Update for October 9, 2020

Salem High School

Happy Friday!

Here is what is in this week's newsletter:

  • Invitation to Participate in Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Opportunity to Provide Feedback on our Remote Learning Schedule
  • Invitation for Student Participation in Student-led Equity Group
  • This week's SHS News
  • An update on MCAS for 2020-2021
  • Voter Registration Information
  • Athletics Department Updates
  • Updates from the College and Career Readiness Center
  • Updates from Pupil Personnel Services
  • Upcoming Events
  • Weekly Town Hall Reminder
  • Weekly Reminders and Resources:
~Salem High School "Zorms"
~Link to Salem Returns School Reopening FAQ
~Expectations for Synchronous and Asynchronous Lessons
~Transportation Protocols
~ COVID Testing for Salem residents and individuals who work in Salem

Hispanic Heritage Month

La Union Latina invites you to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

This year Hispanic Heritage Month celebration looks very different, but nonetheless we are celebrating !!!! We invite ALL to participate-- ALL cultures are more than welcome !!!!!!! The Students of La Union Latina would like to invite you to create a short video describing a tradition or experience, showing off an object with cultural significance, or wearing a traditional cultural outfit! Be creative and have fun! The students are planning to post the videos on our Salem News and the Community Latino Coalition page. Let’s ALL be part of this celebration!!! Please send your short videos to Mr. Longus at olongus@salemk12.org or Ms. Vazquez at lvazquez@salemk12.org. Our students and sponsoring staff very much appreciate your participation and support !!!

Remote Learning Schedule Survey

We are soliciting feedback on two pieces of our remote schedule, from all stake holders: the day in which advisory is run, and whether to keep red and white days static for the year, or change them quarterly. Please provide feedback below, so we can ensure we are meeting the need of our school community.

We are collecting feedback from October 9th through October 23rd. The decision will be communicated with all stakeholders by October 30th.

Survey in English

Survey in Spanish

Survey in Portuguese

SHS Student Equity Group

The SHS Student Equity Group is a student-led initiative to help further Salem High School's commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization. If you are a student who wants to engage in conversations and work around race, equity, and how to effect change in your school, please attend our next meeting, Wednesday October 28 from 12:45-2:00. The zoom link can be found here.

SHS News for October 9, 2020

Salem High News for Oct 9 2020

MCAS Testing Schedule 2020-2021

Please see the recently released information regarding the MCAS Testing Schedule for 2020-2021. I will pass along more information as I receive it.

High School ELA and Mathematics

As shown in the table below, DESE is planning to offer a different schedule than usual for ELA and Mathematics testing: In 2021, there will be administrations in January and May. The first administration is planned for January 2021 instead of the usual November timing, giving schools time to focus on instruction and adjust to new learning environments during the fall semester. Retesting for students in grades 11 and 12, as well as first-time testing for students in grade 10, will take place in May. Since students in the class of 2022 (this year’s juniors) did not have the opportunity to earn their Competency Determination (CD) in the last school year due to statewide school closures, DESE is making a January testing opportunity available. The tests administered in January will be legacy tests.

High School Science and Technology/Engineering (STE)

Due to the COVID-19 school closures in spring 2020, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted that the STE component of the CD for students in the classes of 2020–23 will be awarded upon demonstration of course credit in the relevant subject matter and competency in one of the four tested disciplines during their high school career. As a result, the only students eligible to participate in STE testing this school year are:

  • Students in grade 9 (Students in the class of 2024 must take a high school STE test by the end of grade 10.)
  • Adults in the class of 2019 or earlier.

The Department will offer tests in February (biology only) and June (all four subjects: biology, introductory physics, chemistry, and technology/engineering).

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Register to Vote: MA Deadline is Saturday, October 24th

You can register for the first time or update your registration status right here.

The deadline to register to vote is approaching quickly and if you are eligible to vote, it's a great opportunity to make sure that your voter registration status is up-to-date so you are ready to vote in the upcoming November 2020 Election.

As the largest and most diverse generation alive right now, young people have a chance to make a real impact in Massachusetts and our country if every eligible voter participates in elections. In order to make sure that you can raise your voice and cast your vote in the upcoming local, state, and federal elections, you need to be registered to vote at your current address.

We know a lot of students recently moved for distance learning. If you need to register for the first time or you moved since you last registered, you can update your registration right here. If you have a MA State issued ID or Driver License: you are eligible to register completely online. If you do NOT have a state issued ID or license: complete the online form above, and follow the steps to print out the registration and mail it in to your local clerk's office. Once registered, or re-registered, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail confirming your registration status within a few weeks.

Already registered? Pledge to Vote Safely here to find out more about upcoming elections, including how to vote safely by mail. The options for schools are tailored to higher education, so feel free to select “other” or none” at the bottom there.

Want to help get out the vote this Fall? MASSPIRG Students are working this Fall to make sure every student gets the chance to update their registration and turns out on Election Day. They have volunteer and internship opportunities available to help with that. Sign up to learn more.

Athletics Department

The Fall Season started off with Golf, Boys & Girls Soccer. Cross Country will have its season opener this Saturday. Despite all the challenges faced it was exciting to see the teams working hard in practice and competition. These student-athletes showed their Witch’s Pride !

Game Schedules can be found on www.northeasternma.org.

All student-athletes must register online to be eligible to participate. The online registration site is : www.familyid.com . Any questions regarding registration

Scott Connolly Athletic Director sconnolly@salemk12.org


Natalie Thelen Athletics Clerk : nthelen@salemk12.org

Thank you,

Scott Connolly

Director of Athletics

Salem Public Schools

College and Career Readiness Center


SENIOR PARENT INFO NIGHT- Thursday, October 15th at 6:30pm- 7:30pm: pre-recorded Video to be shared with live Q& A to follow- Zoom Link Here

College Representative Visits are still happening (only virtually)! Log into Naviance and on the College page, see College Visits and sign up accordingly. The representative has attached a Virtual Visit Link for the Date and Time of the visit.

Here are the colleges that are visiting next week:

Tuesday: 10/13

  • Merrimack College- 12:15pm

Wednesday: 10/14

  • Gordon College- 12:15pm

  • University of New English- 1:00pm

Thursday: 10/15

  • MCPHS- 12:15 pm

Friday: 10/16

  • Endicott College- 12:15pm

Senior Workshops: Be on the lookout out for an email from your School Counselor, they are hosting several senior workshops to review post-secondary planning

Pupil Personnel Services

Students in the life skills classroom have been working hard on concrete applications of the real-world problems that affect all of us. They have learned about the potential for a coronavirus vaccine in social studies. In social skills, they are learning to evaluate evidence by determining the social relevance of the source in their world. In literacy, we are exploring authentic literature from a variety of cultures that are represented in our classroom and community.

Example 1: responding to cultural literature

Example 2: text comprehension about the coronavirus vaccine

Due to COVID Post High and Life Skills needed to separate our Vocation Training Center. This is a place where the students can learn skills within the following areas to then be able to generalize out into the community in internships and job settings: clothing and grocery retail, light maintenance, clerical, food service, trash and recycling. We have been fortunate enough to have the space two create two separate VTC for our in person students to stay within their Hub Labs and continue to build these important skills.

Upcoming Events


  • 12 - NO SCHOOL - Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • 13 - Q1 Mid Quarter
  • 15 - Senior College Information Night
  • 21 - 12:12 Dismissal (District-Wide Professional Development) Q1 Progress Reports Posted
  • 26 - Parent Conferences (VIRTUAL) 2:05-3:00


  • 2-6 - No School for Students
  • 11 - NO SCHOOL - Veteran's Day
  • 18 - 12:12 Dismissal (SHS Professional Development)
  • 19 - End of Q1
  • 25 - Half Day - Thanksgiving Break
  • 26-27 - NO SCHOOL - Thanksgiving Break
  • 30 - Q1 Report Cards Posted

Weekly Town Hall

Tuesday, Oct. 13th, 3-5pm

This is an online event.

Please join me for my weekly town hall this Tuesday! To make it easier for you to get to, I am including my Zoom link here. If you're not able to make it during this time, just let me know and we can set up a meeting.

Senior College Information Night

Thursday, Oct. 15th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Presentation and Live Q+A

More details to follow!

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School Reopening FAQ

As a helpful resource, I am linking to the Salem Returns School Reopening FAQ here.

Expectations for Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Below is a guideline of what you should expect in terms of synchronous ("live") versus asynchronous ("independent") learning:

Teachers will record the direct instruction of the synchronous (live) portion of their lessons and upload them to Schoology, allowing students the flexibility to access the lessons at their convenience. The expectation is that the majority of synchronous lessons will be recorded so that students can access the learning in the future.

At least 50% of each lesson should be synchronous so that students have the opportunity to interact in real-time with their teacher and peers to support their learning. At Salem High School, we have determined that the beginning of each lesson will be synchronous.

Posted student assignments include a total of 2 hrs worth of learning activities such as: watching instructional videos, accessing resources posted by the teacher, and completing assignments.

Class assignments, updates, and feedback will be posted on Schoology by end of day each Friday for the following week.

Transportation Protocols

The Salem Public Schools transportation department, and all transportation contractors used by Salem Public Schools, will follow the DESE released on July 22nd, 2020. This section refers specifically to in district transportation, however, the procedures will be followed for out of district transportation, as well.

The bus riding experience will be different this year than it has been in the past. While “big buses” usually have a capacity of around 72, because students will be required to sit one student per seat, alternating window and aisle seats, only 24 students will be able to be on a school bus at one time. Transporting the same number of students at the same time as in previous school years would therefore take three times as many buses. This is a challenge all school districts are facing, compounded by a lead time of six to eight months for acquiring new school buses, and a nationwide school bus driver shortage. To mitigate these challenges, SPS has requested that only people who have no other way to get to school fill out an application for transportation. While the reduced usage will help, we anticipate staggering bus times and providing before and after school supervision, as routes will have to be doubled in order to accommodate all students. This will depend on the school schedule and final ridership.

Example bus diagram:

Bus Model: 71-passenger bus

Max. capacity with physical distancing requirements: 23 passengers (32% full capacity)

Seat map configuration:

Core health and safety practices

Several core practices will support safe school bus operations this fall:

  • Masks: All staff and students on the bus, regardless of age, are required to wear masks at all times. Exemptions for students due to medical and/or behavioral reasons – and associated protocols – are further described later in this guidance.

  • Distance: Students should be seated no more than one student per bench, alternating sides for each row, which allows students to maintain approximately 3 feet of physical distance. Children from the same household may sit together and in closer proximity (e.g., two students per bench). See diagram above.

  • Ventilation: Keep windows open at all times during operation, unless not possible due to extreme weather conditions.

  • Seat assignments: Students should be assigned to a single bus and a particular seat.

  • Hand Hygiene: Students and staff will use hand sanitizer upon entering the bus. Dispensers will be at the entrance to the bus within view of the driver or monitor.

The guidelines for families and children are as follows:

  • Parents or guardians of students will be asked to do a wellness check on their children before they leave the house to ensure that they are symptom free.

  • If a child has any of the symptoms mentioned above, they must be kept at home. The family should also contact their health care provider.

  • All students will be required to wear a face mask while waiting at the bus stop and for the duration of the bus ride. There are no exceptions to this requirement on the “big buses.” Families with students with disabilities should check with their child’s Special Education Team Chairperson if an exception is needed for door-to-door transportation.

  • Students must be reminded to maintain 6ft physical distancing from other students at bus stops.

  • Once the bus arrives at the bus stop, the children will board the bus one by one. The monitor will instruct them to sanitize their hands.

  • The monitor will also observe the student to ensure that they are not exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, an adult should wait with the student at the bus stop in case they need to be sent home. If that is not possible, and a student is displaying symptoms on the bus, the driver will alert dispatch, who will alert the school. The symptomatic student will be the last student to leave the bus, and will be isolated with the school nurse as soon as they get to school.

  • Students will be assigned seats, starting from the back to the front, and will be asked to board the bus in that order.

  • Students will sit one student per seat, alternating between window and aisle seats.

  • Once the bus arrives at the assigned school, the students will exit the bus one by one from front to back.

  • The bus will be cleaned and disinfected after every load of students.

In order to protect all students and staff, students who do not wear masks, or who remove them during the bus ride, will be addressed by the bus monitor. If the mask is still not worn, the child will conference with a counselor and/or administrator. If the child refuses to wear the mask, families will be contacted, and a solution will be agreed upon, including up to loss of bus riding privileges.

Guidelines for Families who are Transporting their Own Child

It is essential for all families to follow all arrival and dismissal procedures. If you are dropping off your child at the high school, please use the outer driveway (not the one closest to the building, which is designated for busses and emergency vehicles). ONLY the main entrance will be open for student entry. Students will be required to don their mask before exiting the vehicle, and families must complete the daily self-screening before dropping their child at school. Drivers must stay in their cars the entire time. If a parent or guardian needs to enter the school, they must park their car and enter the main entrance only. Everyone who enters the building must wear a mask.

COVID Testing

Here is the most recent information regarding COVID testing in Salem:

  • Salem residents and workers can receive free COVID-19 testing as part of the state’s “Stop the Spread” initiative. Testing will be offered six days a week August 17th through October 31st via drive-through or walk-up outside of Salem High School at 77 Willson Street. Testing days and hours are as follows:

    • Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. except for Saturday, September 26th, which will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    No proof of insurance or citizenship is necessary. Testing is via nasal swab, administered by EMTs from Fallon Ambulance, and processed via RT PCR at the Broad Institute Laboratory. Test results are returned, whether positive or negative, to the resident within 36 hours. You do not need to be symptomatic, quarantining, or have been in proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in order to receive this testing.

    In the event of sustained inclement weather testing may be temporarily suspended or even cancelled for the day, depending on the severity of the weather.

    If you have been tested and have not received your results within 36 hours, or have additional questions, please call 617-745-2100, extension 513.

    This testing replaces the previously announced Salem Coronavirus Awareness Network (SCAN) tests. SCAN testing dates will be rescheduled to dates later this fall with precise details being announced in the coming weeks.