November 11 , 2020

Weekly Update

Dear Dawson Community,

I hope that everyone has a chance to get away from the screen this weekend and get outside and enjoy it. I spent three days in Vermont hiking, exploring, and off all electronics. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to step back, recharge, and make things simple again.

We appreciate the continued support our staff is receiving from our community. The challenges that we are facing are unique and the only way that we will continue to move forward is by coming together with a shared goal of supporting our students.

Provided the transition that is on the horizon, I want to ensure that our community is aware of the complexity of the road that is ahead of us. I know that together, we can travel this road successfully; however, I have been involved in education long enough to understand that with transitions come challenges. The teachers are preparing for all cohorts at this time, and they will share the grade plans very soon. ALL students will be remote on Wednesday morning’s and all students will have asynchronous assignments on Wednesday afternoon. Dawson will be using a Title One Tutor and paraprofessionals to help support learners as well.

As a community, the move to remote learning at the beginning of the school year was a historic change. While we faced our fair share of 'bumps' on the road, we talked openly about the need to rely on our relationships/ communication and feedback. This was important to provide the awareness that we needed a 'starting' point to begin the year, and then we would need to adapt based on observations and feedback. Again, this new hybrid plan is a starting point and we will be asking for feedback from you in December to adjust our practice moving forward.

As we make the change to hybrid learning, our staff once again is tasked with managing a significant shift in routine and practice. As we move forward, we will once again need to acknowledge that the changes in our current routines will require us to ensure that we remain committed to a high level of communication, understanding, and support of one another. Much like in September, as we move to hybrid our 'starting point' will be just that, a starting point. As we gain experience and we observe first hand the ebb and flow of our in-school daily routines, we will make adjustments and refine our practices. I am asking for families to be flexible with us as again we are embracing a historic change amongst rising Covid numbers in our community.

The Wachusett District has a Covid Dashboard (link) which is updated weekly for your information. This link and more COVID information can be found on https://www.wrsd.net/

If you have questions or concerns please reach out to me and I will get back to you within 24 hours as I know these are thoughtful questions or concerns.



Mrs. Wallace

  • November 11 - No School
  • November 18- Hybrid Begins (Note: this is a Wednesday and Wednesdays are full remote)
  • November 19 -20 - Cohort B comes to school
  • November 19 - Parent - Question and Answer on HYBRID Learning via Zoom at 7:00 pm.

Topic: Parent Meeting

Time: Nov 19, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


  • November 23-24 - Cohort A comes to school
  • November 25 - 27 - No School - Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 - December 1 - Cohort A
  • December 2 - Full Remote Day
  • December 3 - Cohort B

Dawson Frequently ask Questions from Google Form

Here is the link to the district most asked questions:


When will we get a schedule for Hybrid and Fully Remote?

The teachers will be sending home grade level hybrid/remote and full remote expectations and schedules by early next week or sooner.

Will grade 5 have a snack?

Grade 5 will not have a snack as their lunch is a 12:00 so please have your children eat a healthy breakfast. If there is a medical need to have a snack please contact me so I can support individual needs.

For the Hybrid model: Will specials (art, music, gym) occur during "in-class" time or during remote learning?

The students will have specials in their classrooms during in-class days, and there will be asynchronous activities on remote days.

Half way through the quarter the specials in each cohort will change so everyone gets ALL the specials.

What is the cleaning process at the school for hybrid- the cleaning states it will be done at end of the day and between cohorts- we were assuming that was what the 1/2 day Wed was for. When does the cleaning between Friday and Monday take place?

The District has developed cleaning protocols to comply with Center for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), and local Boards of Health guidelines for reopening of schools.

School administration will ensure that the schools are properly cleaned and disinfected each day. The District has specifically purchased electrostatic sprayers to be utilized for deep cleaning of learning spaces. Below are some of the guidelines schools will follow:

Frequency: Cleaning and disinfecting will occur at least daily for shared spaces and furniture. For high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, light switches, toilet seats), cleaning and disinfecting will occur three to four times per day.

Desks: Desks will be cleaned after each cohort use (elementary grades) and daily. For situations when cohorts of students move between classrooms, cleaning of desks must take place between classes and before and after meals. Cleaning of desks can be done by students, teachers, or custodial staff.

Electronics: Each school will use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol to clean any shared computer or electronic device.

Outdoor Play Areas: Until further notice, outdoor playground equipment will be off-limits.

High Traffic Areas: Including entrances, main offices, health offices, bathrooms, will be cleaned and disinfected at least twice daily.

Portable Sprayers: Custodial staff will utilize portable sprayers to disinfect classrooms and common areas as needed.

EPA Approved Disinfectant: Custodial staff will use EPA approved disinfectant to conduct the daily disinfecting tasks.

Storage of Chemicals: Each school will ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection products, including storing products securely away from children.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Restrooms

The District will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which includes the ongoing cleaning of restrooms, ensuring they have functional toilets, adequate water supply, clean and disinfected surfaces, and handwashing supplies.

● The facilities staff will clean and disinfect all of the restrooms at least twice daily using EPA-registered disinfectants that are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

● The facilities staff will closely monitor high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, doorknobs, and light switches, and will clean and disinfect daily.

● Each school has posted instructions for proper handwashing in restrooms. ● Any hand sanitizer provided will have at least 60% alcohol.

● Every bathroom in the District has paper towels and hand soap for handwashing. ● Every bathroom’s exhaust system has been inspected for proper functioning and adequate ventilation.

● Each school will have its own systems to minimize traffic in bathrooms and will implement bathroom sign-in and out procedures to allow for contact tracing.

Once the students leave on Friday, the custodial staff will clean the building for the following Monday using these guidelines and procedures.

Will transportation decisions need to be made for the entire year or can the kids take the bus and be dropped off on different days?

The students will be able to be dropped off and picked up if needed; however, the children will not be able to go to a different address or bus stop due to bus capacity and assigned seating.

Where will the children have snack given that desks in the classroom are only 3 ft apart?

At this time, we are still working on this solution. There may be a possibility that there will be limited snack time this year. I will update parents on this regularly.

My fifth grader currently works with 3 teachers as they switch classes. Would she continue to see all 3 teachers in hybrid or just her homeroom teacher? Would they be switching classes or just stay in their homeroom cohort for the day?

The students will remain in their homerooms and the teachers will switch classrooms.

Will my child receive more direct instruction from her teachers with the fully-remote model vs. the hybrid model?

Both models will have synchronous and asynchronous learning. The district has the expectation that all children will learn equally utilizing the Wachusett Priority Standards. Here is the link: http://www.wrsdonline.net/documents/WRSDPriorityStandards.pdf

If we opt to drive our students; and our circumstances change is there a way to then get the kids on the bus?

I do not know the answer to this as the bus routes will be established with assigned seats for the year. The bus capacity will be greatly reduced than in typical years.

If the hybrid classes are 2/3 of the normal size class, and one-third of the students being fully-remote, it doesn't seem to add up. How large will the remote-only class size be in first grade?Who will the teachers be who teach all-remote students? It sounds like all of the standard teachers will be needed for the hybrid students; so where do the extra teachers come from? Will they have specialized teaching experience at their given grade level? To achieve a low enough number of students per classroom in the hybrid model, will the schools need about one third of students in each class to go remote? What will be done if not enough students in a given class choose remote?

At this time, the hybrid classes are divided in half as Dawson can fit 14 student desks with two feet of personal space and 3ft apart which is the minimum recommendation from the Department of Education. Dawson is able to successfully have no more the 14 children in a class at this time. At this time, Dawson will have all their educators teaching Hybrid which is excellent for the students. If a teacher needs to take a leave of absence due to health or personal reasons I will contact the families immediately with the action steps for the students.

For the Hybrid model: Will Wednesdays continue to be conducted as they have been?

Yes, Wednesday will be fully remote for all children. The children will not have a remote live special that day so the class can work on core academics and social/emotional learning. The class times will be from 9:00-12:00 with asynchronous learning in the afternoon.

For hybrid school attendees- what will recess time look like? The plan states no outside equipment can be used (no playground) what will the children be able to use and play with outside at school?

Recess will look very different this year. The class homerooms will be together and students will not be able to interact with other homerooms. All students will need to be 10 ft apart to not wear masks. I am looking into creative ways to engage students during recess, and welcome any ideas. Some ideas I am thinking about are races, chalk, old fashion games like Red Light Green Light, etc.

If requested can each of my children be in a different cohort?

Creating cohorts is very time consuming as we need to place sibling within Dawson and Mountview together. I can not guarantee the cohort can be changed, but if you are in a hardship situation please reach to me.

If you choose remote only can a student return to in-class learning come January if it is proven safe?

I believe you will be able to return to in-class learning, but it may take some time to transition back.

For the Hybrid model: Do children need to sign up for the free lunch or will it be provided at the school to all students who want it?

The USDA has extended the Universal Free Lunch waiver through to June 20, 2021, which provides free meals for all students enrolled in the Wachusett School District! A regular lunch schedule will go out and the kids will choose as they did in past years.

What is the tracking process for the school- will each student be assigned a unique identifier to track close contacts for potential exposures? What will be the notification process for potential exposures?

All students will be assigned a bus seat ( if applicable), a classroom desk, and a lunch desk/table. Here is the guidance from the WRSD Re-Opening Plan:

Notification of Health Officials and Close Contacts

● In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, school nurses/administrators will notify the local Boards of Public Health, employees, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

● The District’s Nursing Team will work collaboratively with the local Public Health Agents to identify individuals who have tested positive and/or who are considered a close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Individuals and families will be instructed to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, following CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

● The District will work closely with the local Board of Health Agent and the Administrative Team to identify any COVID-19 cases and necessary actions.

New Nurse Pick Up Procedures


Dear Parents,

To help families prepare for the eventual return to in-person learning, it is important that the following information pertaining to student illness is reviewed before students start school. As the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the medical community learn more about COVID-19, it is possible that this guidance will change. The information below is based on the most recent, reliable medical guidance.

Parents whose child has one or more of the following signs/symptoms of illness, that are also associated with COVID-19, should keep their child home from school. It is also recommended that parents contact their primary care physician for further evaluation:

  • Fever of 100.0° F or higher accompanied by chills

  • Persistent cough that is not due to another known cause such as chronic cough

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Headache in combination with other symptoms listed here

  • Muscle aches or body aches

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Fatigue in combination with other symptoms listed here

  • Nasal congestion or runny nose that is not due to other known causes such as allergies and is in combination with other symptoms listed here
    Click here for the CDC’s COVID-19 Information Page

The following information, related to when child(ren) may return to school, is based on the WRSD School Reopening Plan and Department of Health guidance:

  1. If a student is referred for further medical evaluation for symptoms of illness, they may only return to school with a note from their doctor or following a 10-day quarantine IF symptoms have improved AND they are fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

  2. Close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
    If a student is considered to be a close contact, they may only return to school following a 14-day quarantine period, even if a negative COVID-19 test result is received.
    It is recommended that anyone who is considered close contact gets tested for COVID-19 four to five days following exposure.

  3. If a student has tested positive for COVID-19, they may return to school 10 days following documentation of the start of symptoms if they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication AND if their symptoms have improved.

  4. Important: All documentation must be faxed or emailed to the health office prior to returning to school.

As the District refines and finalizes school reopening plans, it is understood that there may be situations unique for families that require further discussion. Your child’s school nurse is available to discuss these situations, as well as to provide further explanation for the protocols outlined in this message. Please be aware that the WRSD school nurses have been integral in shaping the District’s protocols and procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are a valuable resource for parents and guardians.

I appreciate the questions and concerns that have arisen in our outreach to the families of students. Our ability to work together and collaborate during this difficult period of time is integral to our success.


Mrs. Wallace