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March 17, 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 For this meeting, members of the public who wish to listen to the meeting may do so in the following manner: Meeting ID: 960 8350 2072, 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 Jeffrey Lord; Vice Chair Emily-Graves-Harrison; Committee Members; Colleen Flynn; Kathryn Peterson and Jackie Watts Also Present: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Student Services/Early Childhood Center Suzanne Tetrault; Granite Valley School Principal Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Joe Trivisonno; Director of Guidance Robert Bardwell; Monson High School Principal William Metzger; Monson High School Assistant Principal Jill Foulis; Early Childhood Center Dean of Students/Special Education Coordinator Colette Bidus Note: This meeting was recorded using Zoom technology. Mr. Lord called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. Dr. Clarke read the Mission & Vision Statements. Mr. Lord noted that this was not specifically a Regular Business Meeting but more to discuss the Commissioner of Education’s recent decision to return to 5 day in-person learning effective April 5, 2021. He added that Public Session would be only for this specific item. Return to Five Day In-Person Learning: Dr. Clarke began her presentation by thanking the Administration Leadership Team (ALT) for their willingness to kick into high gear and pivot, once again, given the Commissioner’s new directive; and subsequently staff as well. She provided a high level overview, via PowerPoint, of the new requirements that include Structured Learning Time, beginning the five day in-person model, information on the option of remote learning through the end of this school year, steps taken for re-implementation, followed by the district’s plan. Transportation information and associated safety protocols were reviewed. Dr. Clarke went over the number of in-person students by grade level, adding that all eating spaces will maintain the 6 foot distancing requirement. She reviewed the next steps as follows: continue with pooled testing, revise and approve the school calendar, update families and staff, address staff remote requests, at this point Dr. Clarke feels that she will be able to honor nearly all of those requests for the remainder of

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-March 17, 2021

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

this school year. Preparation of the buildings will continue, and the Memorandum of Agreement with the Monson Teachers’ Association will be revised. A question and answer period followed the presentation. Public Session: Mr. Lord opened Public Session at 7:30 p.m. The following town residents addressed the Committee: Brie Johnston questioned whether a student that has chosen fully remote learning, but the adults in the household get vaccinated, would that student be allowed to return to in-person learning? Dr. Clarke responded that it could be looked at to determine if there is room in the classroom, wherever possible, it could be an option. Jennifer Ziobrowski asked if children had to go remote, due to quarantine, would they keep the same teacher as in-person. Dr. Clarke said they would not; they would have to switch to the remote learning teacher, adding that the curriculum is the same across grade level. Mary Watson questioned the close contact district designated guidelines of 3-4 feet stating that the Department of Education and Secondary Education and the state guidelines remained at 6 feet. Dr. Clarke replied that anyone within 6 feet is considered close contact and has to be quarantined. Mary Watson asked if the teacher and whole class had to quarantine. Dr. Clarke said if a student is in the back of the classroom and the teacher is in the front, no, the teacher would not have to quarantine but the individuals on either side of the COVID positive person must quarantine. Mary Watson asked how it is designated when a student says there were not in close contact with a COVID positive student. She asked what the rules and regulations were for that situation. Dr. Clarke replied that rules and regulations were sent out. Every classroom has an updated seating chart with assigned seats. She continued stating that the information is pulled immediately and the school administration contacts the school nurse and Mrs. Fedora and a list is generated. If your child was not sitting next to the positive student in class or in the lunchroom, and they had been told to quarantine, the parent should reach out to Mrs. Fedora. Mary Watson asked for the rules for athletes that have to remote learn due to being quarantined when told by coach they must attend in-person learning to participate in a game. Mr. Metzger noted that the expectation has been that a student must be in-person the day before and the day of a game to be eligible to play. If a student is on required quarantine they cannot partake in a game. He added that currently if a student is quarantined the day before a game but is in-person the following day that rule is being waived. Mary Watson thanked the administration, School Committee and Dr. Clarke for doing a great job in frustrating times for all. She additionally thanked Dr. Clarke for responding to her so quickly earlier today. Ms. Flynn asked if there is an opt-in vaccine tracking system for staff members and teachers. Dr. Clarke responded that a survey had been discussed and the possibility of an anonymous one, to protect confidentiality, is being done.

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-March 17, 2021

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

Ms. Graves-Harrison inquired about close contact concerns during recess; how that is being monitored. Mrs. Watts responded that students are socially distanced though not in their homeroom cohort. They are masked and outside for approximately 12-15 minutes. Mr. Trivisonno added that all equipment is sanitized after use. Mrs. Tetrault told Committee members that each class at the Early Childhood Center goes out separately. She reiterated Mr. Trivisonno’s comment that all equipment is sanitized after each use. Mr. Lord asked the ALT Team how students are doing. Mr. Watts said the kids are amazing at following safety protocols. She added that she is not seeing big issues of readjustment from the students, she is seeing kids being kids. She mentioned that the school administration is also keeping close watch on the remote students. Mr. Metzger echoed Mrs. Watts’ sentiments, noting that he does have concerns about some students that have remained as fully remote learners. Mrs. Tetrault stated that the younger students have been amazing at following protocol and, so far, there haven’t been any readjustment issues. Kristen Hurst asked if any consideration to the order of close contact letters that are issued could be looks at. Stating that other districts notify families immediately the way the districts emails are being received now have families sitting on pins and needles wondering if they are going to receive a call regarding close contact. Her suggestion is that the families affected be contacted first and then a follow-up letter stating that if you have not been contacted by phone the student is in the clear. Dr. Clarke explained that the issue is difficulty getting in contact with every family in a timely manner. Mrs. Fedora makes phone calls and sends emails, meanwhile the rumor mill is circulating out in the town, which is why the letter is worded as it is. She recommended that if a parent had any questions they should feel free to contact Mrs. Fedora or reach out to the school nurse. Dr. Clarke will look into re-working the letter as needed and thanked Ms. Hurst for the suggestion. Mr. Lord closed Public Session at 7:50 p.m. Dr. Clarke requested that the current school calendar be amended due to the return of five day in-person learning. She outlined the proposed changes. Motion by Ms. Peterson to amend the 2020-2021 school calendar to strike the half-days for the following dates: April 9, 16 and 30, 2021, all Fridays in May 2021 and June 4, 2021. (Second by Mr. Watts) Ms. Flynn requested a friendly amendment to specify that those dates are now full days be added. Ms. Peterson accepted the amendment. No further discussion Motion carries 5-0

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-March 17, 2021

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

Dr. Clarke will send the revised calendar out first thing tomorrow morning. Mr. Lord thanked the ALT team, teachers and staff for their unwavering flexibility during a most challenging year. Motion by Ms. Flynn to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 7:56 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: March 17, 2021-Regular Business Meeting Agenda A Return to Five Day In-Person Learning-PowerPoint Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Kathryn Peterson, Secretary

SC Approved Minutes 3-17-21
Download PDF • 307KB

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