Superintendent's Update - January 26, 2021

Superintendent's Update - January 26, 2021
Posted on 01/26/2021
Superintendent's Update - January 26, 2021

Dear Medway families, 

As we close out the first month of 2021 and reach our mid-point in the year, we are thankful that we continue to be in a position where our schools have remained open to in person learning for our students.  This continues to be tenuous and may change.  We are also appreciative of the extensive efforts that allowed us to return all of our PK-5 hybrid students back to a more traditional five day per week full day experience.  We recognize that many communities around us and certainly around the nation do not have the space, availability of resources, and/or the health metrics that best support these models of practice.  We are thankful that our current circumstances support our current models and continue to watch and plan forward with cautious optimism.  Now our work turns to developing a plan for a full return of our grades 6-12 students.

The return of our remaining students will require a high level of collaboration, as well as continued vigilance with health and safety procedures.  While a return of all hybrid students is not guaranteed, we need to begin planning for this possibility.  There will be many hurdles to overcome but I am certain that our shared desire to return all hybrid students to a full in person experience will support our efforts.  As we have shared, to date there has not been evidence of in school transmission.  This is excellent news and demonstrates that our health and safety protocols are effective.  The behaviors outside of school, however, are leading to new COVID-19 cases.   I would like to caution our community that we cannot let down our guard.  While we have started to see a slowing down of new cases in Massachusetts, in the student aged population we continue to deal with new COVID-19 cases weekly.  The number of cases that we deal with weekly will be an important consideration as we begin planning, and eventual implementation, of a full return of all hybrid students.    

We look forward to connecting with many of our families this evening as we join with the Medfield Public Schools in a collaborative event in partnership with Challenge Success entitled Navigating School During Uncertain Times.  Registration information can be found below.  We will join together again as a community tomorrow, January 27, for a community webinar regarding the future of our COVID-19 Student Testing Program.  All families, PK-12, are invited to join us for both events.   Please find additional information and updates from the district below.

Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

 

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:  TONIGHT!

Medway T.H.R.I.V.E., in collaboration with Medfield Public Schools, will be holding a webinar event on Tuesday, January 26, at 7:00 p.m.  This virtual event, Navigating School During Uncertain Times, will be hosted by Stanford University’s, Challenge Success.  For more information and to register for the event please click here.  

 

Community Webinar on COVID-19 Pool Testing for Students:  WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27

As has been communicated, the Medway Public Schools has indicated to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that we are interested in participating in their COVID-19 testing program.  Waiting to participate in this program will result in significant fiscal benefits to our district, and will ensure that we can continue a testing program for the remainder of this school year.  

 

Parents in all grades, PK-12 are invited for an informational webinar regarding the student testing program.  Our goal is to move quickly and begin testing as soon as possible.  The webinar will take place on Wednesday, January 27 at 6:00 p.m.  You can register for the webinar by clicking this link.  

 

COVID-19 Data Table Update

Please find an updated COVID-19 Data Table with case count information from January 23 to today, January 26.  As you can see, 9 new cases have been reported during this time period.  Of those, 4 were in school during the infectious period. 

 

It is important to note that there is a high number of close contacts.  Under the practice of the Tri Valley League, when a student athlete or coach tests positive for COVID-19, the entire team and coaching staff are considered close contacts and must be quarantined, for most sports.  Additionally, if a member of an opposing team tests positive for COVID-19 and Medway has played them during the infectious period our student athletes must be quarantined.  

 

COVID-19 Information

School

Total Number of Cases - students and staff

September 16 to present

COVID positive individuals who

were in school during the infectious period September 16 to present

Number of Cases - students and staff (January 23- January 26)

Related Close Contacts* (January 23- January 26)

Evidence of In-School Transmission (January 23- January 26)

COVID positive individuals

were in school during the infectious period (January 23- January 26)

McGovern

6

3

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Burke-Memorial

13

4

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Medway Middle

25

9

4

3

No

2

Medway High

41

19

5

16**

No

2

Virtual School

1

N/A

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Medway Daycare

3

3

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

*Please note that related close contacts are members of our school community, but does not indicate that the close contact was created during school.

**When a member of a high school athletic team tests positive, the entire team and coaching staff is deemed a close contact per league practice.

 

 

Grade PK-5 Full Return Complete 

The return of our Grade 5 students last week for 5 day a week, in person learning completed our PK-5 full return plan.  This was a considerable accomplishment for our McGovern, Burke-Memorial, and Medway Middle Schools and we are incredibly appreciative of the efforts it took to make this happen.  Thank you to our faculty, staff, administration, families, students, transportation, food service, facilities, technology, and support teams.  

 

Structured Learning Time Requirements Met

In a collaborative partnership with the Medway Federation of Teachers, beginning on Thursday, January 21, all grade 6-12 students began participating in a minimum of 15 minutes of synchronous engagement time in each of their classes throughout the day during their at home learning time.

 

This work has been in process since mid-October when we began to partner to bring more synchronous engagement time to our at home learners.  Beginning in early November, the Commissioner of Education at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education started to express similar goals and collected data across schools regarding the amount of live, virtual synchronous, and virtual asynchronous time that made up student schedules.  Minimum time requirements were then voted on by the Board of Education and districts were asked to respond to these minimum requirements.  We are pleased that Medway’s work with the Medway Federation of Teachers has resulted in our compliance with this new regulatory change at the state level but more importantly that our students in grades 6-12 will have connected time with educators each class period of each day when they are learning from home.  If families have any questions about this synchronous learning time they should contact their child’s teacher(s) or building principal.

Changes to Quarantine Requirement and Testing Options for Travel

We were recently alerted to changes to the State travel restrictions regarding children.  Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not required. Children 10 years and younger should mimic the quarantine requirement and testing options completed by the household adult they accompanied for travel. If the accompanying adult chooses to quarantine, the child must also quarantine. If the accompanying adult chooses to obtain a test, the child and adult must quarantine until the adult’s negative test result is received.  The complete Travel Order can be found here.

Mandatory Flu Vaccine Update

On Friday, January 15, the Department of Public Health (DPH) sent a message to school nurses removing the flu vaccination from the Immunization Requirements for School Entry.  According to the DESE, “DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age 6 months and older receive a seasonal flu vaccine each year, DPH’s message stated that preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19.”

 

Town of Medway Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advisory (IDEA) Committee

The Town of Medway is seeking 5 volunteers from the community to join the newly formed Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advisory (IDEA) Committee. The mission of the Medway IDEA Committee is to provide feedback and recommendations to the Board of Selectmen geared toward policy development designed to continue and, where appropriate, enhance the promotion and fostering of Medway as a community that is inclusive and welcoming to all peoples of all backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Through this committee, the Town seeks to fully explore our existing standards, practices, and collective efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to build upon them for an even better tomorrow. Submit your letter of interest to the Selectmen's Office, 155 Village St, Medway, MA 02053, or feel free to send an email to bos@townofmedway.org. For more info on the committee click here: https://bit.ly/3m0P6Iu

 

MCAS Testing Plan for Spring 2021 from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has determined that a shorter testing experience for Grades Grades 3–8 in the areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science, Technology, and Engineering will provide schools and the Commonwealth as a whole with a diagnostic picture of the student learning impact of the pandemic.    Instead of taking part in two testing sessions per content area,  students will take only one session each. 

 

Schools will administer the MCAS tests to schools during the following TENTATIVE testing windows.  

 

Subject Area Test

Testing Window

ELA

April 5–May 7

Mathematics

April 26–May 28

STE (Grades 5 and 8)

April 27–May 28

 

Medway Public Schools In the News

Press release: Medway High School Senior Timothy Brown Recognized with Mickey Sullivan Student of the Achievement Award.

Press release: Medway High School Receives $500 Grant to Support STEM Programs from ExxonMobile and Global Partners LP

 

Upcoming Events

January 26, 2021

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event, Virtual, Information and event registration can be found here, 7:00 p.m.

January 27, 2021

Community Webinar on Student COVID-19 Testing; Register here.

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

February 4, 2021

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

February 9, 2021

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

February 15-19, 2021

No School: February Vacation

February 24, 2021

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

February 25, 2021

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

March 4, 2021

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

March 9, 2021

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

MFE Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

March 10, 2021

Early Release: All Schools

March 18, 2021

Public Hearing on FY22 Budget 5:30 p.m.

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

March 24, 2021

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.


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