Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – March 26, 2021

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Superintendent Conrad includes a variety of news and a large amount of detail in his Friday message.

Passover
To all of our families observing Passover Chag Same’ach or Happy Festival.  Passover or Pesach in Hebrew is one of Judaism’s most sacred holidays. Passover commemorates the story of the Israelites departure from ancient Egypt.  For more information about Passover please navigate to https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/passover

Clarity around in-person learning and remote learning
As a district our model is changing.  On Monday, April 5, 2021 at Lane and Davis and on Monday, April 26, 2021 at JGMS and BHS the Bedford Public Schools will have only two options for families EITHER a five (5) day a week all in person learning model OR a fully remote learning option.  The Commonwealth will no longer allow us to have a hybrid learning model with a mix of in person and remote learning days. Students and families may select either option.  These options will run through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Please note that if a student, classroom, grade level, or school needs to transition to a remote learning day(s) for a COVID related reason those days will count towards Time on Learning (ToL) or Student Learning Time (SLT).

Clarity around social distancing at BHS and JGMS
At the school committee meeting on Tuesday night, I presented information regarding our move from six (6) foot social distancing to three (3) foot social distancing.  This is based on the latest scientific information from the CDC, MA DPH, and DESE.  For the latest information from the CDC please navigate to CDC Operation Strategies for Schools 3/19/2021 To review the guidance from DESE please navigate to https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html and look for The Message about Guidance on In-Person Learning Requirements or the Plan for Phased Return to In-Person Learning. To review the slides presented on Tuesday evening please navigate to Transition to in-person learning 3 23 2021

Vaccinations for educators and educational staff
Please note that Governor Baker has dedicated days for school staff vaccinations.  Those dates are Saturday, March 27, Saturday, April 3, Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11.  Please navigate to https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine for more information.

Documentary and BHS Community Conversation—Thursday, April 8 7:30-9 pm
Join the BHS Community for an upcoming community event based around the documentary I’m Not Racist… Am I? This film follows a diverse group of teens through a yearlong exploration to get at the heart of racism. Through some tense and painful moments, we see how these difficult conversations affect their relationships with friends and parents, and ultimately challenge them to look deep within themselves. By the end of their time together, we’ll see these remarkable young people develop deeper bonds, a stronger resolve and a bigger, more significant definition of racism than any of us ever imagined. Participants will receive a link to watch the documentary on their own and then will come together virtually via Zoom for an engaging conversation to unpack the film and its impact. Use this link to sign-up.

METCO Turns 55!
Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO). METCO was developed by Roxbury NAACP/MCAD activist Ruth Batson and a coalition of suburban school committees.

Please help us celebrate this milestone by supporting METCO’s spring recruitment campaign, #METCOlimitless. METCO Headquarters will be posting past and present testimonials from parents, alumni, students, community members to celebrate their dedication and achievement. Three things you can do to get involved are to:

  1. Like or follow METCO HQ on your social media platforms, and invite your METCO-affiliated contacts to do the same (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
  2. View and share the METCO Limitless Opportunities at METCO Limitless Opportunities  with your followers to let them know that 33 excellent suburban school districts are looking for the next group of diverse Boston students entering grades K-10 for fall 2021 (deadline April 30)
  3. Repost METCO content with your commentary and the hashtag #METCOlimitless

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 was replaced with a Massachusetts Travel Advisory. The new travel advisory urges 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.

Pool Testing
This week we tested 427 students and 64 staff.  I am happy to report that all of our pools came back negative!   Thank you to all families who were so cooperative in this process.  We will continue the DESE pooled testing program next week, and families may still sign up.

Please consider signing up your child for weekly asymptomatic surveillance testing. Routine surveillance testing is the best way to discover who is infected and doesn’t know it. 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

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.

BHS News
Congratulations to the BHS Now news team for creating an entertaining and informative six (6) minute news program. I appreciated the information.  If you’d like to tune in follow this link to Bedford TV Youtube page link.

Crossing Guard Appreciation Day
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 was Crossing Guard Appreciation Day! I want to publicly acknowledge Lori Bellino and Arthur Smith for being there every day, regardless of the weather, to make sure all of our students get to school safely. Both of them do a wonderful, caring, and important job! If you get a chance please give them an extra smile and a thank you.

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


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