It was a busy week! Here are some highlights of school-related news that is relevant to school reopening plans, along with links to source documents and more detailed reports.
Infection and testing positivity rates
Each Wednesday the state releases a Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report that includes town-level data. Needham continues to be categorized as "green," with an average daily incidence rate per 100,000 of 1.2 (down from a rate of 1.7 last week). The testing positivity rate has also improved further, from .67% last week to .44% this week. These two metrics are some that will be considered as the district determines whether it is safe to return to school in person this fall.
NPS Family Meetings
Dr. Gutekanst and various administrators hosted a series of six Family Meetings to provide information and answer questions related to aspects of school reopening. CNS has summarized each meeting, along with gathering the presentation and recording links:
NPS School Committee Meeting
The August 25 School Committee meeting was conducted in a “hybrid model,” with some participants joining via Zoom and others meeting at the Broadmeadow School. Participants demonstrated key features of a return to in-person learning by wearing masks and being seated six feet apart. The main agenda item was an update on school reopening plans, and a new face mask policy was proposed.
NPS school calendar
The district is currently reviewing the distribution of Blue/Gold in-person days throughout the school year, particularly September through December, based on feedback and suggestions from parents. The current calendar has a total of 67 Blue in-person days and 70 Gold in-person days. The district expects to finalize the schedule in the next few days.
Executive Order: Programs to support families during remote learning
Governor Baker signed an Executive Order authorizing program adjustments to provide additional support to families during remote learning:
Licensed childcare centers will be able to offer care for school-aged children during the school day
Remote learning enrichment programs may be authorized under EEC standards by their municipalities
Remote learning parent cooperatives may be created
MIAA statement on fall sports modifications
The MIAA COVID-19 Task Force Sub-Committee published detailed modifications by sport that cover areas such as health screenings, social distancing for athletes and spectators, equipment, locker rooms, and face coverings.
Needham receives $23,000 grant for remote learning technology
Needham was one of 253 school districts across the state to receive a grant to help ensure that all students have access to technology necessary for hybrid or remotely learning.