Op:Ed: FY21 Budget Newsletter ~ July 7, 2020

On behalf of the Bedford School Committee, I am pleased to present the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) School Department Budget. This budget totals $42,031,459, which is a 0.4% increase over the current adjusted FY20 operating budget of $41,844,365. The School Committee also received Finance Committee approval for a $450,000 reserve fund transfer to cover extraordinarily large increases in our special education out of district expenses. This budget reflects reductions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Sen. Ed Markey

As a young person in the 21st century, my highest priority is the environment. If we do not have a safe environment in the future, nothing else we do matters. Therefore, I will be voting for Senator Ed Markey on Primary Day, September 1st, and on election day, November 3rd. He continues to fight hard for many bills to protect the environment; he co-authored the Green New Deal alongside Representative Ocasio-Cortez; this resolution creates jobs in renewable energy, a joint solution to our economic and environmental crises, refuting the narrative that we must choose between the environment and the economy. While it has not yet been passed, its ideas have already changed the conversation.

OpEd: State Guidelines Are Defeating the Power of Testing to Keep People Safe from SARS-COV-2 Infection in Massachusetts

Wednesday, July 1, the Joint Committee on Education has scheduled a hearing on the status of early education and care and is collecting written testimony until 5 pm on Tuesday, July 7.

Click this link to learn more about tomorrow’s hearing.

Written testimony may be submitted to Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov and Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov with the subject line “EEC OVERSIGHT HEARING TESTIMONY” 

I am urging all persons interested in child care and education to respond and request SARS-CoV-2 strategies for children in day care facilities and schools in the Commonwealth that include regular testing.  It is obvious that the safest place for a child of any age is an environment in which regular testing is employed to identify contagious persons.

Op-Ed: A Message from Superintendent Jon Sills on Reopening Bedford Schools

Today, Governor Baker and Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall.  We applaud the level of thought and care that went into the development of this guidance and share its goal of the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.  Our thanks go as well to all of the stakeholders who have contributed to this plan, including health professionals, the Massachusetts Superintendents Association, and the teachers’ unions.

Op-Ed: A Message from Superintendent Jon Sills as the School Year Closes for Students

On this last day of school for students, I want to thank all of our faculty and staff, as well as our family partners, for working together to educate our children during the past three months.  It has been an enormous and complex task.  Perseverance, flexibility, creativity, and belief in each other have seen us through.  But not without pain, frustration, and a real loss of learning time.  And not without problematic inequities in access caused by dramatically different Covid-19 related family circumstances.  As we have acknowledged before, many faculty members have also had to manage meeting the needs of their own homebound children and the students sitting virtually before them.  I hope that everyone, with these pressures reduced, finds some rest and respite this summer.

Letter to the Editor: Black Lives Matter Protests to Continue in Bedford through Juneteenth

My name is Shannon Leonard and I am the organizer of the demonstrations you have been seeing at Bedford Common.  I have been a resident of Bedford for 11 years. I moved here from Boston when I was 16. 

I attended BHS as a member of the Class of 2011. It didn’t take long to notice the differences between my Boston school and Bedford High School.

Letter to the Editor: Some Things Worth Doing Now

Your country, your state, maybe the neighborhood in which you live, are engulfed by three crises at once: climate change, a pandemic, and social unrest triggered by murder and racial injustice.  Your mind reels.  Your heart breaks. 
 
What to do?  What you cannot do is give up.  At a demonstration to protest the death of George Floyd, someone held a sign: “We didn’t come this far to only come this far.”  

Letter to the Editor: Prioritize Academics if School Budgets Need to be Cut

At a time when one in five Bedford residents is out of work, some cuts to school funding may be necessary in order to avoid a tax increase, but I am dismayed to read that the proposed cuts include the elimination of the gifted and talented teacher and of third grade foreign language. Are the special needs of talented students somehow less important than those of other students? And in a world where being multilingual is more important than ever, has no one considered that the younger you start, the more success you are likely to have learning a foreign language?

A Letter from Mrs. Galante ~ Looking Back to March 11

Dear Class of 2020,

I am so thrilled that the Bedford Citizen has assembled a special edition as a tribute to you. You are so deserving. When we parted ways on March 11, we could not have predicted that would be the last time we would all be at Bedford High School together, enjoying – and perhaps taking for granted – our familiar daily routine. Instead of celebrating together, this national pandemic has left all of you in isolation feeling uncertain, frustrated, and melancholy. You have also been faced with the troubling reality that systemic racism is still claiming the lives of innocent victims. This has certainly not been an easy few months for a class of seniors who wished to have some laughs, go on a scavenger hunt, play spoons and make some special memories together as their high school career came to a close.

OpEd: Bedford Embraces Diversity, Speaking Out

Bedford Embraces Diversity, born seven years ago as an antidote to senseless hatred, stands in solidarity with the millions of Americans who are saddened and outraged by recent events surrounding George Floyd’s death. We speak primarily to our neighbors in this town – but we are also Americans, with a responsibility to demand the unconditional justice and fairness that are supposed to define our national ethos.

Three months of plague have exposed the disproportionate tragic results of our country’s shameful inequality — of opportunity and of health care — manifested in overflowing urban emergency rooms, ICUs and morgues. Yet, as an educator observed, in a week marked by the virus death toll exceeding 100,000, and the ranks of unemployed Americans swelling past 40 million, the incomprehensible killing of one individual moved the nation.

As we struggle to process what has happened and the growing sense of chaos, one thing is clear: our community must be part of a national effort to work toward a better tomorrow, replete with kindness and compassion. Please join us as we look to each other for support.

Testing Tuesday Continues on June 2 and Offers Free Tests for All Bedford Town Employees

As I shared with Bedford Select Chair, Ed Pierce, earlier this week, thanks to a benefactor, Tuesday testing at First Parish is now free-of-charge to ALL Bedford Town Employees, including Fire and Police.  

No special identification as a Bedford Town Employee is necessary, the process is simple:  go to bedfordresearch.org/first-parish, click on “requesting assistance from First Parish”, put in name, address, date of birth, telephone number.  Federal HIPAA regulations prevent any testing requests or results to become public.  You will be assigned a testing number and a time to show up on Tuesday by email.  The testing process itself takes less than 5 minutes, only one person/household group at a time is allowed in the testing area, confidentiality is strictly maintained.  

Letter to the Editor: Masks!

t’s early Friday morning.  The sun is out, the temperature is warm and the breeze balmy.  I am excited to go for a bike ride down the Minuteman Bikeway.  I cruise down South Road, enter the bike path and as I travel the path, I am surprised to see not more than 50% of the bikers, joggers, and walkers are wearing masks.

In the past few weeks, I rode the path and was pleased to see about 90% of users with their masks on.  Now, there are clearly marked signs at EVERY intersection that alert ALL, that masks are required.  

Letter to the Editor: A Thought for Sunday Morning

Many of you are aching to return to church during these weary times.
Many of you are aching to give long, warm, hugs to friends and family.
Many of you are aching to cradle a newborn family member but cannot.
Many of you, in your times of despair, are asking – God, where are you?
 
I can tell you that God is not in heaven, right now.
God has been overwhelmed by the number of prayers of people asking for help and comfort.
So. I’ll tell you where God is.
 
God is here on Earth. And I’ll tell you where to look.
 

Masks Are Not A Substitute For SARS-CoV-2 Testing

It’s important to keep in mind that no “randomized, controlled trials,” the type Dr. Tony Fauci frequently espouses, have demonstrated that wearing fabric face masks inhibits transmission of respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID19.  As quoted in a recent British Medical Journal review of 32 studies “ “The evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks as a protective measure against COVID-19.”

The basic problem is that viruses are the “infectious agents” that pass through filters that block bacteria.  There is speculation that fabric face masks may decrease the distance viruses are exhaled, but they do not block viruses from being inhaled.  Wearing face masks is probably benign, however, unless they (a) increase the frequency with which the wearer touches his/her face throughout the day, and  (b) create a false sense of security against virus transmission.

Letter to the Editor: Continue to Slow the Spread

Bedford Citizens need to stay home whenever they can, practice social distancing, and wear masks when they are out in public.

We need to do our part and act as if we have Covid-19 to help slow the spread of the virus in our community. We should not be demanding that the town open and monitor recreation areas for our amusement.

Letter to the Editor: Look to the Future

I sincerely believe that the best way to survive the coronavirus pandemic and the economic depression that it is causing is to look to the future and to see this also as an opportunity to make the world a better, more liveable place and at the same time give work to people whose jobs have been disrupted.

OpEd: What is the Best Way to Restart the Economy?

We are very pleased with the outpouring of support Bedford residents have shown for Bedford area businesses. Thank You!

Along with providing needed goods and services, Bedford area businesses play a large role in the community. In addition to providing jobs for residents and providing tax revenue for the town, businesses are very involved in the region. Whether it’s providing volunteers to clean up roadside litter, fundraising for Bedford Schools, or making donations to the Bedford Food Bank, our businesses play a critical role in our town. In fact, many of our local life science companies are actively involved in the diagnostics and treatment of many illnesses that affect our community and the world.

Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus Testing~Tuesdays on Bedford Common

I appreciate the coverage of Covid19 testing, a collaboration of the Bedford Research Foundation and First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church on Bedford Common, in The Bedford Citizen.  

We want to make this testing more widely known.  The testing is open to everyone, regardless of town of residence, symptomology, affiliation, or ability to pay.

 First Parish is providing a prominent and central location, volunteers, and our communication network to promote universal testing.

Impact of Covid-19 on One Charitable Organization: A Follow-up to a Previous Article on Don Bosco Orphanage in Mexico

The current outbreak of Covid-19 has launched us both nationally and globally into times that are unprecedented and many call pre-apocalyptic.  As millions of Americans take daily notice of hourly news reports and updates from around the United States, it is easy to stay within a domestic bubble.  The spread of the virus, however, is affecting everyone in ways both unforeseen and devastating far beyond our Bedford and Massachusetts communities.

Letter to the Editor: A Note of Thanks from the Colbath Family

The family of Keith W. Colbath, Sr. would like to thank the Bedford Funeral Home, Father Michael, and Dennis Freeman (DPW), for creating a heartwarming and moving, open-air Funeral Mass celebrated in the sunshine, surrounded by flowering trees and a beautiful lawn.