August 4, 2021

“Pursuant to Governor Baker’s March 12, 2020 Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §18, and the Governor’s March 15, 2020 Order imposing strict limitation on the number of people that may gather in one place, this meeting of the Town of Monson School Committee will be conducted via remote participation to the greatest extent possible. Specific information and the general guidelines for remote participation by members of the public and/or parties with a right and/or requirement to attend this meeting can be found on the Town of Monson website, at www.monson-ma.gov. For this meeting, members of the public who wish to listen to the meeting may do so in the following manner: https://zoom.us/j/93743199582 Meeting ID:937 4319 19582, no in-person attendance of members of the public will be permitted, but every effort will be made to ensure that the public can adequately access the proceedings in real time, via technological means. In the event that we are unable to do so, despite best efforts, we will post on the Town of Monson’s website an audio or video recording, transcript, or other comprehensive record of proceedings as soon as possible after the meeting. Present: Chair Colleen Flynn; Vice Chair Emily-Graves-Harrison; Secretary Kathryn Peterson; Committee Members; Jackie Watts and Alison Morgan Also Present: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Business and Operations Leah Zippin; Director of Student Services/Early Childhood Center Suzanne Tetrault; Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Principal Joe Trivisonno; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Myriah Hudak; Monson High School Assistant Principal Matthew Sullivan; Early Childhood Center Dean of Students/Special Education Coordinator Colette Bidus; and Recording Secretary Karen Methe Note: This meeting was recorded using Zoom technology. Ms. Flynn called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. Ms. Peterson read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: Granite Valley School has building tours scheduled for Grades 1 and 2 on August 11 and 19, 2021. Dr. Clarke stated that there will be other tours and Mr. Trivisonno will keep families informed with specific information. The Summer Bus Tour is August 17, 2021 from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Recognition: Dr. Clarke introduced and welcomed Myriah Hudak and Matthew Sullivan to their new administrative roles of Assistant Principal at Granite Valley and the high school, respectively. She offered a brief overview of Ms. Hudak’s time in the district and Mr. Sullivan’s previous work history. Minutes: Motion by Mr. Watts to approve the July 7, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Peterson)

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-August 4, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-August 26, 2021

No discussion Roll Call Vote Ms. Morgan Yes Mr. Watts Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Motion carries 5-0 Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Clarke reported that the Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) has been amazing and busy planning and preparing for the opening of schools. The newly formed Monson Public Schools Summer School Program is going very well and Dr. Clarke thanked Mrs. Watts for reaching out to parents and recruiting students in need of extra help over the summer. The Summer Bus Tour has 25 staff members that have volunteered to participate and 75 students that have signed up so far. The date is August 17, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Dr. Clarke thanked the Town for hosting National Night Out on August 3, 2021. The school department joined numerous other local departments and businesses in what was a very well attended event. Dr. Clarke remarked that there was a great turn-out at the Monson Public Schools table where Mrs. Watts and Mrs. Zippin handed out books to families and a sign-up sheet was available for the Summer Bus Tour. Dr. Clarke commented on how wonderful it was that so many families came out on a beautiful night to enjoy the festivities. New Business: Dr. Clarke presented an informational PowerPoint regarding school opening considerations. She reviewed the strong recommendations from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) and other guidelines to be considered, adding that the Commissioner of Education has stated that schools will be in person 5 days a week upon opening, with no option for remote learning. She reviewed the most recent metrics and gave the percentages of community members that have been vaccinated. Dr. Clarke reviewed the results of a staff and family survey on vaccinations and mask wearing with regard to the Commissioner of Educations recommendations. She reported that 102 staff members and 409 families responded to the survey and she was pleased that so many people took the time to complete it. Dr. Clarke then reviewed other options that the Committee may want to consider moving toward the opening of school. She noted that she reached out to the district’s legal counsel and was advised that not following all of DESE’s strongly recommended mask mandates may result in legal action should someone be severely affected. Dr. Clarke also spoke of the possibility of instituting disciplinary action for students who refuse to wear masks, adding that it presents a challenge as DESE does not endorse this action. They have recommended speaking to the student, reaching out to the family and in school counseling, though no additional funding has been mentioned for this. Discussion followed. Public session: Ms. Flynn opened Public Session at 7:32 p.m. The following town residents addressed the Committee:

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-August 4, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-August 26, 2021

Scott Harris-thanked Dr. Clarke and the Committee for the wonderful job throughout the past 17 months. He asked if the town can follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as opposed to the DESE ones. Karen Nothe-Valley-stated the School Committee and Administration were doing a great job throughout the pandemic. She stated that, in her opinion, the Committee should adopt all of the strong recommendations adding that anything less would be reckless. Dr. Clarke noted again that per legal counsel, there could be potential liability if DESE’s strong recommendations are not followed. Karen O’Toole- “Thank you for doing a great job.” She continued by pointing out that the district has students that attend out of district placements and asked that this be considered in the decision-making process. Dave Xanatos- said he appreciated all the thought that was going into the conversations. His concern was for people who could not get vaccinated due to severe allergic reactions and asked that this be taken under advisement as well. Crystal Palmere wanted to address the Committee but could not get audio to do so. Dr. Clarke acknowledged the email that Ms. Palmere sent and thanked her for taking the time to reach out. Jessica Allen- thanked the Committee and spoke on behalf of those who may have been afraid to speak because of their conflicting views. She chose to participate in remote learning for her daughter because it provided the ability for her to move and breathe freely throughout school hours. She is concerned for her child’s health with a mask wearing mandate, adding that choice is a critical component to have for your own child. Amy Bourget- “loves the administration”, stating that her child will follow whatever rules are put in place by the Committee. She continued by sharing that the daycare she has worked at all summer hasn’t had a single COVID-19 case and there is no mask wearing or social distancing involved. Scott Harris addressed the Committee again stating that while he does appreciate all the families that opt out of mask wearing and/or social distancing, his concern is for himself and 2 of his 3 children that are immunocompromised and the possibility that someone in his household could get the virus. He added that they will be vaccinated soon. Dave Xanatos expressed concern for the stigma that may be associated with masking or not masking. He feels this would be a tremendous burden on kids and asked for the Committee’s consideration on this in making their decision. Ms. Flynn thanked everyone for their courage to come forward to address the Committee this evening Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:59 p.m. Subcommittee and Liaison Reports: Policy Subcommittee: Ms. Peterson noted that she hasn’t received any public feedback on the Policies that are due for third and final read at tonight’s meeting and requested a motion to approve them. Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the third and final read of Policies DB, DBC, DBJ, DGA and DKC as presented and institute into the Policy Manual. (Second by Mr. Watts) No discussion

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-August 4, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-August 26, 2021

Roll Call Vote Ms. Morgan Yes Mr. Watts Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Motion carries 5-0 Ms. Flynn acknowledged and thanked the Policy Subcommittee members for their continuous work on updating the necessary Policies. Dr. Clarke requested that approval of the Handbook be moved to a subsequent School Committee meeting due to changes that may occur because of COVID-19 recommendations or restrictions. Action Items: Schedule Regular Business Meeting for August 13, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Send School Opening PowerPoint to School Committee members. Send weekly metrics to School Committee members. Send survey comments to School Committee members. Ms. Flynn gave a reminder about evaluation tasks and timeframe. Ms. Flynn thanked the community for sticking with the Committee for the past 17 months and moving forward. Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to adjourn the meeting. (Second by Ms. Peterson) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 8:14 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: August 4, 2021-Regular Business Meeting Agenda July 7, 2021 – Regular Business Meeting-Draft Minutes Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Kathryn Peterson, Secretary


SC Minutes 8-4-21-Regular Business Meeting
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