Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - September 3, 2021

Happy First Days of School Amesbury Public School Families!

This has been a very exciting week for the schools! It has been absolutely fantastic to see our students and staff back! I hope that your children have returned home happy and excited!

In most areas, the transition back went very smoothly. Our biggest area of challenge was around bus transportation. There have been some significant staffing changes at our bussing company and we have been working very closely with them to resolve the issues that we have experienced this past week. Moving forward, if you have any bus question, please contact Joan Liporto at We ask for your continued patience as we work through these bumps!

As I watched students arrive at school on Wednesday, I was struck by how excited both the students and staff were. I am pretty sure that most of us were as nervously excited as the students and parents were! I was lucky to have the Chief of Police, Craig Bailey, the Fire Chief Ken Berkenbush, and Mayor Gove join me as we made our way to each of the schools. Growing up, we always started school after Labor Day and I used to believe that this was the best model - make summer as long as possible. Now, after having followed this model of having students come to school for two days prior to Labor Day, I am a convert. Whether I am returning to the same school or moving to a new one, I totally love that most of that nervousness about starting school is released and I can enjoy the long weekend. Hope it works that way for all of you as well!

You will notice that each of the principals is using the same style of newsletter for his/her communication to families. Throughout last year, I received a lot of positive feedback about the format of the newsletter and have shared this with my administrators. This year, you can expect that I will send out a newsletter on the first and third Friday of each month. Some issues may be larger than others, but you can expect to receive information on those days. If there is a need, I may send information out more frequently.

In the last newsletter, I shared my Entry Plan Timeline. Following Tuesday’s School Committee meeting, my Entry Plan Timeline will be posted on our website. Please check it out! This month I will begin having conversations with all interested stakeholders. These may be small group meetings, individual meetings, and even group forums. I will be setting dates for Superintendent’s Coffee which I anticipate will alternate between in-person and virtual. Stay tuned for those dates. In addition, I will share the dates of the events where there is an open invitation to participate and share your thoughts with me. In other cases, I will be reaching out directly to key stakeholders to set up individual meetings. If you are interested in speaking with me as part of my Entry Plan research, please contact me to let me know. The best way to set up a meeting is by calling my administrative assistant, Daniel, at (978) 388-0507 or emailing him at I sincerely look forward to these conversations and learning more about our schools from all of you!

I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

Elizabeth McAndrews


Congratulations to our Stephen J. Gerber, Stroke of Genius Award Recipients

On Monday morning, AEFI (Amesbury Educational Foundation, Inc) President Patty Hoyt announced to all the staff in the district, this year's award winners. For the first time in it's inception, there were two different recipients.

Quoted from Patty Hoyt:

AMS Life Skills Baking Program: Cathy Mamakos, Allison Pearl, Kat Wilson, and Shannon Kennedy were nominated by Tia and Joe Costello for your establishment of this program. They hope it can be continued since it generated a culture of acceptance, appreciation, and fun.

Quoted from Cheryl Goodwin:

Reverse Holiday Parade: Johanna Kimball was nominated by Dan Fijalkowski for her coordination of this parade. Because of this parade, your music students could perform and families could celebrate. AEFI was there with our inflatables raffle, dressed up in costumes, waving to families who were so happy and grateful to have something fun to do as they safely drove by. For years, your AMS Melody Club has marched with AEFI in the Holiday Parade, passing out candy to the crowds. Let's hope that this year we can return to that parade in style!

Left to right in the picture: AMS Principal Jarred Haas, AMS teachers Cathy Mamakos, Shannon Kennedy, Johanna Kimball, AEFI Vice President Joan Miller, AMS teacher Allison Pearl, AMS Assistant Principal Adam Denio, and AMS teacher Kat Wilson.

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Thank you to our Students!

AES students Braden Bailey and Marlie Field, CES students Ellie McCarthy, Ethan Sheridan, and Cora Sheridan, and AMS student Noah Blouin led us all in the Pledge of Allegiance. All 6 students did a fantastic job!
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Another Huge Thank You!

Thank you to AHS junior Lucy Dore for a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem! She, too, did a fabulous job!
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Free Breakfast and Lunch Continue!

Students in all grades are eligible for free breakfast and lunch through the end of the school year. The greater the number of students who participate, the greater the amount of money our district is reimbursed. Please take advantage of this awesome opportunity and help the district in the process!

In-School Testing Options and EXEMPTIONS from Testing/Quarantine

This year, DESE is offering three different types of in-school testing. As a district, we will be implementing Symptomatic Testing and the "Test and Stay" Testing. We will not implement the Routine COVID safety checks (Pool Testing) at this time. We will continue to monitor our data and determine if or when we would need to implement Pool Testing. The chart below clearly outlines what each of the testing programs entail. Consent for in-school testing is required and, to that end, we will be sending a consent document to families in the near future. DESE and DPH have identified EXEMPTIONS to both testing and quarantine which are outlined here:

1. Asymptomatic, FULLY VACCINATED close contacts

2. Classroom close contacts - provided that both individuals were masked and spaced at least 3' apart

3. Bus close contacts - provided that masks were worn and windows were open

4. Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days

Exemptions from Testing/Quarantine

  • Asymptomatic, FULLY VACCINATED close contacts
  • Classroom close contacts - provided that both individuals were masked and spaced at least 3' apart
  • Bus close contacts - provided that masks were worn and windows were open
  • Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days

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Testing Consent

As I shared in my previous newsletter, during the 20-21 school year, the Amesbury Public Schools will be offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19 involving in school COVID testing. This program has two components: symptomatic testing for students who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school and test and stay for students who may have been exposed while in school, but are not showing symptoms. Each of these is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests in the past, these are not uncomfortable and easy for students to do themselves.

Students only participate with permission from a parent or guardian. It is important to Amesbury Public Schools that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we can answer your questions that you might have in advance of asking you to sign the consent form.

Symptomatic testing is used when a student is showing minor symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students should NOT come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the common cold of flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of the test within 15 minutes. If a student has minimal symptoms and tests negative, they can remain in school.

Test and stay allows students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are NOT symptomatic. Students participate in test and stay for at least 7 days after they have been exposed.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine at home for the CDC- recommended ten days since symptoms first appeared or ten days since the positive test result before returning to school. The student must also be without a fever for 24 hours before returning to school.

To participate in the program, you must sign this consent form:

for optional testing on behalf of your student. There is no charge for participating. To learn more about our COVID-19 testing program or if you have additional questions, please visit

If you have any questions, please reach out to your building nurse.






It is our hope that these measures will work together to keep our schools safe and your student in school. Thanks again for your support during this challenging time. We look forward to welcoming your students back to the classroom.

Vaccination Status Survey

On Tuesday, we sent out a link to a vaccination status survey. From this data, we are hoping to determine the percentage of fully vaccinated students that we have in the Amesbury Public Schools. If your child receives his/her first and/or second dose of the COVID-19 after this survey is closed, you can email our Lead Nurse, Kristin Tierney, at I appreciate your timely assistance with the gathering of this information. If you have already completed this survey when it was originally sent out, you do NOT need to complete it again.

Survey link:

New DESE COVID-19 Guidelines - Video made by Concord Carlisle High School Principal Mastrullo

DESE Covid 19 Guidelines

DESE COVID-19 Protocol Flow Charts

In order to assist students, families and schools in navigating the differently pathways when there is a positive case of COVID-19 in the schools, DESE created these flowcharts. Additional information can be found on DESE's COVID website.

Protocol A: Individual Tests Positive for COVID-19 - DESE

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Protocol B: Asymptomatic Close Contacts - DESE

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Protocol C: Symptomatic Individuals at School - DESE

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Who C.A.R.E.S? Sponsored by PACT

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Some Pictures from the First Days of School

Social Media

Please follow me on Instagram @amesburypublicschools, on Twitter @amesburypublic1, and on Facebook at

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter! Happy Labor Day Weekend!