Safe School Year at Orchard Gardens

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Welcome Back and Thank You!

Thank you to all our families who joined us for the Family Meet and Greet last week! Answers to your questions are included throughout this newsletter. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.

We are so excited to see 100% of our students back in-person this year! The first day of school for students in grades 1-8 is Thursday, September 9th! The first day of school for students in kindergarten is Monday, September 13th!

Our Welcome Back Picnic is Tuesday, September 7th from 2-4PM. We hope to see you there!

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New Arrival and Dismissal Procedures


  • Doors open at 7:10 AM and instruction starts at 7:25 AM.
  • Only students and staff are allowed in the building this year, so please plan to say goodbye to your child in the recess area.
  • Kindergarten teachers will be outside to meet students and walk them inside.
  • Students will pick up breakfast from a cart on their way inside and will eat in their classroom.
  • Students should ring the bell at the front door on Albany Street if they arrive after 7:25 AM.


  • Dismissal begins at 2:20 PM for students in grades K-5 and 2:30 for students in grades 6-8.
  • Bus students wear their mask while on the bus.
  • Students who are being picked up will wait with their teacher in the recess area until they are picked up
  • Early dismissals:

    • Limited to emergencies and doctor’s appointments

    • No dismissals after 2:00 PM

    • Call the main office in the morning to share your child’s name, name of person picking up, and time of pick up - 617-635-1656

    • When you get to OG use the intercom/camera at the front door to share your child’s name and your name

Covid-19 Safety Measures

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BPS Student COVID Testing
BPS Student COVID Testing (Spanish)
BPS Student COVID Testing (Cape Verdean Creole)
BPS families must monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 every day before school. Some symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as the flu or a bad cold; please do not assume it is another condition. When in doubt, stay home and call your primary care provider.

YOUR CHILD MUST STAY HOME if your child or anyone in the home has any of the symptoms listed below:

  • Fever (100.0°F or higher without fever-reducing medicine), chills or shaking chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose


  • Any student who is in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 must stay home from school and quarantine for 10 days from the date of the last interaction with that person.
  • If you have recently traveled outside of Massachusetts: please review the current order related to out-of-state travel. Your child will be required to quarantine for 10 days - except in the case of
    • a student, age 11 and older, with a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered no more than 3 days before arriving in Massachusetts
    • a student, age 10 and under, with a parent/guardian negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered no earlier than 3 days before your arrival in Massachusetts.
    • ALL students should quarantine or meet the 3-day testing rule if returning from international travel.

If your child has any symptoms:

  • they must remain home and be evaluated by their primary care provider to consider testing for COVID-19.
  • parents/guardians must report the absence to the school administration and school nurse, noting if the absence is COVID-19 related.
  • inform the school nurse of the medical provider's recommendations, in writing, before returning to school.
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Family Meet and Greet Q&A

When will school supply list be shared?

They’ve been shared but can be re-shared/picked up at picnic and will be sent home on first day.

Will the students receive mask breaks?

K-5 students have recess and do not need to wear their masks while outside. All K-5 classes have one other scheduled mask break. Grades 6-8 have 2 scheduled mask breaks.

What is procedure the teachers are going to follow if they have a child who refuses to wear mask?

Especially during the first few weeks of school, all staff are prepared to support students in learning and understanding the importance behind mask expectations. Additionally, our teachers, Student Support Team will closely work with students and families to provide accomodations for students who need more support with meeting mask and safety expectations. We commit to working closely with all students and families to maintain a safe learning environment at all times.

Will there be afterschool programs? Afterschool programs for K1?

Boston's Bridge to Excellence and Boys and Girls Club are offering programming Monday-Friday. Boston Scores and Sole Train have practice 1-3 days/week.

Will there be middle School athletics? Soccer? Football?

We will begin the year partnering with Boston Scores to host a soccer team. The size and number of teams we host will depend on availability of coaches. We are working to confirm coaches for the Fall season and hope to reach out to students and families in the upcoming weeks to sign up.

Is the covid vaccine required for students?

The vaccine is not required, but recommended for students who are 12+.

Are parents allowed in the building?

Parents are only allowed in the building if they have a scheduled appointment. Please reach out to Ms. Webb ( or Ms. Venditti ( if you would like to request a meeting in the school building.

Will students use the cafeteria?

Yes, students will eat lunch in the cafeteria with as much physical distancing as possible. Students will sit with the same lunch group each day.

Will school provide lunch?

Yes, all students receive free breakfast and lunch.

Where can families access the weekly testing permission form?

The form was emailed last week from PermissionClick. Please check your spam folder for the email. Beginning September 8th, Orchard Gardens will be able to send reminder emails through the platform to families who have not yet completed the form.

Where will kids take the weekly covid test?

Testing will take place with a nurse from CIC Health using a "Test on Wheels" mobile cart. The nurse will test students in the hallway, immediately outside of the classroom by taking a shallow nose swab. The test will take less than a few minutes and will allow students to return directly to class. Students will not make contact with any of the testing materials and will continue to sanitize hands before returning to class.

When do parents complete forms for kids who get picked up by family members?

Emergency forms will be sent home with students on the first day of school. Please make sure to list everyone who is authorized to pick up and remind them to bring an ID.

Can K1 kids get yellow bus passes?

Students in K1-5 who live more than 1 mile from Orchard Gardens will receive a yellow school bus assignment. Students in grade 6 who live more than 1.5 miles from Orchard Gardens will receive a yellow bus assignment. Students in grade 7-8 will receive a M7 MBTA pass.

What is the policy for masking and social distancing while on the bus?

Students are required to wear their mask on the bus and will sit two students per seat. Bus windows will be cracked 1-2 inches to allow for additional air circulation.