Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Case at BHS ~ March 22, 2021

March 22, 2021

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Bedford High School (BHS case #53), no close contacts. 
* There are currently three (3) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community at this time. 
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school.  

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Case at JGMS ~ March 17, 2021

March 17, 2021

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at John Glenn Middle School (JGMS case #14).  Close contacts have been identified. 
* There are currently two (2) active COVID-19 positive cases in the JGMS community.
* While this case is not indicative of in-school transmission, the impacted individual has had out-of-school connection with a previous JGMS case. 

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Case at JGMS ~ March 16, 2021

March 16, 2021
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at John Glenn Middle School (JGMS case #13).  Close contacts have been identified.
* There is currently one (1) active COVID-19 positive case in the JGMS community.
* This case does not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in the schools.

Together Again: Davis and Lane Students Return to School

For the first time in a little more than a year, almost all students in first through fifth grades returned to their classrooms together at Davis and Lane Schools on Monday.

The long-planned return featured all of the safety protocols that have served as a foundation for part-time, in-school learning this academic year, including masks and physical distancing.

Thanks to classroom conversions and expansions and additional teachers, the two former hybrid cohorts have been consolidated full-time, four days a week. Kindergarteners returned to the four-days-a-week schedule last month.

There is still a cohort of students who are fully remote.

“I visited both schools today and was thrilled to see all of the children in classes with their teachers,” Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad said. “Everyone was excited to be back and both schools treated it like the first day of school.”

Conrad has said that John Glenn Middle School and Bedford High School will also be reopening sometime in April.

Eleazer Davis School Principal Beth Benoit was delighted with the outcome. “We are feeling good about where we are,” she stated. “We had a wonderful day as everyone was getting used to being with each other.”

“It was a busy day but a good day,” said Rob Ackerman, Job Lane School principal. “The kids adjusted great, the teachers were terrific, and it was very smooth inside the building.”

“The number one issue that everyone will have to get accustomed to is the increased traffic in the school neighborhood,” he reported. There are more cars, he said, not only because of distancing that reduces bus capacity but also since many parents are reluctant to send their children to and from school on buses.

The school, off Sweetwater Avenue, is “not that great for easy access. We are working with the police trying to see what we can do,” Ackerman said.

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Cases at Davis & BHS ~ March 15, 2021

Today I was informed of one (1) new case of COVID-19 within the Davis School Community and one (1) new case within the Bedford High School community.  Both of these cases are in isolation at home.  Davis School Case #19 was NOT present in school during their infectious period and investigations determined no close contacts in the Davis School Community.  BHS case #50 was present in school during their infectious period and investigations determined that there were no close contacts identified in the BHS community. Information on close contact identification, contacting tracing and where and when to get tested, can be found in our FAQ.

Sabourin Field or Tsongas Arena for Commencement?

Nudged by concerns about Covid-19, the pendulum is swinging toward Armand Sabourin Field as the venue for Bedford High School commencement exercises on June 3.

Initially, the first choice was the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. School Superintendent Philip Conrad told the School Committee Tuesday that many area schools have used Tsongas, which has a capacity of more than 6,000.

Facilities Director Reassures School Committee on Classroom Ventilation

The Bedford schools’ facilities director left no doubt at the Bedford School Committee’s meeting Tuesday that Lane School classrooms are a safe place to breathe.

Facilities Director Taissir Alani delivered a detailed presentation on classroom ventilation, featuring how the equipment works and how it is maintained.

Pooled Testing for Covid Begins March 15 in All Schools

At least six weeks of weekly “pooled testing” for the Covid-19 coronavirus begins Monday in all Bedford schools for registered students and staff members.

The process, funded by state agencies for six weeks, accelerates identifying and isolating the presence of the virus.

Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad’s office wrote to parents Wednesday soliciting permission. The communication explained, “Pooled testing involves mixing several individuals’ test samples together into one ‘pool’ and then testing the pooled sample for Covid-19.”

Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – March 12, 2021

Editor’s Note: In his weekly summary for Friday, March 12, 2021, Superintendent Conrad marked the end of the year since the pandemic closed the schools; included the announcement and guidance about reopening schools; and shared multiple announcements.

BHS & JGMS on Track for Full-time, In-Person Learning before State’s April 28 Deadline

Bedford High School and John Glenn Middle School are on track to reopen for full-time learning before the end of April, administrators told the School Committee at its virtual meeting Tuesday. “My expectation is that we will be either on time or ahead of schedule,” said School Superintendent Philip Conrad. “Our planning committee continues to work and will come back. We will definitely beat the 28th.” April 28 is the state-imposed deadline for all public schools to reopen grades 6-8.

Breaking News: BHS and JGMS are On Track to Reopen for Full-Time Learning before the End of April

Bedford High School and John Glenn Middle School are on track to reopen for full-time learning before the end of April, administrators told the School Committee at its virtual meeting Tuesday.

Editor’s Note: Coverage of the March 9 School Committee meeting is underway and this article will be updated on Wednesday morning, March 10.

“My expectation is that we will be either on time or ahead of schedule,” said School Superintendent Philip Conrad. “Our planning committee continue to work and will come back. We will definitely beat the 28th.”

April 28 is the state-imposed deadline for all public schools to reopen grades 6-8. High school officials told the committee that they want to be in sync with the schedule at John Glenn Middle School. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has not set the timetable for the return of grades 9-12, but it has said that there will be an announcement sometime in April, followed by two weeks to implement.

FinCom Agrees to Tap Stabilization Fund to Cover Extraordinary School Expenses

The Finance Committee made some adjustments at its March 4 meeting to try to ensure that the appropriate category of reserves benefits the optimum expenditures.

The proposal that will be presented in the 2021 annual town meeting warrant, scheduled to close March 8, calls for allocating $1.9 million from the stabilization fund to offset spending.

The offset, as approved by the committee, will be linked to the $3 million reserve fund, much of which is designed to cover the schools’ projected request for pandemic “recovery” and out-of-district special education placement expenses.

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Case at Davis School ~ March 8, 2021

March  8, 2021

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Davis School (DS case #18). 

* There is currently one (1) active COVID-19 positive case in the Davis School Community at this time. 

* Close contacts were identified and instructed to quarantine.

* This case does not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school

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

March 1, 2021

One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Bedford High School (BHS case #49), no close contacts.

* There are currently three (3) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community at this time.
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school.
* Correction from notification sent on 2/22/21- JGMS case was reported as JGMS Case#11 should have been JGMS Case#12.  (No additional cases to report at this time).

EDCO Dissolves due to Financial Problems; Bedford May Face Share of Closing Costs

The School Committee this week voted to begin the process of terminating its relationship with Bedford-based EDCO Collaborative.

Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad reported that there are two students participating in EDCO programs and several educators in professional development and courses. The ultimate dissolution of the agency could cost Bedford between $100,000 and $500,000, he said.

FinCom Approves ‘Pandemic’ Spending for Schools; Discusses Funding for FY2022 Budget

The Finance Committee Thursday implicitly endorsed the School Committee’s proposal for up to $1,445,000 in supplemental spending to cover “recovery” from the effects of the pandemic, including sustaining personnel and equipment to allow safe in-school learning beginning in September.

The committee by a vote of 8-1 approved a budget scenario that also supported continuing this year’s $450,000 reserve to cover out-of-district costs for students with serious learning needs. The Finance Committee separately approved the base school budget for fiscal 2022.

Discussion will continue at a Finance Committee meeting on March 4 on how to apportion three sources of funding to best cover fiscal 2022 expenditures.

School Committee Votes Lane School Full Return as soon as March 15; Retains Full-Remote Option

Editor’s Note: This complete report amplifies and replaces Wednesday morning’s breaking news.

Third, fourth, and fifth-grade students will be returning to Lane School four days a week as soon as March 15, following a unanimous vote by the School Committee late Tuesday night.

The plan, which retains the full-remote option but drops hybrid, is based on converting the art room, library, and computer room to classrooms and doubling up pairs of adjoining rooms so they can be managed through connecting doors.

Reopening will require six new teachers and three additional educational assistants. The School Committee approved spending up to $136,000 to cover the salaries for three months. The total bill for reopening Lane and Davis Schools is about $273,000.

None of the Covid-19 protocols implemented this year will be compromised; indeed, the six-foot distancing is the reason for the classroom additions. “We know that our schools are safe. The data now is so clear,” said Dan Brosgol, School Committee chair. “In the absence of teacher vaccinations, I am not comfortable taking a step back from anything. I am happy to spend more to keep our protocols right where they are.”

Tuesday’s discussion and vote were preceded by more than an hour-and-a-half of public comments, comprising 31 speakers, most of whom advocated a return to in-person instruction.

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Cases at BHS & JGMS ~ February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

* Two (2) new COVID-19 positive cases reported over break at Bedford High School (BHS cases #47 & 48), no close contacts. 
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case reported over break at John Glenn Middle School (JGMS Case #11), close contacts have been identified. 
* There are currently three (3) active COVID-19 positive cases in the Bedford Public School Community at this time.  Two (2) at Bedford High School and one (1) at JGMS. 
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school. 

Elementary Students Thrive under SAIL ~ Program will Expand to JGMS Next Year

Since teachers from Bedford Public School’s SAIL (Students Achieving Independent Learning) program have returned to in-person learning in July they’ve had one main goal: continuing to provide the necessary support and instruction to students with educational needs related to an autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities.

For almost four months during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers were daunted with the task of keeping students who have autism and related disabilities engaged online, as they tried to adapt to the country’s new normal.

Marianne Vines, Director of Special Education for the Bedford schools, said it was “really difficult” figuring out how to provide these students with a proper education online.

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Cases at JGMS ~ February 13, 2021

February 13, 2021

* Two (2) new COVID-19 positive cases at John Glenn Middle School  (JGMS case #10 and Case#11),  no close contacts.  
* There are currently two (2) active COVID-19 positive cases in the JGMS Community at this time. 
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school.  

Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – February 12, 2021

Editor’s Note: In his February 12 update, Supt. Conrad touches on holidays (Lunar New Year and Washington’s Birthday, the start of the schools’ winter break); celebrates this week’s National Honor Society induction at Bedford High School; the town-wide Covid-19 forum held on Wednesday; ‘pool’ testing; DESE updates; and several ongoing messages.