Update for December 11, 2020

Salem High School

Happy Friday!

Here is what is in this week's newsletter. It's a big one with a lot of important information!

  • Student Shout-Outs
  • Community Office in the Salem News
  • A Message from the Student Advisory Council
  • Winter Sports Season Delayed
  • Return to School for 10-12 Graders
  • Flu Vaccinations
  • Temporary Change of Cohorts for Week of December 21
  • Snow Day Guidance
  • PSAT Administration for Juniors January 26
  • Optional COVID-19 Testing for SHS Students
  • Coat Drive
  • Panorama Survey
  • Student Advisory Council - Members needed!
  • SHS News
  • SHS Community Office Hours
  • SHS Department Updates
  • Upcoming Events
  • Weekly Town Hall Reminder
  • Weekly Reminders and Resources

Student Shout-Outs

SHS Community Office in the Salem News!

The Salem High School Community Office was highlighted in the Salem News! Check out the article (you might need to purchase access if you don't have a subscription). We're very proud of all the work our staff and students are doing there!

A Message from the Student Advisory Council

The Salem Student Advisory Council is looking to find new members! Students from any grade are welcome to join and have their voices heard. We work closely with the Salem School Committee, working with them to push for positive change in our community! Email Lori Marenda or Duncan Mayer for more information.

Delay to the Start of Winter Sports

At the recommendation of the Salem Board of Health, we are delaying the start of the winter sports season (basketball, gymnastics and swimming) until the beginning of January. With the recent surge of COVID cases in our community and across the state, we want to carefully monitor spread data and ensure that the necessary safety and health protocols are in place before we commence a winter season. We will provide an update about the plans for the launch of tryouts, practices and games prior to our return to school from winter break on January 4th.

Return to School for 10-12 Grade

Salem Public Schools is planning to offer hybrid in-person instruction for all students who have not yet had the opportunity to return to in-person instruction. This plan is for students in grades 3-5, sixth graders at Saltonstall, grades 7-8, and grades 10-12 at Salem High School. Students will either attend school on Monday & Tuesday, or Thursday & Friday, with remote instruction on the opposite days.

SPS will continue to follow all health and safety measures in school, including asking families to complete home health checks, maintaining physical distancing, regular hand washing, and requiring masks. The school day will be approximately one hour shorter than your traditional school day. This new, in-person option will begin February 4th for students in grades 10-12. Here is more information on Salem's hybrid model.

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM (ONE FORM PER CHILD) TO INDICATE YOUR FINAL DECISION ON WHETHER OR NOT YOUR STUDENT WILL BE COMING TO SCHOOL IN-PERSON IN THE HYBRID MODEL STARTING FEBRUARY 4th. THIS WILL BE CONSIDERED A FINAL DECISION. SPS will design learning for your child based on this decision, and changes to your decision may impact your student's learning options (changes in teachers, schedule, etc.)

Your next opportunity for your students to begin in-person instruction will be March 15th, 2021. For more information on after school partners or transportation, please visit the website.

Please reach out to Mr. Mruk for students in the Newcomer Academy or Grade 10, or Ms. Mullen for students in the Bridge Academy and Grades 11 or 12 if you have questions or want to further discuss this information.

This form must be completed by 3:00pm on Monday, December 14th.

Message from the School Nurses about Flu Vaccinations

As you may know, Governor Charlie Baker mandated in August that all students enrolled in school be vaccinated against the seasonal flu.

In Salem, any student who does not have proof of a flu vaccine, given after 8/1/20, on file with your school nurse will risk exclusion from any in-person learning activities after 12/31/20 should there be any documented cases of influenza in the school community. This includes any student who is in person at any point.

If you have not already done so, please make a plan to have your child vaccinated immediately. You will need to send proof of the vaccination to me so that I can update your child's school health records and clear them for full participation in all school events and programs.

You may send in your records in one of four ways:

  • attach a copy to an email to Rebecca Likins
  • fax it to me at 978-740-1108
  • drop it off at the front desk in the Salem High School lobby
  • mail it to me at Attn Nursing Salem High School 77 Willson St, Salem, MA 01970
If you have any questions, please call the health office at Salem High at 978-740-1119 or the main office at 978-745-9300 to speak with someone in Spanish.

Thank your for your time,

Nurse Rebecca & Nurse Kaitlyn

Temporary Change of Cohorts Week of December 21

On December 21 and 22, Cohorts A and C will be in person, and Cohorts B and D will be remote. This is to account for the Thanksgiving Break, in which Cohort C did not have any in-person learning.

Snow Day Guidance

In the event of a school closure due to a snow day, extreme weather, or other emergency situation, Salem Public Schools is well-positioned to pivot quickly to remote learning on a temporary basis. This ensures that student learning will not be interrupted and the school year will not have to be extended to make up for lost days.

Students who are already fully remote -

  • Students will log into their learning platform and Zoom sessions as usual.

  • Teachers will provide instruction remotely (from home).

  • Times for the start and end times of school will be consistent with a typical day.

Students in a hybrid model -

  • All K-5 and Saltonstall students learning in a hybrid model will operate on the Wednesday schedule.

  • All CMS and high school students in a hybrid model will learn remotely on that day, following the schedule they would have followed in-person.

  • Students must be in a routine of bringing their Chromebooks back and forth between home and school each day they are in-person.

  • If the closure is announced while students are in school, teachers should remind students to take home everything that they will need for remote learning the next day (text books, reading materials, workbooks and worksheets, etc.)

  • Teachers will provide instruction remotely (from home).

  • Times for the start and end times of school will be consistent with Wednesday’s remote schedule.

Students in an in-person model -

  • Students will switch to a fully remote model.

  • Teachers must establish a process by which students have access to log-in information for Google Classroom or Schoology and daily schedules before an emergency closure arises.

  • Students must be in a routine of bringing their Chromebooks back and forth between home and school each day.

  • NOTE: Each school with grades K-2 has a unique process for where students are keeping their Chromebooks (e.g. at school or home). Depending on that plan, principals must work closely with students, teachers and families to ensure that K-2 Chromebooks are home on snow days to enable access to remote learning.

  • If the closure is announced in time and students are in school, teachers should remind students to take home everything that they will need for remote learning (Chromebook, charger, text books, reading materials, workbooks and worksheets, etc.)

  • Teachers will provide instruction remotely (from home).

  • Times for the start and end times of school will be consistent with a typical day.

In the case of widespread power outages -

  • If many or most students in Salem are unable to access the internet due to power outages, the Superintendent may still elect to declare a full closure (no instruction), and these days will need to be made up at the end of the year.

PSAT for Juniors January 26


SHS is offering the PSAT. The PSAT Exam and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test will be administered on January 26, 2021 at Salem High School. There is no cost to take the PSAT.

To ensure proper health and safety guidelines we are asking all Junior students to complete the attached form. LINK to FORM

Optional COVID Saliva Testing for High School Students

Dear High School Families,

Thank you for your collaboration and support as we navigate these extraordinary times. We wanted to reach out about an additional layer of protection we are offering all of our in-person students beginning this week – optional saliva-based COVID-19 testing.

In October, just under 300 Salem Public School employees participated in a voluntary COVID-19 testing program prior to the return to the classroom for grades K-2. Thankfully, none of our employees tested positive. Now, building on that model, we launched weekly surveillance testing for in-person staff this past week, and we are pleased to announce that all in-person high school students are eligible to participate starting this week (the week of December 8th)! This will be an opportunity for Salem High School, Salem Prep High School, and New Liberty Innovation School students who attend classes in-person at any time during the week.

This optional testing is a weekly pooled testing program through the company Mirimus. Salem will be the second school district in Massachusetts, after Wellesley to offer this testing option. While participation in this testing is optional, we hope to have as many students as possible submit weekly tests to add an additional layer of support to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please remember that all students must remain home if they are symptomatic. Please DO NOT send your child to school with symptoms in order to get a test. This is not an individual diagnostic test, which must be ordered through your doctor.

Below is a brief summary of how the tests will be conducted:

  • Parents/Legal Guardians must pre-register and give consent via an on-line Google Form for students under age 18: CONSENT FORM HERE. REGISTRATION FORM HERE.

  • Consents will be translated and shared Monday electronically and go home with students

  • Test kits will be distributed to students immediately before testing

  • Tests are saliva-based and students will be collecting samples on their own during school hours at the beginning of their lunch hour. (insert collection instructions here so they can get an idea of what to expect)

  • The majority of students will be tested on Friday. Students who attend Monday & Tuesday only will be tested on Tuesday.

  • Samples will be shipped out after testing. The district will get results on Sunday for tests on Friday, and on Thursday for tests on Tuesday.

  • If your student needs to take any further action, we will be in contact. If you child is in a positive pool, you may be required to complete a full health screen to enable a doctor to order a free, instantaneous diagnostic test. This company is able to use the same saliva sample to do the diagnostic test. This final test will give your student an individual diagnostic result of positive or negative.

For more information, please see the FAQ’s here.

We hope our high school families will take advantage of this opportunity. Please reach out to Ms. Lynne Mullen with any questions regarding testing.

Coat Drive

Do you have winter hats, gloves, scarves, or coats your student has outgrown? Please consider donating them! See the attached flyer for details!

Panorama Survey Upcoming

We recognize the difficulty the pandemic has caused our community and appreciate the efforts our families have made to make the best of this challenging time. Our school values input from our community – and we need to hear from our students about how they feel about their school experience. Students are important partners as we work to improve our communication, academic program and overall experience for everyone.

In order to learn more about student experiences at school, we will be asking for your child’s feedback via an online survey they will be completing. The survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. We are surveying students in grades 3-12.

We are asking all of our students to participate in the survey, as their feedback will provide invaluable insights into their experiences and how we can improve and adapt our district to meet their needs. If a student doesn’t feel like they have enough information to answer a question, they will be able to skip the item altogether. The responses to these surveys will be completely confidential.

The survey content will ask students to self-reflect on the following topics: academic needs, cultural awareness and action, learning model, school public health measures, school resource officer, student engagement, and student relationships.

More details will be forthcoming.

SHS News

SHS News for Dec 11 2020

SHS Community Office Hours

Do you have questions about Salem High, need a hotspot, or want academic support? We are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-5 at 135 Lafayette, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-8 at the Saltonstall School auditorium.

Please sign up for a time to come and meet us.

If you are unable to access the sign up link, please call or email a member of the Community Engagement Team in order to book an appointment.

  • Juan Encarnacion - Family Engagement Facilitator (781) 771-6660 (English and Spanish speaker).

  • Meredith Flanagan - 9th Grade Student Adjustment Counselor (978) 998-0452 (English and Spanish speaker).

  • Shamus Mruk - Assistant Principal for the 9th and 10th Grades and the Newcomer Program (978) 888-7634 (English only)



Winter Sports Update: At the recommendation of the Salem Board of Health, we are delaying the start of the winter sports season (Basketball, gymnastics ans swimming) until the beginning of January. We will provide updates about plans for tryouts, practices and games prior to January 4th. Students should still continue to register on the online registration site : www.familyid.com . Game Schedules can be found on : www.northeasternma.org. Thank you and Go Witch !!!!

College and Career Readiness Center


Seniors check out Naviance and Schoology page- we update weekly

College Rep Visits through Naviance

Tuesday 12/15

Alvernia University- 12:15

Wednesday 12/16

* US Army 1:00


SHS is offering the PSAT. The PSAT Exam and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test will be administered on January 26, 2021 at Salem High School. There is no cost to take the PSAT.

To ensure proper health and safety guidelines we are asking all Junior students to complete the attached form. LINK to FORM

Seniors and Juniors

College Guidance Network- TAKE AWAY TOOLKIT

Selective Admissions ToolKit

UMass Lowell- 12/17 Thursday Night 7pm

Join college representatives Jaclyn DeChiara- and hear about all the amazing opportunities they have!

Join Zoom Meeting, Thursday December 17 at 7:30 PM


Meeting ID: 922 7768 0287

New Resource!!!

DownDog was offering their yoga, HIIT and barre classes to teachers and students for free. Now they are offering MEDITATION APP for free through the lockdown or at least July 2021 for ANYONE.

SPECIAL EVENT!!!!!! 12/21 at 7:00 PM (EST), 12/22 at 7:00 PM (EST) and 12/23 at 12:00 PM (EST)

As we approach the holidays and a longer break the Family Engagement Team wanted to offer parents something that would help with the stress and overwhelm. Instead of offering our typical groups the week of 12/21 we will instead be offering 3 unique mindfulness groups!

Monday 12/21 BRYT parent, Kaori will lead parents massage and stretch

Tuesday 12/22 will be yoga

Wednesday at 12/23 will be guided meditation

English Language Learner Department

Here is one way we are providing teachers with the skills to support our English Learners!

Strategies for More Participation from ELLs in a Remote/ Hybrid Class: Part One

Connecting before

Send a private message to the student! Let them know that you would like to call on them to answer a certain question that is coming up in the lesson.

Email the student the day before telling them that you would like them to make a comment or that you will be asking them a question during a certain part of the class. / Set up a one on one meeting with the student to check in about when they feel comfortable talking in front of the class and how you can better support them.

Student Activities

Student Supports

Over the past several weeks we’ve been highlighting how Salem High School was putting supporting our students at the very center of our efforts by committing to becoming a BARR school in the 2020-2021 school year. This means that we will be working to embrace the eight core strategies that are part of the BARR Model. This week we’re highlighting the fifth strategy “Hold regular meetings of the cohort teacher teams”.

The teachers in a cohort have a shared meeting time. Teacher team meets weekly to discuss students in the cohort using student-level data that is updated weekly. The teacher team evaluates each student’s progress as well as academic and non-academic barriers to learning. In these collaborative sessions, teachers identify students who are struggling and determine how to intervene to support them as well as students who should be accelerated. Each teacher

provides a unique lens on the student and these perspectives combine during the meeting to create a more holistic view of the student.

Teaching and Learning

This week we're showcasing a French presentation by junior Hawa Hamidou Tabayi. Great work, Hawa!

Upcoming Events


  • 16 - 12:12 Dismissal (SHS Professional Development)
  • 23 - Q2 Midquarter
  • 24-31 - December Break

Regular Reminders and Resources

Chromebooks and Headphones

All students should ensure that they are coming to school with a charged Chromebook, as well as headphones with a microphone. This includes in-person learners!
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Safety Protocols and Logistics for In-Person Learners

Please remember the following protocols for students coming to the building for in-person learning. This is to ensure that we are keeping all students and staff safe - this is a team effort!

  • Arrival/Dismissal procedures

    • Arrival - All students enter through the main doors. Masks must be worn and students must sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer when they enter.

    • Dismissal - Students taking the bus or getting picked up will exit through the main entrance. Students who are walking or drive themselves to school will exit through the “auto doors.”

  • Travel between classes

    • The main hallways have clearly marked travel “lanes;” smaller hallways and stairwells have been designated and marked as one way.

  • Assigned seating charts in every class

    • Classroom teachers will create a seating chart for each period.

    • Desks in common areas will be assigned an identifier and students will complete a Google form with the date, period, location, and desk number.

  • Bathroom usage and distancing enforcement

    • Only one student will be permitted out of the classroom at a time.

    • Reduced occupancy has been identified for each bathroom to allow for physical distancing.

    • Markers have been placed outside of bathrooms to allow for physical distancing.

    • Bathroom monitor is present at each bathroom to ensure that safety protocols are followed.

    • Electronic passes will be used instead of paper passes to reduce the chance of transmission.

    • Bathrooms will not be open during passing periods. Students may only use the bathroom during class time.

  • Lunch

    • Students will be assigned to a lunchroom.

    • Lunches will be grab and go.

    • Students will wipe desks and chairs before passing to next class.

  • Signing in and out of a classroom

    • Electronic passes will be used instead of paper passes to reduce the chance of transmission.

  • Safety procedures

    • Masks will be worn at all times except when eating. Gaiters, bandanas, and masks with valves may not be worn.

    • Physical distancing will be maintained in all spaces.

    • Students will wipe down their desks and chairs before passing to the next class.

    • Bathrooms will be disinfected by custodial staff four times per day.

  • Nurses

    • Students will not be allowed to go to the nurses’ office this year.

    • Nurses will go to the students’ classroom for any medical needs.

Problems with Internet?

Are you having problems with, or do you have no Internet? Salem Public Schools is still actively working to help families connect. If you're having problems, please contact:

Shamus Mruk for 9th, 10th, grade and the Newcomer Academy (smruk@salemk12.org)

Lynne Mullen for 11th, 12th, and the Bridge Academy (lmullen@salemk12.org)

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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.

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 taking the bus 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

Free COVID-19 testing in Salem through the Commonwealth’s “Stop the Spread” program has been extended through at least January 15, 2021. For details, please visit www.salem.com/stopthespread. Please see below for updated testing locations and times.
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