School Committee Meeting Summary

August 6, 2020

Per Governor Baker's order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c.30A sec. 20, the public is not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public will be able to view this meeting on Walpole Media Cable Access the following day. Citizens with a question or comment should email mmortali@walpole.k12.ma.us. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.


All votes taken by the School Committee in a remote participation meeting are done via roll call.


The recorded School Committee Meeting can be accessed here.

September 2020 Re-Opening Plan

Dr. Gough began by discussing the results from the recent parent survey regarding returning to school.


Dr. Gough, Mr. Hahn, Mr. Friscia and Dr. John Queally then presented the hybrid model that they are recommending be followed for the fall 2020 school opening. They believe that the hybrid model:

  • Promotes student learning and growth while addressing concerns about the potential transmission of COVID-19 and the overall safety of our students, staff, and their families.
  • Allows students and staff to practice six (6) feet of social distancing by limiting class size while still enabling aspects of in-person learning.
  • Reflects careful consideration that easily transfers between remote, hybrid, and in-person scenarios.
  • All learners in grades 1-12 will be assigned to one of two cohorts.
  • Cohorts will alternate in-person and remote learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
  • All students will be remote on Wednesdays (Early Release Schedule).
  • All preschool students in Special Education and tuition-paying peers will be invited to participate in in-person schooling.
  • Kindergarten students will attend school 4 days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) with Wednesday as a synchronous remote half day.
  • Attendance will be taken daily.
  • Students from the same family will be kept in the same cohort.
  • On weeks shortened by holidays, the schedule and format will be adjusted for Wednesday’s classes to make up for the missed direct instruction time.
  • They fully discussed the high school, middle school, elementary and preschool schedule.
  • For families who prefer to have fully remote learning the program endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be available. This remote learning is not monitored by Walpole Public Schools.

Special Education Services:

  • IEP services will take place with a combination of in-person and remote opportunities.
  • Every effort will be made to provide as much in-person service as possible.
  • Students identified with significant needs will be invited for a larger amount of instruction time. Likely 4 days/week
  • Evaluations will continue to take place and team meetings will be virtual.
  • In the event of a move to full remote learning, discussions are being held as to what in-person service options may be available.

Health and Safety Protocols were discussed in detail and included the following:

  • Face coverings
  • Physical distancing:
  • Hand hygiene
  • Health and safety training
  • Districtwide signage
  • Visitors
  • Response Protocols

School Building Cleaning and Disinfecting were discussed in detail and included the following:

  • Custodial staffing and training
  • Cleaning and disinfecting buildings
  • Personal protection for students and staff
  • Building related protections
  • Plexiglass Shielding and Signage
  • Ventilation/Air filtration

Food services:

  • Meals will be available to all students regardless of the school opening scenario.
  • Online ordering required through the new app to allow ordering for one week in advance.
  • Staff who prepare and deliver meals will wear proper PPE and have been trained in proper sanitization.
  • Meals will be provided in a pre-packaged format ensuring food safety.
  • Desks and tables will be sanitized prior to and after students eat.
  • Students will maintain a 6 ft social distance when eating.

Transportation:

  • All students will be eligible for transportation but DESE has encouraged, when possible, for families to transport their children to school.
  • All staff and students on buses, regardless of age, are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Students will have assigned seats and will sit one student per bench, alternating sides per row, children from the same family may share the same bench.
  • Students will remain in their assigned seats throughout the trip.
  • Students may not eat or share items on the bus.
  • Bus windows will remain open at all times and the only exception is for inclement weather.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided as students enter and exit the bus.
  • Buses will be disinfected both in the morning prior to the first run and in the afternoon after the last run.

Next Steps:

  • A detailed plan will be available to parents early next week.
  • Families will have time to review this plan.
  • A virtual forum will be held on Tuesday, August 18th to answer questions. Information will be forthcoming (question submission). The elementary school Forum will be held at 6:00 p.m.; the Middle/High School forum will be held at 7:30 p.m. There will be a separate forum for Preschool parents and another forum for Kindergarten families. Additionally, principals will hold individual forums that are specific to their buildings.
  • Families will be asked to make a decision on whether or not they will access transportation.
  • Families will be asked to confirm if their child(ren) will be returning to school or choosing the online remote learning management option endorsed by DESE.

School Year Calendar

The state has recognized the need to provide additional days for training and preparation. DESE has instructed districts to provide additional days prior to the start of the school year to train staff in health/safety protocols and increase our capacity to address our students’ needs in a hybrid/remote learning environment.


As a result, the School Committee approved a revised calendar for the school year. Students will start on Monday, September 14th. The calendar has been revised to show when changes will be made to the hybrid schedule due to a holiday during certain weeks. Please see the revised 2020-2021 School Year calendar here.

Capital

The School Committee voted to accept the Capital recommendation of $260,000 to include:

Elementary projector installation and replacement - $50,000

Middle Schools projector installation and replacement - $50,000

Projector replacement at Walpole High School - $20,000

Engineering lab computer replacement at Walpole High School - $30,000

Production Tech Shop equipment replacement at Walpole High School - $50,000

Electronic school sign - $60,000