October 14, 2020

Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting “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/95114377087 Meeting ID: 951 1437 7087, 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; Secretary Andy Dubois-White; Committee Members; Colleen Flynn and Kathryn Peterson Also Present: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Student Services/Early Childhood Center Suzanne Morneau; Business and Finance Officer Michelle Loglisci; Director of Facilities Paul DeMaio; Director of Food Services Melody Gustafson; 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; and Recording Secretary Karen Methe 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. Announcements: Students in Cohort A and Kindergarten will be welcomed back to in person learning on Monday and Tuesday next week, followed by Cohort B and Kindergarten students on Wednesday and Thursday. Minutes: Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the September 23, 2020 Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to approve the September 30, 2020 Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Mr. Dubois-

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 7 Regular Business Meeting-October 14, 2020


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White) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Subcommittee & Liaison Reports: Policy Subcommittee: Ms. Peterson reported that she has not received any questions, concerns or feedback on Policy ACAB. Motion by Ms. Peterson to accept the third read of Policy ACAB - Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure and institute it into the Policy Manual. (Second by Ms. Flynn) No discussion Roll Call: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 Finance Subcommittee: Dr. Clarke stated that Mrs. Loglisci, with the help of Ms. Poulin, created the current Variance Report that has a balance of $4,541. The grants related to COVID-19 were reviewed and there was an overview of where the money will be spent. It was noted that the district must be very careful and frugal moving forward with expenses this year. Dr. Clarke added that the budget will be even more challenging next year. Human Resources/Negotiations Subcommittee: Dr. Clarke requested that a meeting be scheduled in approximately 2-3 weeks. Ms. Peterson added that the Policy Subcommittee members met earlier this evening and work has started on the Affirmative Action Plan. She requested that another meeting be scheduled for October 28, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Superintendent’s Report: Ms. Morneau reported that the Early Childhood Center (ECC) and Pre-K staff and students had a very successful start to in-person learning. Students are busy learning new routines and procedures. She thanked the families for all their support as these new procedures are being implemented. Ms. Morneau also welcomed the staff and students of the Vocational Independence Program (VIP) and the Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC) Upper Programs. She added that she will be happy to welcome students in Cohorts A, B and Kindergarten students back to the building on their designated days. Ms. Morneau gave a special thanks to the ECC staff. Mrs. Watts provided an update on Granite Valley School (GVS) adding that it has been amazing to have students back in the building. Students have been engaged in lots of fun activities such as nature walks and making stress balls, to help them get re-adjusted to being back at school and with their peers. She thanked all the staff, both in-person and remote for all the work they do to ensure

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 7 Regular Business Meeting-October 14, 2020


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students are getting the lessons they need. Mrs. Watts gave a reminder that this Friday will be asynchronous learning as teachers come back to the building to prepare for students’ arrival on October 19, 2020. Tuesday, October 20, 2020 will be a half-day for Parent-Teacher Conferences between 12:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Mrs. Watts encouraged parents who haven’t set up a conference time to reach out to your child’s teacher or call the school office. Extra help is starting on Mondays and Wednesdays. Mrs. Watts noted that there is a push to get any remaining manipulative kits out to students, as well as all belongings that are left from last year. She encouraged parents to contact the front office if assistance is needed in getting these items. Mr. Metzger said that is has been great having faculty and students back in the building. He watched a virtual learning session and said that it was very impressive. He noted that the hybrid model may be an adjustment but asked for patience as the process continues. Parents are encouraged to call Mrs. Mahoney in the front office to schedule a time for a Parent-Teacher Conference on October 20, 2020. Athletics is off to a good start. The term will end on November 5, 2020 and report cards to follow. Mr. DeMaio stated that the maintenance staff continues to work hard at cleaning and disinfecting the buildings. All safety protocols for COVID-19 are being followed. New custodial staff has been hired. He reported that Phase 1A, Ventilation, of the Energy Service Company (ESCO) project has been completed successfully. Mr. DeMaio added that there have been numerous meetings with Town Administrator Mr. Brassard and Dr. Clarke to keep everyone informed on the progress. Catch-up on the heating is being done now. Phase 1B, Lighting for Quarry Hill Community School (QHCS) and Monson High School (MHS) will begin next. Control over the boilers and hot water as well as window-glazing for the south sides of Granite Valley School (GVS) and QHCS will also be included in Phase 1B as will the Dectron for the pool area. Mr. DeMaio noted that he is hoping that the pool will be open in December or January depending on how things go. Mr. Lord requested that Dr. Clarke review safety protocols as an update for parents and students. Dr. Clarke stated that wearing a mask, if a student is able, is so important. She stated that the students in the Early Childhood Center (ECC) have been great about social distancing, wearing their masks and hand washing. She offered kudos to the parents for educating their children to do what they need to do to continue being safe. Ms. Flynn gave a reminder to keep your child at home if they are ill. The state has mandated that all students get a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 to attend school. Mrs. Zippin said that sports competitions have started and are going well. Senior Night was held this week for the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams. Golf has a match this week and Cross Country has a meet tomorrow. Dan Fiester (Soccer) and Mason Dumas (Golf) were nominated to MassLive’s Super 7 Athletes. Mrs. Zippin added that everyone was working hard to stay within protocols and she is very proud of the athletes and families. Dr. Clarke told the Committee that they are very blessed with the Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) and all the staff for giving 110% to make everything happen during this time of pandemic, adding that it is heartwarming and inspiring. She noted that parents have been very supportive since a previous meeting where she spoke about toxic Facebook posts. Old Business: Dr. Clarke reviewed the COVID-10 Yellow Zone designation for the second consecutive week. She stated that living week to week for designation is difficult and said that it would be helpful to have a

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 7 Regular Business Meeting-October 14, 2020


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framework to follow given the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines. She read information that supported keeping students in school. DESE recommends that if a district turns to COVID-19 Red Zone designation, data for 3 consecutive weeks should be reviewed before deciding to pivot to fully remote learning. Dr. Clarke proposed that, if fully remote learning becomes a necessity, Pre-K students, staff and high needs students remain in house. This proposal is supported by Mrs. Fedora and Ms. McCool. Dr. Clarke asked for input from the Committee. A discussion began. Mr. Lord asked for more elaborate details to make a plan, as the situation remains very fluid. Dr. Clarke stated that if a positive COVID-19 case was school related the district would be notified. Discussion continued with members of the Committee asking questions directly of Dr. Clarke. It was reiterated that the reason for this discussion was to obtain input from Committee members on creating a plan to follow if the district is designated a COVID-19 Red Zone. The DESE guidelines were referred to again. The discussion continued. Ms. Graves-Harrison recommended erring on the side of caution and close schools, in the event of a 3 week COVID-19 Red Zone designation, to keep students, staff and families safe. Ms. Flynn stated that safety protocols have been in place since July 2020 and she did not feel they needed to be reviewed again at this time. Mr. Lord would like the consensus of the Committee to not make rash decisions on the opening and closing of school buildings. Mr. Dubois-White recommended a flowchart be created based on the number of variables involved in making a plan. Discussion continued regarding metrics and Motion by Mr. Lord that the School Committee will weekly review COVID-19 cases and endeavor to keep the schools open using the information of 3 consecutive weeks of color coding so long as: There are no clusters in the school community. There are no large jumps in positive COVID-19 cases in town. Dr. Clarke pulled up a chart and read the data points from the last week. Pre-K and high needs students remain is school regardless of color code designation. Dr. Clarke asked about staff continuing to teach in the building and the continuation of athletics. Ms. Flynn and Ms. Graves-Harrison requested that the current motion be completed first. Mr. Lord circled back to the motion on the table. No infections in staff or students. Ms. Flynn and Ms. Graves-Harrison did not agree with this. There was discussion and Mr. Lord stated that that bullet point be skipped. Further discussion ensued. There was no second to this motion. Mr. Lord stated that there were too many variables to create a motion at this time, but said the Committee has committed to meeting weekly to review the color code designation. Dr. Clarke was looking for direction, for example, if the district was a COVID-19 Red Zone tonight, what the plan would be. Further discussion. Dr. Clarke made a recommendation to send this to the Policy Subcommittee. Mr. Lord noted it would be a gargantuan task for the Subcommittee members. Ms. Flynn added that she did not feel it would be beneficial to discuss without all 5 members of the School Committee present to share equal time and voices and in a public forum. Ms. Peterson requested that School Committee members take a week to

School Committee Minutes: Page 4 of 7 Regular Business Meeting-October 14, 2020


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digest all the information presented to them this evening and interpret data for next meeting. The motion was tabled and this sole item will be the Agenda at the next meeting. Dr. Clarke asked if the Committee wanted our athletes to compete against a district designated as a COVID-19 Red Zone. Mrs. Zippin added that MIAA is also saying to wait 3 consecutive weeks for zone designation before deciding to cancel a competition; though it would be up to the opposing team to decide that. Discussion followed. Motion by Mr. Lord to make it policy of the Monson School District that our athletes do not play teams that are classified as red. There was no second to the motion. Motion failed. Motion by Ms. Flynn to allow Monson athletes to play against districts that have been designated as Red Zone. (Second by Mr. Dubois-White) Ms. Graves-Harrison asked for a friendly amendment that athletes would not be allowed to compete if the other district has been a designated Red Zone for 3 consecutive weeks. Discussion followed. Ms. Flynn requested a friendly amendment to add a condition that no one on the opposing team, including family members, have tested positive for the virus. Mrs. Zippin would like the decision left up to Dr. Clarke, Mr. Metzger and herself as to whether or not a competition should be postponed if deemed unsafe by them. Dr. Clarke would like further guidance/clarification from the Committee. Mr. Lord added proposed language to be considered as either a friendly amendment or a change to Ms. Flynn’s original motion that states athletic teams will be able to play other school teams who are classified as being in the Red Zone so long as they have less than 3 consecutive Red Zone designations in the last 3 months. The Principal, the Superintendent and the Athletic Director, as a group, will have the authority to prevent our teams from playing with other teams based on information they have. Discussion followed. Mr. Metzger noted that he is not comfortable going on a case-by-case basis, adding that the School Committee sets the Policy and his role is to execute the policy. Ms. Flynn scraped the original motion. Mr. Lord re-made his motion that the Monson athletic teams not be allowed to play teams that are classified in the red. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison)

School Committee Minutes: Page 5 of 7 Regular Business Meeting-October 14, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-November 12, 2020

Discussion followed. Ms. Peterson asked if the motion would be carried throughout the entire sports season. Mr. Lord stated that the motion would remain intact until a new motion was made. Ms. Peterson requested that the passed motion be amended to say only for the first season. Mr. Lord stated that the motion remain in place and be changed with the new season. Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson No Ms. Flynn No Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 3-2 Motion by Mr. Lord that our sporting teams not be allowed to participate with other teams outside the community, if our community is a red designation. Ms. Flynn asked that the motion be tabled to next week. Mrs. Zippin told the Committee that the state has increased the number of spectators allowed at an event to 100, but is recommending that the district adhere to the original limit of 50 spectators. Ms. Flynn asked that the changes from the state be forwarded to Committee members for their review. Dr. Clarke does not endorse the new number of spectators allowed. New Business: Dr. Clarke stated that the district received a donation of photography equipment worth approximately $9,000 dollars, which needed to be approved by the School Committee. Mr. Metzger spoke on behalf of Ms. Gianfriddo, who could not get her audio working. Mr. Metzger provided an overview of the approximately $9,000 worth of photography equipment, donated from Canon USA, Inc., to transition to the digital platform. Mr. Metzger endorses the acceptance of this donation, as does Dr. Clarke. Motion by Mr. Lord to accept the generous donation of equipment from Canon USA, Inc. valued at approximately $9,000 dollars. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Ms. Flynn has been designated by Mr. Lord to represent the Monson School Committee at the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) Conference on November 7, 2020. Public session: Mr. Lord opened Public Session at 9:07 p.m. No one from the public came forward to address the Committee. Mr. Lord closed Public Session at 9:08 p.m.

School Committee Minutes: Page 6 of 7 Regular Business Meeting-October 14, 2020


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Review of Action Items: Dr. Clarke will request that the Variance be posted on the website. Mrs. Methe will write a thank-you letter to Canon U.S.A., Inc. for equipment donation. Dr. Clarke informed the Committee that there was no need for an Executive Session meeting this evening. Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Mr. Dubois-White) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 9:10 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: October 7, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Agenda September 23, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Draft Minutes September 30, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Draft Minutes Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Mr. Dubois-White, Secretary

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