NPS District News

March 3, 2021

Message from the Superintendent


Dear NPS Families,


Over the past few weeks, we have been working intensely to plan for increased in-person learning time at the elementary level. We are now including the middle school level in the planning process. More specific information on planning at all levels is included below.


We know information is changing rapidly and we will share this information with you as quickly as possible. You can visit our planning webpage at any time for up-to-date information.


Sincerely,

David Fleishman


I hope you are finding this newsletter to be a helpful tool. Please share any feedback on content or format at community@newton.k12.ma.us

Elementary Return to Full In-Person School

The Newton Public Schools plans to return elementary students to full in-person school the week of March 29th or April 5th. This means that Cohort A and Cohort B will be merged and will attend school together five days a week. More details on the class schedule, school hours, and health and safety protocols will be shared as soon as the planning is finalized.


To return to full in-person school, distancing in classrooms will be reduced to approximately 3 ft. Given this change, we are asking ELEMENTARY families to complete this form to indicate their intent to request a change in learning model for their student. Please complete this survey ONLY if you intend to request a change to learning model: survey linked here.


At the same time, a planning group is meeting to make comparable improvements to the Elementary Distance Learning Academy. More details will be shared with DLA families as those plans take shape.


All information from the planning teams can be found on this webpage.

Middle School In Person Learning

We are looking forward to expanding in-person learning at our middle schools this spring. We will be planning intensively, in collaboration with the NTA, over the next few weeks and will be certain to keep the community well informed as we proceed.

High School In Person Learning


While we have not made any decisions about high school, we hope that more students will be able to attend classes in the building. We know many of our students would benefit from additional in person time, but we also need to be cognizant of health guidance from our medical advisory group and DESE.

Medical Advisory Group Recommendation

The medical advisory group held its first meeting on February 16, 2021. The group has provided the following recommendation to the district:


It is the opinion of this Ad Hoc Medical Advisory Group, convened by the Newton Public Schools and the Newton Department of Health and Human Services, that reducing distancing between students in classroom spaces below 6 ft is acceptable when other risk mitigation strategies are maximized. The recommendation recognizes the work that has been done to upgrade the ventilation systems in all school buildings to meet ASHRAE 62.1 standards as well as the anticipated implementation of a COVID-19 surveillance testing program. It also assumes that the masking requirement remains in place for all students and staff. Furthermore, it requires continued vigilance to hand hygiene, adherence to completing the daily health assessment and commitment to staying home when sick.


The recommendation, as well as discussion items from the first meeting, can be found in this document. A brief slide presentation can be found here.

COVID-19 Testing in the Newton Public Schools

Newton Public Schools is partnering with JCM Analytics to provide free weekly COVID-19 testing to all students and staff.


This testing program is VOLUNTARY and you must provide your consent in order to participate. You may opt-in at any time (see FAQ for details.) The consent form can be found in the Aspen Student/Family Portal. Please follow these instructions to sign the consent form. The testing program serves students attending school in-person in school buildings.


JCM utilizes a pool testing strategy in which multiple samples are grouped together and tested at the same time, reducing cost and simplifying the collection process. Here is a detailed Frequently Asked Questions document to answer all of your questions about the weekly testing program in our schools: Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Testing.


To answer your questions about the testing, we are offering an informational webinar on Thursday, March 4, 2021, at 6:30 pm. JCM Analytics, will provide a brief overview of the testing program and process and then we will then take your questions via a live, moderated Q&A. This program is intended for high school families who are in the first phase of our testing roll out. Visit this page for Zoom login information.


Questions? Email: community@newton.k12.ma.us

Calendar Changes and Updates

City Special Election - Due to the Special City Election on Tuesday, March 16th, the in-person day for Cohort A will be switched. Cohort A will attend in person on Wednesday, March 17th. They will follow their Wednesday remote schedule on Tuesday, March 16th. Please contact your building principal with any questions.


Elementary Conferences: Students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. on April 5th and April 8th to provide time for elementary school conferences.


Juneteenth - The City of Newton is observing Juneteenth on Friday, June 18th. The Newton Public Schools will be doing the same to observe this important day in our history. Therefore, our current last day of school for students is Tuesday, June 22nd.

The Work and Challenges of Being Anti-Racist: A Virtual Event with Dr. Edward Fergus and NPS Leaders

On Wednesday, Feb. 24th, NPS hosted a virtual event on the work and challenges of being anti-racist. The event included a panel of NPS principals (John Harutunian of Oak Hill Middle, Suzie Talukdar of Underwood Elementary, and Henry Turner of Newton North.)


Did you miss this lively and thought-provoking conversation? You can access the 90 minute program at this link.

Youth Art Month - Call for Submissions

March is Youth Art Month! To celebrate, we are asking elementary students to submit works of art to be featured in a virtual art exhibit on the district website. Please submit your works of art (as JPS files) using this Google form.
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4th Grade DLA Students at Cabot Featured on Yahoo Sports

4th grade DLA students at Cabot had the unique opportunity to ask celebrities about their memories of Black History Month and how they celebrate it today. Check out this very cool video, and our very articulate students at this link: Yahoo Sport Black History Month.
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