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September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020
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Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting September 16, 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 For this meeting, members of the public who wish to listen to the meeting may do so in the following manner: Meeting ID: 953 8057 6568, 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; 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 7:02 p.m. Mr. Lord read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: The Technology Help Desk will continue to be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays. Mr. Lord announced that Monson is still designated a COVID-19 Red Zone. Minutes: Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to approve the August 19, 2020 Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Peterson) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the August 26, 2020, Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Mr. Dubois-White) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Motion by Mr. Dubois-White to approve the September 3, 2020 Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Peterson)

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-September 16, 2020

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 30, 2020

No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Subcommittee & Liaison Reports: Policy Subcommittee: Subcommittee members met earlier this evening. Ms. Peterson noted that an email with an update to the Title 9 Policy will be sent to all Committee members for review and a vote to approve it as a first read at the next Regular Business Meeting. Dr. Clarke will forward the current Policy language to Ms. Peterson to have as a comparison. Motion by Ms. Peterson to accept the Face Mask Policy as presented and to waive the 3 read Policy mandate. (Second by Ms. Peterson) Discussion followed regarding neck gaiters and face coverings containing valves being deemed inappropriate. Dr. Clarke stated that there is a process for any student requesting mask exemption, adding that a team meeting comprised of many stakeholders would be held to determine alternate methods/accommodations if necessary. If a staff member is compromised and not able to wear a mask, that person would perform their job remotely. No further discussion Roll Call: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Abstain Motion carries 4-1 The approved Policy will be sent to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) to add the Policy Manual. Mr. Dubois-White attended the recent Special Education Advisory Council (SEPAC) meeting. He talked about a list of questions and/or concerns that was created and will be sent to Dr. Clarke, Ms. Morneau and Mr. Lord. There was lengthy discussion about parent concerns regarding Special Education students and the need to get them back to in-person learning. He added that he will continue to attend the SEPAC meetings as often as he can. Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Clarke stated that she was going to provide an update and asked that any questions be held until the end. She began by reiterating that a decision was made last week to pivot to a fully remote model of learning. All staff and students will work remotely from home. Dr. Clarke reviewed the Professional Development that occurred prior to the fully remote learning decision. Following is an outline of the work to be completed prior to the September 14, 2020 first day of school: Hundreds of bags were packed with all materials, technology, if necessary, and manipulative kits. Dr.

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-September 16, 2020

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 30, 2020

Clarke added that she doesn’t believe that any other districts are doing this and she offered kudos to Quarry Hill staff for distributing theirs and to Granite Valley as they are in the process of making 687 kits. Extra staff was temporarily hired, including a two-week recent graduate from the technology program at Springfield Technical Community College, technology contractor CMD, the Administration Leadership Team, high school students, and additional hours were allotted for the current district technology staff. Bus drivers delivered materials to hundreds of bus stops and Dr. Clarke gave her heartfelt thanks to the bus drivers, van drivers and teachers and staff that rode the buses. She also thanked the staff that was outside for pick-up at Quarry Hill. Friday, September 11, 2020 was the pick-up day for those who did not receive delivery and also the technology department was available for drop-in, by appointment or phone call. Staff from CMD was added to assist. On Saturday, Dr. Clarke, Mr. Trivisonno and 2 staff members delivered resources and technology to the School Choice students living in the surrounding districts: Springfield, Three Rivers, Palmer and Ware. Mrs. Watts and Mr. Metzger drove their own vehicles to make a few deliveries as well. Dr. Clarke expressed her thanks to the van drivers and everyone else involved. Mr. Trivisonno, Mr. Schubach and Dr. Clarke worked on Sunday to provide additional technology help. Parents were called and texted with ways to assist them and people were allowed to “drop-in” for help as well. Dr. Clarke added a reminder that the Technology Department will have extended hours on Monday’s from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Dr. Clarke spoke about the first day and wanted to remind everyone that the district is attempting to get nearly 1,000 staff and students on line at one time. The following is a breakdown of issues that needed to be addressed by the Technology Department: Tracking down Chromebooks that had not been turned in all summer. Despite reminders, some students did not return their Chromebooks until Monday morning. Students forgetting their passwords Chargers that did not work Operator error Student’s Wi-Fi Teacher’s Wi-Fi Zoom experienced major problems on Monday Google was experiencing problems on Tuesday Google Meet had some successes, others not Issues have nothing to do with the generation of Chromebooks Dr. Clarke added that younger students needed to learn how to log in and out, mute themselves, etc. adding that it is a lot and although the staff involved tried to anticipate all the roadblocks and challenges, it is impossible to anticipate everything with circumstances changing daily. She spoke about how in a typical year high needs students are not pulled on the first couple of days for services but spend time focusing on procedures, classroom community and relationships. The plan, prior to the pivot, was to have many of the students, who receive services, return to school. Unfortunately, the situation is fluid and constant re-evaluation on how to provide services continues. Remote learning plans are being created in addition to Individualized Education Plans and once finalized, will be communicated to parents.

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-September 16, 2020

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 30, 2020

Dr. Clarke stated that the School Committee has been very supportive and actually directed her to keep all students and staff at home while the district is designated a COVID-19 Red Zone. The prior decision was to have high needs students return to school four days a week. She stated that in line with the School Committees’ directive for fully remote learning, no in-home services should be provided, adding that she realizes this is certainly not an ideal situation but it is a global pandemic and districts across the state and beyond are struggling. Dr. Clarke expressed her extreme disappointment for the continued negativity and disparaging comments on Facebook aimed at teachers, support staff and administrators who are working tirelessly to try to make things as right as possible given the circumstances. She will no longer be responding to comments on Monson Speaks and will take down her Facebook account following this evening’s meeting and she is encouraging Administration to do the same. Further questions and/or concerns, can be addressed by calling or emailing the Superintendent’s office or posing a question on the Monson Public Schools Facebook page and the page administrator will forward to the appropriate person. Dr. Clarke proposed a return to the hybrid model/four days in person learning for preschool and high needs students on October 5 or 12, 2020. In the meantime she noted that everyone stays home for fully remote teaching/learning. Next week will see the fast track installation of additional fiber which will increase the district’s upload speed by 40 times. Old Business: Dr. Clarke stated that due to the town continuing to be designated as a COVID-19 Red Zone, she proposed a return to the hybrid model on October 12, 2020. A lengthy discussion was held about choosing a possible return date as opposed to keeping with the School Committee’s vote for indefinite remote learning. At this time, the School Committee vote will remain. Dr. Clarke read the guidelines for athletics during a COVID-19 Red Zone designation which stated that athletics could not begin. Athletic Director Mrs. Zippin requested that the start date for the fall season be postponed from September 18, 2020 to September 24, 2020. She will contact the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to make sure the date change is permitted. Ms. Graves-Harrison asked that the discussion be tabled until next week when new data is available because according to state guidelines if a district is in a Red Zone athletics cannot be held and any district that becomes a Red Zone during the season must stop athletics immediately. New Business: Town Clerk Mary Watson would like to hold the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election at Quarry Hill Community School due to COVID-19 regulations. A larger space is needed to allow for appropriate social distancing for additional necessary staff. Mrs. Watson informed the Committee that all required safety guidelines will be followed before, during and after the day. A complete deep sanitizing cleaning will be done after the election at the expense of the Town. There was a discussion about providing a space for voters who chose not to wear a mask, Mrs. Watson adding that the right to vote cannot be taken away if someone does not wear a mask. A separate space will be created for this purpose and safety regulations, apart from mask wearing, will be adhered to. Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to allow the Presidential Election to take place on November 3, 2020 at Quarry Hill Community School given the guidelines presented by the Town Clerk. (Second by Ms. Flynn)

School Committee Minutes: Page 4 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-September 16, 2020

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 30, 2020

Ms. Flynn stated that she would like to see the outline of cleaning to be performed after the election has been completed. No further discussion Motion carries 5-0 Public session: Mr. Lord opened Public Session at 8:26 p.m. Karen O’Toole, town resident, told the Committee that she would like a phased in approach for students with Individualized Educational Plans (IEP) and/or 504 Accommodation Plans be considered for priority return to school. Holly Lynch, town resident, thanked Committee member Mr. Dubois-White for attending the Special Education Parent Advisor Council (SEPAC) meeting last night. She stated that she wants to work with the entire School Committee to develop a plan going forward. She added that it is a priority of DESE to get Special Education students back into school. Kristen Priest, town resident, inquired on how to get hands-on services for her child. Sydnie DeVries, town resident and a student at Monson High School told the Committee she would just like to get back to school for her senior year. Mr. Lord closed Public Session at 8:37 p.m. Review of Action Items: Schedule Policy Subcommittee Meeting on September 23, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Schedule a Finance Subcommittee Meeting on October 6, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Obtain written guidelines regarding cleaning after elections at Quarry Hill Community School Motion by Mr. Dubois-White 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 8:41 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: September 16, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Agenda Face Mask Policy Distributed at meeting: N/A

School Committee Minutes: Page 5 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-September 16, 2020

DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 30, 2020

Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Mr. Dubois-White, Secretary

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