Student & Family Update
Dear Students and Families,
The first 8 days are now behind us! Students and staff have settled into their daily routines and lots of cool learning is happening throughout the building. We are so happy to have our students back with us.
Bus Route Update- Bus #6
Bus 6 has new pick up times starting this Monday, September 13.
MTRS will be hosting an in person Open House on Thursday, September 23 from 6-7:30PM. Caregivers will start in their student’s advisory class where they will receive a schedule for the evening and learn about our advisory program. From here, caregivers will follow their student’s schedule and meet with teachers throughout the evening. We hope to see you there! Visitors to the building must wear a mask while attending Open House.
A quick reminder of our COVID-19 procedures
Students and staff will wear masks when indoors
When outside, students and staff may remove masks and practice social distancing
In classes, students will be seated 3 feet apart when possible
Mask breaks will be provided throughout the day
Lunch will be outside when weather permits
Message from the Nurse's Office
Please see this document on when to stay home from school. With the concerns surrounding the Delta variant, it remains important to do the daily screening prior to coming to school every day and staying home if you’re sick. Over the next few days, the district nurses will be updating the COVID-19 section of our family guidance handbook and sharing it with you all.
Also, just another friendly reminder to please complete and send in the annual health form in order for your child to be treated in the health office. If your child has a medication, inhaler, or epipen, the health office will also need a completed medication form from their PCP office. If you are exempting your child from any vaccines, please send in a signed note with the appropriate information.
Currently, there is an issue with a few faxes in the building so please use the front office (413) 625-6652 to send over any necessary paperwork. You can also take a picture or scan and send the paperwork directly to me at this email: Larissa Harrison, email@example.com
Trailblazer Model: Co-Teaching
Co-teaching is one of the pillars of our Trailblazer Model here at MTRS, giving students the opportunity to experience blended-subject classes (like Bioethics!) or receive more individualized attention in the classroom. Co-taught classes allow for teacher collaboration in planning, instruction, and assessment and the ability to merge disciplines to provide students with real-world connections and experiences.
We're excited to see our students and staff back in the classroom, blazing their way through this new academic year!
MTRSD/Hawlemont Special Education Parent Advisory Council
Please click here for information on the MTRSD/Hawlemont Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) - NEXT MEETING is scheduled for Sept. 15!
Let's get Social - FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM!
Get a glimpse of our students and staff in action! Follow our official pages and stay connected! Our official school Facebook and Instagram pages are @mohawktrailregional.
MTRS sports fans, we also have MTRS Athletics Instagram and Twitter pages! Follow your favorite teams @MTRSAthletics.
Now that the school year is back in full swing, Superintendent Stanton has resumed her weekly S’Updates! Be sure to visit the district website to catch the latest news each week at www.mtrsd.org/news. A link to the superintendent’s update can also be found at the news section of our website www.mtrs.mohawktrailschools.org/news.
POOL TESTING for athletics, extracurriculars, and before- and after-school programs:
Last week Superintendent Stanton shared with our Mohawk Trail school committee a proposed update to our district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies which was discussed and approved at the school committee meeting on Sept. 7. The topic will be up for discussion at the Hawlemont School Committee meeting on Monday, September 13.
After discussing with our Nurse Leader Donna Weber, FRCOG health agent Randy Crochier, and COVID-19 School Planning Task Force at length, pool testing has been added as an additional mitigation strategy to continue to help keep our school community healthy and safe during this pandemic. Thanks to our entire community’s efforts to follow mitigation strategies, including our FAB FIVE (vaccination; wearing masks; frequent hand-washing; physical distancing; and staying home when unwell) throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 caseloads in Franklin County remain low. ALL information can be found on the district’s COVID-19 Information page at www.mtrsd.org/covid-19-information OR by clicking on the “Helpful Links” drop-down from any of the school websites.
Abbott-BinaxNOW and Surveillance “Pool” Testing Program
With the arrival of the more highly contagious Delta variant, the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s position on pool testing has changed since last spring. This is due to the significant increase in transmissibility of the Delta variant, as well as the likelihood of vaccinated individuals being asymptomatic should they get COVID-19. In order to keep our school community healthy and safe, the COVID-19 School Planning Task Force and Administration determined pool testing would be another mitigation strategy to complement the FAB FIVE: vaccination; mask wearing; washing hands frequently; physical distancing; and staying home when unwell. MTRSD has been accepted into the state’s COVID-19 testing program including BinaxNOW and weekly surveillance “pool” testing program. The program is funded by the state at no cost to the District.
The testing program will begin in late September once the District receives all necessary supplies. To implement the testing program, the following protocols were discussed and approved by the Mohawk Trail School Committee on September 8, 2021. Under the pool testing program:
Any MTRSD student or staff member may voluntarily elect to be tested weekly for COVID-19 using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) pooled testing procedures outlined below. A PCR test is a diagnostic test that determines if you are infected with COVID-19 by analyzing a sample to see if it contains genetic material from the virus.
Any MTRSD student or adult involved with district before- and after school programs, athletics, or extracurricular programming will be required to participate in the weekly testing program.
Pool testing will be administered in school buildings. Under the surveillance pool testing protocol, MTRSD school nurses will administer the tests, which involve collecting anterior (shallow) nasal swab samples from a group (or “pool”) of 6-10 individuals. These samples will be combined and sent to Cambridge Innovations Center Health (CIC), a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) contractor, to conduct the lab analysis. The PCR test results will be available for review by the District Nurse Leader within 24-48 hours.
The Results: What Happens Next?
If a pooled sample generates a positive result, each individual in the pool will have a second anterior nasal swab and a BinaxNOW test performed at the school.
– If results from the second individual test are negative, the individual will continue to attend class or regular duties without any limitations.
– If results from the second test are positive and the individual is a student, the student’s caregiver will be notified of the need for immediate pick-up.
– If results from the second test are positive and the individual is a member of our district staff, the employee will be notified immediately and asked to leave the school building.
**The District Nurse Leader/COVID-19 nurse and/or the local Board of Health will contact the caregiver/individual to review isolation requirements for the positive person per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and DESE policies.**
When a positive case is identified, contact tracing begins immediately to determine those deemed a “close contact.” Close contacts are defined as individuals who have been within six-feet of a COVID-19 positive person while indoors for a cumulative of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
All close contacts who were exposed within the school community (at school, on a bus, etc.) are able to participate in the “TEST and STAY” protocols.
What is “Test and Stay?”
The Test and Stay program allows those who are identified as a “close contact” and exposed within the school community (students, staff, coaches) to test immediately for COVID-19 using the BinaxNOW antigen test. Testing is conducted by the school nurse upon their arrival at school each day for one week (7 consecutive days). BinaxNOW test results are available within 15 minutes.
If the person deemed as a close contact remains asymptomatic and continues to test negative daily, they may continue performing and participating in regular school activities. This allows for a safe way to monitor close contacts and increase time in the classroom.
If you have any questions surrounding the process, procedure, or need additional information, please reach out to our district Nurse Leader Donna Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org or Superintendent Sheryl Stanton at email@example.com.
TO SIGN UP ONLINE: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district
Select: Consent Now → Mohawk Trail → (select your school)
For staff, coaches, or anyone over 18 years of age, please select “Sign consent form for yourself.”
For caregivers who need to give consent for their child/ren, please select “Sign consent form for a minor.”
If you are unable to complete the online sign-up/consent, please contact Donna Weber for a paper copy to complete.