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.

Covid-19 ~ When Life Gives You Lemons? Make Lemonade!

All right, there is a lot, I mean a lot of things wrong with life in our pandemic world.  Healthwise, economically, socially, and worry, are just the big ones.  There are countless other terrible aspects of all this.  I’m lucky, I know, knock on wood, but everybody in our house is healthy, and no one has lost their job

METCO Hosts a Virtual Celebration for the Class of 2020

With 100 students enrolled, Bedford’s program is neither METCO’s largest or smallest partner, but the Town has an important history since the program opened here in the early 1970s. This year’s Bedford High School graduates Cristina Delgado, Sage Hull, Jonathan Pierre, Esmeralda Puello, and Aaliya Valentine joined Class of 2020 graduates from 29 school departments to participate in Saturday afternoon’s virtual METCO graduation gala.

The Bedford Unicorn Causes Grins Around Town, and Raises Funds for the Bedford Food Pantry

Spotting a unicorn tends to be considered nothing but fantasy. Locally, Bedford Unicorn sightings have become a common occurrence thanks to Daisy Girifalco.

Since mid-March, Girifalco has been parading around town in an 8-foot tall inflatable unicorn costume. She initially bought the costume to help a friend create a video for her dance company. Days later she brought the costume back out to sing happy birthday (from a distance) to a neighbor.

Looking Back to National History Day, 2020 ~ A Bedford High School Tradition

For the past 14 years, National History Day has been an important milestone for the Junior Class at Bedford High School. From the winter evening when all the projects are shown to classmates, parents, and friends through the season, typically culminating in some of the BHS projects competing at the University of Maryland in June.

Read on to learn more about this year’s NHD competition, the projects, and their creators.

Op-Ed: A Message from Shawsheen Tech on Reopening the School

A message from Shawsheen Tech’s Interim Superintendent-Director Melanie L. Hagman and Superintendent-Director Designate Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Today, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) 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.

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.

Bedford Arts and Craft Society Members Serve Those in Need

Bedford Arts and Crafts Society (BACS) members have been making a difference, using their artistic skills to spread cheer through community service projects. Their current effort is making get-well cards for hospital patients and thank-you cards that are included with meals donated to health care workers through Operation Feed the Soul.

The BACS effort to participate in service projects began two years ago when Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan introduced Project Linus. BACS crafters went to work and hand-crocheted blankets that were donated for children in stressful situations. BACS crafting chair Jane Franklin remembers, “It was a ‘feel-good’ activity, so I actively looked for additional ways that BACS could support our community.” The next year fleece blankets were made and donated. Crafters then assembled an array of holiday gifts (made and donated by generous members) that were donated to the Bedford Food Pantry.

Other projects followed. Some ideas came to members, and others suggested themselves from crafts that were already part of the weekly BACS crafting program held (pre-shutdown) on Wednesday afternoons, 2:00–4:00, at the COA. For example, crafters have held a card-making afternoon about once a month, and many of the cards have found a destination at Cardz for Kidz, sending positive messages to children going through trauma. The card-making effort has continued with Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards for the Bedford VA. Many hands have pitched in, but particular recognition goes to Leslie Gabriele, Teresa Kvietkauskas, and Sandi Rosenfeld for leading these initiatives.

Some months ago, Bedford COA director Alison Cservenschi asked if BACS had use for an assortment of wooden canes. Members decided to repaint and decorate the canes and give them back for seniors to use. BACS crafter Marita Hartshorn took the lead. She brought the canes home, sanding, and putting a base coat on each. Members then used Marita’s suggestions for painting them with colorful designs.

Although the Wednesday crafting sessions have been on hold since the start of the pandemic shutdown, crafters have continued their handiwork from the safety of their homes. For additional information about BACS and its art and craft programs, visit www.bacsma.org

Don’t Miss It! The Bedford Arts and Craft Society’s current juried show at the Bedford Free Public Library is available on its website – Click https://www.bedfordlibrary.net/2020/06/24/virtual-art-gallery/ to see the show.

Will Bedford Day Take Place in Person on September 19?

Will it be safe to hold a conventional Bedford Day parade and street fair on September 19?

If there will be a cancellation, the Select Board will decide no later than August 1.

“It’s very much on people’s radar, but is it safe? Is this the right thing to do?” said Town Manager Sarah Stanton.

Select Board Chair Ed Pierce said, “we’re in a gap period right now, but groups need to order supplies, and if we wait too long some vendors may not be able to react in time.”

Recreation Director Amy Hamilton, who with her department has coordinated Bedford Day activities for many years, said she told the town manager she could wait until August before a decision is necessary. “People sign up online, and it does not take us that long to get things organized,” she said.

Online Gallery Shows Work by All of Bedford’s Art Students

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting closures of nearly everything didn’t succeed in sweeping Bedford’s 26th annual K-12 Art Show into oblivion.  Originally organized by a group of volunteers under the ArtLink banner, this year’s online gallery is the work of the Bedford Schools’ Art Department.

Program Director Sean Hagan wrote, “As you know, we were unable to hold our annual exhibit due to Covid-19. The art department still wanted to honor the great work of our students, so we have embarked on a massive online project.”

OpEd: Massachusetts Senate Approves Vote-by-Mail Options

By the terms of new legislation approved this past Tuesday in the State Senate, every eligible Massachusetts resident will have the option of voting by mail, a history-making first.  The bill, which passed unanimously, comes amid widespread safety concerns about in-person voting during the pandemic.

The legislation applies to both the September 1st state primary and the November 3rd general election.

Some Locally-Owned Businesses Face Grim Prospects

One of the most familiar verses in the Bible begins, “Everything has its season.”

And that appears to be a determining factor in the future of some of the independent businesses in Bedford affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Reopening Library Services ~ “Grab and Go” to Begin Next Week

Among the most eagerly awaited re-openings is that of the Bedford Free Public Library, set for a ‘soft’ resumption of services during the week of June 22.

Library Director Richard Callaghan said he and his staff are working on contactless (curbside) pickup of materials.  The Library is working with a vendor now on software that will be accessible from a user’s phone or desktop to make online reservations for materials.  Details will be released by the end of this week.  Watch for the announcement! Meantime, patrons can still call or email the Library and the staff will make a reservation for them and will continue to answer questions via email: bedmail1@minlib.net.