BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

April 16, 2021

Our next newsletter will be April 30, 2021

Superintendent's Office

Dear Families, Staff, and Students:


It has been a difficult couple of weeks since the April 5th start of school for elementary students followed by the April 12th return of middle/high school. During this period, there has been increased tension among community members as the risks of COVID and evidence of its impact on our returning students becomes evident. Those risks have presented themselves in a number of challenging ways, culminating in the need to close down our schools for today.


There is a quarantine protocol, including contact tracing, that we are still required to follow once a COVID case has been reported. Our nurses and school administrators have worked tirelessly to not only ensure that those protocols have been put in place, but that they have been maintained and followed accordingly. This is the reason that so many students have been forced into quarantine during the past few weeks regardless of public opinion about who should go out and how that has been determined.


The District Administrative Leadership Team began strategically discussing a full return to school in early December and laying out a possible timeline as reliable resources and data became available. We have continued to share these updates throughout the year, and at the March School Committee meeting. While there were many good reasons to return to school, our main priority and goal were to transition back this year in the safest manner possible and then build upon that momentum to create a positive start to the new school year.


We anticipated that there would be bumps along the way, and at times, that it would be a bit messy. We looked at all possible scenarios to make that transition as minimally impactful as possible and we made recommendations for doing so. When start dates were determined, we made the commitment to one another and to all of our school community to do all we could do to make it work for our students as safe as possible.


We cannot do this alone without the help of our families. Therefore, we again implore our parents to be diligent about making sure their children are not symptomatic before sending them to school. If your family chooses to travel, please follow the state guidelines, and even go above and beyond, to have your children tested before you send them back to school.


Our schools will remain safe environments when all parties cooperate and continue to follow federal and state guidelines.


In the meantime, the district continues to regularly evaluate our safety practices and consult COVID-related research. For more information please read the recent article and research analysis I cited at this Tuesday’s School Committee meeting. A link to that article and the related research analysis can be found below.


Education Week Article, March 2021


Research Analysis Article BMJ, August 2020


In closing, I want to thank all of those families who have remained supportive and who continue to follow the necessary precautions on behalf of their children and all of the Berlin-Boylston School Community. We continue to look ahead toward better days to come and will remain steadfast in doing what we must and need to do to keep our schools open and our students and staff safe.


One final reminder, the deadline for switching learning modules (i.e. in-person to remote or remote to in-person) is today. Notification must be made via email, dated no later than April 16. Once a decision is made, we are, unfortunately, unable to make changes and your student must remain in the chosen module for the remainder of the school year.


Respectfully,

Jeffrey Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

School Committee Vacancy

The Berlin-Boylston Regional School Committee is seeking a qualified candidate to fill one vacancy on the committee for the period May 10, 2021, through election day in 2022*.



Any interested candidate must be a Berlin resident and should submit a letter of interest and resume of relevant experience to Mr. James Spencer, Chair of the Berlin-Boylston Regional Transition School Committee no later than April 29, 2021, for review and consideration to his email address.



The Berlin-Boylston Regional Transition School Committee will interview all applicants at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 4, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. The successful candidate will be chosen by member vote at that meeting.



Any questions or concerns should be directed to Mr. Spencer.


*Election Day to be determined


Click here to view and print this press release.


James Spencer, Chair

Berlin-Boylston Regional School Committee

jspencer@bbrsd.org

Business Office

Please note, remote meals will not be available from April 16-April 23. Please check our next newsletter for upcoming availability.


Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Technology Department


Families that received a hotspot from the District:

Verizon has issued a recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot devices in use for distance learning. Over the last several weeks, they were made aware that the lithium-ion battery in the hotspots can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard.

We will be working with Verizon as quickly and efficiently as possible to exchange all Ellipsis Jetpack devices that were issued by the school for an Orbic Speed mobile hotspot, free of charge.

If your device is currently turned off, please turn it on so that the Ellipsis Jetpack can receive two (2) over-the-air, automatic software updates that will (a) enable the device’s identifying number to be viewed on its scrolling screen to help facilitate its exchange and (b) prevent the device from charging while the device is plugged in and powered on. You will know the software update has been applied when you see the device’s identifying number scrolling across its screen. After the software update is applied, users should leave the device powered on while it is plugged in. When not in use, the device should be turned off, unplugged from its power source, and securely stored until you receive your replacement device and packaging to return the Ellipsis Jetpack safely.

Please return your device to your child’s school as soon as possible so we may get them exchanged with Verizon. You can also leave them at our Central Office at 215 Main Street in Boylston, above the Police Station. We hope to do this over the school vacation week so we can have them back in your hands once school resumes.


As a reminder, and to help promote the safe operation of all devices, please follow these best practices:

· When not in use, turn the device off and unplug it.

· Place your device on a flat, solid, and sturdy surface such as a floor or table.

· For proper ventilation, do not use the device in a bed, sofa, chair, or other soft surfaces, and ensure your device is not covered by a pillow, blanket, or other items.

· Keep devices near room temperature when in use.

· Use only approved charging cables, including the cable provided.

· Do not expose the units to extreme temperatures for extended periods of time.

· Do not expose the unit or its battery to water or other liquids.

· Do not drop the units and do not insert foreign objects into the battery or unit.


Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns about the technology issued to you, please contact me at pmara@bbrsd.org



Paul Mara, Director

pmara@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School

It's been a wonderful (almost) two weeks and we are on vacation! I hope you all enjoy some family time in the coming week. Please remember to keep on top of the state's travel advisory and upon our return to school monitor your child(ren) for symptoms. We had everyone back in person and want that the rest of the way into the summer.


This strange year has caused us to pivot and change many of our traditions. However, bringing everyone back has allowed us to complete some of our favorites. Thursday our 5th graders participated in the annual Egg Crunch. Now any 5th grader can pull off an Egg Drop but I haven't seen many take on the Crunch. Students follow the engineering process to devise a system to protect an egg from a concrete block being dropped from above. The kids had creative and inventive solutions, had a blast, and learned in the process!


Leading into the break we also had fun virtual Trivia night courtesy of the PTO. Thank you to everyone that participated. The kids seemed to have a blast! Being the leader of the school, I had expected to perform better but apparently, the kids/families are quicker than I am!


Congratulations to Team Rizzardi, the first-place winners! The PTO now turns its attention to our annual Race For Education! The group has worked hard to adjust the fundraiser to meet social distance requirements and illuminate possible spread. More information can be found here. Packets were supposed to go home today, so look for them the Monday we return!


Check the electronic folder for digital versions. We may be adjusting due dates accordingly.

This spring, BEF is hoping April showers will give way to May flowers -- in the form of pinwheel gardens! Given the coin shortage due to COVID, we thought having a Pinwheel Fundraiser in lieu of Penny Wars would be a bit more socially sensitive. All money collected will go directly towards funding BEF grants. As with Penny Wars in the past, we will tally the amount of funds raised per grade and the grade with the most pinwheels purchased will receive a prize! In our effort to be paperless, we are using Google forms and Venmo. Please check this flyer as it contains more important details.


Electronic Folder

The Week Ahead:

4/19-4/23 Nothing but vacation!!!!


Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

BES Office: 508-869-2200

Berlin Memorial School

Spring Break at last!


Even though there is a Winter Storm Watch in effect as I write this, that week off known as Spring Break is upon us.


We’ve had a great Spirit week thanks to the leadership of our Student Council. Although bringing stuffed animals to school proved a bit “distracting” for our younger learners, it seems like everyone enjoyed the day. It was great to end our week on such a positive note!


Pick-up and Drop-off

Now that we have a couple of weeks under our belt, we have reviewed our pick-up and drop-off procedures. As I mentioned to School Committee earlier this week, we are blessed here at Berlin Memorial with a small school and a (very) big driveway. As a result, we have not had the challenges that I hear about in other schools. This is especially true for morning drop-off, which is going off without a hitch. Thank you to those parents who now park to help their child get out of the car - it has really helped keep our drop-off process moving smoothly.


Afternoon pick-up is also going well. We have run into a bit of a snag with school buses getting stuck in the pick-up line. Because of the wide turn radius they have, it is not always safe for them to pass waiting for cars and turn into the circle at the front of the building. Officer Goodie and I are monitoring the situation, and will problem solve as needed over the next few weeks.


And, of course, thanks to everyone for using School Dismissal Manager so faithfully!


A note from Nurse Ana

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

Happy Spring! I hope you and your families are enjoying the sun and warmer temperatures. It is hard to believe that we are officially in the month of April and beginning the last leg of the 2020-2021 school year.


April vacation is next week and as you know some state COVID restrictions have been lightened and many people have been vaccinated. A light is in sight at the end of the tunnel, but we are not there yet. Please continue to be vigilant, protect yourself and others, and don’t let your guard down. I encourage you to comply with the MDPH COVID-19 Travel Advisory if traveling this school break.


If your child becomes ill during April break, please refer to the Daily Screening and review the Protocols for Return to School after Illness prior to sending your child back to school.

If you are notified that your child is a close contact during April break, please let me know so we can plan accordingly for your child’s return to school.


We have made it this far and our kids are finally back in school full time, so let's not jeopardize in-person learning or increase the risk of transmission within the school.

Thank you for your continued support this year. If you have any questions or concerns, I can be reached via email at Aamaral@bbrsd.org or by phone at 978-838-2214.


Stay well and have a wonderful April break.

Ana


A Final Few Notes

  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in its’ infinite wisdom, is still insisting that we administer MCAS tests this year. Pretty much everyone who works with actual children thinks this is a lousy idea, but so far no one is listening to us. The tests themselves are shorter, which is some consolation. We anticipate those tests (ELA and Math, plus science for Grade 5) to take place in the second half of May.

  • We are all conscious of the things that haven’t happened as a result of the pandemic, so I wanted to mention that we are already planning for our end of the year Field Day and Grade 5 Recognition Day. We will share those plans as we move forward.

  • With staff taking next week to re-energize, please be aware that the building will be closed all next week. If you have a concern, you can email me for assistance - jcampbell@bbrsd.org.


Dates to know...

  • Monday, April 19- 23 - Spring Break!


John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

BMS Office: 978-838-2417

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School

Tahanto Full In Schedule

For Week of 4/26/21

Even Week


Congratulations to Tahanto’s Paige Money on her state leadership appointment as MASC Vice President! This is a tremendous accomplishment and honor for not only Paige but the entire Tahanto Student Council and Tahanto community. We are so proud of you Paige!

MASC STUDENT COUNCIL STATE VICE-PRESIDENT


Just a reminder, the deadline for switching learning modules (i.e. in-person to remote or remote to in-person) is today. Notification must be made via email, dated no later than April 16. Once a decision is made, we are, unfortunately, unable to make changes and your student must remain in the chosen module for the remainder of the school year.


Term III Final Grades Posted

Term III final grades are now posted in PowerSchool for student and parent/guardian viewing. Please review grades with your child(ren) and if you have any questions please contact the teacher directly.


Parent Drop-Off & Pick-Up

We continue to have several parents arriving anywhere from 5-15 minutes early for drop-off and pick-up. Please do not arrive at the school for drop off before 7:25 am and for pick up, before 2:15 pm. We are not marking students tardy to school if they arrive a few minutes late due to the traffic. Arriving at the designated times will help to alleviate dangerous traffic congestion on route 70. Parents will not be able to pull in and wait until the cones are moved. Parents will be directed to continue driving and come back to the school at the designated time.


Important Clarification for Attendance

Students who have chosen to learn in person are expected to attend school 5 days per week. In-person learners will not have access to live streaming if they are absent from school (unless COVID-related). Students who are live-streaming must follow the schedule and attend the entire class with their cameras on.

If a student stays home due to not feeling well, a parent may write a parental excusal which should be brought into the Main Office upon the student's return to school. If a live streaming student misses a class due to illness a parent must email an excusal note to Mrs. Boudreau at sboudreau@bbrsd.org.

School districts must take attendance for every student, every period regardless of the mode of learning. If your child is absent from school whether your child is remote or in person, please follow the same procedures:


  1. Call (508)869-2333 x 2303 to report your child absent. If your child is absent due to a medical appt. (doctor or dentist) please bring a note to the main office from the doctor’s office the next day your child is at Tahanto.


  1. If your child is going to be late to school for either remote learning or in-person please still call the above number and make us aware of this. Remote attendance will be taken within the first 10 minutes of class.


  1. Each student has 3 parental excusals that can be used during each semester for absences that are not subject to a doctor’s visit. To use parental excusal please write a note and have your child bring the note to the main office on the next day your child is in person at Tahanto.


If we do not receive a call notifying us of the absence, the secretaries in the main office will be contacting parents/guardians.


If you need further clarification or need to ask a question specific to your child’s attendance, please do not hesitate to contact Sue Boudreau at (508)869-2333 or send an email to sboudreau@bbrsd.org.


Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist

Questions? Contact Janet Sequeira, School Nurse at (508)869-2333 ext. 2303



"CELEBRATE A SENIOR"

A HUGE THANKS goes out to the Berlin/Boylston community for their help in creating an awesome Senior Gift Bag! So many businesses, families, and individuals contributed to the success of this endeavor.


A deep appreciation goes out to all of you for helping the Class of 2021 to feel special after an especially tough year.


ALL TAHANTO SENIORS: The wait is over, please pick up your goodies and lawn signs at Tahanto on Saturday, May 1st from 9-11 am. We look forward to seeing you there!


For information regarding upcoming Senior events Click HERE


Athletics

The deadline for sign-ups was April 15th!

If you missed the deadline but are still interested in participating in Track & Field, Baseball, Softball, or Lacrosse please email Athletic Director, Matt Porcaro directly at mporcaro@bbrsd.org. If you have chosen to be a full remote student you are still eligible to participate in extracurricular activities.



Important information from Athletic Director Matt Porcaro regarding Spring sports

Spring Sports Information Letter


Tahanto/West Boylston Football News

Friday, April 9th our Varsity football team beat Hudson 28-14, at Whitcomb Middle School!

Their upcoming game will be on Saturday, April 17 at Shrewsbury High School at 12:00 pm vs St. Bernards.


Saturday, April 10 our JV football team beat Hudson 22- 20, at Shrewsbury High School.

Their upcoming game will be on Monday, April 19, at St. Bernard’s at 3:30 pm vs. St. Bernard’s.


Counseling Office News and Resources


Middle School

Counseling Newsletter 4/9/21

High School News

Counseling Corner April 2021

Resources

Ms. Ford’s virtual office - A great place to find coping strategies.



Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org


Tahanto Office: 508-869-2333