Superintendent's Update - Dated 9/25/2020

Superintendent's Update - Dated 9/25/2020
Posted on 09/25/2020
Superintendent's Update - Dated 9/25/2020

September 25, 2020 Community Update

Dear Medway families, 

It has been wonderful to get the school year started!  An essential area of focus throughout the planning for a return to school has been the health and safety of our school community.  We have all experienced fear and anxiety with the return to school, for ourselves for our children.  The virus, and the possibility that there are asymptomatic carriers, has been especially concerning.  In an effort to continue to try and minimize risk within our school community, the Medway Public Schools has been exploring COVID-19 Surveillance Testing for students, faculty and staff.  Pool testing would be conducted approximately every other week and continue throughout the duration of the 2020-2021 school year.  The results we gain from testing will allow us to quickly identify positive cases within our school community and take action that is connected to each specific circumstance.  I believe that regular surveillance testing will allow us to more quickly, and appropriately react and respond to situations.  

We have planned a webinar to share more information on this potential testing program, and to gauge community interest in moving forward.  The webinar has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.  The webinar requires pre-registration.  You can register for the webinar here:  Exploring COVID-19 Surveillance Testing in the Medway Public Schools.  We hope that you are able to attend so that you can share feedback with us.

I have included a personal video message to mark the start of the school year which can be accessed here.

Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Presentation to School Committee Regarding COVID 19 Pool Testing

At the Thursday, September 24 Medway School Committee meeting, Superintendent Pires and Director of Wellness. Sherman, presented an overview of a proposal to bring a COVID-19 Surveillance Testing program to Medway for students, faculty, and staff.  The presentation can be viewed here.  As noted above in the opening message, a Community Webinar will be hosted on Wednesday, September 30 at 5:00 p.m. to share more details about this proposal.

Important Information from Medway School Health Services

The Medway school nursing team has assembled important information related to COVID-19 for parents and guardians to review including information about student screening, masks, the flu vaccine, and positive cases of COVID-19.  This information can be found here

Update From Student Food Services

With the start of the school year looking different for everyone, Shawn Fallon, Director of Dining Services, wants to share with families some important updates regarding student food services.  The most drastic change is that all students have the ability to eat a free breakfast and school lunch, regardless of free and reduced lunch status.  These free meals are available to students thanks to a USDA waiver which runs through December 31, 2020.  For further information and other important updates, please see Mr. Fallon’s letter to parents and guardians which can be found here

COVID-19 Student Contact Tracing

If a Medway student tests positive for COVID-19, the Town of Medway Public Health Nurse will alert Medway School’s Director of Wellness.  The Director of Wellness will work with the school nurse to conduct contact tracing to determine if the student who tested positive was in “close contact” with other students.  The MA Department of Public Health defines close contact within a school setting to be “only those who have been within 6 feet of distance of the individual for at least 15 minutes, while the person was infectious.”  If it is determined that students were in close contact with an infected individual, this list of students will be shared with the Town of Medway Public Health Nurse, who will follow-up with families.     

Community Flu Clinic

Medway Public Schools is offering a flu vaccine clinic for our community.  Please see details and registration link below. Unfortunately, CVS does not offer the flu vaccine for children under the age of 9. This will have to be scheduled with your pediatrician.

Clinic Date/Time: October 7, 2020, 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Location: Medway High School, 88 Summer Street

Clinic Registration Link to be shared TBD

Clinic ID: CI088845

Pharmacist Contact Information:

Name: Lauren Barakian

Phone: (508) 353–0862

Student Self-Scheduling for Health Office Visits

Medway Middle and High School are implementing new processes by which students access the Health Office.  Many of our procedures that we have used in the past are changed due to COVID-19.  One of the procedures our nursing team has investigated is improving how students schedule an appointment with a school nurse.  Nancy Whitehouse and our school nurses brought a model forward to the principals which allows students to engage in self-scheduling visits with the Health Office.  With the exception for those students with critical need, this allows nurses to prioritize care; effectively clean and disinfect between students visits; decrease students seeing the nurse as a task avoidant behavior; decrease out of class time; reinforce a necessary life skill for adolescents; and allows reports to be generated that support student health and access to care.

Supporting Healthy Chromebook Use

Due to the pandemic, students are spending more time than usual on their laptops.  As a result, there is an increased risk for health concerns like headaches, eye strain, and sleep disturbances.  Please consider helping your child to enable the blue light filter option on their Chromebook to lessen these concerns.  To activate this setting:

Mental Health Wrap-Around Service Specialist 

Samantha Nurmenniemi, mental health counselor, started her work in Medway Schools this week, as our Wrap-Around Service Specialist.  In this grant-funded position, Ms.Nurmenniemi will support the mental health of Medway PK-12 students and families.  Ms.Nurmenniemi will work closely with our school counseling team so that she can help students and families receive the mental health supports and services they need.  Later this year, Ms.Nurmenniemi will be joined by a second clinician who will provide in-home therapy and intensive care coordination for students and families.    

Partnership with Boston University Department of Public Health 

We have recently partnered with Boston University’s Department of Public Health to work on two important COVID-19 related projects.  The first of which is a  “COVID-19 Dashboard.”  Once completed, this dashboard will help us make decisions around what learning model (in-person, hybrid, remote) we should currently be in based on public health metrics.   The second project is a “Positive COVID-19 Test Quick Response Guide.”  This guide will provide a visual representation of DESE’s Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios in School, on the Bus, or in Community Settings, so that school administrators and nurses can accurately assess and respond to student cases of COVID-19.  

Transportation

Bus transportation for all schools began on Thursday, September 17.  We continue to answer questions, receive feedback and problem solve.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through the process.  Bus drivers are cleaning the high touch places on their buses throughout the morning and afternoons and the buses are being disinfected every morning and afternoon by Holmes Transportation staff.  We are studying both arrival and departure times of all routes to improve both consistency and efficiency, as well as studying whether routes can be combined again.   Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions and concerns.  

Technology Update

The technology department has disbursed over 500 devices to students across all grade levels within the past few weeks. We continue to wait for additional devices to arrive to support our students and families in need of devices.  If you require support with technology questions, please email support@medwayschools.org.

We encourage all families to access the Infinite Campus portal and complete the Online Registration process, and the “beginning of year” packet. Completing this packet online ensures our contact and family information is up to date. We would also like to announce that we have added to our portal capabilities, now providing the ability to submit absence, tardy, and dismissal requests. Please click here for directions on using this new resource.

Medway Public Schools In the News

Photos: First day of school in Medway

Upcoming Events

September 28, 2020

No School: Yom Kippur

October 8, 2020

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

October 22, 2020

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.


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