A Successful Start and Related Updates
September 12, 2020
Starting the new school year and reopening the schools this week was a result of the tireless work of so many including administrators, teachers, custodians, all of the school staff and every single family. It cannot go without saying that the wonderful students (remote or in-person) made them come alive while also ensuring everyone’s safety. We are so appreciative of the efforts to get here. For me, it was assuredly the most challenging and rewarding first days of school in 21 years as a school leader.
I am including reminders and updates of certain processes and their current status since there will continue to be new information and revisions.
Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard
This week’s local Concord Carlisle COVID Data Dashboard is posted to the school website.
Aspen Emergency Contacts and Health Update
In Aspen, please be sure to update emergency contact information and any health updates for you child via Aspen as we ask you to do every fall.
Aspen Symptom Screener
Thank you so much for the high completion rates with the symptom screener. We are reminding everyone again as we are expecting 100% participation given the importance of this tool in everyone’s safety.
District Illness Protocols
Not surprisingly, there have already been a handful of students and staff with COVID like symptoms (no positive cases). Everyone has been so cooperative in getting a COVID test and not returning to school until 24 hours or more symptom free. We are expecting ongoing updates to these protocols from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Public Health (DPH). The most up to date version will always be linked to the district webpage as COVID District Response Protocols.
Please note that if one child in the house has symptoms, asymptomatic siblings do not need to stay home or be tested according to the protocols.
DESE Dashboard and Mobile Testing
DESE is in the process of creating a COVID dashboard to track COVID cases in the school settings across the state. We also have information as to how districts can access DPH’s mobile testing fleet should there be an outbreak.
Student Arrival and Dismissal/Transportation
Thank you for your patience and cooperation in the use of the buses and arrival and dismissal procedures at each school! We are continuing to review the situations at the elementary schools to reduce wait time and traffic congestion. Bus ridership was lower than expected this week so we will continue to watch that. The Concord Police Department was extraordinary in supporting these efforts to ensure we got off to a smooth start. We had multiple officers at every school each day this past week.
Free and Reduced Lunch
Lunches are always available for students in the free and reduced lunch program, even on early release or remote days. Please do not hesitate to contact the schools to ensure your child receives what is needed.
We are thrilled that the Open Table Food Pantry will be partnering with us to bring their mobile food pantry to CCHS on Wednesday afternoons beginning shortly. In the meantime, they are open in Maynard on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for anyone in need.
The School Committees and administration are supportive of a modified athletic schedule as proposed by our district league and MIAA. Soccer, field hockey, cross country and golf are slated to start on September 18. An overview of the middle school program and the CCHS upcoming fall season is found on the webpage.
School Calendar 2020-2021
The current school calendar only reflects a schedule until October 13. We will be meeting shortly to review dates further into the fall or early winter.
Concord Town Meeting
The Concord Town Meeting postponed from April will be held tomorrow on the Doug White Field at CCHS. The warrant and proposed articles are available on the town website.
Face Masks and Physical Distancing
I am compelled to remind everyone that opening school was possible because of the community’s commitment to wearing face masks, physical distancing, and avoiding large crowds. While the COVID numbers are excellent right now locally, we must remember that it is a fragile situation. Dedham this week suddenly had to indefinitely learn remotely after teen parties created a local hotspot. An out of state travel order remains in place per Governor Baker with modifications happening often depending on the situation in each state. A negative COVID test or quarantine is required after traveling to identified areas. Finally, we are aware of club sports travel to neighboring low risk states to play sports not currently allowed in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is not allowing those sports as a conservative approach to control the virus. Playing those sports and returning to school increases the chance of COVID transmission, closure, and extensive quarantines. I urge great caution as families consider those decisions.
With heartfelt appreciation, I extend thanks for this week’s accomplishment in reopening our schools. Over and over again we heard, “it is so good to be here” from adults and children. I look forward to that continued partnership as we navigate the coming weeks and months.