Mansfield Public Schools
August 23, 2022
Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year!
It is my pleasure to welcome everyone back to school for the 2022-23 school year. Summer was a very busy time in our school district. Not only did we run a full gamut of activities including Extended School Year, summer school, CHAMPS Summer Institutes, athletics, and performing arts practices, we also prepared for the new school year. The buildings are shiny, schedules created, class placements are set, new staff hired, and new materials are already being delivered to classrooms. We are looking forward to our students' return.
I’d like to mention a few of the major projects that have been completed this summer. First is what we are calling the SMARTBoard refresh. New SMARTBoards were installed in all of our teaching spaces. The SMARTBoards are an upgrade of the tool that teachers rely on for their instruction. Our previous boards and projectors were aging out and this project has provided improved technology.
I have commissioned an architectural firm to conduct an educational space study of the district which will result in long-term planning for our schools. Our five schools range in age from the 1920’s (Roland Green) to the 1950’s (QMS), to the 1960’s (Robinson and MHS), to 1992 with Jordan/Jackson being our newest school. This several month long project will yield a report that can help the community begin to think about long-range plans for our district. I have a unique perspective in that I attended Roland Green, Robinson, QMS and MHS as a student. I led Jordan/Jackson as an administrator. And now, with several years under my belt in our central office and teamed with a stable group of administrators, I’m able to take the opportunity to begin to look ahead to the future of our school district.
If you visit the Robinson, Jordan/Jackson, and QMS school libraries during Open House, you will see that we completed a “refresh” of those areas with new carpeting and lighting. The Robinson Library carpet project was done last April, Jordan/Jackson during July, and finishing touches are being done to the QMS Library to be ready for the start of school. It’s an enormous undertaking to remove and then replace all of the books and bookshelves in a library to redo flooring. Our library staff worked many hours to get these projects to the finish line.
School security and safety is always a priority. During last week’s two-day district leadership team retreat, Detectives McCune and Wright (with Bentley by their side) provided a half-day of training for our administrators. They will also address our full staff on the professional development day that will be held next week. And for families, please mark your calendars for Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00PM when we will host a School Safety Information Evening. We haven’t held one of these types of events since “pre-COVID” days, and so we hope you can join us.
This newsletter is chock-full of information about a variety of topics pertinent to the beginning of the school year and I know you will also be receiving newsletters and beginning-of-the school year paperwork from your students’ schools. I recognize that we give parents/guardians a lot of “homework” at this time of year and it can be time consuming. I appreciate your attention to these materials.
On August 15, 2022, DESE and DPH issued a memorandum updating COVID-19 matters in K-12 schools for Fall 2022. The memo can be read in its entirety by using this link. In unison with state guidance, Mansfield Public Schools is looking forward to offering in-person experiences that will offer rich learning opportunities, robust extra-curricular activities, and an educational environment for positive social interactions among students and between students and staff.
Key points of the state recommendations are summarized below. The Commonwealth is NOT recommending:
universal mask requirements (except in health offices at the discretion of the school nurse)
test-to-stay in schools
There is no mask mandate; however, any individual who wishes to mask will be supported in their decision.
In addition, DESE has concluded the statewide testing program and MPS will no longer distribute at-home COVID tests. Mansfield Public Schools will continue to focus our mitigation strategies toward symptomatic individuals and vulnerable populations. DESE recommends that students and staff should continue to be vigilant in getting vaccinated based on current CDC and DPH recommendations. Please see the graphic below with information on the upcoming flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled during open house on August 25.
Families should refer to the symptom checklist and keep students home accordingly when they are showing COVID symptoms. Students may be referred to the nurse for assessment if experiencing mild symptoms in school. If it is determined by the school nurse that a student needs to be dismissed, the student may return on the next school day if symptoms remain mild and there are no additional symptoms. At-home antigen testing is strongly encouraged. As a reminder, the district and state are no longer supplying test kits. Best practice would also include wearing a mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully resolved.
In line with current MA DPH recommendations, any student or staff member that tests positive will have to stay out of school for a minimum of five days. If individuals are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving and they have been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours, they may return to programming after Day 5 and wearing a high-quality mask is strongly recommended through Day 10. Please communicate with your Health Office for specific guidance.
Our COVID Website will remain intact, however, the dashboard will no longer be updated. Important information including isolation protocols, symptom management and any changes in line with state recommendations will be added to the main page of the COVID Site.
- District Open House is scheduled for Thursday, August 25 from noon to 3:00 pm. We welcome all students and families to visit the schools and stop by their classroom. Many teachers will be in their classrooms getting ready for the new school year and Principals and other administrators will be available to answer questions and direct you.
- As previously announced, no cost school meals will continue this year. Breakfast and lunch will be available to all students who wish to participate.
- A new early release dismissal schedule will be implemented. The additional school time will allow students to have a lunch period. Students can bring lunch from home, or participate in the no cost program.
- A seasonal flu vaccine clinic and a COVID vaccine clinic have been scheduled for students and families on August 25. This is the same day as our District Open House. Please refer to the graphic below for the location of the vaccine you are looking for.
Massachusetts Extends Free School Meals for ALL Students through the 2022-2023 School Year
For bus transportation, athletics, and other fees: unless students are determined eligible through direct certification, families must submit an application to receive free or reduced fees.
Direct certification letters will be sent home the week of August 29. If your student does not qualify through the direct certification process, the 2022-2023 Free/Reduced Applications will be available on the website.
Please contact Dawn.email@example.com with any questions.