Return to School Update

April 9, 2021

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LOOKING AHEAD

  • Grades 6-8 students will be returning 5 days a week, every week on April 28, 2021

  • The return date for weekly, in-person learning for Grades 9-12 has not yet been determined by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)



As we transition from a hybrid schedule to a full in-person return, we recognize some families have elected to remain remote for a number of reasons. While all students will still experience a full day of instruction, we want to also acknowledge that, as with the shift from fully remote to hybrid, the student learning experience may not look the same as it did earlier this year. There will likely be more use of “live streaming” to provide in-person and remote students the opportunity to engage with the teacher and their peers in real-time as we continue to strengthen our classroom communities. Additionally, with more students in the classroom, teachers may, at times, attend to the needs of in-person students and utilize asynchronous independent assignments. In particular, this may be necessary at times of transition when hand washing and other safety protocols must be followed in the classroom. Likewise, teachers may, at times, assign in-person students an independent assignment so they can attend to the needs of their remote learners. We appreciate everyone’s patience and flexibility as we continue to navigate teaching and learning during this pandemic.

COLLABORATIVE AGREEMENT

District leaders, representative members of the Framingham School Committee, and representative members of the Framingham Teachers Association (FTA) met on several occasions to work through the logistics of this new DESE regulation and have reached a mutual agreement on the terms.

CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH CONDITIONS

Below are important informational links that highlight the current COVID-related public health conditions in Framingham. Please note the Current Status and City of Framingham Weekly Data Analysis included below is pulled each Monday. We recognize that the data can change between Monday and Friday when this communication is prepared.


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

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(Text from the table above)


Return-to-School Target

City Positivity: 4% (or less)

New Cases (Daily): 10 (or less)


Current Status (Latest Report: April 5, 2021)

City Positivity: 4.03%

Higher than the previous week

New Cases (Daily): 33.99

↘︎ Lower than the previous week


4-Week Historical Trend

March 29, 2021

City Positivity: 3.29%

↗ Slightly Higher than the previous week

New Cases (Daily): 37.80

↗ Higher than the previous week


March 22, 2021

City Positivity: 2.92%

↗ Slightly Higher than the previous week

New Cases (Daily): 29.21

↗ Slightly Higher than the previous week


March 15, 2021

City Positivity: 2.84%

New Cases (Daily): 23.15

↘︎ Lower than the previous week


March 8, 2021

City Positivity: 3.03%

New Cases (Daily): 25.00

↘︎ Lower than the previous week

POOLED TESTING AND COVID CASE REPORTING

  • Week of 4/5: 459 Pools with 2 positive pooled results (as of 4:20pm 4/9)

  • Note: Pooled testing did not take place this week at BLOCKS, Walsh, Hemenway, or Wilson schools due to staffing issues with our third party testing vendor.

  • Please review the FPS COVID Data Dashboard for the most up-to-date cumulative data on positive cases.

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.


Masks/Face Coverings

Masks/Face Coverings are among the most important single measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Masks must cover both the nose and mouth. Masks must be worn by everyone at all times with rare exceptions. Families must ensure their child arrives at school wearing a face covering and ideally has an extra on hand. Time will be built throughout the day for mask breaks where students and staff don’t have to wear masks. The District Face Coverings Policy provides more detailed information.


COVID-19 Individual PCR Testing for ALL FPS Staff

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. ALL FPS staff are encouraged to participate in weekly COVID-19 individual PCR testing that is provided at each of our schools.


COVID-19 Pooled Testing for Students

We encourage all of our students to participate in pooled testing! Free pooled testing will continue to be available weekly through the end of the school year for all students present for in-school learning. Although participation is voluntary, it is strongly encouraged. As of April 9, 2021, the District's Consent Rate for Pooled Testing is 59.3%. Our entire school community benefits when we can identify asymptomatic students with COVID-19 early and prevent the spread of the virus through the school community.


NEW! According to the CDC, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 may continue to test positive for the 90 days following the onset of infection, even if they have recovered from the illness and are no longer contagious. For this reason, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 cannot participate in Pooled Testing for the remainder of the school year. However, if your child has a history of COVID-19 and develops COVID symptoms, please be sure to have them PCR tested.


Participating in Pooled Testing is easy. Watch this video of a 2nd grader from Pennsylvania showing how it works.


There are two options to complete the consent form:


Have questions? CLICK HERE to learn more about Pooled Testing.


Click to expand any of the infographics below for a visual explanation of Pooled Testing.

MyMedBot (Attestation App)

MyMedBot is used to screen all FPS staff and students daily for potential COVID symptoms by answering a series of COVID-19 related questions. Based on the answers, the app will show a red screen (you are not permitted to enter the school) or a green screen (you may enter the school).


The app should be completed truthfully every day. Staff and students should never come into a school building when sick or if you’ve been exposed to COVID, especially if someone in your home has tested positive or is exhibiting symptoms. Your cooperation and collaboration is key to keeping schools open and safe for everyone.


Lastly, with the recent change of the Governor’s Travel Order to an Advisory, the travel question has been removed from the daily MyMedBot form. (See this communication from 3/28/21)


COVID Call Center

Framingham Public Schools has launched a trilingual COVID Call Center to help families with MyMedBot App and Pooled Testing questions. Call Center staff are available between 5:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday. Staff who have MyMedBot App questions should continue to reach out to the Help Desk. The COVID Call Center is also proactively calling families to assist with the completion of the pooled testing consent forms. Families can reach the Call Center by email COVID@framingham.k12.ma.us or by calling (508) 782-6633.


COVID Vaccines

All educators are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. State officials have designated the following weekend days: Saturday, April 3, Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11 for administering COVID-19 vaccines to teachers, school staff, and child care workers at the state's seven mass vaccination sites. Staff can use the state’s pre-registration system to schedule appointments: mass.gov:COVID Vaccine Pre-registration. Once an educator has received their full vaccine dose, they should upload it to TalentEd to enhance the efficiencies of the COVID Team in contact tracing and MedBot determinations.


Some people experience vaccine side effects such as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, pain at the injection site, or temperature less than 100.0°. These symptoms are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. If you experience these common minor symptoms in the first 72 hours after your vaccine and feel well enough to come to work, you do not need to list these as symptoms on MyMEDBOT.

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Please remember it is possible to get COVID-19 even after you are vaccinated. If you have any other symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste, stay home from work, avoid close contact with others, get PCR tested, and contact your healthcare provider. You can find frequently asked questions about COVID vaccine side effects here.


It takes several weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. Please continue to wear a mask, maintain 6ft physical distance, avoid large gatherings, and stay home when sick.


Because vaccinated individuals are guided by different COVID-19 quarantine, isolation, and travel rules, we are asking staff to provide documentation of your COVID vaccines to HR through TalentEd once you are fully vaccinated. This will assist the COVID Team when contact tracing may be needed and potentially eliminate the need for you to quarantine. Please note that while the District is strongly encouraging that its employees receive a vaccination, we are not mandating it.

COVID INFORMATION WEBSITE

Members of the COVID Team have been working hard behind the scenes to update a dedicated website with COVID Information and Resources. This site will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.


Please visit https://www.framingham.k12.ma.us/covid for more information.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Please continue to make sure that your school has update-to-date contact information, including cell phone numbers, for all Primary and Emergency contacts associated with your child(ren). At least 4 contacts should be listed. It is extremely important that we are able to reach you for important communications, contact tracing if needed, and to ensure MyMedBot is associated with the correct email address(es).

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.