Salem Returns Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


SPS Families,

Thank you for your continued patience and partnership as we fine-tune our plan to return more students to school (details below). The city’s current COVID-19 spread and positivity data support more in-person learning in the Salem Public Schools. We are excited about this plan as we know that our students and staff benefit from the interpersonal connections, consistent routines, and the culture of academic engagement that is central to in-person learning.

As long as the data suggests that it is safe to return students to school, we will continue to plan to bring more students back through the fall and winter. In the next few weeks, we will be designing and sharing a plan that will detail an approach for all Salem Public School students to have an in-person learning experience prior to the end of the school year. Stay tuned.

Have a wonderful weekend,


The return to in-person school details

On Monday, October 19th, the Salem School Committee voted to approve the next phase of Salem’s return to school plan, which will expand in-person learning opportunities to students in grades PreK-2, 6th at Collins, and 9th at SHS. While our communication below is focused on the changes, we want to assure families that we remain committed to providing robust, high-quality remote instruction and continuing to build on the connections students have formed with peers and their teachers. We will be utilizing the professional development days on November 3rd to 6th to continue to refine the quality of remote learning, including building even more engagement strategies, diversifying the types of lesson formats, and sharing best practices across the district.

For any grade level that has the option to return in-person below, families will still have the option to remain fully remote.

PreK, Kindergarten, First and Second Grade: We will invite all students in grades PreK to second grade back for in-person learning five days a week.

Sixth Grade at Collins ONLY: For our students who have newly transitioned to Collins Middle School, we will offer a hybrid in-person model, where students can attend two days per week in-person with three days per week remote

Ninth Grade at Salem High: For our students who have newly transitioned to Salem High School, we will also offer a half-day hybrid in-person model, where students can attend two mornings per week in-person. This will keep the high school overall schedule, but shift the daily times for blocks throughout the school. Dr. Meier and the team will be communicating more details.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs: Some juniors and seniors in Salem High CTE programs will also be starting on 11/16 in a hybrid schedule with alternating in-person shop times for Automotive, Building & Property Maintenance, Carpentry, Culinary, and Medical Assistance. Early Education & Care is not able to conduct in-person training due to COVID-19 regulations. We are evaluating options for the Electrical shop at this time. Look for communication from the Director of the program in your email.

Grades 3-5, 7-8, 10-12, and grade 6 at Saltonstall: For the majority of our students, we will continue with the same learning model we have today. Students will continue with remote learning, and those who are in-person in hub labs will continue. The day may be shorter for students in hub labs to match the new in-person day for elementary and middle schools. Hub lab students will remain for the full day for high school. Hub connects will continue through Thanksgiving, and will determine how these move forward after that break. We will also collect feedback from the in-person learning that begins in November to help us evaluate the possibility of bringing more students back to in-person learning.

Decision on Third Grade in November: In order to maintain our health and safety standards, including smaller class sizes and six feet of physical distance, it takes more educators to teach each grade level. We want to confirm that we will be able to offer high-quality in-person learning while maintaining the quality of our remote program for any student who chooses it, which means that we are waiting until November to decide whether we can invite third grade to join us in-person as well.


Shifts to School Day Start and End Times

With the shift to offer more students in-person learning opportunities beginning November 16, 2020, we will have to make some changes to the school day.

Those shifts start and end times are posted on our website

In many cases, students who attend in-person will have a slightly shortened in-person day and will have up to one hour of remote learning to complete when they return home. This includes students who have been in-person.

  • The start and end of the school day will remain relatively unchanged for students who remain remote, although their daily schedules may shift slightly.
  • If students are hybrid, they will follow the schedule for in-person on two days of the week and remote on three days of the week.
  • Please note that these times are tentative and may shift up to 30 minutes to balance schedules for transportation.

Schools will communicate specific procedures for arrival and dismissal with families who will have students in-person, including staggering times to maximize health and safety and minimize crowds.

COVID-19 Testing

We encourage our entire school community to participate in free COVID testing. Salem's "Stop the Spread" testing program has been extended through December 31st.

Testing is available via a drive-through or walk-up outside of Salem High School at 77 Willson Street. Testing days and hours at Salem High School are as follows:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Testing will also be offered via walk-up inside at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square on the following days and hours:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Openings at LEAP for Education

Parents needing a place for their teenagers to do their classes, study, get college application or career help, or get academic support, Call LEAP for Education: Contact Daisy Angel 978-414-5516 or She can take calls in both English and Spanish

Salem High School Satellite office

SHS has started a satellite office at 135 Lafayette Street. These off-site office hours were created to allow better access for our students and families to high school resources. They will be staffed by rotating administrators and staff who attend “office hours” beginning this week.

The SHS Family and Community Engagement Team will pilot weekly office hours at 135 Lafayette street for 3 weeks, beginning October 19th, 2020, where they will offer both afternoon and evening hours for students and families.

This location can be used as a:

  • Drop-in center
  • Community access to School leadership
  • Parent and family center for help and information
  • Internet hotspot

Please sign up for an appointment here:

The hours will be from 10-4 on Tuesdays and eventually from 6-8 in the evening on Thursdays. For more information please email Shamus Mruk, Juan Encarnacion, or Meredith Flanigan.

Celebrating National Principal's month

As we continue to celebrate our principals, I wanted to share this shout out to Saltonstall School principal, Michael Lister.

If you have a shout-out to a principal, please send to

Mr. Lister is amazing. The man is genuine, compassionate, and just likable. My son is always a bit reluctant to get out of the car at drop off. My son also has a love for race cars. This morning at drop off my son happened to point out to me a pretty cool-looking car that was parked in front of the school as he was getting out of the car. I lost focus on my son for a few minutes as I was talking to a teacher. When I finished and looked for a final glance at my son as I pulled away, there he was, in deep conversation with Mr. Lister admiring the cool race car! I didn’t snap a photo, wish I had, but will hold that cool memory of an awesome principal who took a few genuine minutes to share an interest with my 4th grader! He just goes above and beyond in all that he does and it's appreciated!

Massachusetts STEM Week

To celebrate Massachusetts STEM week, Salem Prep science teacher, Dan States has a lesson on hydraulic systems to share with us. Click on the photo below to view the lesson.

Thanks, Mr. States!

Connecting with Superintendent Zrike

Are you looking for a one-on-one meeting with Superintendent Zrike?

Dr. Zrike will be holding one-on-one meetings outside, distanced, and with face coverings at Salem Common by appointment on Friday's between 7:30 am-10:00 am.

Please send an email to to set up your appointment.

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Celebrating National Principal's Month!

Our principals have been there when we needed them the most, and now we have a chance to celebrate them.

October is National Principal's Month, We want to hear your best principal stories! Send photos, drawings, stories, and more to

Use your voice to honor, thank, and advocate for all our principals during National Principals Month! #ThankAPrincipal

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