NSBORO Roundup: Masks not required outdoors; Studying the Holocaust; Start Time Reminder; and No to School Choice

I’m rounding up some of the school related news I missed sharing recently. Some stories are from the media and others from school announcements.

Outdoor Mask Requirement lifted for elementary schoolsNSBORO District:

When the district announced on May 19th that masks would still be required during recess at NSBORO elementary schools, some parents objected. At the time, the Medical Advisory Team noted that they would continue to look at the data weekly and make adjustments. It appears that they did just that.

The District’s website includes the following message to parents of PreK-5 students of a new policy that went into effect yesterday:

CDC mask guidanceBeginning on June 1, 2021, and in alignment with Governor Baker’s shifting the state’s mask mandate to a mask advisory, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s updated mask guidelines, the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough will no longer require that masks be worn by students when outdoors during recess, physical education or outdoor classroom environments, even when social distance can not be maintained. Masks are required on the bus at all times and inside the school buildings, except when eating.

In alignment with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines*, The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough strongly encourages all non-vaccinated persons to wear masks outdoors when they are with individuals from outside their household and unable to maintain social distance. The Medical Advisory Team supports mask wearing for non-vaccinated students. (read more)

Northborough HS Class Takes Deep Dive Into What Led To The Holocaust– CBS Boston:

Local broadcast news covered a Social Studies elective at the high school. (Although, the headline ignores the Regional part of Algonquin’s name.)

Most kids learn about the Holocaust in school, but Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough is taking it one step further with lessons on human behavior.

“I think it’s really helped me to understand why my family was killed,” said Jordan Chastanet, a senior at Algonquin.

The course is called “Holocaust & Human Behavior”. The elective, which is offered to juniors and seniors, is more than just a class. It’s personal.

“My grandmother was actually a Holocaust survivor, and two of her sisters and her escaped from the Warsaw ghetto. And I’ve heard so much about my history,” said Chastanet. (read and view more)

(You can also find the full course description in Algonquin’s Program of Studies.)

Start Time Update – Planning for the 2021-2022 School Year – NSBORO District:

Recent updates from the Superintendent remind parents and students to prepare for changing start times for schools this fall.

The initiative to allow Algonquin students sleep later resulted in a radically revised 2-tiered bus schedule. Most students schools times will start and end later, except for Trottier Middle School. (The 6th-8th graders will actually start and end 13 minutes earlier.) Below is an excerpt from the update in the May newsletter with the table of Southborough start times:

school start timesWe will be closely analyzing route performance, ride times, and the combination of different student groups on our buses. Like with any change, we know the new start time configuration may need adjustments. We will continue to keep our students’ safety a priority throughout the transition process. We also know that many families will need to adjust their current routines. We encourage families to review the new configuration, ask questions, and plan for the launch on September 1, 2021. We are optimistic that the outcomes will benefit our students and that the transition will go smoothly.  (read more)
For more background on the changing schedules, click here.

Northborough & Southborough School Districts opt-out of school choice – Community Advocate:

It looks like there were no surprises in the school committee votes on School Choice. As usual, all three NSBORO districts chose not to accept students from outside the district:

The Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee unanimously voted to opt-out of the inter-district school choice program at their meeting May 19.

This decision aligns with the vote of both the Northborough K-8 and Southborough K-8 School Committee.

Although there are some advantages to school choice, such as a means to generate revenue and allow for flexibility in enrollment declines, Superintendent Greg Martineau cited disadvantages.

He explained the $5,000 in tuition the district would receive for each student would be far less than the district’s per-pupil expenditure of $18,621.13 based on fiscal year (FY)2020.

The fall reopening of schools was also a concern for Martineau.

“There’s no need to add another variable…in terms of what the fall may look like,” he said. (read more)

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