Salem Returns Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


Salem Families,

For those that celebrate, please enjoy the upcoming Halloween weekend in Salem. Please stay safe- using protective masks (not just Halloween masks), maintaining physical distancing, regularly washing/sanitizing hands, limiting gatherings, walking on sidewalks and wearing colorful clothing at night. We want to keep our entire community healthy through the upcoming weekend of festivities across our city.

Please remember that next week is our November recess from November 2-6th. Our staff will be working hard throughout the week to plan to welcome more students back to in-person school (on Nov. 16th) and make adjustments to remote learning to continue enhancing the experience for children whose learning with remain virtual. We are committed to resuming in-person school in grades K-2, 6, 9 and CTE students on Nov. 16th and we are eager for their safe return. In preparation for a strong transition, schools will communicate updated teacher assignments and schedules no later than, Wednesday, November 4th. In the next few weeks, we will consult with medical experts and carefully review the most updated health metrics.

Finally, I urge all families (who are able) to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd. It is an opportunity to exercise our basic fundamental right as Americans to select local and national candidates whose platforms speak to our individual values.

Enjoy your weekend!


positive cases

We do have and should expect positive cases in our schools. We have seen a few surface in our schools this week. As a protocol, we immediately contact anyone who is impacted directly. We then contact the school community, including staff. Due to the nature of the virus, we expect COVID-19 cases will be with us for some time. As of now, here are a few things you should expect:

  • You should expect that there will be COVID-19 cases in our community. This is a fact of the times we are living in right now.
  • When there are cases, you can expect that we will uphold the privacy, confidentiality, and dignity for both staff and students.
  • You should expect that if you are directly impacted you will get a phone call.
  • When we have been notified about a case, we notify those affected first. The staff and students not affected in that school/building will be notified for informational purposes.
  • We believe that following the health and safety protocols we have in place mitigates risk and allows us to safely provide in-person learning.
  • Even while we are bringing students back to school, there MAY be a time where a classroom is asked to quarantine and switch to remote learning, this is to be expected while we live with this pandemic among us.

Stay safe!

We know that for many of our families and for our community, the Halloween season can be a time of joy and festivity for our families, whether you celebrate Halloween itself or participate in broader fall celebrations. We want us all to remember our commitment to health and safety for the Halloween weekend and the fall break. We stay safe when we practice good health together.

  • Wear masks! and not just the creepy kind!
  • Wash your hands!
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Be outdoors when you can

Please keep up the great work this week! Working together helps us bring more students back to school safely.

Return to School Video Series: Wearing Cloth Face Coverings

Notification of class assignments

We are looking forward to welcoming grades K-2, 6, and 9 back on November 16th. The School Committee voted to start our next in-person learning phase on November 16th. In order to allow for the most creative and best possible plan to meet every student's needs, schools will communicate updated schedules by November 4th.

Congrats to our food services team

Deb Jeffers and her Food and Nutrition Services team were recently awarded a competitive grant they applied for to help address food insecurity in Salem.

This grant will allow the department to improve the efficiency of meal sites and home delivery to students. SPS Food and Nutrition Services will be able to safely and efficiently provide at least 1,500 meals a day, increase meal delivery to children and families with disabilities or other barriers to meal access, and collaborate with community organizations throughout the district to serve meals to other vulnerable populations.

The food delivery van will also be utilized for community meal delivery through the SPS Food and Nutrition Services’ partnership with Root, a non-profit with a mission to provide young adults with a pathway to independence through foodservice training and employment.

Congrats to the team! This is a huge win for feeding the families of Salem.

Housing Help

The state Department of Housing and Community Development has centralized information about resources for families struggling to make rent or mortgage payments due to COVID-19. If you need assistance or need more information, please visit

Cones of excellence

At Salem Public Schools, we are recognizing one staff member a week who exemplifies our core values of: celebrating differences, facilitating collaboration, fostering innovation, creating equity and access, growing all students and upholding high standards for all. We are surprising a deserving SPS team member with a construction cone that displays the words: “Awesome,” “Well Done,” and “Great Job.” Look for this feature coming soon to our newsletter!

covid-19 testing for staff

We are excited to offer FREE on-site COVID Testing for any staff member next week (11/4 & 11/5). This is a very quick saliva test (spit into a tube, not nose swab), and results will take ~72 hours. For more information and to sign up, SPS staff should check their email for instructions to sign up for testing. Staff will need to pre-register and bring their barcode to testing day.

Staffing update

We wanted to share that Chief of Systems and Strategy, Jill Conrad, has made the decision to leave her position in order to pursue a new opportunity within her family’s private business. She will be working part-time (at least initially), which will enable her to spend more quality time with her 8 year old daughter. She knows that she is fortunate to make this choice, especially during this difficult and uncertain time. Jill’s last day in the district will be December 18, 2020. Over the next two months, Jill will be actively working with the SPS team to ensure a smooth transition. We are so appreciative of the many contributions that Jill has made to the Salem Public Schools over the last five plus years and wish her the very best as she moves forward. She will be missed!

Celebrating National Principal's month

As we continue to celebrate our principals, I wanted to share this shout out we received to our Early Childhood Center principal, Nancy Charest.

Mrs. Nancy Charest is a kind and supportive leader. She supports and appreciates her staff helping everyone to be their best and works very hard to support every student and family. She truly cares about what is best for every child and makes everyone feel special. Thank you Nancy for all that you are and all that you do for the ECC!

Connecting with Superintendent Zrike

Are you looking for a one-on-one meeting with Superintendent Zrike?

Dr. Zrike will be holding one-on-one meetings outside, distanced, and with face coverings at Salem Common by appointment on Friday's between 7:30 am-10:00 am.

Please send an email to to set up your appointment.

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