Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, September 1, 2021

Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year!

The Masconomet Regional District officially kicked off the 2021-2022 school year this morning with the return of our faculty to the District.  We began the morning meeting as an entire staff in-person for the first time in two years.  Our morning program included a slideshow of faculty members’ favorite summer pictures, recognition of our faculty who earned Professional Status and Master Teacher Status this year and remarks from the Superintendent.  Our keynote speaker was Dr. Chris Willard, a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in mindfulness practices with students.  Dr. Willard’s talk provided our faculty with some tools for managing their own stress and that of our students.  He also discussed the concept of “post-traumatic growth,” or the growth that individuals can develop after experiencing a traumatic event.

Our 7th and 9th grade students will report to school on Thursday, September 2nd for orientation.  All students will return to school on Wednesday, September 8th.  Information regarding High School bus schedules is available at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/67  Middle School bus information can be found at:  https://www.masconomet.org/domain/107

Mask Mandate Information

On August 25, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley issued the following guidance to all public K-12 school districts in Massachusetts relative to the wearing of masks in school:

Effective immediately, public school students (age 5 and above) and staff in all grades are required to wear masks indoors in schools, except as noted below. Masks are not required when outdoors. All visitors are also expected to wear a mask in school buildings. 

  • The mask requirement will be in place until at least October 1, 2021. The Commissioner will revisit the requirement in the near future to revise it as warranted by public health data.
  • Students and staff who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, and students who cannot wear a mask for behavioral reasons, are exempted from the requirement.  Documentation will be required in order to substantiate a medical or behavioral exemption.  Families who wish to seek an exemption based on medical reasons should contact their school nurse.  Families who wish to seek an exemption based on behavioral reasons should contact Asst. Superintendent for Student Services Patty Bullard. 
  • There are no other grounds for an exemption from the DESE mandate.  Students who arrive at school without a mask will be offered a disposable mask to wear.  Continued refusal to wear a mask may lead to discipline as per the school’s Student Handbook.
  • The mask requirement applies when students and staff are indoors at school, except when eating, drinking, or during mask breaks.
  • Mask breaks will be scheduled for students in both the Middle and High Schools.
  • Masks may also be removed indoors when necessary to participate in elective classes, such as the use of wind instruments in band. When traditional masks cannot be worn, districts should consider additional mitigations, such as the use of instrument masks (masks with a slit or hole cut for the mouthpiece) or bell covers, along with physical distancing or outdoor classes as feasible.
  • Masks are required for any sports-related activity for student-athletes and coaches when indoors, in alignment with guidance provided by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
  • Masks should be provided by the student/family. Disposable masks will be made available for students who need them.
  • By federal public health order, all students and staff are required to wear a mask on school buses.

Commissioner Riley has stated that the mask mandate will be in effect at least through October 1, 2021.  At that time the Commissioner will decide as to whether the mandate will be continued based on public health conditions.  If the public health conditions support relaxing the mask mandate, the Commissioner has stated that schools where over 80% of both staff and students are fully vaccinated would no longer be subject to the mask requirement.  Anyone who is 12 or older is currently eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.  Vaccines are the best way to protect against yourself, your family and the community from COVID-19.  Becoming vaccinated also provides students and staff with the benefit of not having to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual as long as they remain symptom-free.  Vaccines are free for anyone who lives in Massachusetts.  For information about vaccine appointments, please go to https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ 

COVID-19 Protocols

Masconomet’s Protocols for COVID-19 can be found at:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pbeM2sQ2a8HcaDVkIpGmDQD-V1uo2Ild/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=105645892378663609837&rtpof=true&sd=true  This document will be updated as we receive new information from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Test and Stay Program

Masconomet has been accepted into the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s “Test and Stay” program for the 2021-2022 school year.  We are now waiting to be assigned a Program Coordinator from CIC Health, the company chosen by DESE to run this initiative.  Once it is up and running, this program will allow unvaccinated students and staff to avoid having to quarantine if they are a close contact of a COVID-19 individual as long as they remain asymptomatic and submit to daily COVID Testing for at least five days.  CIC Health will be responsible for collecting permission from students and staff who are willing to opt into this program and will be conducting the testing onsite at Masconomet.  This program will not be running for the opening of school next week.  We will send out more information on participation when we receive it from CIC Health and DESE.

Drama Class Changes

Ms. Rachel Furgiuele, our Drama Teacher, resigned her position at Masconomet over the summer.  We have attempted to hire a licensed educator to fill the position, but have not been able to secure an individual who can commit to the position.  Middle School students who elected Acting & Stage Craft in grade 7 will be enrolled into the Chorus class that meets during the same period.  We’ve reassigned a current teacher to teach the Middle School Public Speaking course.  High School Students who had signed up for Drama classes will be rescheduled into other courses or study.  We will continue to advertise for an educator for this position.

Congratulations to Ursina Amsler

Middle School Art Teacher Ursina Amsler has been named the Massachusetts Art Education Association Middle Level Art Educator of the Year Award for 2022.  Congratulations to Ms. Amsler for this well-deserved recognition of the great work you do every day with our students.

Published by mascosuper

Superintendent of the Masconomet Regional School District

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