early Release All School

November 26 and 27- Thanksgiving Break

 

Thank you for your ongoing support.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Best,

Laurie

Clarification and This Week’s Updates

October 17, 2020

Dear Families:

High Risk Sports Clarification

I want to clarify last night’s email about high risk sports.  The guidelines in Massachusetts allow the high-risk sports with specific protocols.  MIAA, in this first of four seasons this year, did not permit high risk sports in the schools.  Our biggest concern this week is connected to the out of state play where guidelines are not as strict.  We saw exposures here and share concerns expressed in the other communities about recent outbreaks.  I apologize for any confusion.  

Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard

Please find this week’s link to the local area dashboard.  Concord moved from white to green due to an increase in cases.   Carlisle remains status quo.  

District COVID Data Dashboard

The informal district dashboard indicates that our total case count since reopening is now 5.   None of the cases are a result of transmission in the schools.  It is also almost certain that none of them resulted in school-based spread of the virus which builds confidence in our safety measures and practices. 

MCAS

This week, the Joint School Committees voted to support a moratorium on MCAS in alignment with the Massachusetts Association of Joint School Committees.  The discussion at the federal and state level is just beginning so we will not have definitive answers for months.  A Concord Journal article outlines the School Committee’s statement

Halloween

This week, the Concord health leaders are expected to communicate safe Halloween practices during COVID.  These guidelines will supplement the basics of mask wearing, distancing, and avoiding large groups.  

Celebrations 

I continue to visit classrooms and see the positive learning experiences that are happening even under these different conditions.  Thank you all so much for the ongoing support you provide to your child.  Thank you to our teachers and staff who are focused on teaching and learning in ways they have never done before.  Most of all, thank you to the amazing children you share with us each day.  

Have a wonderful weekend.

Best,

Laurie

High Risk Sports Concerns

October 16, 2020

Dear Families,

I write to share a concern over a developing pattern of COVID related issues and exposures as a result of play in sports considered high risk in Massachusetts.    As outlined in the Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities guidance, Massachusetts currently does not allow sports where close and sustained contact is a requirement or substantial liklihood including basketball and hockey.

I urge those who elect to play these sports out of state to remember the potential impact to the entire local community.  With COVID rates rising, this week made it clear that the risk in those sports settings is also increased.

We feel so fortunate to have been able to open in-person and remain open this far into the fall.  Thank you for all you are doing to help us stay in school.

Best,

Laurie

Free School Meals for All Students

October 14, 2020

Dear Familiies:

We are now participating in the free school meal program supported by the USDA.  ALL students are eligible for free meals for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.  Please see the details below.

Best,

Laurie

 

Announcement of Free Student Meals: Concord Public Schools &

Concord Carlisle Regional High School

Concord Public Schools, and Concord Carlisle High School have received

approval from the state to offer Free Meals for all students beginning October

15th 2020 through June 30th 2021. We are very excited to be able to offer this

service at no cost to our community.

Additionally, beginning the last two weeks of October on Thursdays and

Fridays, we will be adding limited hot meals through our NutriSlice ordering

system. It is vital to our ability to provide each entree to any student that wants

that item to focus on the ordering of meals ahead of time. We cannot

guarantee that any item, but more specifically hot meals would be available if

not ordered ahead. Please see additional instructions below.

  • Please create your students accounts hereVERY IMPORTANT
    • You will need your students lunch ID #to complete the profile. If you or your student does not remember theirs, or if you are a new student to the district, it can be found in Aspen Portal under “Alternate ID”. If you can’t locate it there, please email bmacknight@concordps.org and I will get you that information quickly.
    • When ordering, please be sure that you are selecting the appropriate building for your student(s). Menus are published and ready for your review.
    • Ordering can be done daily by 8am day of attendance, as well as 5 days in advance.
    • If you would like to order more than one meal to cover days that your student will be learning from home, please put that note into the order for the day your student will be physically present. There is a “notes” section where this can be added.
    • Feedback mechanisms on NutriSlice, we encourage you to rate and provide feedback on meals so that we can learn and improve our services to better fit your needs.

 

Positive COVID Case CCHS October 14, 2020

October 14, 2020

Dear Families:

We were notified this morning of a positive COVID student case at CCHS.  Given that the student has not attended in-person instruction for over a week, there are NO close contacts or exposures at the school.  CCHS is already having a remote day to allow for the SAT administration.  In the future, it is possible we will remain in-person when notified of a case depending on the situation and circumstances.

Our plans prepared us for COVID cases to occur.  The safety protocols and practices allow us to maintain a safe school environment.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Best,

Laurie

COVID Updates and Other Information

October 10, 2020

Dear Families:

I want to share updates and highlight a few opportunities tonight.

Positive COVID Cases

At Thoreau, we completed the protocol and quarantined the room where this adult case of COVID was present. All of the close contacts have been notified.  We continue to support the CMS and CCHS students identified as close contacts and are happy to have anyone reach out over the weekend with questions or concerns.  Both situations appear to be contained and isolated as of today.  We continue to be very well supported by the Concord health officials.

Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard

This week’s  Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard is posted on the school webpage indicating the number of local cases.  The Concord health officials summarize current active cases in Concord and Carlisle among other local towns as well as sharing the state data provided by DPH.   This data is current as of Wednesday, October 7.

District COVID Data Dashboard

This week’s District COVID Data Dashboard is posted with information as of today.  This tool captures the number of students and staff being tested because they are:  exhibiting COVID symptoms, identified as a close contact, or returning from out of state travel.  Of the 374 COVID tests and pending tests conducted since school opened, 4 positive cases resulted.  This is meant just to be an informal data point and a way to share information.  We are able to track this because our protocols and reporting processes are very strict.

CCHS Community Buddy Program

This program is shared as a non-school sponsored partnership.  Parents who engage may want to connect with the CCHS students before enrolling.  It was a huge success last spring. 

Would your elementary or middle school student like to be part of a virtual community buddy program?

 

A lot has changed in a small amount of time with social distancing, virtual school, parents working from home or out on the front lines as essential workers, and so much more. With all this change and a lot of time at home, we are continuing the Concord-Carlisle Community Buddy Program. Your elementary school student will be matched with a CCHS student to meet on a regular basis over zoom. The meetings would be at least once a month for about 45 minutes until the end of the school year. The buddies can write back and forth, talk, play virtual games, help with school work, or just be a friend in a time that kids might feel like they do not always have someone there for them.

 

Spots are limited, so once we reach max capacity there will be a waitlist. We will pair buddies based on the order in which the sign up occurred. If you are notified you are on a waitlist, don’t worry, we will work to pair your student up with a buddy as soon as possible!

 

If your child is interested in being paired up with a High School buddy, fill out the Google Form below!

 

https://forms.gle/LQeg5tC5765x22DM8

 

Thanks, Concord-Carlisle Community Buddy Program Leadership

 

If you have any questions please contact:

ssnell22@concordcarlisle.org

kgarcia23@concordcarlisle.org

jclarke21@concordcarlisle.org

owhite22@concordcarlisle.org

 

Upcoming Events at the Concord Free Public Library

The Concord Free Public Library has many upcoming events for kids and families (most of them remote) including:

Girls Who Code

Scarecrow Festival

Storytime with Karen

Spooky Family Trivia

The Virtual Writing Studio

Family Yoga

Virtual Cooking Workshop

The details and information are found at: Concord Free Public Library Events

Parent Education Programs Through the Center for Parents and Teachers

The Center for Parents and Teachers is soon offering these virtual opportunities for parents:

  • Mindful Wellness over and Digital Distraction
  • Pandemic Parenting:  Looking Ahead to Fall and Winter
  • A Conversation with Dr. Anthony Rao: Securing Our Human Agency in Times of Crisis and Disruption
  • Parenting Adolescents During the Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities

Dates, details and Zoom information is found at the bottom of this email.

Thank you again.  Enjoy the weekend.
Best,

Laurie

 

 

(1) Mindful Wellness over Digital Distraction

Held virtually on Wednesday, October 14, 2020  at 7:30 PM

With so many kids now learning from home, we need a plan to help them avoid digital distraction, so they can get their work done. Unfortunately, digital distraction is slowing them down, interfering with deep thinking, and truncating their attention. Making it hard from them to be efficient and put forth their best work. This webinar will look at the science behind digital distraction, information overload, and over-reliance on digital media in everyday tasks, and how it’s impacting our brains. We will review specific strategies you can implement today to help yourself and your kids utilize mindful wellness to overcome digital distraction, keep tech in check, and thrive during distance learning.
Registration for this event is requested by 10/13. Please register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mindful-wellness-over-digital-distraction-tickets-111671297858  You will receive a meeting invitation the day before the event.
Presented by Adrienne Principe, the Founder and Executive Director of Turning Life On, a non-profit, grassroots movement committed to digital wellness. She is also the co-founder of Concord Promise and a member of the Screens in Schools Working Group for the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.

(2) Pandemic Parenting: Looking Ahead to Fall and Winter
Held virtually on Thursday, October 15, 2020  at 7:30 PM Free and open to All!
Please join Dr. Rachel Kramer for a webinar to discuss ideas and strategies to help families cope with the shorter days and colder weather ahead.  Dr. Kramer will share practical tools and will allow ample time to answer questions.  While the content of this webinar will mostly focus on families with children in preschool and elementary school, all are welcome to attend.  Parents should feel free to submit questions ahead of time by emailing Dr. Kramer through her website:  https://www.drrachelkramer.com/
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86146774132?pwd=blY1UTVBVkc4VFA5U1gvLzFkOGtmQT09
Passcode: 746955
Presented by Dr. Rachel Kramer who has, for over two decades, maintained a private practice in Pediatric Psychology in Concord. She offers a variety of services for preschoolers, children, adolescents, and their families including psychotherapy – with a focus on evidence-based treatments including cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT); consultation; and parent coaching, training and education.

(3) A Conversation with Dr. Anthony Rao: Securing Our Human Agency in Times of Crisis and Disruption

Held virtually on Wednesday, October 21, 2020  at 7:30 PM – In this informal conversation with nationally-known child psychologist and author Dr. Anthony Rao, we will discuss specific strategies on how parents can employ agency to help themselves, their families and their communities during these difficult times. Dr. Rao’s most recent book, The Power of Agency, is based on 7 principles to help you take action to stay grounded, balanced and healthy.
Participants can ask questions and share challenges, successes and tips in a supportive environment.
Registration for this event is requested by 10/20. Please register here:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lets-talk-with-special-guest-dr-anthony-rao-securing-our-human-agency-tickets-113920735988 .    A small donation of any size is requested to support the work of Turning Life On, the small nonprofit. presenting this program. You will receive a meeting invitation the day before the event.

(4) Parenting Adolescents During the Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities
Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7:30PM. Free and open to all!
Parents of adolescents always have a lot on their minds.  As the pandemic continues, please join Dr. Rachel Kramer for a webinar to discuss helpful strategies and reassuring ideas for parenting adolescents during this challenging time.  Parents should feel free to submit questions ahead of time by emailing Dr. Kramer through her website:  https://www.drrachelkramer.com/
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87480413957?pwd=anh3czF5NjBuUFFlYjBUSFhoMDZFUT09
Passcode: 752030
Please read about Dr. Kramer’s background in the description of her Oct 15 presentation (#2 above).

(5) Six-part series for Parents of children ages 4 to 9 years old:  “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk”offered in an online, interactive setting with a small group of 10-12 parents for 6 consecutive Tuesday evenings (Nov 10, 17, 24, Dec 1, 8, 15) from 7:30 to 8:30 PM.  For more information and registration details please email cpt@concordps.org and type “How To Talk Series” in the subject line of your email.  Please let us know the age(s) of your child(ren) in the email.

 

To learn more about these and other programs (and to learn how to support the work of this local nonprofit by giving a tax-deductible donation) please visit www.centerforparentsandteachers.org

 

Positive COVID Case at Thoreau

October 10, 2020

Dear Families:

A little while ago, we were notified of a positive COVID case at Thoreau.  We are actively notifying those in close contact (6′ for more than 15 minutes) right now.  For Thoreau families, if you do not hear from us this morning then your child is not impacted.

I believe all of the information shared at yesterday’s webinar still pertains and is valuable if you haven’t yet seen it.  The recording is found here:
https://concordps.zoom.us/rec/share/2qxcK46OjjsDePw2sQrdMQu5zTjb_fuU-beNGn374Ken3E0qu5xdnRLdwZ8BMrrd.cyAA1xZAhM2va3Ds

Case counts locally are very low and isolated.  This weekend, it is important to remember that distancing, masks and avoiding large crowds can make a big difference.

The Concord health officials and I are available this weekend should have questions.  We are very grateful for your support and partnership.   I will provide other updates over the course of the weekend.

Best,

Laurie

 

 

CMS Contract Tracing Complete, Webinar Recording and Final Updates

October 9, 2020

Dear Families:

Thank you all for the ongoing collaboration today.  A few last things:

CMS Contact Tracing

All of the middle school contact tracing is complete.  If you did not receive an email from me and Concord Public Health Nurse Tricia McGean, then your child is not a close contact.  As I mentioned earlier, the contact tracing at CCHS is also complete.

Webinar Recording 

The recording from the 4 pm webinar is found here:

https://concordps.zoom.us/rec/share/VwbgIxWqxSWT_TybEnaIMpZg0fmAmlNRx0b6jk1-RB29jfHq1n_aw685vToxnIvi.q5WX0LDrnMnQPiIp

State Travel Order

With this being the first of several long weekends, please review our district overview of the state travel order.  The list of states that require testing to return to Massachusetts changes frequently.  We do require testing of students of all ages or a 14 day quarantine.

Large Groups, Masks, and Physical Distance

It continues to be important that large groups not gather, everyone wears masks, and that we physically distance from one another.  As Health Director Susan Rask said this afternoon, the virus will take every opportunity that we give it.  The ability to stay in school is dependent on our choices at other times.  We are very fortunate to have been in-person so far.  Together we can maintain low virus rates and ensure school stays open.

Next Week 

As of right now, we expect to return to our planned schedule next week.  There are many variations in next week’s calendar so please read carefully:

Tuesday, October 13

NO SCHOOL- Professional Day for Staff

Wednesday, October 14 

CCHS:  All remote day except for those take the SAT (remote learning will follow normal Wednesday schedule)

CMS:  All remote day with slightly shorter school day. Mr. Cameron will share details.

Elementary:  Normal in-person morning.  NO AFTERNOON SPECIALISTS

Enjoy the beautiful weather on this long weekend!
Best,

Laurie

 

 

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