Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Cases ~ 1 at BHS & 1 at JGMS~ January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021

* One (1) new COVID-19  positive case at Bedford High School  (BHS case #33) and one (1) new case at (JGMS case #6) have been identified.
* BHS Case #33 and JGMS case #6 were both determined to have no in-school contacts.
* There are currently six (6)  active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community  and two (2) active COVID-19 positive cases in the JGMS community at this time.

Superintendent’s Update ~ 1 New Positive Covid Case at BHS ~ January 7, 2021

January 7, 2021

* One (1)  new COVID-19  positive case at Bedford High School  (BHS case #32)
* Close contacts within the Bedford School Community have been identified and have been instructed to quarantine   
* There are currently six (6) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community at this time.  

Superintendent’s Update ~ 4 New Positive Covid Cases at BHS ~ January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021
* Four (4) new COVID-19  positive cases at Bedford High School  (BHS cases # 28, 29, 30, & 31)
* Each of these new cases were determined to have no in-school contacts.  
* There are currently five (5) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community at this time. 

School Committee Reviews Interscholastic Winter Sports

“Athletics play such an important role in keeping our students engaged…. The big ‘pro’ here is that we are participating.”

That was the framework for a briefing on high school winter interscholastic sports delivered to the School Committee Tuesday by Keith Mangan, the schools’ director of athletics.

Mangan reviewed the policies and practices adopted by the 11 Dual County League schools and cited some of the modifications in individual sports designed to minimize the threat of spreading the coronavirus, as promulgated through the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The abbreviated winter season ends on Feb. 20, ending with a cushion of a few days for weather-related postponements. Active winter sports will be Alpine skiing, basketball, boys’ hockey, rifle, and swim and dive.

Superintendent’s Update ~ 10 Positive Covid Cases Reported During Winter Break ~ January 5, 2021

Covid cases reported during Winter Break

* Davis School –  one (1) new COVID-19 positive case was identified over break (DS case #9) and was determined to have no in-school contacts.
* Lane School –  four (4) new COVID-19 positive cases were identified over break (LS cases # 7, 8, 9 & 10) and were determined to have no in-school contacts.
* John Glenn Middle School – one (1) new COVID-19 positive case was identified over break (JGMS case # 5) and was determined to have no in school contacts.
* Bedford High School – four (4) new COVID-19 positive cases reported over break (BHS cases #24, 25, 26, & 27) and were determined to have no in-school contacts.

There are currently seven (7) active COVID-19 positive cases in the Bedford Public School Community at this time.  One (1) at Davis School, four (4) at Lane School, one (1) at JGMS, and two (2) at Bedford High School.

Dr. James Mabry: Assessing the Present and Looking Ahead at Middlesex Community College

The Middlesex Community College campus at the northern end of Springs Road will continue to be mostly a ghost town through the winter and spring. But the president is hopeful that students and teachers will be back full-strength later in 2021.

“Everyone wants to return, but that is just not possible at this point,” said Dr. James Mabry, President of the college and a Bedford resident. “We are going to stay about 90 percent online, with just a small number of health services lab courses the only ones on campus.” Chemistry and biology labs in the Henderson Building need to be hands-on, he said.   

Positive Feedback for Bedford School Committee and Administration

The School Committee and administration have absorbed criticism and second-guessing for much of the school year from parents who want to accelerate students’ physical return to classrooms.

Some parents have advocated relaxing the six-foot physical distancing in effect this year to three feet, which has been encouraged by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

But at the most recent School Committee meeting on Dec. 22, several residents spoke in support of the status quo and expressed gratitude to professionals and volunteers.

School Committee Hears a Trio of Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Proposals

Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad presented three versions of a fiscal 2022 education budget to the School Committee last Tuesday night.

One of the proposals, which presumes a return to a normal school format, is $43,606,93, representing a 3.75 percent increase over the current year. The Finance Committee guideline for the school and municipal budget is 3.5 percent.

The two other iterations, both of which assume continuing some or all of the current pandemic safety protocols, are nowhere near the guideline. Indeed, he called one of them the “apocalyptic budget.”

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive Covid Cases at JGMS and BHS ~ December 24, 2020

December 24,  2020

* One (1) new COVID-19  positive case at Bedford High School  (BHS case #23) and one (1) new case at (JGMS case # 4) has been identified.
* BHS Case #23 and JGMS case #4 were both determined to have no in-school contacts.  
* There are currently three (3) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community  and two (2) active COVID-19 positive cases in the JGMS community at this time. 

Superintendent’s Update ~ Wednesday, December 23, 2020

As we enter the December vacation I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a restful vacation. On Monday we endured the shortest day of the year.  From here on out we will begin adding minutes of daylight each day until June.

It seems appropriate to share the last stanza of “Year’s End” by poet Richard Wilbur with you as 2020 comes to an end. To read the complete poem please visit Year’s End by Richard Wilbur

Celebrating Holiday Traditions at St. Paul’s Weekday Nursery School

St. Paul’s Weekday Nursery School recently held a traditional Story Tree Event and Holiday Performances with hot chocolate and holiday cookies for the students. Rev. Chris Wendell recited T’was the Night Before Christmas.

Student Groups performed 5 Little Reindeers Jumping on the Bed, Jingle Bells, and Reindeer Hokie Pokie.

Facilities Department Presents Detailed School Space Study

A detailed study of space in Bedford’s four schoolhouses has revealed that many more students could be accommodated without compromising the six feet of physical distancing deemed required for safe learning.

What remains to be determined is whether using available space to the maximum would be educationally wise.

Taissir Alani, Director of Facilities for the town and the schools, presented details of his department’s detailed space survey to the School Committee at its meeting Tuesday.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive Covid Cases at Davis School and BHS ~ December 21, 2020

December 21,  2020

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Davis School (Davis Case #8) has been identified. 
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Bedford High School (BHS Case #22) has been identified.
* There are no identified Close Contacts outside the household for BHS Case #22. 
* Close Contacts of Davis Case #8 have been identified by contact tracers.  As of the issuance of this letter, families with children who are close contacts of Davis * * * Case #8 have been contacted to inform them of their child’s need to quarantine at home. Those students who are affected will be learning remotely during the quarantine period. 
* There is one (1) active COVID-19 positive case in the Davis School Community and two (2) active COVID-19 cases in the BHS community at this time.  

Holiday Activities for the Whole Family

Winter Break begins with a short school day on December 23 and runs through the start of the New Year.

Anticipating that housebound feeling? Bored? Running out of things to do with the kids?  Are you sad that the holidays won’t be the same as in years past?

Here are some ideas on how to make this season a little brighter, how to make memories you probably never would have made otherwise (‘cause you would be too busy attending parties, carting the kids to after school sports and events, stressing out over planning big family gatherings…).

Enjoy some of these activities with your family, they are sure to keep the phones and devices at bay, create lots of conversation and bonding time, and make memories to last a lifetime.  With each topic, I’ve included some links you might find helpful.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, December 18, 2020

I hope that everyone stayed safe during our first snow day of the school year. I want to assure the students that I did not consult the website Snow Day Calculator. Instead, I relied on the expert analysis of David Manugian, our Director of Public Works, forecasts from Precision Weather Forecasting, and the National Weather Service in Norton, MA. Thank you to the Department of Public Works and the Facilities Department for getting us ready for school on Friday morning. DPH Vaccine Update
On Monday we had the opportunity to hear from Marylou Sudders the Secretary of Health and Human Services about the distribution of COVID vaccine.

School Committee Established Parameters for Initial Discussion of FY22 Budget

Members of the School Committee on Tuesday established some parameters in anticipation of their initial discussion next Tuesday of the proposed budget for fiscal 2022.

Julie Kirrane, the school district’s finance director, said the document will feature several scenarios because of the uncertainty about the degree of the future impact of the pandemic.

Returning another Cohort of Students to In-Person Classes

School Superintendent Philip Conrad is hammering out plans to bring another cohort of students back to full in-person learning, albeit a small group.

Conrad told the School Committee on Tuesday that Bedford High School seniors whose academic struggles could jeopardize fulfilling graduation requirements likely will be accommodated. The cohort, which he said will total “one or two dozen,” will also include other BHS and John Glenn Middle School students identified as falling seriously behind academically.

Might Thursday be the Season’s First Snow Day?

Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad announced to the School Committee Tuesday that if school is postponed because of severe weather on Thursday, it will be a “traditional snow day.” He emphasized the word “IF.”

That would mean there would be no remote learning on Thursday, and students in Cohort B will come in on Friday, he said.

School Committee Chair Dan Brosgol endorsed the decision, at least for this month. “We should have a conversation moving forward, but for now: enjoy the snow,” he declared.

Google Outage ~ Monday, December 14, 2020

A robocall from the Bedford School Department at 7:35 this morning announced that due to a large-scale problem with Google nationwide, anything connected to Google or Gmail is unavailable, including students’ access to Google drive.

The School Department reported that services have been restored shortly after 8 am.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive Covid Case at Lane Shool ~ December 12, 2020

December 12, 2020 

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Lane School (Lane Case #5) has been identified.
* Close Contacts of Case # 5 have been identified by contact tracers. As of the issuance of this letter, families with children who are close contacts have been contacted to inform them of their child’s need to quarantine at home. Those students who are affected will be learning remotely during the quarantine
* There are 3 active COVID-19 positive cases in the Lane School Community at this time

Enrollment Projections Inform School Budget for FY22

Enrollment projections are “a critical piece of budget development,” Bedford Schools Finance Director Julie Kirrane told the School Committee on Tuesday.

And even with all of the uncertainty engendered by the response to the pandemic, she said, “we have worked through a solid projection.”

“We looked at our exits to private schools, and moves out of state, in state. We looked at the past five years of cohort movement grade to grade and created a projection we feel comfortable with,” she outlined. “It is not overly influenced by the experience of this year. We anticipate some rebounding in the earlier grades. That’s the basis of our budget planning.”