MTRSD In-Person Hybrid Update

Jan. 5, 2021: Important Info for MTRSD Families

Dear MTRSD Families:

Happy New Year! I hope the winter break provided you with an opportunity to relax, connect, and reflect in all the ways you needed in order to successfully kick-off 2021. I'm sure we can all agree, we are looking forward to a brighter year ahead.


There's a lot of important info in this message, so here's a quick at-a-glance:


* MOA and MTRSD School Committee vote

* Hybrid Return to Learn to begin Jan. 19 and Jan. 25

* Moving between models & the COVID-19 School Planning Task Force

* Next steps


I realize in the hustle and bustle before winter break, that it's been awhile since you've had an update from me. My apologies for not touching base sooner. I know you've been anxiously awaiting further details and trying to plan for our Return to Learn via the hybrid model. Before the break, we were finishing negotiations with the teachers union to finalize our Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The union has now voted and approved this MOA which will be brought before the MTRSD school committee for a vote tomorrow (Jan. 6).


Recognizing the surge in post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 cases across the Commonwealth, region, and in our district, and anticipating that we may see a similar situation post winter-break, I have pushed our Return to Learn hybrid date back by one week (from Jan. 11) with a new date of Tuesday, Jan. 19 for students in PreK-2 and Monday, Jan. 25 for students in Grades 3-12+.


I continue to monitor and track data with the COVID-19 School Planning Task Force, the advisory board which consists of diverse community stakeholders who help review COVID-19 data and how it impacts our district. We also continue to monitor vaccine distribution updates. To read the latest about vaccine distribution in Massachusetts, I encourage you to visit: www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine-in-massachusetts


Please keep in mind, this situation is fluid. As we have seen throughout this pandemic, flexibility and the ability to quickly shift gears is essential. If at any point our numbers locally begin to steadily increase or we see direct impacts to our school community, we can make shifts back into a remote model. The key: our entire community needs to stay diligent in following the fab four (washing hands, wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and staying home when unwell) so we can keep our students and staff in the classrooms *and* keep our communities healthy!


The COVID-19 School Planning Task Force does not make the decisions regarding the official move between school learning models (hybrid/remote/in-person). That decision is made by me; however, they are essential to providing me with their insight regarding how COVID-19 impacts our district. They are the "think tank" for discussing and illuminating concerns from various stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, health, and community) and helping me to assess current data so I can make a well-informed, thought-out decision regarding any possible transitions between models.


In addition to the weekly (and often more frequent) COVID-19 School Planning Task Force meetings, I continually monitor COVID-19 cases with our school nurse leader, Donna Weber at dweber@mtrsd.org, and FRCOG representative Randy Crochier, RCrochier@frcog.org. If you have any health-related questions, please reach out to Donna or Randy and they will be able to help answer a wide variety of questions! All other questions should be directed to me.


NEXT STEPS:

If you selected the hybrid model for your child/ren, you will be receiving additional information directly from your school's principal to help ease the transition. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to them!


Transportation

If your child/ren will be taking the bus to school, the *new school routes* will be posted on our district website and school websites by Jan. 8. Stay tuned! Please keep in mind, our Transportation Director Robin Pease has worked diligently to adhere to all the safety protocols necessary for transporting your child/ren to school safely. Due to the new COVID-19 guidelines / safety procedures (assigned seating, limited numbers, etc.) these routes are strictly for those who have previously asked for transportation (ie - you can't just catch the bus if you suddenly need transportation). IF you need transportation, please reach out to Robin Pease at rpease@mtrsd.org immediately.


I want to thank you again for your insight, flexibility, patience, and understanding throughout this whole process. We're all doing the best we can with a situation we've never been in before, but what has stood out to me throughout it all is that our community is resilient, kind, and truly cares for one another. Thank you for making our district a great place to learn and GROW!


Sincerely,

Sheryl Stanton

Superintendent

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