October 29, 2020

Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting October 29, 2020 “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/98304051765 Meeting ID: 983 0405 1765, 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; 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 7:00 p.m. Dr. Clarke read the Mission & Vision Statements. Old Business: Dr. Clarke began by giving a background of the Department of Public Health (DPH) COVID-19 color code designation information, adding that Monson was classified as a COVID-19 Yellow Zone again this week. She stated that, in an attempt to avoid the district living week to week, closing if in a Red Zone designation, she would like to share her proposal with the Committee. Noting that the recommendation from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) was to wait for 3 weeks of code designation before a decision is made to close, if necessary, Dr. Clarke presented the proposal, explaining it in detail. This plan was also presented to all staff at their faculty meetings today. The main question of staff is would they be able to teach from their classrooms if the district has to pivot back to remote learning. Mr. Dubois-White asked if the teachers were surveyed to which Dr. Clarke answered that they were not, but were presented her proposal at their faculty meetings and told if that anyone had specific questions or concerns, to please contact her directly. Questions were raised regarding athletics and Ms. Graves-Harrison asked why the teams would compete against another district that was designated as a COVID-19 Red Zone. Ms. Flynn stated that she was very appreciative of how thorough the plan with the metrics is, and felt that if students are in school, athletics should be allowed. Ms. Peterson added that the metrics in Dr. Clarke’s plan make sense and she could support the proposal. Mr. Lord requested that Dr. Clarke explain the rubrics and what

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-October 29, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-November 18, 2020

happens if the district is designated a COVID-19 Red Zone and one metric item is not met. Dr. Clarke stated that schools would close for 3 weeks or until such time that the district had 3 positive designations in a row. Mr. Lord noted that the plan being presented was just a guide and if something happens outside of the proposed plan and rubrics, the School Committee does have the authority to make a different decision Motion by Mr. Lord to adopt the proposed plan by Dr. Clarke for how to handle keeping schools open during the COVID virus based on the chart and rubrics presented this evening. (Second by Ms. Flynn) A detailed discussion followed regarding questions about the districts’ trending and metrics based on Dr. Clarke’s proposal. Mr. Lord tabled the current motion at this time. A new motion was made by Mr. Lord that the School Committee revise the current athletic policy to say that if our district is in the Red, our teams do not play other teams until the Red designation and metrics change and, in addition, if any other community is Red that our schools do not play those teams as well. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) Discussion continued. Mr. Dubois-White clarified that athletics can still practice if schools are open. Ms. Flynn noted that athletics was worth discussing, for the sake of consistency for the districts athletes and families, as the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules and regulations have often been revised. Ms. Peterson added that she supports athletics continuing, noting that it is a parents’ decision whether or not they want their athlete to participate. Mrs. Zippin reminded everyone that the same recommended procedure from the state, of waiting 3 weeks for COVID-19 designation information before closing schools, also applies to athletics. She added that if students are expected to be in school for 6 hours a day, they should be allowed out on a field for an hour or hour and a half a day. Mr. Lord requested a friendly amendment to state that this is for the period of time that we, or another team, is classified in the Red. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) Ms. Flynn asked that the amendment language be restated. Mr. Lord replied with the following “If we are Red we don’t play other teams, if other teams are Red we don’t play them, for so long as we, or they, are in a Red classification.” Ms. Graves-Harrison accepted the friendly amendment. Discussion continued regarding clarification of trending color designation and how that affects athletics. Mr. Lord stated that there is no correlation between the graph and rubrics that were presented earlier this evening. Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson No Ms. Flynn No Mr. Dubois-White No Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord No Motion fails 1-4 Mr. Lord returned to the original motion to approve Dr. Clarke’s chart and

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-October 29, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-November 18, 2020

rubrics for how it is decided if schools will remain open. Ms. Flynn previously seconded this motion. Ms. Graves-Harrison added that it was only until December 31, 2020. No further discussion Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 Dr. Clarke will disseminate the chart and rubrics to the school community and will schedule Zoom informational sessions with parents. Public session: Mr. Lord opened Public Session at 8:07 p.m. Mr. Lord stated that it was so good to have so many people from the community attending School Committee meetings now. Holly Lynch, speaking on behalf of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC), expressed appreciation for the communication, from Administration and School Committee, with their overall goal of keeping Special Education students safe and educated. She asked for clarification on high needs students. Dr. Clarke will call Ms. Lynch tomorrow to discuss further. Dr. Clarke offered to attend the SEPAC meeting next week. Mr. Lord closed Public Session at 8:10 p.m. It was the consensus of the Committee to return to bi-weekly meetings, keeping them on Thursday for the time being. Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to adjourn Open Session and move into Executive Session under M.G.L. Chapter 30A, 21a, Purpose #3, to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining and litigation, not to return to Open Session. (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 Open Session closed at 8:13 p.m.

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-October 29, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-November 18, 2020

Documentation for this meeting: October 29, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Agenda Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Mr. Dubois-White, Secretary

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