Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

September 3, 2021


Transportation and Traffic

As we mentioned prior to the start of the school year, we expected transportation delays during the first 2 weeks of school. We appreciate your patience as we adjust to a return to pre-COVID traffic, construction, new start and end times, more families driving their students to and from school and the expansion of our partnership with our bus contractor. While we have seen improvement with the bus schedule throughout the week, there are far too many delays. Over this long weekend, we will be making some adjustments based on what we have seen during the first week. We will be looking at all routes and making the necessary changes to improve the efficiency of our routes. There will likely be some changes to bus stop pickup and drop-off times. We promise to communicate this and will keep you posted over the weekend.


A few other reminders:

  • If you are still having a problem or have a concern with a bus, please call the transportation office for assistance at (978) 740-1240 or email transportation@salemk12.org. We have extra staff in the office troubleshooting the questions and calls that come in about bus stop issues, missed pickups and the need for bus passes.
  • Any student that registered between August 16th (well after the deadline) and August 31st who still needs to be routed for a bus should receive their bus information over the weekend as well.
  • If you registered after the first day of school, your child will be routed will receive their bus pass the week of September 13th.
  • It is expected that all bus windows be open (unless there is inclement weather) to and from school. In addition, students need to always wear a mask. If you see that this is not happening, please let your child’s school know.


Finally, we are aware that there is traffic congestion at many of our schools. The Salem Police have been terrific partners and are assisting us in rethinking some of our school drop-off or pick-up routines. We appreciate your understanding as we adjust given the increase in the number of families transporting their children to school.


Thank you again for your flexibility as we pivot as quickly as possible to ensure smoother arrival and dismissal processes across all of our schools.


Best,

Steve

Cone of Excellence

This week’s Cone of Excellence goes to Sonya Lujan Nova. Sonya is a dual language paraprofessional who comes to school every day with a smile & focused on what is best for students. Not only is she temporarily ensuring all kindergarten students in both of Bentley's dual language classes are cared for & engaged, she has gone above and beyond during dismissal. Sonya has emerged as a leader of the team of staff who are ensuring that all students get home safely.

Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year

In case you missed it - In keeping with this year's theme of BELONGING, we raise our flags and welcome ALL students and families to the 2021-2022 school year. Check out our back-to-school video along with a few pics below!

Preschool Seats Still Available

Salem Public Schools has 10 seats left for our newly opened preschool classrooms!

If you live in Salem and your child turned 4 on or before 8/31/21 then we would love to welcome you into one of our free preschool classrooms. To enroll please call the Parent Information Center at (978) 740-1225 or fill out an enrollment form.

We hope to see you in preschool!


Safe & Healthy Opening Update:

Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to keep our community safe and focused on learning. We had a great first week of school. Below are a few updates and reminders.


Clarification – “Test and Stay” is for school-based contacts only: The state has clarified that “Test and Stay”, the program where we can give a daily rapid test to students identified as close contacts, only applies if the exposure happens at school. This means that if a child is a close contact to a person who is positive with COVID-19 at home or outside of school, they must complete a quarantine.


The research behind the “Test and Stay” program was done based on school settings where all of the other layers of mitigation are in place, including universal masking and strong ventilation. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused over the summer, as this clarification came from the state last week. To participate in “Test and Stay” this year, please complete the consent below.

Zero in-school cases in week one! While we do have a few students in quarantine or isolation from cases outside of school, we did not have any cases in school this week and, therefore, no school-based close contacts. Great job!

Students and staff are doing a great job implementing protocols! Even with the passing inclement weather, we saw LOTS of outdoor meals, strong compliance with our protocols, and a general focus on learning across our schools. Thank you.

Sign up for COVID checks & testing: We completed our first COVID checks for hundreds of students and staff this week. Great news - all tests were negative! Thank you to all that participated. A few updates and clarifications:·


  • To participate, you do need to sign up even if you gave consent last year. The state is requiring a new consent for the new year.
  • There is only one consent that is provided directly by the state, so families are consenting for the full program (weekly COVID checks, Test and Stay, and symptomatic testing) with the consent.
  • The best way to sign up for testing if you have not already done so is to use Parent Square. We have a few additional options, too:
  • Use this link to sign-up - just choose your student's school: https://bit.ly/SPS-TestConsent
  • Print and send the consent to school with your student: English | Spanish


Proof of Vaccination: Students over 12 years old and participating in extracurricular activities should work with the coach or school nurse to provide your proof of vaccination (picture or copy). Students who have not shown proof of vaccination or who choose to complete the declination form, showing that they have consulted with their physician and are declining the vaccine, will need to begin wearing masks outdoors on Tuesday, September 7th.

Back to School Forms

Back to school forms must be submitted by October 1st. These include contact information and permission to treat forms. The forms were emailed to all families. Printed forms will also be made available in each school for those who may need them.


These forms are REQUIRED for each student. Please fill them out as completely as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the front office of your school.

Upcoming Jewish High Holidays

As the Jewish high holidays approach, we have asked our staff not to schedule tests, quizzes and school-sponsored activities for the evening (after sundown) of Monday, September 6th through Wednesday, September 8th in recognition of Rosh Hashanah. The same holds true for Wednesday, Sept. 15th through Thursday, Sept. 16th in recognition of Yom Kippur.

We recognize it is difficult for students who observe these holidays to do homework or studying on these days. Students will be given ample opportunity to make up work they have missed during their absence(s) for religious observances.


For additional guidance about these holidays and other Jewish traditions, please refer to information provided by the Anti-Defamation League.

Salem Public Schools is hiring!

SPS is looking for more talented individuals to join our team including crossing guards, cafeteria helpers, paraprofessionals and more. Check out the list of openings here.

Schedule a meeting with Superintendent Zrike

Dr. Zrike would love the opportunity to meet with any SPS staff or SPS family who would like to do so. It could be in a park, a coffee shop, your home, or anywhere else.


If you would like to schedule some time with Dr. Zrike, please email Mindy Marino to set up a time and place.

The virtual Backpack

Welcome to the Virtual Backpack. This is a space where we will place items that in the past may have been a flyer in your student's backpack from friends and partners to SPS.

Download the ParentSquare app today!

A reminder that ParentSquare is the district platform for communication. You will receive communication from the district, your school, and your student's classroom all in one space. You can communicate 1-to-1 with teachers, sign up for parent-teacher conferences, and more.


This is how the schools will communicate with families districtwide going forward. Please be sure you are receiving messages from ParentSquare. If you are having trouble, contact your school's front office. You can visit www.parentsquare.com for more information.

important links