MURSD District Update
From the Office of the Interim Superintendent
January 7, 2022
This Week in the MURSD
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year in 2022!
MURSD Student Resolutions
Admittedly, we are in difficult few weeks right now with the increasing COVID cases, but in the eyes of a first-grader learning how to read and write, a middle-school student excited about their first concert coming up, or a high-school student engaging in an interesting project, if I were to summarize what I see as words that encapsulate the last few days in classrooms, it would be: unbounded potential and possibility.
Our administrators, teachers, and staff are working tirelessly to create not only safe environments for learning, they are connecting with students, and providing meaningful learning experiences, despite challenging circumstances. Thank you to all of our families who continue to make up a supportive and engaged school community that creates the conditions where our students can thrive. While we are facing challenges with the pandemic, we never lose sight of our focus on our students' well-being, potential, and growth.
MURSD Health Update
Dear Mendon and Upton Families,
We wanted to reach out and provide an update on our return to school amidst the uptick in COVID-19 cases across Massachusetts.
As predicted by the medical experts and anticipated by our district, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 since the return from vacation. Along with our local boards of health, we expect that this will decrease in the coming weeks.
We sincerely appreciate the collective awareness and support of our community, particularly in communicating with school nurses about students who are dealing with illnesses. We continue to see that our schools are safe, and we are experiencing minimal in-school transmission of the virus. With that said, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 in our communities and wanted to provide some updates.
In the past we had only asked students who have been identified as close contacts to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. In order to be cautious, at this time we are asking that all students self-monitor for symptoms and reach out to your school nurse with any concerns.
COVID-19 symptoms list:
• Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• New loss of taste or smell
• Muscle aches or body aches
• Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
• Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
• Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
• Headache when in combination with other symptoms
• Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
• Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
You can find our nurses’ contact information below. Parents/Guardians will continue to receive notification if their child is determined to be a close contact who needs to participate in the test and stay program or self-quarantine.
If a student begins to exhibit symptoms, please keep them home from school. Please do not send your student in if they are symptomatic with the intent to get them tested by the nurse. This not only exposes students and staff but also our health care professionals. Please call the school nurse should you have any questions or visit the link in the questions and answers document linked below to find testing locations nearby.
We also wanted to take this opportunity to share answers to some of the frequently asked questions that we have received in recent days. You can find those questions and answers here.
DESE/DPH came out with some revisions to their protocols last week, which were shared with you. Here are the updated protocols for your convenience. Any specific questions that can't be answered through the protocols or FAQ, please reach out to your school nurse.
Despite the uptick in cases across the Commonwealth, we know that our schools are safe. In each school in the district, we have taken the time at the start of this new year to refocus on the health guidelines and to remind staff and students of behaviors that have been shown to keep schools safe. It is great to see everyone working together to do their part. We are confident that the protocols we have in place will continue to make our schools safe and healthy communities of learning. We appreciate everyone’s support in this community-wide effort.
Maureen Cohen, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
MURSD School District Nurses
MURSD School Nurse Contact Information:
Nipmuc: Leslie McInnis, RN, firstname.lastname@example.org, 508-529-2143
Miscoe: Gail Farquharson, RN, email@example.com , 508-634-1589
Memorial: Lisa Ryan, RN, firstname.lastname@example.org, 508-529-1903
Clough: Tara Bellefontaine, RN, email@example.com, 508-634-9179
Athletic Updates- COVID Protocols
Due to the spike in positive COVID cases, all Dual Valley Conference schools have instituted a temporary spectator policy at our basketball games. Through the end of January only immediate family members of players (and cheerleaders) will be able to attend games. Athletic Directors will review this policy at the end of the month hoping that COVID numbers have dropped and this will allow us to bring back more spectators.
Those of you who are family members, I ask that you remain masked (mask covering nose and mouth) for the entire time you are in the gymnasium and sit three feet apart from those who are not in your family group.
Thank you for your help with this, I hope we are able to bring back more fans at the end of the month.
- January 7-No School-Snow Day
- January 10-School Committee Meeting
- January 10-Technology Planning Committee
- January 11-Clough PTO Meeting
- January 12: Memorial PTO Meeting
- January 12: SEPAC Meeting 6:30pm
- January 13-Kindergarten Information Night (Clough/Memorial)
- January 14-- 1/2 Day-- PD Day
- January 17-No School MLK Day
- January 18-Spanish Immersion Kindergarten Information Night 6pm
- January 18-Student Support Services-Parent Engagement-Understanding your Child's ADHD, Autism, and Social Emotional Learning.
- January 24-Memorial ES participates in Great Kindness Challenge
- January 25-Student Support Services-Parent Engagement-Overview of MRC and DDS
- February 1-Nipmuc Showcase
Please refer to school websites and newsletters for additional school events taking place.
MURSD Student Support Services Parent/Guardian Engagement Workshops
The Student Support Services Department has a variety of upcoming workshops for families.
Join us on January 18 at 6pm in the Nipmuc PDC for the "Understanding Your Child's ADHD, Autism, and Social-Emotional Learning" workshop.
Additionally, join us virtually on January 25 at 6:30pm for "An Overview of Mass Rehabilitation Commission and the Department of Developmental Services".
Please click here for flyers (in Portuguese, English, and Arabic) announcing these upcoming engagement opportunities. For more information about the events listed, please contact the Student Support Services office at 508-634-1581.
SEPAC Meeting January 12, 2022
Join the MURSD SEPAC for our January (all virtual) meeting to hear from the SEPAC board, as well as Director of Student Support Services, on district updates. This month’s meeting will also feature a special guest speaker, Randy Fedoruk from Sensation Station in Franklin, MA, who will be discussing Occupational Therapy.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
6:30pm on Zoom:
More on Randy:
Randy has been practicing as a pediatric occupational therapist for over twenty years. He has experience working with infants, toddlers and school age children and he has specific expertise in working with medically complex or medically fragile infants and toddlers and graduates from the NICU. Drawing upon his extensive knowledge base and experience, Randy has conducted numerous evaluations in early intervention programs across three states as well as school based evaluations across several school districts. Randy provides intervention plans for children who have autism spectrum disorder and he creates sensory diets that can be incorporated into the children and family's daily routines. An experienced mentor and teacher, Randy has lectured at national and international conferences. Randy has been an adjunct professor at Dominican College and Quinnipiac University and an Assistant Professor of Occupational therapy at University of Hartford and he has taught courses in neuroscience, splinting, assistive technology, theory or frames of reference, advanced practice skills and pediatrics. Currently he is the Program Director and a professor of occupational therapy at NEIT and he owns and operates a small private occupational therapy practice – Sensation Station.
YOU INSPIRE ME: Scott Felper, Custodian
"Scott works tirelessly keeping Nipmuc clean and does so with a smile on his face. When he sees a teacher the first thing he asks is if they need anything done in their wing of the building or if they need help with anything. He also always has friendly words for the students. In a very short time he has become a valuable member of our community!"
"Scott has visible pride in the Nipmuc school community and respect for the building and encourages the same in the student body. It is a pleasure to work with Scott!"
YOU INSPIRE ME: Sarah Montano (Grade 5 Teacher) and Casey Rhodes (Grade 8 Teacher)
"Sarah and Casey work tirelessly before, after, and during the school day organizing, facilitating, and supporting the Miscoe Hill student council members throughout the year. Our council members never miss a beat. The students take their role seriously and put 100% into every assembly, fundraiser, and event. They have outstanding role models and leadership from Sarah Montano and Casey Rhodes who walk the walk and continue to inspire our students to be outstanding citizens in our community."
YOU INSPIRE ME: Brenda Webster, Grade 5 Teacher
"Brenda has an amazing way of always staying fully committed to the vision of growing student literacy!"
YOU INSPIRE ME: Sub Coordinators, Principals, and Administrative Assistants
"Every day you are working miracles to find substitutes and manage coverage this week with many moving parts and you even do it with a smile! Your efforts do not go unnoticed."
Send in your #MURSDInspires notifications and we will highlight some in our newsletters and we will send the messages to the recipients to let them know they make a difference. Thanks!
"Middle Schools Give Students Early Start in Career Exploration and CTE Pathways"
- DESE/DPH Protocols December 2021
- MURSD FAQs regarding COVID January 2022
- DESE FAQs--most recent update January 6, 2022
- DESE/DPH Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios - SY 21-22
- DESE/DPH COVID-19 Guidance for Districts and Schools: Fall 2021-English
- DESE COVID Flowchart on COVID/Exposure/Testing
- DESE Decision-Tree for Identifying Close Contacts
- DESE Extension of Mask Requirements
- DESE Policy on Vaccination Threshold