Return to School Update

January 22, 2021

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SPECIAL EDUCATION TESTING

Please be reminded that the District will start/restart appointment-based special education testing for students on January 27, 2021.

FPS STAFF RETURN TO SCHOOL BUILDINGS: FEBRUARY 1, 2021

All FPS staff are returning to their classrooms or offices on February 1, 2021. It is critical that our staff return to our buildings in order to become acclimated with the facility changes and COVID-mitigating guidelines and protocols that have occurred since last March. Just like the changes that one might see at retail stores, where signage abounds reminding patrons to keep appropriate social and physical distance, wash hands, move in specific directions around the building, etc., our schools have similarly evolved with the more than $3M of facility investments that have been made. While Phase I and Phase II staff have already worked a short time in our schools in the fall, there are many staff who have not yet returned to the district since we closed our doors last spring. FPS staff will report to and work from their classrooms and offices beginning February 1, 2021 in anticipation of the start of the hybrid model unless they have otherwise been notified of a district-approved accommodation.

PHASE I & II STUDENTS RETURN TO SCHOOL BUILDINGS: FEBRUARY 3, 2021

All Phase I and Phase II students are invited to return to their classrooms on February 3, 2021. We are extending COVID-19 PCR testing to all students returning in Phases I and II. Consent information will be provided to families of Phase I & Phase II students in the coming days. PCR testing for students will shift to pooled testing once that is rolled out with the return of students in Phases III & IV. Testing of students in school will prove to be a much more reliable indicator than relying solely upon community health metrics. We encourage full participation!

PHASE III & IV STUDENTS RETURN TO SCHOOL BUILDINGS: FEBRUARY - DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED

More information about the start of Phases III & IV is forthcoming. Pooled testing is a key element to the start of the hybrid model for students Phases III and IV. The District attended an informational webinar on Friday, January 22, 2021 and will be submitting the required paperwork to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) before January 28, 2021. Once the DESE has reviewed our district submission, they will advise on a start date for pooled testing in the Framingham Public Schools. More information and a firm start date for the return of students in Phases III and IV is forthcoming.

ATHLETICS & EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Athletics

Consistent with the anticipated return of all Phases (I-IV) in February, the tentative start date for “Fall II” Athletics is Monday, February 22nd. Fall II sports that will be offered include:

  • Boys and Girls Cross Country

  • Boys and Girls Soccer

  • Co-Ed Field Hockey

  • Girls Volleyball

  • Girls Swim & Dive

  • Unified Basketball

  • Football

  • Co-Ed Golf


More information about the ramp-up period for the MIAA created “Fall II” Season will be provided by the Athletic Department and FPS coaching staff.


Please register at https://www.familyid.com/organizations/framingham-high-school. Student physicals must be up-to-date. If you have any questions please email pspear@framingham.k12.ma.us or apaulsen@framingham.k12.ma.us.


Fine and Performing Arts

All Fine and Performing Arts activities at the middle and high school level will continue virtually through the month of February. Once Phases III and IV return to in-person learning, some in-person meetings at Framingham High School may occur. These would include: Jazz Band, Theatre, and Marching Band, as well as, the Art and Photo clubs. We will follow and encourage the proper use of PPE and safety protocols as guided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). More information will follow as planning continues.


Clubs, Organizations & Explorers Programs

Middle and High School clubs will continue virtually through the month of February. Once Phases III and IV return to in-person learning, some after school clubs will resume in person. More information will become available at that time.


Once Phases III and IV return to in-person learning, elementary Explorers will resume all before and after school programs.

CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH CONDITIONS

Below are important informational links that highlight the current COVID-related public health conditions in Framingham:


Click to see the FPS COVID Dashboard

Click to review the City of Framingham Weekly Data Analysis (PDF)

Click to access the City of Framingham COVID Resource Page

RETURN-TO-SCHOOL DASHBOARD

The District will continue to work closely with the Framingham Department of Public Health to constantly assess both the risk (e.g., in-school transmission and upward data trends) and risk mitigation efforts (e.g., weekly testing and downward data trends) which may also impact the target return dates for Phase III & IV.

Big picture

(Text from the table above)


Return-to-School Target

City Positivity: 4% (or less)

New Cases (Daily): 10 (or less)


Current Status (January 20, 2021)

City Positivity: 7.51%

New Cases (Daily): 53.53


Trend

↘︎ Lower than last week

COMMITMENT TO EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM MODEL

Once we begin our long-anticipated hybrid educational model, families who wish to shift from hybrid learning to remote only may request to do so at any time. Requests should be directed to the building principal so that proper notice may be given to the teacher(s), transportation office, etc. Requests to shift from remote to hybrid learning will be considered on March 19, 2021 for an April 5, 2021 return provided that space is available given the need to maintain 6-foot physical distancing. Another Family Decision Checkpoint will be offered on May 10, 2021.

RISK MITIGATION EFFORTS

We believe that a combination of facility safety upgrades, personal protective equipment (PPE), physical/social distancing, regular (weekly) COVID testing, and the introduction of a vaccine will be exactly what it is needed to confidently return to school.


COVID-19 Pooled Testing for Students

Pooled testing is a key element to the start of the hybrid model for students Phases III and IV. The District attended an informational webinar on Friday, January 22, 2021 and will be submitting the required paperwork to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) before January 28, 2021. Once the DESE has reviewed our district submission, they will advise on a start date for pooled testing in the Framingham Public Schools. More information and a firm start date for the return of students in Phases III and IV is forthcoming.


COVID-19 PCR Testing for ALL FPS Staff

The District will be expanding it’s offering of COVID-19 PCR testing to ALL FPS staff as we prepare for staff re-entry into our school buildings on February 1, 2021. Specific details will be provided by the Human Resources Department to all FPS staff.


COVID-19 PCR Testing for Phase I and Phase II Returning Students

We are extending COVID-19 PCR testing to all students returning in Phases I and II. Consent information will be provided to families of Phase I & Phase II students in the coming days. PCR testing for students will shift to pooled testing once that is rolled out with the return of students in Phases III & IV. Testing of students in school will prove to be a much more reliable indicator than relying solely upon community health metrics. Testing has proven to be a key factor to getting students back to school in communities where percentages of positivity and daily new COVID cases are higher than recommended community targets.


Attestation App

The Framingham Public Schools have adopted MyMedBot App in order to allow all staff and families the ability to engage in a daily attestation of health with regard to COVID symptoms. Students, families and staff will answer a series of COVID-19 related questions each school day via the mobile app (accessible on both mobile phones and computers).


Vaccination

The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) has appealed to Governor Baker to provide school districts with a clear plan for when, where, and how vaccines will be provided to all school personnel, including school bus drivers. Additionally, we have asked for any proposed policy or regulatory provisions which lay the foundational structures for greater in-person learning. We firmly believe that a statewide plan that is designed and shared publicly will provide hope to the students and families for a return to in-person learning.

KEY TERMS

Phase I: Students and staff who attended school, in-person, starting in October.


Phase II: Students and staff who attended school, in-person, starting in November.


Phase III: Students and staff who were scheduled to return to school in December, but who did not return due to the shift to remote in consideration of the community public health conditions.


Phase IV: All remaining FPS students and staff not included in Phases I, II, and III.


In Person (Schedule): A schedule where students are receiving instruction in person in a classroom setting from the school.


Remote (Schedule): A schedule where students are receiving instruction from a location outside the school setting via the computer (virtually).


Hybrid (Schedule): A schedule where students are receiving instruction on a rotating schedule that includes both in person and remote experiences.


Concurrent Classroom Model: A model in which students attend class in person and others attend virtually. The teacher in a concurrent classroom attempts to meet the needs of the students in class and online simultaneously.


Synchronous Instruction (live):

Synchronous Instruction

  • Occurs in real-time, with participants doing something together or “in sync” with others;

  • May include Zoom/Google Meets meetings or be streamed; live video is not required for synchronous learning;

  • May include scheduled learning experiences, assessments, or collaboration to be completed at the same time as others; and/or

  • May provide additional structure, accountability, and opportunities to engage with others in the learning community.


Asynchronous Instruction (not live):

Asynchronous Instruction

  • Occurs on one’s own time or pace, with no requirements to be in lock-step with others;

  • Allows students to work independently, or potentially with others, at a flexible pace that meets their individual needs;

  • May include experiences, assessments, or collaboration to be completed within a window of time, but not necessarily in real-time with others; and/or

  • Allows teachers to work synchronously with one or more students while others are engaged in asynchronous learning tasks.

Asynchronous instruction does NOT mean that a student is “offline”, as in not engaging virtually with content.

Framingham Public Schools

The mission of the Framingham Public Schools is to educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically-thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by highly-qualified staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with our entire community. For news, updates, and announcements, follow Framingham Public Schools (@FraminghamPS) on Facebook, Twitter, and (@framinghamschools) on Instagram. You can also join the conversation using #FraminghamSchools.