November 6, 2020

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This Newsletter updates on all matters connected to Cohasset Public Schools. This letter is sent as part of a District initiative focusing on communication.
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Updates to Guidance on Interpreting Department of Public Health (DPH) Health Metrics, November 6, 2020

Please see the following message from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This message underscores the importance of prioritizing in-person learning and sets the standard schools will use for determining when to adjust a learning model regarding the full in-person to full-remote continuum.

"With the recent update by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the weekly color-coded designation for communities in the Commonwealth, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is issuing updated guidance on interpreting these metrics for school settings. This replaces the guidance on Interpreting DPH COVID-19 Health Metrics issued on August 11, 2020.

With the change to the color-coded metrics, a community's designation of gray, green, yellow or red now takes into account the size of the community, positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the percent of tests conducted in a community that are positive.

DESE is making updates to its initial guidance on interpreting these metrics in school settings based on a growing body of evidence that students should remain in school. With numerous examples of schools reopening from around the world, across the country, and recent first-hand experience here in Massachusetts, it is increasingly clear that schools are not sources of significant COVID transmission, so long as proper health and safety protocols are followed.i ii iii iv This has held true in Massachusetts even as we have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases statewide, further indicating that with strong health and safety protocols, schools are able to operate safely for in-person learning. Moreover, we continue to observe the significant harms that come with keeping students out of school in terms of their academic progress and social emotional and physical health.

As such, after consultation with our medical advisors and public health experts, we are updating our guidance as follows. As always, districts and schools must strictly adhere to all health and safety protocols outlined in DESE Fall Reopening Guidance. All individuals who are symptomatic, receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual must continue follow the protocols outlined in DESE's Guidance on Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios.

  • Districts are expected to prioritize in-person learning across all color-coded categories, unless there is suspected in-school transmission, in accordance with DESE's Guidance on Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios. Transmission in schools is defined as spread of the virus between people during interactions in the school setting. While there have been positive COVID-19 cases of staff and students in schools, most of these infections have occurred outside of the school setting. If there is suspected in-school transmission, then the affected classrooms or schools should temporarily shift to remote learning, in accordance with DESE's Guidance on Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios. Classrooms and schools should reopen after appropriate mitigation strategies have been implemented, as determined in consultation with the local board of health, DPH, and DESE.

  • Districts and schools in communities designated gray, green, or yellow are expected to have students learning fully in-person, if feasible. A hybrid model should be used only if there is no other way to meet health and safety requirements. Parents and caregivers will continue to have the option to choose a district's remote learning program for their children.

  • Schools in red communities should implement hybrid models, while maximizing in-person learning time for high-needs students.

  • In those communities with the highest COVID-19 caseloads and test positivity rates (e.g. currently, Chelsea, Lawrence, and Revere), DESE and DPH will work with local school officials to develop and implement customized strategies to reduce in-school health risks, to enable as many children as possible to attend school in person and/or make a determination on the need for fully remote learning.

  • Fully remote instructional models should be implemented only as a last resort in classrooms, schools, or districts when there is suspected in-school transmission or a significant municipal outbreak, in accordance with DESE's Guidance on Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios. Classrooms and schools should reopen after appropriate mitigation strategies have been implemented, as determined in consultation with the local board of health, DPH, and DESE.

As a reminder, structured learning time requirements for students and related regulatory and statutory standards remain in effect for school districts, regardless of learning model" (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, November 6, 2020).

i Ismail, S., Saliba, V., Bernal, J. L., Ramsay, M., & Ladhani, S. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in educational settings: cross-sectional analysis of clusters and outbreaks in England . Public Health England. (2020).

ii Yoon, Y., Kim, K.R., Park, H., Kim, S., & Kim, Y.J. (2020). Stepwise School Opening Online and Off-line and an Impact on the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in the Pediatric Population. medRxiv (2020).

iii Otte im Kampe Eveline, Lehfeld Ann-Sophie , Buda Silke , Buchholz Udo , Haas Walter . Surveillance of COVID-19 school outbreaks, Germany, March to August 2020. Euro Surveill. 2020;25(38):pii=2001645.

iv COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in COVID-19 transmission, 6 August 2020. Stockholm: ECDC; 2020.

Please take a moment to view Governor Baker's conference today updating on COVID-19 and schools, and how the new COVID-19 thresholds should be interpreted. Also in this press conference is the DESE's prioritization of in-person learning from DESE Secretary Peyser and Commissioner of Education Riley.

COVID-19 Update: November 6, 2020
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Addition of Alternating In-Person Wednesdays for Each Cohort Starting December 9, 2020 Pending Further Bargaining Obligations with Cohasset Teachers Association (CTA)

Start of School Data Review

At the October 28 Special School Committee Meeting to review the first six weeks of school, we presented data gathered from students (focus groups), staff, and families. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Cohasset School Committee voted, pending further negotiations with the Cohasset Teachers Association (CTA), to implement alternating in-person Wednesdays for each cohort at every school in the district, beginning on December 9, 2020. This decision is right in line with the prioritization of in-person learning for students that is being prioritized at this time by the DESE. Here is the link to a video recording of the meeting. Thank you to everyone who helped provide input regarding our start of school.

Some Data Regarding the Importance of Prioritizing In-Person Learning

A Balanced View of Risk

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  1. Kuhfeld and Tarasawa. (2020). The COVID-19 slide: What summer learning loss can tell us about the potential impact of school closure on student academic achievement. Collaborative for Student Growth.

  2. Calderon. (2020). “U.S. Parents Say COVID-19 Harming Child's Mental Health” Gallup.

  3. Robson. (2020). “From their academic success to their social skills and mental health, the pandemic is a crisis for today’s children – and the fallout may follow them for the rest of their lives.” BBC.

  4. Kamenetz. (2020). “With School Buildings Closed, Children’s Mental Health Is Suffering.NPR.

  5. Feeding America. (2020). “The Impact of the Coronavirus on Child Food Insecurity.Feeding America.

  6. Dingel, Patterson, and Vavra. (2020).Childcare Obligations Will Constrain Many Workers When Reopening the US Economy. Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at The University of Chicago.

  7. Mitchell. (2020). “As Schools Close to Coronavirus, Special Educators Turn to Tele-Therapy.” Education Week.

  8. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. (2020). “Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  9. Wilson. (2020). Coronavirus: What does evidence say about schools reopening?; Boast, Munro, and Goldstein. (2020). An Evidence Summary of Paediatric COVID-19 Literature. Don’t Forget the Bubbles.; Boulad, F., Kamboj, M., Bouvier, N., Mauguen, A., & Kung, A. L. (2020). COVID-19 in Children With Cancer in New York City. JAMA Oncology.; Li, W., Zhang, B., Lu, J., Liu, S., Chang, Z., Cao, P., ... & Chen, J. (2020). The characteristics of household transmission of COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases.; Lee, B., & Raszka, W. V. (2020). COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child is Not to Blame. Pediatrics.; Munro, A. P., & Faust, S. N. (2020). Children are not COVID-19 super spreaders: time to go back to school. Archives of Disease in Childhood.; Ludvigsson, J. F. (2020). Children are unlikely to be the main drivers of the COVID‐19 pandemic–a systematic review. Acta Paediatrica.; Ludvigsson, J. F. (2020). Systematic review of COVID‐19 in children shows milder cases and a better prognosis than adults. Acta Paediatrica, 109(6), 1088-1095.

  10. Park, Y. J., Choe, Y. J., Park, O., Park, S. Y., Kim, Y. M., Kim, J., ... & Lee, J. (2020). Contact Tracing during Coronavirus Disease Outbreak, South Korea, 2020. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 26(10).

Cohasset Community Health Update

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New Health Metrics Announced

The following new Health Metrics have been announced by the Department of Public Health (DPH)
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Cohasset Community Health Update

As of November 6, 2020, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reports that the town of Cohasset’s positive COVID-19 test rate over the past 14 days is 0.62%, with less than five (5) positive case out of 647 tests reported. None of the cases have originated from Cohasset Public Schools and there are no new cases within Cohasset Public Schools at this time. Under the new DPH metrics, the town of Cohasset is now in the "Grey" category for communities who have a population of under 10,000 who have less than or equal to 10 cases over the last 14 days.

Please keep following the protocols of handwashing / hand sanitizing and wearing face-covering masks when appropriate to do so. Here is the complete report that was issued this afternoon (11/6/2020).

Cohasset Public Schools adding Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) to learning spaces

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The Cohasset Public Schools has secured funding for the acquisition of approximately 170 Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) for use in various learning spaces throughout the district. We have ordered these PACs in anticipation of the winter months and in an effort to mitigate any potential air quality concerns within the buildings.

In support of this purchase, the district cites the following considerations:

· PACs can simulate a higher Air Change per Hour (ACH)

· PACs can improve air quality

· PACs can be used to reduce airborne contaminants

Thank you to the Cohasset Teachers Association (CTA) and the Town of Cohasset for their collaboration regarding this important safety initiative.

Flu Clinics

Please remember that all students are required to have a flu vaccination by December 31, 2020 (religious and medical exemptions withstanding)

A Note from SEPAC

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SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) aims to promote child-focused, inclusive learning environments for all students. The council also works to support parents of students on IEPs and liaison with district and school administration to maintain open dialogue and transparency. SEPAC holds regular meetings with Barabar Cerwonka, Director of Student Services and plans to host two virtual parent-only coffees this year to offer parents time and space to talk and share issues, concerns, and ideas. The first virtual parent-only coffee will be Tuesday, November 17th at 10am. Keep a look-out for the flyer with the zoom link! Email us at to ask questions, become more directly involved, or just say hello. We'd like to wish everyone a great year and extend a big thank you to all of the teachers, staff, administrators, parents, caregivers, and siblings for their ongoing and tireless efforts to keep our kids engaged and learning.

Special Education Rights Presentation

Please see the below presentation from Barbara Cerwonka, our Director of Student Services, regarding Basic Rights in Special Education. Thank you, Barbara and SEPAC for hosting this event.

Cohasset PSO Update

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Osgood Trunk-or-Treat Winners Announced

The Cohasset PSO hosted its third annual Trunk or Treat on October 28th at the Osgood School, although this year looked a little different than past years. All attendees were asked to drive through the event this year in order to keep the event safe for everyone. Each family was asked to fill out an online voting form to select their three favorite trunks at the Trunk or Treat. All trunk volunteers were socially distanced throughout the Osgood parking lot and wore masks.

The PSO event was chaired by Meaghan Barry, Sara Norman, and Jennifer Sabo. Over 175 Cohasset families attended the drive-through event! Students from the National Honor Society also volunteered at the Trunk or Treat.

A huge thanks to Kevin Lewis Real Estate and Glove Up Boxing for donating the following prizes for the event:

1st place- $500 gift card to Anchor & Sail

2nd place- $250 gift card to Tiffany Nails & Co.

3rd place- $250 gift card to Brook & Main

Honorable Mentions (3): $100 Glove Up Class Pass

The trunk winners as selected by the rolling audience were:

1st place: Sara Norman for her Dog Pawty-themed trunk

2nd place: April Romano and Nikki Storer for their Care Bear-themed trunk

3rd place: Kristin Quinn for her Trolls World Tour-themed trunk

Honorable Mentions: Brooke Jewell (Haunted Fortune Teller), Cassie Muir (Color the World), and Courtney Stephens (Sandy Screech)

A correction from last week's Navigator... Thank you to Will Puzella, Cohasset Class of 21 (for taking the wonderful pictures).

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"Flock a family courtesy of the Cohasset PSO! For a $25 donation, you can have a flock of pink yard flamingos delivered to a friend’s lawn as a fun surprise! Visit to fill out the electronic form to designate a friend that you wish to have flocked. A crew will flock their yard and the flamingos will nest there for 2 days. Flocks can be purchased starting Friday, November 6th on a first come, first serve basis for the month of November. Proceeds support Curriculum Enrichment Programs, Teacher & Staff Grants, and other initiatives that support student learning and promote success."

- Cohasset PSO

Some Images from the Week

Humorous depiction of Remote Learning on Cohasset Lawn...Halloween Fun

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Two Days, Two Views outside Principal Sullivan's office window

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Deer Hill Principal for the Day enjoying a well-deserved cocoa break

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Learning about voting during Deer Hill lunch

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Mr. Holland Deep Cleaning the playground at Osgood

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Field Hockey Photo by Matt Stone...Cohasset Mariner

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CSCR Word Cloud "What do you like about Cohasset?" - courtesy of Jack Buckley, CSCR Director

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The Important Role Families Play In Stopping the Spread of COVID-19

Families will play an important role in helping to create a culture that prioritizes health and safety. Families should check their children daily for signs of COVID-19 and should keep them home from school if they are not feeling well or if they have been in close contact with a person who has been recently diagnosed with COVID-19. It is also important that families support students wearing masks in school and on the bus. We are strongest when we work together to stop the spread (Initial Fall School Re-entry Guidance, 2020).

CPS Pledge: Healthy and Responsible Behaviors Regarding COVID-19

By coming into Cohasset Public Schools, I pledge I am following:

  • State expectations for social and physical distancing

  • Regulations regarding the wearing of facial coverings over your nose and mouth when in public settings (for students from grades PK– 12 and for all staff)

  • Quarantine directives put forth by the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Cohasset Department of Health

  • Guidance that has students and staff stay home from school / work if they are experiencing symptoms of fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, or dry cough or if they have exhibited any symptoms relating to COVID-19


The following information was compiled by our district nurses and provides supplementary information to the protocols stated in the Cohasset Public Schools Fall School Re-Entry Road Map. A big thank you to Kelly Gildea (lead nurse) and our district nurses for compiling this information and for their leadership and guidance during this difficult time.

Cohasset Public Schools Medical Frequently Asked Questions

Cohasset Public Schools Decision Tree Regarding Health Situations Related to COVID-19

COVID-19 Symptom Checklist for Parents and Guardians to utilize with their children

Here are some useful videos regarding Mask Wearing, When to Stay Home, and Hand Washing / Hand Sanitizing prepared by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).


We will continue to engage students and staff in the meaningful discussions necessary to promote change. We are committed to promoting anti-racism and cultural competency.
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Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Assistant Superintendent Leslie Scollins, Ed.D.

CPS Strategic Planning Process

The District is working with Teaching Learning Alliance (TLA) consultants to create the new 3 year CPS Strategic Plan which will begin in the 2021 School year. Part of the process involves forums for people to share their thoughts about the Cohasset Public Schools. All the voices help shape the Strategic Plan. If you are interested in providing feedback please see the specific information below.

CMS/CHS Staff Forum: 11/9/2020 3:10pm Auditorium

Parents/Guardians Forum: 11/10/2020 5:30pm Deer Hill School (Sign-up Link)

JOS/DHS Staff Forum: 11/16/2020 4:00pm Osgood

Parent Workshop

Cohasset Public Schools offered a workshop: “Preparing for School Re-entry: How to Support Students with Practical Social Emotional Skills and Strategies; Part 2, 6 Weeks In!” presented by Dr. Steve Bonauto and Dr. Barry Plummer on Monday, October 26. This was a 60 minute interactive virtual presentation that provided a forum for families to hear about ways they can continue to support their children during this school year. Here is the link to watch the recording of the workshop.


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  1. Cohasset Virtual Youth Center This is now live on the home page of the Town’s website, found toward the bottom right-side of the page. This serves as a central location for all youth-geared programming/events that are occurring via Rec, Library, Elder Affairs, and Safe Harbor.

2. WANTED: Social Media Boosters Looking to volunteer time to the Safe Harbor initiative but don’t have much time to give? Please consider volunteering to be a designated social media booster.

What does this entail?

Receiving communication from Marketing Director that information has been posted for you to like, comment, share, share to Cohasset143 and/or post yourself

How much of a time commitment?

5 minutes a week

Take Care of Yourself and Take Care of Each Other

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Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can do anything to help your student or your family during this difficult time. Most important is the physical and mental health of everyone, and we will stay focused on making that a priority. Please take good care.

Bottle Flipping, CMS Lunch Fun!

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Please click on the following link to access even more information on the Cohasset Public Schools Web Site.

Please follow me on Twitter for daily updates from the Cohasset Public Schools