NSBORO Update: Less than 50% of students registered for free Covid screening; “Social Distancing Analysis Tool” posted for K-5 classrooms

by beth on February 5, 2021

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According to the latest update from Northborough and Southborough Public Schools, only 44% of students are signed up for the district’s free Covid-19 screening program. That appears to fall short of the goal by about 36%.

Notably, rollout of the screening program is now listed as starting in early March. Previously, the district was targeting early February by the latest.

Last month, Wellness Director Mary Ellen Duggan told School Committee members for screening to be an effective tool, she’d want at least 80% participation. However, she had also noted that other school districts found that participation increased as their weekly programs continued.

School screening registrationsThe screening is one of the tools the district hopes to use to increase in-person learning, starting with K-5 students in late March. As of this afternoon’s email, Southborough’s K-5 schools were 3 of the top 4 schools with the highest registration – about 50% or greater. (Click on the table right to see the figures by individual school.)

To sign your student up for the screening program, click here.

This Sunday, February 7th, is the deadline for K-5 parents to decide which learning model their children will be committed to when schools increase Hybrid attendance to 4 days per week. (In this week’s webinar, administrators explained that fully remote Mondays will be used for building maintenance and to allow the screening program to work.)

To help parents understand the plan, the district shared information on the plans to maximize social distancing in classrooms. With a link to the Cannon Social Distancing Analysis Tool, parents can find out “What will be the social distancing space in my child’s classroom?”

The message on the tool’s overview page reinforces the district’s messaging that they are making “evidence-based decisions”.  The District’s Medical Advisory Team explained in Tuesday’s webinar that initial recommendations of 6 feet of social distance were based on not wearing masks. They indicated that the distance has a far lower impact when masks are worn. 

Based on the data they have been studying, they are now comfortable with softening that requirement to allow students more in person learning opportunities. Under the new model some classrooms would seat students 4-6 feet apart. The six feet will always be maintained during lunch breaks when students remove their masks.

sample room layoutThe Classroom Layout tab describes and calculates how students can be seated in a room based on its dimensions. The Capacity Detail Tab allows parents to pull up the school and view classes by classroom number. It lists the maximum capacity for each room and whether it would be set up in a “quad” or “isometric” layout.

You can read the district’s full newsletter here.

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