School news: Reopening survey and update; quarantine protocol for student travelers; 8th grade DC trip cancelled

Above: School parents are being asked to complete a survey on how they would respond to reopening in the fall. The request comes in the most recent update on the school’s efforts to prepare for September. (images cropped from survey and update)

The Northborough and Southborough Public Schools is asking each family to complete a survey. This time the focus is learning how parents would handle reopening. (Would you send kids to school if it opened 100%? Would you participate in a hybrid model? Would you send kids on a bus?)

The survey closes on Thursday, July 16th, so respond soon. (You can access that here.)

The survey was shared in an update posted on the District website last Friday. In the message, Superintendent Gregory Martineau advised that under current state guidelines students can’t travel outside of New England within 2 weeks of attending school in-person:

if your child travels outside of New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut), New York or New Jersey, your child will need to be quarantined for 14 days prior to returning to school. These exact requirements may change over time, as per orders from the state government.

Of course, it’s still uncertain if students will be attending school in person at the start of the year. The district is still working on three versions for reopening in the fall: 100% in-person, hybrid learning models, and full remote learning.

Currently, the District is conducting a feasibility study regarding reopening for 100% in-person learning with health requirements. This study includes examining each of our ten facilities and determining whether or not all health and safety guidelines from the Commonwealth’s medical expert team can be met. This study will be submitted to DESE for a detailed review.

In addition to the feasibility study, we have a range of stakeholders working on developing specific plans for the hybrid and remote learning models.

To inform our planning, we are also seeking data from faculty, staff, and families via a survey. I’m asking that each family complete the Fall Reopening Survey. This data will help us understand families’ current intentions for the fall and will influence District plans.

The models will be shared the week of August 2nd. In the meantime, he will be posting an update each Friday.

Given that we don’t even know if we can send kids to school in person, the other news shared last Friday shouldn’t come as a big surprise. That’s when 8th grade Trottier students learned that their big annual field trip is cancelled. The kids won’t be heading to Washington D.C. this fall. 

The email from Trottier Middle School Principal Gary Hreschuk explained:

Like many of you, we felt that time would be our greatest ally in this planning. We were hoping that by now that the landscape for travel would be clearer and we would have definitive plans. . .

In reality, we have more questions now than we do answers. With this level of uncertainty and with student and staff health being our number one priority in our decision-making, we have come to the conclusion that we will need to cancel the Washington D.C. trip next year.

This is not the decision we wanted to make, but we feel it is necessary.

He invited disappointed families to join a zoom call on Wednesday afternoon:

Mr. Lavoie and I would like the opportunity to meet with families via Zoom to explain our work, thinking, and rationale. In addition, we would like to offer families time to ask any questions and present any concerns.

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