We continue to see an increase in the number of positive student and staff COVID-19 cases. Since my last report on December 2nd, there have been approximately 17 positive cases reported in both the middle and high school. Over 90% of these cases involve students or staff who were not in the school building while contagious. This may be due to individuals either attending school remotely or already being in quarantine because of a close contact with a COVID-positive individual prior to testing positive. We also continue to see large numbers of students and staff We continue our practice of calling together the members of our COVID response team when we do have a report of a COVID positive individual in our buildings for the purpose of identifying and notifying close contacts of the positive individual. To date, we do not have evidence of any staff or student contracting COVID while in school. Our local public health officials tell us that most of the COVID spread they are seeing is within households. As we approach the holiday break, I ask that you follow the “December Holiday Guidance” from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health located at https://www.mass.gov/news/december-holiday-guidance, which asks Massachusetts Residents to limit in-person celebrations to household members only, postpone or cancel travel this holiday season and to follow current gathering size limits and workplace safety standards. With the release of vaccines for COVID-19 coming in the new year, it looks like there’s an end to this long fight against COVID-19 in sight. Now, more than ever, we need to maintain our vigilance so that everyone we know and love will still be with us next summer.
High School Principal Search Update
We are well underway in our search for the next principal of Masconomet High School. The position was posted on Schoolspring.com, and other job posting sites. We currently have approximately 20 applicants for the position. Applications will close on January 4th. Asst. Superintendent Patty Bullard and Middle School Principal Phil McManus are leading our Screening Committee, which will be responsible for interviewing applicants and selecting finalists. The Screening Committee is made up of eleven members of our high school community and includes parents, teachers, department heads and a student representative. Interviews will be conducted during the week of January 18th.
On Monday, December 14, I sent out surveys to high school faculty, parents and students regarding the qualities they would like to see in our next high school principal. The responses to these surveys will be shared with the members of our screening committee to help guide their selection of finalists. The surveys can be accessed through the links below:
Finalists will be invited to visit Masconomet High School during the week of January 25th. These visits will consist of interview sessions with different members of the Masconomet High School Community, including faculty, department heads, and students. The “visits” will conclude with a virtual session for parents and community members in the evening. Everyone who meets with the candidates during the finalist interviews will be invited to provide written feedback to assist me in making a final decision. More information on the schedule for the finalists’ visits will be communicated in mid-January.
Remote Learning Day on December 17, 2020
Due to the predicted snowstorm, we will have a remote learning day for all students on Thursday, December 17, 2020. No students or faculty will physically attend school. We will follow our regular hybrid class schedule for the day. School offices will be physically closed and office and administrative personnel will work from home. If the storm causes widespread power outages, we may need to cancel school outright. I will be monitoring conditions overnight and will communicate any changes to our plan in the morning, if necessary. On Friday, December 18, students in Cohort A will attend school in-person.
Schedule for the Week of December 21, 2020
Monday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 22nd, will be remote learning days for students in grades 7-12. Students in our LRC Programs will attend in-person for both of these days. School will be closed for students and faculty beginning on Wednesday, December 23rd and will re-open on Monday, January 4th. Cohort B will be in-person on January 4th.
Standardized Testing in January Postponed
We have received notice from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that the MCAS Testing for 11th Grade that was originally scheduled for the week of January 18th has been postponed. We will therefore not need to alter our schedule for that week. DESE will notify us when this testing is re-scheduled. PSAT testing is still scheduled for Tuesday, January 26th. Only 11th Grade students will attend school in-person on January 26. All other students in both the Middle and High Schools will attend classes remotely that day.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and for better days ahead in 2021.