Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, November 13, 2020

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Welcome back BHS! We were so happy to welcome Cohort B back to Bedford High School this morning and are looking forward to seeing Cohort A on Monday. I am happy to report that at this point there are only three (3) BHS school community members in quarantine and none of their quarantines are related to others at the high school or to each other. We will of course continue to work collaboratively with the Board of Health to monitor and report cases.

Thinking about Thanksgiving Travel
Just a reminder that all of us in Massachusetts remain under a travel order. This order was put in place by Governor Baker on August 1, 2020. MA COVID-19 Travel Order and remains in effect. The travel guidance states that all travelers to high risk states have to quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative COVID-19 test. The guidance states that a negative result from an antigen test must be confirmed by a negative result from an FDA EUA-approved molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test, on a sample obtained 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Massachusetts. So as to prevent delay in returning to school, I feel we should recommend the PCR as the gold standard. The travel order also stipulates that testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not required. In the upcoming holiday period, some staff members and families may travel out of state and will be required to follow the MA Travel Order if doing so.

Therefore, all Massachusetts residents are discouraged from traveling to high-risk states (see list MA COVID-19 Travel Order. If you have to travel to a High-Risk Area or participate in foreign travel, Gov. Baker’s Travel Order requires that all returning travelers must be quarantined for 14 days upon return to MA, unless you present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test on your return. The COVID-19 PCR test must be done either within 72 hours of your return to MA or when you get home.
Remember that testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult(s) from their household is not required, as long as the adult(s) is tested and if found to be negative. Quarantine is not necessary in this case. Please note that this travel order applies to all of us. We desperately need everyone to comply with the travel requirements as our margins for continuing in our hybrid model are razor thin. I appreciate your attention to this matter.

DESE guidance new COVID
At this point it seems like old news but the state of Massachusetts changed their reporting system. The system now includes three pieces of information: the number of cases ratio of 1:100,000, the community positivity rate, and the size of the community. This has led to a number of communities to change colors on the MA.GOV Covid Dashboard. As a matter of fact it was part of what led Bedford to go from Red to Green. Please see the DESE Memo on Interpreting the DPH Metrics

Upcoming Webinars
The Bedford Health and Human Services Department is sponsoring two upcoming webinars

  • The first is “They’re Not Crazy, They’re Adolescents: What Parents Should Know about the Teen Brain and Substance Use” presented by Dr. Sion Kim Harris on Monday, Nov. 16th at 7:30 PM. This session will touch on vaping and other substance use.
  • The second is “Resilience Required: COVID-19 and Teen Mental Health” presented by Jon Mattleman on Tuesday, Nov. 17th from 7-8 pm. This session will outline a framework to understand and navigate this school year, your teen/tween’s mental health, and how to be a support. Please check out https://www.bedfordma.gov/youth-family for more information.

Town and School Staff Support Webinar Offered
On Wednesday, December 16th from 2-3 pm, the Bedford Health and Human Services Department and Bedford Public Schools Counseling Department are sponsoring a support webinar for town and school staff with Jon Mattleman, a mental health counselor and presenter for over 35 years. Jon will present “Supporting Families Is rewarding…And So Challenging During COVID-19. Understanding our new norms and supporting ourselves during the COVID-19.” Recognizing that the challenges that families face during these challenging times are complex, and often exhausting, Jon’s work is grounded in delivering tools and techniques that can be implemented in real-time. Please set the time aside to join us for this informative presentation for Town of Bedford Staff and Bedford Public Schools Staff with a Q&A period at the end. Please register by navigating to https://event.webinarjam.com/register/172/q7m5rswr

Technology
If you have questions about this or any other technology issue or concerns please contact tech_support@bedfordps.org

MIAA Guidance
We are still waiting on the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) COVID-19 Task Force for the guidelines regarding winter athletics. We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.

DESE Guidance
This week we have not received any new guidance from DESE. Please note that we are working with DESE on how our COVID-19 cases are reported out here in the community and on their website. As soon as we have worked out the details our information will be updated on their website. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please see the department’s COVID-19 website for more information at http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/.

COVID-19
With the change in the state reporting we do not yet have our community COVID-19 information. I expect that Town Manager Stanton will update the town website as soon as possible. Please go to either the state website at MA.GOV Covid Dashboard as part of the COVID Dashboard information. The town information can be found on the Bedford Home News and Announcements page at Bedford Home News and Announcements.

Before I close out this week’s update, I just want to take a moment and acknowledge how difficult this fall has been for all of us. I know that many of us are feeling a great deal of stress, anxiety, and sadness about the changes that have occurred and the way we now go about our daily lives. We have become accustomed to restrictions on where we go, who we see, and how close we can get to others. Below are links to assist if you or a family member needs support. Thank you to the Bedford Department of Health and Human Services and the Bedford Public Schools Counseling Department for providing all of us with these resources

As always, thank you for your patience, your participation, and your continued commitment to our schools.

Wishing you continued health.


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