September 18, 2020
Dear Masconomet Community,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year! Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the uncertainties of this year’s school reopening. You stepped up in extraordinary ways this past spring to fill the gaps caused by our sudden school building closures and we know that the decision to open remotely will continue to place a burden on your family. Our commitment to partner with you this year is unlike any other. We have heard repeatedly that “we are all in this together” but nowhere is that truer than in educating our students. We spent the summer exploring the possibilities of opening under one of three scenarios this fall: remote, hybrid, and in person. Our highest priority is to keep our students, teachers, and staff safe and although Massachusetts has some of the lowest transmission rates at this time, we have chosen remote learning as the model that we feel is best for the Masconomet Regional District at this time.
Although we will be starting our school year remotely on September 21st, our goal remains to bring students back to some form of in-person learning as soon as possible. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, working with our state’s top medical professionals, have put comprehensive safety guidelines in place to greatly reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Our school leaders and staff have worked diligently to create detailed school plans to ensure that we are fully prepared to execute all of the recommended safety measures, including: mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand washing and notification of positive cases. The Masconomet School Committee will be revisiting our school model in early October when we have more information on the feasibility of implementing our plans and the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities.
In the meantime, our teachers have spent the last three weeks training on best practices for remote learning. We are confident that they are ready to teach our students through the Blackboard Learn platform, using a combination of teaching methods that will include live, whole class instruction, teacher-led small group work, and independent student work. Many families have expressed challenges around technology – whether having the technology they need, or using it, for remote learning. If you are in need of a device to access our remote resources, you should contact your child’s principal or assistant principal. If at any time you are having difficulties using your device or finding your way around the Blackboard Learn platform, please reach out to one of your child’s teachers and they will complete a “help desk ticket” for your child.
We are committed to frequent communications to our families to ensure that we are transparent in our decision making and are providing families with information as soon as it becomes available. You should have already received communications from High School Principal Delani and Middle School Principal McManus regarding specifics around the start of school and expectations for remote learning. Not only will you continue to receive regular blog posts from your school principals, but you can also expect to hear regularly from your child’s teachers to ensure you have a clear understanding of your child’s learning expectations for the fall. It is important that we hear your perspective regarding your child’s learning needs as well as his/her/their social emotional development in order to put a plan in place for your child’s continued growth.
Last week, our School Committee hosted a Community Forum where members of our District Leadership Team responded to your “Frequently Asked Questions” around remote learning. The recording of the presentation is available on the Masconomet School District Website. This is a great place to start if you have questions regarding our remote learning program. If after viewing this presentation, you still have questions, we ask that you reference our District’s “Problem Solver and Communications Quick Reference Guide” to help you direct your questions and concerns to the appropriate staff member. We look forward to meeting this challenging time together and welcome your input to best serve your students.