Superintendent's Mid-August Update

August 15, 2021

Welcome!

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Opening Our Schools This Fall

With less than a month to go before the first day of school, the WPS Leadership Team is diligently preparing for our opening on September 8, amidst an ever-changing pandemic landscape. As we exited the 20/21 school year, it seemed as though we were heading in a different direction than we find ourselves now. What is most beneficial is that our experiences last year prepared the District to provide the best educational opportunities no matter the circumstances.


As indicated at the end of the school year, decisions about the coming school year in terms of COVID mitigation strategies would be made toward the middle of August. The Leadership Team has met regularly over the summer to consider options for the 21/22 school year with guidance from our local health department, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). I will be making a recommendation for the School Committee to consider at its August 23 meeting, based on our successful strategies implemented in the previous school year.


The School Committee will be holding two meetings to discuss the recommendations. The Policy Subcommittee will meet on Thursday, August 19 from 4:30-6:00 via Zoom, and the full School Committee will consider the COVID-19 recommendations at its meeting on Monday, August 23 at 7:00. Both meetings are accessible via Zoom, and the full School Committee meeting will also be held in person in the Town Council Chambers located in the Town Hall.


Please note that based on DESE guidelines, we will not be offering a remote virtual school option for the upcoming school year. If you have concerns for your child/ren attending school in person, please reach out to the Director of Student Services, Ms. Kathleen Desmarais at 617-926-7766 or at kathleen.desmarais@watertown.k12.ma.us if you wish to explore options.


Keeping our students and staff safe is of the utmost importance during the pandemic. If you are interested in learning more about the recommendations, please join us at the upcoming School Committee meetings. I will send out an update to the full community shortly thereafter.


With kind regards,


Dede Galdston, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Vaccinations- The Best Defense

At this time, all people ages 12 and up are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Currently, approximately 54% of 12-15-year-olds in Watertown have been fully vaccinated, with 64% having at least one dose. Of our 16-19-year-olds, 61% are fully vaccinated, with 69% having at least one dose. We highly encourage all families to get their children who are eligible vaccinated prior to the start of school to protect themselves and keep their classmates safe.


Most major pharmacies are offering vaccines, along with pediatricians and health centers. Once school starts, we will consider offering an additional clinic in our schools, if possible.

Watertown School Committee Policy Subcommittee Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 19th, 4:30-6pm

This is an online event.

The Policy Subcommittee will consider the 21/22 COVID-19 protocols and recommendations, the 21/22 School and District handbooks, and proposed Policy ADA- Teaching about nondiscrimination, and revisions to Policy IMB- Teaching about controversial/challenging issues.


Zoom link for the Policy Subcommittee Meeting

Watertown School Committee

Monday, Aug. 23rd, 7pm

This is an online event.

The Watertown School Committee will consider COVID mitigations strategies, the student handbooks, the Superintendent's draft goals for the 21/22 school year, and the first reading of policies ADA and IMB.


Zoom link for the School Committee Meeting/Webinar

The First Day of School is Wednesday, September 8!