Superintendent's Update - 3/16/2020

Superintendent's Update - 3/16/2020
Posted on 03/16/2020
Superintendent's Update - 3/16/2020

March 16, 2020

Dear Medway families, 

Let me begin by thanking families for your patience and support during these unusual times.  While our schools are empty, we are continuing to work to identify opportunities and strategies to minimize the significant impact on learning that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on our students.  

As you may have seen on the news, Governor Baker has issued updated orders based on the status of COVID 19 (Coronavirus) cases in the Commonwealth.  Effective, Tuesday, March 17, 2020:

  • There will be a ban on large gatherings over 25 people.
  • All Massachuasetts schools will close for 3 weeks.

The Governor indicated that his team will be filing legislation at both the state and federal levels to request postponing obligations regarding the district's need to submit 3 year Student Opportunity Act Plans as well as this year's MCAS testing.  There will be more details to share about these mandates in the coming weeks.

Support of Continued Learning and Wellness

It is a well known fact that all of us benefit from consistency and predictability in our day to day lives.  The current challenge has the potential to place all of these necessities in jeopardy. We hope that families will take a few minutes to talk together about consistency, predictable schedules, and connection.  

The next three weeks home will be far less challenging for ‘work from home parents/guardians’ and on the health of our family units in general if we can maintain consistency, predictable schedules, and connection.  While not the same as attending school, developing a schedule that includes the following experiences in an age appropriate way can be supportive of your entire family:

  • academics
  • reading 
  • well balanced meals and snacks
  • creativity (music and art)
  • physical movement
  • rest, reflection, mindfulness

Additionally, ensuring that our children have the ability to maintain connections with peers and adults outside their homes is important.  Calling or Facetiming with a friend or family member, writing a letter, or mailing a card are all ways in which to maintain connection. Please try to include at least one opportunity each day for children to connect with a peer(s) and another adult.  

  • Through Friday, March 20:  Building principals will be sharing information with all families regarding developmentally appropriate enrichment experiences for learners this week. 
  • Beginning on Monday, March 23, our faculty and staff will provide additional alternative enrichment learning opportunities for our students.  These will be developed collaboratively and communicated to students directly by educators across all of our content areas.  These learning experiences are not intended to replicate what would be taking place in classrooms with students.  

Student Services

Medway’s Office of Student Services is working with school principals to support the enriched learning that is being offered to all students.  As plans at the state and federal level are formulated, we will provide you with the most up to date information that we have.  

Those guidelines may be found in this document issued by the Office of Special Education Programming:  OSEP Guidance issued March 2020.  At this time, the district’s guidelines may be found here.

Access to Technology

As our professional staff is working hard to develop enrichment experiences for our students during this school closure, we know that our list of resources includes several technology related tools for learners at all grade levels.  If your household does not have access to wifi AND/OR if you have one or more child in your household who will require access to a chromebook and power cord that you do not have available to them during this school closure, please complete this  FORM by Wednesday, March 18.  We will follow up with you at the phone number/email address that you indicate with a time to pick-up the resources that you need.  All pick-ups will take place at Medway Middle School located at 45 Holliston Street.

In addition, families may benefit from knowing that Comcast has made their Internet Essentials product free during this current situation.  More information can be found here.

Medication Pick-up/Return to Families-for EMERGENCY SITUATIONS, ONLY

We recognize that some families may need the medication that is currently in school.  School nurses will be present to distribute student medications to parents at the Medway Middle School front drop off lane from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  Please fill out the google form found here no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at noontime, so that we may ready your medication for you.

NOTE:  Only parents can be given student controlled substances.  Students ages 12 and above can be given insulin, EpiPens, and inhalers (only).  Due to the need to practice social distancing, staff, students and families should plan on a focused retrieval of their medication with minimal personal contact with each other.  We will ask that parents leave their car and approach the table located outside the middle school doors and we will have the medication bagged and ready for you at that time. Kindly keep 6 feet of distance between you and other parents.  Please be sure to have your identification and a pen to sign for the pick-up. We will ask that McGovern/Burke-Memorial families pick up at : 9:30 a.m-10:30 a.m and middle school and high school families pick up at: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  THE DATE FOR PICK-UP  IS Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  

Taking Care of Ourselves and Others

The MA Department of Public Health is maintaining an updated webpage for information on the spread of COVID 19 and preventative measures that we can all take to prevent the transmission of the virus.  “During this period it is critical that students and their families, as well as school staff, stay home as much as possible.  If you leave your home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others.  Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.”  

We continue to encourage families to monitor children and other family members if you notice any of the following symptoms, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  

  • Fever greater than 100.4 within the last 24 hours (fever should be under 100 for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications before returning to school)
  • Vomiting/diarrhea within the last 24 hours
  • A communicable disease
  • An upper respiratory illness with significant coughing and/or nasal discharge
  • Pain that requires the use of narcotic medications

Additionally, it is important to us that you have resources in support of your conversations with your children regarding this situation.  Please find, attached, current parent resources from the National Association of School Psychologists:  Talking to Children about COVID 19 and the World Health Organization: Helping Children Cope With Stress During the COVID-19 Outbreak.  

Support of Our Greater Community

Through a rich partnership with the Medway Village Church Food Pantry, and our Wellness and Food Service Departments, we will be ensuring that our families are supported with meals during this challenging time.  Families in need of support are asked to review the following options and sign-up for a choice that best matches their need.  

Daily breakfast and lunch pick-up:  A “grab and go” breakfast and lunch will be available for pick-up, once a day, at the same time, outside of the Medway Middle School main entrance from 7:00-9:00 a.m.  These meals will include an entree, side of fruit and/or vegetable, and milk. Parents and guardians will be able to pull-up to the Medway Middle School front entrance and pick up their meals without having to leave their vehicle.  

Weekly food pick-up: A week’s worth of food can be picked up at the Medway Village Church Food Pantry on Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:00 a.m. or by scheduling an appointment time with the Food Pantry Director.  Food offerings will include “family size” portions of meal ingredients and kid-friendly single-serve meals.  

Both daily and weekly food pick-up:  Medway families are more than welcome to participate in both of the above options in order to access daily prepared meals and larger sized ingredients each week.  

To register for one or both food pick-up options please click here.  

On behalf of the district, I wish to extend my hopes to you for good health in the coming weeks and beyond.  Please know that even though the doors to our schools are not open, our commitment to support the students, faculty, and staff within the Medway Public School has not changed.  In the coming weeks, email is the best way to reach anyone within the district. Email addresses can be found on our webpages at 


Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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