BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

January 29, 2021

Superintendent's Office


Greetings, Parents, Staff, and Students:


We continue to monitor our town COVID numbers and are beginning to see some relief in the stabilization of numbers of positive cases as well as a slight downward trend. It is encouraging to us as we plan for full re-entry in the months ahead.


Currently, our position is that in order to meet our goal of a full-re entry opportunity for all of our students, one of the conditions that will need to have been fulfilled is the vaccination of our educators. Earlier this week, the MA Commissioner of Education met with district Superintendents of Schools to talk about the current push within the Commonwealth to reclassify our educators, so that the vaccine will become available to them as part of Phase II, Part 1, rather than in at least mid- February, as Phase II, Part 3. Advocacy for doing so has come from numerous sources including the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.), the Worcester County Superintendents Roundtable, as well as several unions within their districts, to Governor Baker’s office. Both the Governor and Commissioner have been long-standing advocates in their commitment to returning our students to school, however, the vaccination must be made available to educators as a first step to opening the doors of discussion and an eventual return.


In a letter to Governor Baker on January 26, 2021, members of the Worcester County Superintendents Roundtable cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics in advocating for students to fully return to school, or if still in a remote model, move into at least a hybrid model. The letter also noted the following reasons:


  • The responsibility of educators and leaders to support the educational, emotional, physical, and mental well-being of the children across the Commonwealth.

  • First responders, healthcare workers, and educators share a commonality in their day-to-day work in that they must come into contact with dozens or hundreds of people on a daily basis and often cannot be completely socially distant from those they serve.

  • The stress and anxiety placed on educators as they continue to put themselves in this position without the protection of an existing vaccination is unfair and is not in the best interests of advancing public education in the Commonwealth.


In closing, I have included the slides provided to us by the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education outlining the vaccination chain as it is currently structured. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to our schools and to our educators.


Respectfully,



Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Business Office


Remote Meals!

We will continue to offer remote meals for the days that students are in remote learning mode. BBRSD is excited to offer a complete breakfast and lunch meal for each remote learning day per week! (*3 breakfast and lunch meals for students attending in person 2 days a week*). Weekend meals may also be requested by emailing Lauren Staples, Director of Food Services (lstaples@bbrsd.org).

This week we are offering an assortment of ready to eat sandwich meals (Turkey and Cheese Sub, Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, PBJ), in addition to newly made frozen meals (Pulled Pork Sandwich, Chicken Alfredo, Nachos (Beef), Pasta with Meat Sauce (Beef), Mac n’ Cheese, French Toast Bites), with a bag of fresh produce per household!

Pickup is at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School. Take the entrance nearest the softball/field hockey field, and idle at the cone near the dumpsters. Stay in your car, and the order will be brought to your vehicle.


Due to the weather forecast Tuesday, weekly meal pick-up times required a slight adjustment. Pickup times this week will be offered Monday 11:00am-1:00pm, Wednesday 10:00am-1:00pm, Thursday 11:00am-1:00pm, and Friday 11:00am-1:00pm. Note: All children ages 1-18 in the local area are eligible for our free remote meals, regardless of their enrollment status in the district. Alternative to weekly pickup, a single breakfast and lunch is available daily between 12:00pm-1:00pm M-F at Tahanto, please call 508-869-2333 ext. 2346 upon arrival (no registration required for daily pickup).

Please fill out the form below (1 form per child) to specify your weekly order and pickup details. If you are unable to pick up during the available pickup windows please email: lstaples@bbrsd.org to arrange alternate plans. Pickup windows were created to reduce wait times, and improve traffic flow.

Participating in our remote meal program keeps our food service department working, so thank you in advance!

Weekly remote meal ordering form link:

https://www.bbrsd.org/Page/1583


Any questions or concerns can be directed to Lauren Staples, Food Service Director 508-869-2333 ext. 2346 or lstaples@bbrsd.org.




Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Pupil Personnel Services Department

Preschool Lottery

The Preschool Lottery was held on January 28th, 2021 for the Fall 2001 preschools at Tahanto and in Berlin. Thank You to Mrs. Angela Yildiz, School Committee member, for overseeing the lottery process this year.


A preschool lottery is held when there are more applicants than available slots for typical students. This year’s lottery was done virtually, and open to the public. Families that were chosen in the lottery will be notified by February 5, 2001.


Flu Vaccine

Just a reminder- The state has recently removed the requirement that all students receive a flu vaccine this year, but still encourages all students to get vaccinated.




Karen Molnar, Director of Pupil Personnel Services

kmolnar@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School


Guest Blogger, Juliana, Grade 1

This week, we received a special package in the mail. One of our wonderful 1st graders, Juliana, entered our library into a special contest and we won! I asked her to guest blog and tell you all about it. I love seeing kids so excited about books!


"We saw the Jan Brett contest online. The first 200 people who won the contest would get a signed book, Cozy, for the library. Then we saw the question which was to find the name of Cozy’s sister. We searched for a read-aloud of the Jan Brett book online and fast-forwarded to the part where his sister was. His sister’s name was Fluffy, and his brother’s name was Snuggly! Then we put the answer in and we got to choose where the book would be donated. We chose the Boylston Elementary Library! I was the first one to get the book from the school library, and I will bring it back so that the whole entire school can read it! The book is amazing!"



Thanks, Juliana!


Time on Learning Update

Thank you all for your patience as we began to make our Time On Learning adjustments this week. We had some snafus and some great successes this week. We'll smooth out the wrinkles and it will only get better. I have already heard from teachers about how they plan to tweak it next week and maximize their impact on students. It is wonderful to see their commitment to this process and your children. Speaking of snafus, we had a few hiccups with our Wednesday enrichment block...or rather, I did. I may have inadvertently caused some confusion by failing to mention that Mr. Campbell, the principal at BMS, is hosting the K-2nd sessions while I am hosting the 3rd through 5th. This webinar-style format includes students and staff from both buildings. And for those of you in my Wednesday group, you saw some students had the wrong link and joined the session as panelists instead of attendees. It caused quite a bit of confusion and I am sorry for that. I am resharing the correct links here and with grade-level teachers. I'm confident that next week will go more smoothly.

K through 2nd - https://zoom.us/j/99115748443.

3rd through 5th - https://zoom.us/j/91625795282

The Week Ahead:

  • Thursday (2/4) PTO meeting




Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

Big picture

Juliana, Grade 1, is our guest blogger this week!

This week, we received a special package in the mail. One of our wonderful 1st graders, Juliana, entered our library into a special contest and we won!

Berlin Memorial School


Welcome to the end of January!


On this particularly frigid morning, it occurs to me to remind you to always send your child to school dressed for the weather. Even though we might not go out for recess (the rule is below 20 degrees with the wind chill) the kids still go out for mask breaks. In addition, you never know when something unforeseen might force us outside for a while. Better to be prepared.


On behalf of everyone here, I want to thank the many people who have voiced concern and support for our staff during these difficult days. We all miss our students when they are not here and look forward to the day when we can all safely return! Thanks for hanging in there with us.


Our Coin War fundraiser for our PTL parent group continues. Cohort A has the lead, but there is time to go on this adventure. Funds raised go to support the great work the PTL does, and every donation is greatly appreciated.


A Note from Nurse Ana

Again, I’d like to thank all our BMS families for their continued support and adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. This has allowed us to keep our staff and students healthy and in-person learning.


The Flu Vaccine is no longer a requirement. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/ preschool, primary, secondary, and postsecondary education. Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19. Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive a seasonal flu vaccine each year.


Stay well and as always, if you have any questions, please contact me.

978-838-2214

Ana

Aamaral@bbrsd.org



John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School


2nd Semester Begins!!



This Week’s Schedule

Schedule for 2/1/21-2/5/21

Beginning February 3rd, on the first and third Wednesday of every month, Tahanto students will have an early dismissal at 12:00 for planning and curriculum time for teachers.


Term II Grades

Just a reminder that access to PowerSchool grades are disabled for this week as teachers finalize grades for Term II. Term II grades will be released in PowerSchool on February 8th at 2:15 p.m.


Click below for the most recent information from the Counseling Office:

Counselor's Corner


Senior Class Information

Class dues for Seniors are due NOW! Your dues are needed to cover expenses for yearbooks, prom, class gifts, etc. Please contact Mrs. Hutchinson if you do not know if you owe money.

Help the Senior Class of Tahanto Class of 2021 celebrate this Spring in style! We are hoping to bring some joy to the 84 graduating seniors by sponsoring a gift bag for each student.

You can help us reach this goal by contributing something through the links below OR by sending a check to Tahanto PTO 1001 Main Street, Boylston, MA 01505 OR by using Paypal OR Venmo:

PayPal https://tinyurl.com/y2ru98k4

Venmo TahantoPTO


Celebrate a Senior

Please help us make this year special for the Tahanto Class of 2021 by signing up to contribute to their individual gift bag. It has been a tough year, and we’d love to bring a smile to their faces! We appreciate your kindness! Click here to help Celebrate a Senior


Yarnstorm

In collaboration with Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Tahanto Art presents Community, Connectedness, and The Legend of the Red String, an installation on view during the Yarnstorm Exhibition! Come view our school tree, which is adorned with student-created Origami, in this yarn-bombing exhibition which runs from January 16th - March 31st, 2021. Please read our statement about this important work below:


Drawing on the Japanese Legend of the Red String and themes of community, connectedness, and collaboration, the students at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School have created a site-specific art installation for Tower Hill Botanic Garden's exhibition, Yarnstorm. The Legend of the red string states that every person's pinky finger is tied to an invisible red string that will lead him or her to another person with whom they will make history. Although the string may get tangled, contracted, or stretched, as surely often happens, it will never break. While community activities, and even art exhibitions, have been looking differently since the start of 2020, it is important to remind ourselves that we are all still connected to one another. Students created works of origami that symbolized their experiences throughout quarantine, and although our strings might all be slightly stretched right now, our community is intact and continuing to create light.


For more information regarding this exhibition, please visit: https://www.towerhillbg.org/yarnstorm/

To reserve tickets online (in accordance with social distancing guidelines), please visit:

https://www.towerhillbg.org/admissions-confirmation/



Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist


Immunization Requirements

The Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health along with the MA Immunization Information Systems, will once again be surveying the complete immunization status of all grade 7 students. Please ask your child's doctor to fax (508-869-6202) your child's immunization record as soon as possible.


This year, the State will also be surveying the immunization status of grade 11 students. Please ask your child's doctor to fax that to me at 508-869-6202 which is a confidential/dedicated fax line.

Please click here for important information


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



Athletics

Please make sure that student-athletes have Covid related supplies (masks, sanitizer, plenty of water) in their gym bags.


https://tahantoregional.rschoolteams.com/


Matt Porcaro

Athletic Director

Tahanto Regional

mporcaro@bbrsd.org



Drama Club News

The Tahanto Drama Club is planning to perform a one-act play," Home of the Brave" in February.

Auditions are opening up again to fill our cast list; one main role and two supporting roles. We also are looking for a student who is interested in supporting the technical needs of putting on a virtual play.

Please contact Mrs. Gustavson directly at lgustavson@bbrsd.org to apply.



School Committee Policy Update on Travel during COVID

Please read the following update to the travel policy. TRAVEL: All staff and students are expected to comply with Governor Baker’s Travel Orders. In addition, if staff/students of any age travel outside of states deemed “low risk,” staff/students would be required to quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results.

Families, please contact the nurse if you have traveled outside of Massachusetts to a “high risk” state. Currently, the only state that is not deemed to be high risk is Hawaii. Now, if you are going to Hawaii there is also a policy stating that you must take the principal with you :)

These restrictions are put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to this.


Math Support

Every Tuesday after school in the Library Conference Room we are offering math support for all students in grades 6-12. No need to sign up, just show up!


Important Clarification for Attendance

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:


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.


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.


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.


This is a clarification for all parents/students. If you are scheduled to be in person for learning, you may not choose to learn remotely unless you are not feeling well in which case a parent would call the school nurse.


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 the nurse excuses the student's absence for the day and allows the student to study remotely, students in a different cohort should contact their teachers to let them know they are planning on studying remotely as they may not have access to the Google Meet links/materials needed to work remotely.


FREE LUNCH

School lunch in the cafeteria is free to all students until 6/30/2021. Snack and extra meals are not included. Click here for more information.


Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org

Town of Boylston News

The Town of Boylston Master Plan Committee, which includes Berlin-Boylston Regional School Committee Chairman James Spencer, has asked me to share the Master Plan Committee Survey with Boylston residents. The data they receive from this survey will be important to the town's future, as well as the Berlin-Boylston Regional School District.

The survey is open to Boylston residents through Monday, February 22.



Town of Boylston Master Plan Update Survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BoylstonMPSurvey