Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – March 19, 2021

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Editor’s Note: In his weekly message, Superintendent Conrad shares a variety of news.

Four Days a Week at Davis and Lane

We had a wonderful “re-opening” at Davis and Lane as students in both schools came back to four-day-a-week in-person learning. Thank you to all of the educators, administrators, and parents who made this happen. As you plan for the spring please consider leaving extra time for traffic congestion or consider having your child riding the bus or bicycle to school when the weather gets warmer. For bus information please call the main office of your child’s school.

Playground Equipment at Davis and Lane

Please note that the playground equipment at the Davis and Lane Elementary Schools will be disinfected five days a week in accordance with CDC recommendations. Both schools will encourage students to disinfect their hands before and after using the equipment.  The equipment will not be disinfected over the weekends. Families who use the equipment during non-school hours are encouraged to have their students disinfect their hands before and after using the equipment.

Community Health Needs Assessment

Emerson Hospital is conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment/Survey to learn more about the health and social services related strengths, gaps, and needs of the community. Emerson is seeking input from residents, health care providers, and social service workers in the cities and towns served by Emerson. Anyone who lives or works in the region can participate. Please consider taking the survey by March 31 and thank you for your assistance.

Travel Order

Please note that effective Monday, March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order created by Governor Baker will be replaced with a Massachusetts Travel Advisory. The new travel advisory will urge all persons entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, to be advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more. The advisory does not apply to anyone in the following categories:

  • Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after an absence of fewer than 24 hours.
  • Travelers who have a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts.
  • Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) while they are commuting to or from or while at work.
  • Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago and who do not have symptoms).

Travelers are additionally encouraged to consult and follow the CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel.

DESE Commissioner’s announcement

While there was no new guidance this week I wanted to remind everyone where they could find the important information on the Commissioners guidance directing schools to create five day a week all in plans.

To review the guidance please navigate to https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html to read The Message about Guidance on In-Person Learning Requirements or the Plan for Phased Return to In-Person Learning

Technology Update

Please be aware that there will be a disruption to Aspen, our student information system over the weekend of March 19, 20, and 21.  Aspen will be taken down around 6:00 PM on the evening of Friday, March 19th and will be unavailable until 6:00 AM on the morning of March 22nd. The reason for this is so that we transfer Aspen hosting responsibilities from BPS to Aspen. Please plan accordingly as families, students and staff will not have access to Aspen during this time.

Pool Testing

This week we added students to our pooled testing program.   We tested 321 students and 59 staff.  I am happy to report that all of our pools came back negative!   This week we did have one pool that came back as inconclusive.  An inconclusive pool means that we treat it as a presumptive positive pool.  This resulted in calling the members of the positive pool for a rapid antigen test.  In this case, the rapid antigen tests were negative and we were able to collect PCR tests on the individuals in the positive pool.  In the end, all the tests were negative.   Thank you to all families who were so cooperative in this process.  We will continue the DESE pooled testing program, and families may still sign up.

Please consider signing up your child for weekly asymptomatic testing.  If your child is part of a positive pool, we will arrange for rapid testing as soon as possible, and if the rapid tests are negative, it usually results in only a 24-hour timeline of individual testing.  Please see the information in the following document to register your child.

Bedford Public Schools Pooled Testing Overview

We are excited to continue this important seventh pillar with our partners from DESE, CIC Health of Cambridge, and Abbott BinaxNOW.  If you have questions about the pooled testing process, please reach out to our School Nurse Leader/JGMS Nurse, Tracy Fernald, and/or the school nurse at your child’s school.

Mental Health Seminars

The Bedford Health and Human Services Department in collaboration with the Bedford Public Schools Counseling Department are pleased to offer a number of upcoming webinars including:

For anyone in the Bedford community who couldn’t join Wednesday night’s QPR suicide prevention session with Jon Mattleman, you are invited to view the webinar, available online for one week, by navigating to QPR Suicide Prevention Webinar

Monday, March 29th at 7 pm—Building Skills for Managing Big Emotions—A session focused on parents and caregivers of our younger learners, but all are welcome. As the pandemic continues, we know that many parents are understandably feeling weighed down by pandemic fatigue and, for some families, this is compounded by the fact that children are experiencing more intense emotions. This session will offer strategies and coping tools to manage intense moments with your child. This webinar features Dr. Rachel Kramer, Ph.D. www.drrachelkramer.com

Monday, April 5th at 7 pm—Supporting Emotional Well-Being for Tweens and Teens—This session will present the ways we can understand and support our teens and tweens regarding the developmental issues they face. Strategies will focus on helping parents and caregivers feel more confident and courageous to engage in difficult discussions with the youths in their lives. This webinar features Dr. Rachel Kramer, Ph.D. www.drrachelkramer.com

Monday, April 12th at 7 pm—Pandemic Parenting One Year In—Supporting Social Development and Combating Social Atrophy – During the pandemic, we are all getting much less practice with face-to-face communication. Children and adults worry about not knowing how to relate to people once pandemic restrictions are lifted. This session will focus on strategies for parents and caregivers to support their children’s social skills and combat social atrophy. This webinar features Dr. Rachel Kramer, Ph.D. www.drrachelkramer.com

For any of these webinars please register here: https://forms.gle/ozZAKtKDdpr63ewJ7 or contact Christopher Bang our Community Social Worker at cbang@bedfordma.gov or the Bedford Health and Human Services Department with any questions at health@bedfordma.gov  or 781-275-6507.

The Bedford Emergency Food Bank

We all know that access to healthy food options and nutrition are important to overall physical and mental health and well-being for all of us and particularly for our students. The Bedford Emergency Response Food Bank operates a drive-thru program on Thursdays from 4:00 pm until 5:30 pm at the Town Center (Yellow) Building, 12 Mudge Way, Rear Parking lot. No registration is required and no personal data is requested.  Food is delivered contact-free, a vehicle pulls up to the food bank and the groceries are placed in your trunk.  Thanks to the generosity of Food Banks donors and partners, they are able to offer fresh produce and protein, along with pantry staples.  This is a service of the Town of Bedford and all residents are encouraged to participate as needed. If you have questions about this service, please visit the webpage or contact Carla Olson at the Health and Human Services Department:  781-275-7727 X4330.

Community COVID-19 Dashboard

The Bedford Board of Health Bedford COVID-19 Dashboard contains data related to case counts, active/recovered cases, case demographics, and school case data. The majority of the data on the Dashboard will be updated Monday through Friday, with some data tables and charts updated on a weekly basis. We invite you to view the new dashboard at www.bedfordma.gov/covid-stats.

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

 


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