Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – March 5, 2021

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A collection of the week’s news from the Bedford School Department

DESE Commissioner’s announcement
On Wednesday Governor Baker and Commissioner Riley announced that as of March 11, 2021 educators will be eligible to sign up for vaccination appointments! This is wonderful and welcomed news.  The Governor made his announcement at the West Parish Elementary School in Gloucester.  For more information about the announcement please navigate to https://www.mass.gov/governor-updates.

On Friday morning DESE announced that they are delaying the MCAS assessments until later in the school year.  This is all of the information we have as of this writing. As soon as there is more information we will be sure to get it to you.

The Commissioner also released guidance on indoor signing in his Commissioner’s Weekly Update Commissioner’s Weekly Update 3/1/2021

Read Across America Week
March 1st through 5th is Read Across America  The theme for this year is Cultivating Compassion.

Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month. March is dedicated to the contributions of women to the History of the United States. The celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history, and society and was first organized by the school district of Sonoma California in 1978.  For more information about Women’s History Month please navigate to one of these websites https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ or History.com Women’s History Month

Dollars for Scholars
A reminder that CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars will be conducting a Mail-a-thon Fundraiser in March 2021.  The Mail-a-thon fundraiser is designed to gather support for the scholarships our high school seniors will need more than ever. Bedford residents will receive personal letters in early March asking for their continued generous support of CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars. All contributions are awarded as financial scholarships to seniors heading off to college or pursuing other education.
Online donations can be made at https://bit.ly/DollarsForScholarsMail-a-thon2021 All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If paying by check, please make payable to “CSF of Bedford” and mail to CSF of Bedford Dollar for Scholars, PO Box 585, Bedford, MA 01730.  Thank you as always for your support of our students.

Continued Return of Students to In-Person Learning
The Davis and Lane schools continue to prepare to bring students back in four days a week.  There is also an emphasis at JGMS and BHS to bring back as many students who would benefit from more in-person learning.  All of these efforts are ongoing as we await the Commissioner’s guidance on bringing students back to school five days a week.

Pool Testing
Beginning next week we will begin piloting Pool Testing with staff at each of our schools.  Information will also be forwarded to parents, guardians, and caretakers so that we can begin to register students for this free service.  We are excited to begin this important seventh pillar with our partners from DESE, CIC Health of Cambridge, and Abbott BinaxNOW.  Be on the lookout for more information.

Minding Your Mind Seminar
The Bedford Health and Human Services Department in collaboration with the Bedford Public Schools Counseling Department is pleased to offer QPR: How anyone can question, persuade, and refer someone considering suicide.  This free webinar is being presented by Jon Mattleman on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, from 7 pm until 8:30 pm. Participants will learn about how to get help for themselves or learn more about preventing suicide, common myths, warning signs, and the simple steps that anyone can take.  This presentation is for an adult audience.  If you have questions please reach out to Christopher Bang our Community Social Worker at cbang@bedfordma.gov . To register please go to Mind Your Mind Registration

Food Service Department Update
During the COVID-19 pandemic food insecurity in Massachusetts has doubled to 18% of all households. If you or someone you know needs food assistance, please call Project Bread today at 1-800-645-8333 or connect online at https://www.projectbread.org/get-help Project Bread can assist families or individuals with confidential information on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs), Summer Meals Programs, Pandemic EBT cards (P-EBT), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) programs. These programs can help stretch food budgets during this difficult time.

Emergency Licensure
DESE also extended the Emergency Licensure program through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. This extends emergency licenses for an additional year and will apply to new applicants as well. DESE will also count the time towards professional teacher status.

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.

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.

Thank you
Thank you to the Rotary Club of Bedford for the delivery of child-sized Medical Face Masks.  The masks are for our students at the Davis and Lane elementary schools and are adorned with dinosaurs.  Thank you to the Rotary for their continued generosity!

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


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