Superintendent Conrad’s Weekly Update ~ May 27, 2022

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Editor’s Note: In his weekly message Superintendent Conrad  reiterated the School Department’s safety concerns and protocols, and also wrote about Memorial Day; Covid protocols, case counts, and testing; School Committee Met at Hanscom Primary School; Davis School Concert; JGMS Spring Trips; 6th Grade Trip to Nature’s Classroom; 8th Grade Trip to Washington, D.C.; Senior Stroll: Graduation for the Class of 2022; BHS All Night Graduation; MVSA Annual Scholars Luncheon;  METCO Students Lead Tours of Nubian Square; Sign up for the BEST/PTO Color Run; Bedford Youth and Family (BY&FS; BY&FS Summer Food Bank Grab Bags; BY&FS Helping Hands Bag Decorating Event; BY&FS and MPY June Workshops

All of us, as educators, parents, guardians, and caregivers continue to process the tragic events of Tuesday afternoon at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. As I wrote on Wednesday, we will continue to work closely with the police and fire departments as well as other town departments to provide the safest learning environment possible for all of our students.

As a school district, we will review our safety protocols and ALICE training, and continue to work with first responders in Bedford and through our mutual aid agreements. Below you will see information about services provided by the Bedford Department of Youth and Family Services.

Monday, May 30, 2022, is Memorial Day
The Bedford Public Schools will be closed on Monday, May 30, 2022, in observance of Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is a public holiday to honor all those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  Originally known as Decoration Day, which followed the Civil War.  It became an official federal holiday in 1971. Please take a moment on Monday to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom. For more information please navigate to History Channel Memorial Day

COVID-19
With an increase in cases, we urge everyone to take extra precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 particularly since we want everyone to be able to participate in the many end-of-year activities.

As a school district we continue to disinfect our classrooms each evening, we have our HVAC system operating for longer hours and with MERV-13 filtration, and we continue to run HEPA filtration air purifiers in each occupied space.

We recommend that each family continue to have conversations about mask-wearing indoors including while at school. For those individuals who need masks, please note that N95, KN95, and surgical-style masks are available at all schools in adult and child sizes.

Testing continues to be an option and is available at all schools through our At-Home Antigen Test Option and our Pooled PCR Testing Option. Please use these links to sign up for testing.

To review the current number of cases please follow this link to the Bedford COVID-19 Dashboard and for national data please review the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker Weekly Review

COVID-19 Testing

Covid Testing schedule for the remainder of the school year:

  • Due to the Monday Holiday, JGMS will be doing pooled testing on Tuesday 5/31.
  • The COVID-19 weekly pooled testing schedule will continue through the week of June 6th.
  • There will be no COVID testing the week of June 13th (the last week of school).
  • The final distribution of home tests will be the week of June 6th.

COVID-19 Email Addresses

All cases of COVID-19 (both home tests and tests from a medical provider) should be reported to your child’s school nurse using the following email addresses:

Masks for those who test positive for COVID-19 

Please keep in mind that for infected individuals the current guidelines require masks to be worn within the ten-day infection period.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will need to wear a mask after a 5-day isolation and/or quarantine period when around others for an additional five days, except when eating, drinking, or outdoors.

Individuals who experience COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and obtain testing.  If they receive a negative result and their symptoms improve (including remaining fever-free for a 24-hour period without fever-reducing medication), they can return to school but should continue to wear a mask until their symptoms fully resolve.

Unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask in school settings.

COVID-19 Case Updates

Town of Bedford COVID-19 Dashboard Cases in BPS This Week

Pooled Testing Results Week of May 23, 2022

  • BHS 31 students, 23 staff, 1 positive case
  • JGMS 86 students, 38 staff, 1  positive case
  • Lane 210  students, 30  staff   3 positive cases
  • Davis  195 students, 25  staff, 3 positive cases

For weekly pooled testing we are using the single swab collection, placing 2 – 3 swabs in a “pool” to be processed by the lab, and if the pool detects a positive result, the school nurses will retest those individuals with rapid antigen tests, and if positive, families will be notified and instructed on isolation procedures.  If the rapid test is negative and the individual is symptom-free, they can resume weekly COVID-19 testing the following week.

Cases Reported This Week Since May 20, 2022:

  • BHS 14
  • JGMS 25
  • Lane  15
  • Davis 18

School Committee Met at Hanscom Primary School
At the May 10, 2022, meeting of the Bedford School Committee, we discussed a change to 6th-grade math. We discussed the idea of unleveling math in grade 6. After further review, the proposal to unlevel 6th-grade math was withdrawn. Instead, the district will include the topic of unleveling sixth-grade math into a larger discussion and examination of the entire PreK- 12 Math curriculum as a part of a multi-year PreK-12 curriculum review. At the May 24th meeting of the school committee, the curriculum review process and guidelines were reviewed.

Davis School Concert
On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the Davis School presented We Can Do Hard Things featuring the book “Sticks” by Diane Alber. Congratulations to all of the students and teachers for putting on such a wonderful presentation. Special thank you to our Davis Music Teacher Ms. Alison Hannah, Art Teacher Mr. John Preusch, and Davis Counselor Ms. Paula Springer.

JGMS Spring Trips
HUGE Thank you to Ms. Tracy Fernald and our nursing staff who completed all the required COVID-19 testing protocols for both of our JGMS trips. Preparing for the trips was a huge undertaking which was done in addition to their daily responsibilities. We are so fortunate to have the support and caring health care professionals who care so much about our students.

These trips do not occur without the careful planning of our trip coordinators.  Nadine Coletta (Nature’s Classroom) and Joe Casey (Washington, DC) put in months of work to prepare this trip for our students.  We are grateful for their efforts to make them safe and special for all.
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6th Grade Trip to Nature’s Classroom
The 6th-grade had a successful journey to Nature’s Classroom in Freedom, New Hampshire last week.  Approximately 160 students spent 3 days and 2 nights exploring the outdoors and participating in activities that are not traditionally able to be done at school.  The students sang, dissected, learned to make fire, participated in blacksmithing, learned about native plants and the organisms that depend on them, tried woodworking, bonded with new friends, and had amazing food!

The 6th-grade teams and the JGMS administration would like to say thank you to everyone who made this trip possible, from the kids who were engaged and had fabulous behavior, the parents who supported the trip, and a huge thank you to the chaperones Jeff LoPresti, Eric Driscoll, John King, Charlie Puopolo, Tom Duggan, Anders Helgason, Greg Hinz, Paul Harrington, Nick Bacigalupi, Charissa Edmonds, Nadine Coletta, Taylor Scoppa, Kim Comerio, Libbey Beinert, Jackie Surprise, Maureen McDermott, Bonnie Klein, Wendy Tanahashi-Works, Sara MacDonald, Jill Sullivan, Alison Breaux, Erin Sarpard, Lynda McGraw, and Aiden Tatar that made it possible! The teams are looking forward to next year’s trip in the fall.

8th Grade Trip to Washington, D.C.
As you read this letter our 8th graders are on-route home from a four-day three-night trip to Washington D.C. to visit our nation’s capital. This is the 44th year the trip has run at JGMS and it has become a beloved end-of-the-year experience for our 8th-graders. This is the first time since 2019 that we have been able to run the trip.

Highlights of the trip included visiting many memorials in and around DC. We made a picture stop at the White House where many of the students got to see Vice President Kamala Harris’ motorcade leaving the grounds.  In addition, four students; Vivek Kaw, Sophia Aloise, Ava Toews, and Chris Randazzo  participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of former JGMS/ Bedford alum John Hart who was killed in Iraq in 2003. To learn more about John please navigate to The Military Times John Hart of Bedford, MA.
It was a fabulous trip, the students conducted themselves with dignity and represented their school community well. A special thank you to Mr. Casey, Ms. Mangini, Ms. Comeiro, Mr. Grassi, Mr. McGrath, Ms. Breakall, Ms.Berinato, Ms. Anderson, Ms. Limoli, and Mr. Duggan for chaperoning and running a great trip.
Senior Stroll
On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the Class of 2022 held their Senior Stroll on Jenks Trail in front of Bedford High School. There was a wonderful turnout of community members to see the seniors off to their Senior Prom. The Prom was held at the Tewksbury Country Club.

Graduation for the Class of 2022
Graduation for the Class of 2022 is scheduled for June 2, 2022, at 6:15 pm at the Tsongas Center, 300 Arcand Drive in Lowell. The ceremony is open to family, friends, and guests of the graduates.  Everyone is welcome to attend in order to support friends or relatives that they may know in the Bedford High School Class of 2022.

BHS All Night Graduation
The All Night Graduation Celebration is looking for volunteers to chaperone the event. The All Night Graduation Celebration will be held from Thursday, June 2, 10:30 PM to Friday, June 3, 5:30 AM.  This annual event is only able to happen with the support of all BHS families! Thank you in advance for your support of this event. Please follow the links if you’d like to volunteer.

MVSA Annual Scholars Luncheon
Congratulations to Harsheni Sudakar and Cassidy Schuman who were honored at the Merrimack Valley Superintendent’s Associations Annual Scholars Luncheon. Both Harsheni and Cassidy will receive the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Academic Excellence Award for Bedford High School. Harsheni and Cassidy were honored by Principal Gallante and Superintendent Conrad with their parents at Lenzi’s Restaurant in Dracut on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Harsheni has excelled academically with a perfect 4.9 GPA while also leading the “Relay for Life” team in their efforts to raise over $5,000 for the American Cancer Society and is a member of our track team. Cassidy too has excelled academically taking courses at BHS, Khan Academy, and edX in order to prepare for a future in Biomedical Engineering. Cassidy coaches elementary students in gymnastics and softball while captaining the BHS Varsity Softball Team.

Month of the Military Child Proclamation
On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Lt. Col. Richard Baysinger, 66th Air Base Group Deputy Commander presented a proclamation signed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to Principal Gallante and me for the outstanding work done by the Bedford High School faculty and staff to welcome and include the military children from Hanscom Air Force Base into the academic, social and civic life of Bedford.

METCO Students Lead Tours of Nubian Square
Please join Bedford METCO students and others to discover the historic treasures of Nubian Square in Boston. The tours feature information gathered by our young METCO scholars. Join students from METCO’s suburban high schools on a walking tour highlighting stories of Black artistry, activism, and achievement you might not have learned before. The FREE tour culminates at METCO’s brand new headquarters with an in-depth exhibit on the history of educational activism in Boston. The tours are being held most Saturdays now through summer at 10 am and 1 pm. For tickets please follow this link METCO Nubian Sq Walking Tours

Sign up for the BEST/PTO Color Run
BEST/PTO is excited to announce the in-person return of their Spring fundraiser, the 6th Annual Color Run on Saturday, June 11, 2022, from 4 pm to 6 pm at the JGMS fields. The event features a racecourse with color powder sprayed by teachers and administrators, raffles, music, food, bounce houses, face painting, and more. Families are invited to Walk, Run, Roll, or Stroll as little or as much as they want. This event has raised over $85,000 for the Davis and Lane Elementary Schools since 2016.  Please sign up today to help BEST reach $100,000 this year!   Registration is $30 per individual or $90 per household and includes bags, t-shirts, and food tickets.  Registrations after May 3rd will only include bags and t-shirts while supplies last.  More details and sign up at BEST Color Run.

Bedford Youth and Family (BY&FS)
Bedford Youth and Family Services (BY&FS) are happy to announce upcoming programming for members of the Bedford community. For additional information on these and other programs, please go to the Bedford Youth and Families “News and Announcements” page or contact Youth Social Worker Mackenzie Comeau at mcomeau@bedfordma.gov or at 781-918-4331.

Additionally,  BY&FS will have social workers and counselors available at their office at 12 Mudge Way or by phone at 781-275-7727 to discuss the recent tragedy at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, or any other counseling services you, your children, or your family may need. For more information please navigate to the department’s website at Bedford Youth & Family Services

BY&FS Summer Food Bank Grab Bags
Starting Tuesday, May 31, 2022, and continuing throughout the Summer, the Bedford Food Bank will have five (5) dry bags located at the Bedford Free Public Libraries “pick-up table” for residents in need.  These will be large, brown, labeled bags with assorted breakfast and lunch staples along with other dry goods items.  There will also be information on the town’s food bank, their hours, and other food assistance programs included.

BY&FS Helping Hands Bag Decorating Event
On Thursday, June 9, 2022, from 3:30-4:30 pm, Bedford Youth and Families in collaboration with the Bedford Free Public Library will be hosting the first Helping Hands Bag Decorating event.  If you are interested in helping your community and learning more about food insecurity check out this fun, free, and educational event for all ages!

BY&FS and MPY June Workshops
Bedford Youth and Families in collaboration with the Massachusetts Partnership for Youth have also planned two workshops in June for community members to attend.  The first workshop is titled “Self-Regulation Strategies K-5 Workshop for Parents” and will be held on June 13th from 4-5 pm via zoom.  This workshop will be led by clinician Julie Cullen and will invite parents to learn how to teach their kids how to develop coping strategies to manage difficult situations.  These skills will lead to improved self-regulation and an increased ability to be actively engaged in learning.

The second workshop is titled: “Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth in School and Community Settings” and will be held on June 27th from 4-5 pm via zoom.  This clinician-led workshop will teach participants strategies on how to create safe and supportive learning environments for students with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

To sign up for either of these workshops please go to the Bedford Youth and Families “News and Announcements” page or contact Youth Social Worker Mackenzie Comeau at mcomeau@bedfordma.gov or at 781-918-4331.

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


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