MIAA Regulations to Affect BHS Winter Sports

Things will look and sound a little different. And few people, if any, will get to see and hear them.

But most Bedford High School interscholastic winter sports contests will begin right after New Year’s, replete with precautions and modifications designed to minimize the threat of Covid-19.

The official season opens on December 14 with tryouts and practices. That’s two weeks later than the conventional start, allowing time to digest the changes and identify any incubating post-Thanksgiving Covid-19 virus, said Keith Mangan, Director of Athletics for the Bedford schools.

Late last week the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association issued detailed guidelines for practices and games, with sport-specific protocols for basketball, hockey, skiing, and swimming. Winter track has been postponed to the new “fall 2” season beginning on February 22, 2021,  because currently there aren’t safe venues for meets, Mangan explained.

“The main thing is that the kids are going to get to play,” said the director. “The kids worked pretty well with it in the fall and we are going to make the best of it.”

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive Covid Case at Davis School ~ November 22, 2020

November 22, 2020
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Davis School (Davis Case #4) has been identified.
* Out of an abundance of caution, the two classrooms in which Case #4 participates will move to remote learning for two weeks from the date of the last contact – returning from remote learning on December 3rd (Cohorts A & C) and 4th (Cohort B).
* Close Contacts of Case #4 have been identified by contact tracers and have been instructed to
* Davis Case #4 is not related to Case #2 that was reported on 11-18-20 OR Case #3 that was reported on 11-20-20.
* There are 3 active COVID-19 positive cases in the Davis School Community at this time.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, November 20, 2020

As always this has been a busy week in the school district. Our faculty and staff continue to work diligently to meet the needs of all learners through our remote, hybrid, and in-person learning models. We have been supported in these efforts by our parents, the community, and especially the school committee. It is wonderful to see everyone continuing to work together to make the best of these difficult times. We are heartened by the positive talk of vaccines and hope this will help us to get control of the virus.

This week I am sharing with you a number of updates and changes. Nationally there have been changes to the CDC website, in Massachusetts DESE and DPH have put out new guidance, and locally there is new information from a number of town departments including the creation of a new COVID-19 dashboard.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Case at Davis School ~ November 20, 2020

November 20, 2020
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Davis School (Davis Case #3) has been identified.
* Close Contacts of Case # 3 have been identified by contact tracers and are being instructed to quarantine
* Davis Case # 3 is not related to case # 2 that was reported on 11-18-20
* There are 2 active COVID-19 positive cases in the Davis School Community at this

BHS Fall Play ‘She Kills Monsters’ via Livestream Friday and Saturday ~ Do You Have Your Tickets?

The Bedford High School Performing Arts Department presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS: VIRTUAL REALMS, a fast-paced dramatic comedy set in the world of fantasy role-playing games.

TWO PERFORMANCES THIS WEEKEND

Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21

Both begin via live stream at 7 pm with a different cast for each performance. Tickets may be purchased through the BHS Performing Arts Department website: https://bhschorusandtheater.weebly.com/tickets.html

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Case at Davis School ~ November 18, 2020

November 18, 2020

One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Davis School (Davis Case # 2) has been identified.
Davis Case #2 was determined to have no in-school contacts.
Davis Case #2 is the only active COVID-19 positive case in the Davis School Community at this time.

Today, I was informed of a 2nd case of COVID-19 within the Davis School Community since the start of school in mid-September. Davis Case #2 is now in isolation at home.

School Committee Approves Energy Policy Revisions to Ratify Current Practice

The School Committee last Tuesday unanimously approved two revisions to the town’s energy policy that actually ratified current practice.

One provision is that the town purchase 100 percent renewable energy for operations. Also, as part of the guidelines for construction and renovation, a primary goal is minimizing the use of fossil fuels to run the buildings.

BHS Student Advisory Program Receiving High Marks

A new, accelerated student advisory program at Bedford High School is receiving high marks from students, teachers, and other members of the staff.

BHS Principal Heather Galante, backed by Assistant Principals Dan Hudder and Tom Casey, and a delegation of students, presented details on the program at last Tuesday’s School Committee meeting.

Student advisory is a 25-minute weekly bloc during which groups of 8 to 12 students meet with an adult – everyone, not just teachers. “Every person in our school natters,” the principal said. The larger groups are virtual.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Test at BHS ~ November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at BHS (Case # 17) has been

Close contacts of Case # 17 have been identified by contact tracers, and are being instructed to quarantine.

Case #17 is the only active COVID-19 positive case in the BHS Community at this time

She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms ~ Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21 via Livestream

Students in the Bedford High School Performing Arts Department are fine-tuning preparations for their production of “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms,” scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21, via livestream.

Tickets are $10 per adult and $8 per student or senior citizen and are available through the Performing Arts Department website: https://bhschorusandtheater.weebly.com/tickets.html

For this virtual performance, ticket sales are based on the number of devices watching the stream, rather than the number of people viewing per device. Ticket buyers are encouraged to make an additional donation toward the performance commensurate with the number of people in their household who’ll be watching the show.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, November 13, 2020

Welcome back BHS! We were so happy to welcome Cohort B back to Bedford High School this morning and are looking forward to seeing Cohort A on Monday. I am happy to report that at this point there are only three (3) BHS school community members in quarantine and none of their quarantines are related to others at the high school or to each other. We will of course continue to work collaboratively with the Board of Health to monitor and report cases.

“She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” ~ BHS Fall Drama Takes the Stage via Zoom on November 20 and 21

The Bedford High School Performing Arts Department is going virtual with its fall production.

The students plan to present “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms,” a fast-paced dramatic comedy set in the world of fantasy role-playing games, by award-winning contemporary playwright Qui Nguyen.

Performances via live stream are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20 and 21. Tickets at $10 per adult and $8 per student will be sold through the Performing Arts Department website.

School Committee Grapples with Economic Realities of Full In-Person Elementary School Classrooms

The School Committee, despite daunting financial and logistical challenges, is continuing to pursue information that could lead to full-week kindergarten classes and inclusion of an additional 149 students into the special-needs cohort in January.

However, a pivot from hybrid to in-person classes for first and second graders remains on the drawing board.

The committee spent two hours at its meeting Tuesday grappling with the details of Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad’s report on what it would take to return the youngest learners to Davis School and expand so-called Cohort C, comprising students with learning disabilities who are in school every day.

Committee Chair Dan Brosgol asked Conrad to provide “hard numbers” to the committee at its Nov. 24 meeting for full-time kindergarten and the expanded cohort. He also requested information on how surrounding towns are dealing with these issues. “We need a breakdown of how much this costs,” Brosgol said. Financial impact has to be shared with relevant town committees, adding that he still hopes January is a realistic target.

“We need to be comfortable asking for those funds,” Brosgol continued, noting, “It is our job to advocate for our children. I think it is critical for Cohort C to come back and for kindergarten to come back. I am committing to nothing except continuing this process faithfully.”

A parent group, calling itself Bring Bedford Back Safely, has been advocating for the return to full-time classes, primarily for Davis School.  Two weeks earlier the School Committee asked Conrad for details on whether and how that could take place.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, November 6, 2020

This was a shortened week with our day off for Election Day on Tuesday. There was an important flurry of information on Friday afternoon from Governor Baker and Commissioner Riley. Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts will be updating the metric that it uses for how each community’s COVID-19 information will be communicated going forward. From now on, the state will use three pieces of information: the number of cases ratio of 1:100,000, the community positivity rate, and the size of the community. These three pieces of evidence will be taken together and used to create the color code for each community.

Shawsheen Tech to Go All Remote ~ A Message from Superintendent-Director Jackson

I am writing to inform you that we received notification today that another individual member of the Shawsheen community has tested positive for COVID-19.  This is the fourth positive COVID test involving either a Shawsheen staff member or student this fall, with our first case being announced on October 30th. 

As we do in any case involving a positive case from either a student or staff member, we follow all Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) protocols, and consult and collaborate with the applicable local board(s) of health. 

We have conducted thorough contact tracing in compliance with all of these protocols and have identified the student(s) and staff member(s) who are considered to be a close contact (defined as being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes in one 24-hour period) of this individual during the period when he/she could transmit the virus to another person.  All identified close contacts are being informed of their status and ordered to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days from the time when close contact occurred.   

Unfortunately, essentially all of Shawsheen’s building and district administrative teams have been identified as close contacts, including myself, which will require our absence from the building for the next two weeks. 

While I am well-aware that administrators are not providing instruction to our students, they are an essential element in maintaining building safety and security. 

As important as in-person learning is, I have concluded that we can NOT safely open Shawsheen to students for the next two weeks.  All students will be 100% remote during that time. 

In order to provide staff adequate time to prepare for this shift, there will be NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS on Monday, November 9th.  Staff will report to work at Shawsheen on Monday and participate in a Professional Development Day. 

ALL students will shift to 100% remote instruction on Tuesday, November 10th, and should connect with their assigned classroom teacher at 7:50 am.  Our current plan calls for 100% remote instruction to continue through the end of the day, Friday, November 20th.   

I regret having to take this extraordinary action, but ultimately the safety of our students must drive this decision.   

Taking Back Indigenous Narratives ~ November 10 at 6:30 pm

The Parents Diversity Council invites the Bedford community to join us for a presentation on Indigenous peoples’ history and narratives, given by Claudia Fox Tree, taking place on Tuesday, November 10, at 6:30 pm via Zoom.

Ms. Fox Tree previously lived in Bedford for many years and raised 5 children in the Bedford school system.  She has also spoken on panels with Bedford Embraces Diversity, and in this year of reckoning with racism and symbols of colonialism and hate, we are so excited to have Ms. Fox Tree discuss the impact of erasing Indigenous narratives

Show your Bedford Spirit and Support the BHSPA with Bedford Buccaneers Masks  

Did you miss out on the chance to purchase a Bucs mask or wish you had purchased more? 

Here’s your chance!

The BHSPA is selling Bedford Buccaneer masks on a first-come, first-serve basis. These are the same stylish, high quality, washable and 3-ply masks that were sold in the BHSPA apparel sale. Masks come in Bedford blue or black, and include the Buccaneer logo.

Bedford School Department ~ Proposed FY22 Capital Projects

If you’re looking for major school undertakings on the fiscal year 2022 proposed capital projects list, there aren’t any.

The School Committee last week reviewed a short roster of routine capital projects for technology and preventive maintenance. The items are expected to be reviewed by the Capital Expenditure Committee on Wednesday.

Bedford Public Schools ~ Flu Clinic Update ~ Friday, October 30, 2020

Thank you to all parents, families, and caregivers who have already sent in the documentation that their child has received the 2020 flu vaccine. As you know, the Flu Vaccine is required for all students in Massachusetts and must be completed and reported by December 31, 2020. It does not matter whether your child is hybrid or remote, the requirement is for all students. The Massachusetts guidance around the vaccine requirement can be found here.

With this in mind, the Bedford Public Schools in collaboration with the Bedford Board of Health is offering Bedford school students the opportunity to receive a flu vaccine at designated drive thru flu vaccine offerings.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, October 30, 2020

By now I am sure you have received the information that due to a number of factors we have changed Bedford High School to the Remote Learning Model. We hope this closure will allow our community the time it needs to recover and reduce our risk of transmitting COVID-19 within the community. I hope that everyone will take this time to reinvigorate their diligence in combating the virus. For all those that are home with the virus, we wish you a full and speedy recovery. For those of you who are home because you were a close contact or you are waiting for test results, we hope your tests come back negative. This is of course a difficult time for all of us and it is important that we pull together and support one another. We will get through this together.

Covid Cases Drive BHS from Hybrid to Remote

Bedford High School classes are immediately pivoting to the “fully remote” model for the next two weeks, in response to an increase in Covid-19 cases among students.

The announcement from Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad on Thursday afternoon coincided with the news that Bedford is now in the state’s “red” caseload designation, with19 positive cases identified over the past two weeks. According to the state Department of Public Health, the town’s incidence of cases per 100,000 population is 9.11. The threshold for the “red” designation is 9.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Thursday, October 29, 2020

Thursday, October 29, 2020 – Update to the Bedford Community

* Bedford designated a “red” (high COVID-19 risk) community by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
* Recently acquired contact tracing data supports the occurrence of in-school transmission of COVID-19 at Bedford High School
* Community metrics and contact tracing details support changing the learning model at Bedford High School to an all-remote model, with a planned return to the hybrid model on Friday, November 13, 2020
* Transition to our Remote learning model at Bedford High school is based on a number of factors and is NOT an automatic closure per the “red” designation
* As of today, October 29, there remain eight (8) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community, and eight (8) cases have recovered
* There are currently eighteen (18) quarantined close contacts of the BHS COVID-19 positive cases identified to date.
* Continued reports of small and large social gatherings without social distancing and mask-wearing
* In-person school closure ONLY applies to Bedford High School. At this time, The Lt. Eleazer Davis Elementary School, the Lt. Job Lane Elementary School, and the John Glenn Middle School will remain in the Hybrid Model.