September 8, 2021

Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting September 8, 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/85662590491 Meeting ID:856 6259 0491, 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 Principal William Metzger; 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 7:02 p.m. Ms. Morgan read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) will hold their first meeting tomorrow evening via Zoom at 6:00 p.m. Grades 1-3 Open House at Granite Valley School (GVS) will be held on September 14, 2021. Grades 4-6 Open House is scheduled for September 21, 2021. Both will be held via Zoom and will include a one- hour parent program and pre-recorded videos. The Early Childhood Center (ECC) will have their Open House on September 28, 2021. The Special Olympics is scheduled for October 1, 2021. Specific details will be provided at the next meeting. The PTSA is sponsoring a Trunk or Treat on October 23, 2021. Minutes: Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the August 13, 2021 Regular Business Meeting Minutes and the August 24, 2021 Working Meeting Minutes as

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 8, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021

presented. (Second by Mr. Watts) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Superintendent’s Update: Dr. Clarke reported that GVS and Monson High School (MHS) students returned to school on August 30, 2021. She noted that the students have been amazing wearing their masks and no one had to be removed from class for non-compliance. The arrival and dismissal procedures at GVS have been smoothed out. Dr. Clarke thanked the former Monson Public Schools (MPS), now J. M. McCarthy & Sons, bus drivers, and the MPS van drivers for getting the students to and from school safely. The Extend Program is up and running. Dr. Clarke commended Teresa Galarneau and her staff for doing a fantastic job, adding that students are happy and well cared for. During the first 2 days back for GVS and MHS students, the ECC conducted orientations that went very well. Pre-K and Kindergarten students and their parents, along with the staff, were very happy to meet in person. ECC students returned to Quarry Hill on September 1, 2021. Dr. Clarke stated that drop off and pickup procedures went pretty well considering the construction that is happening around the building. Students have been great and are learning the new procedures. Dr. Clarke said that staff have hit the ground running and the new staff have already become a part of the MPS family. Dr. Clarke thanked and commended Mr. DeMaio, the Maintenance and Custodial Department, Mr. Schubach and the Technology Department for all their efforts in ensuring everything was ready for school opening. She also thanked Ben Murphy and the Town Highway Department for painting the lines in the GVS parking lot to assist with parent pickup, cutting down trees and doing other site work for the district. The fall athletic season has begun, including games and meets. Dr. Clarke reviewed the School Choice In/Out and total enrollment counts. Home Schooling applications and curriculums are still being received and processed. The COVID Testing Program was reviewed. There are 3 types of testing, symptomatic, test and stay and routine COVID safety checks. Each one was explained and a brief question and answer period followed. Dr. Clarke noted that the State has contracted with a new service provider to conduct COVID-related testing. She added that last year Mrs. Zippin oversaw the program and the district hired its own staff to conduct the testing, which was very successful. This year the new provider does everything, though to date they have not supplied a start date or sent any supplies. She reported that now any testing requires a written consent as opposed to last year where a verbal consent was allowed. Dr. Clarke said that it is her understanding that the consent form does not allow for a check-off as to which test a parent or guardian is consenting to. Both Dr. Clarke and Mrs. Zippin are not pleased with the new provider’s communication and filed an emergency form to get things going, so far there has been no response. There is a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. and Dr. Clarke is hoping to get more information. Dr. Clarke and Mrs. Zippin will be attending the Connecticut Valley Superintendent’s Roundtable monthly meeting on September 10, 2021 where the Commissioner of Education is slated to speak. Ms. Morgan expressed her concern with time on learning if a student always has to be sent home due to the new testing contractor. Dr. Clarke explained that the district will be looking for a part-time

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 8, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021

liaison as there is concern for those students who are quarantining due to testing positive or being a close contact. The liaison will ensure students have all the materials they need, provide daily Zoom check-ins to be sure they are on track for work completion and serve as a connection with the classroom teachers and family. Dr. Clarke said that the State is very clear that remote learning is not an option. Funding will come from the ESSER II or III grant. Dr. Clarke went on to explain the ESSER III, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, enacted in March 2021. This plan provides additional funding for school districts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of ESSER III is to support the safe reopening and sustaining safe operations of schools while meeting student’s academic, social, emotional and mental health needs resulting from the pandemic. The district is due to receive $1.2 million dollars to be used by September 2024. She stated that there are requirements to fulfill prior to receiving the funds. A survey has been created by the Administrative Leadership Team and will be sent to the entire community for their suggestions on how to spend the funds. Ms. Graves-Harrison hopes the no remote option for quarantined students will be revisited by the State. Ms. Morgan would like to see the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education re-visit the test and stay option which would be beneficial to keeping students in school. Brief discussion was held on the topic of a letter being sent every time there is a positive case of COVID in the district. Dr. Clarke felt that maybe it was causing anxiety throughout the community and inquired about looking at other ways to inform families appropriately. Ms. Morgan suggested a weekly letter, as opposed to one each time. Mr. Watts agreed. Ms. Graves-Harrison added that she sees both sides though she is in favor of a weekly snapshot to continue to remain clear and transparent with communication. Ms. Peterson agreed with Ms. Graves-Harrison and likes the idea of a weekly snapshot. Ms. Flynn is in favor of continuing the notification whenever there is a positive case, citing concern of accusations of not being transparent. Dr. Clarke stated that she will do whatever the Committee decides. Ms. Flynn stated that Dr. Clarke should continue real time reminders for the next few weeks. Dr. Clarke will also have the information put on the website. This will be added as an Agenda item for the next meeting. Dr. Clarke provided the Town Metrics. The Department of Public Health information will be available tomorrow. She noted that there have not been any cases of in-school transmission. Public session: Ms. Flynn opened Public Session at 7:34 p.m. Ms. Flynn reminded everyone of the guidelines in speaking during Public Session. Nick Jordan asked about the possibility of providing a packet of school work to a student that has to quarantine at home. Dr. Clarke explained that it was already happening. Jessica Groleau asked for clarification between test and stay and symptomatic testing. Dr. Clarke provided the explanation. Jennifer Ziobrowski asked if a student was out for any other reason than COVID type symptoms, did a note have to be provided upon return to school. Dr. Clarke stated that it was not required. Danielle Dailey inquired about whether students that are quarantined at home due to a positive COVID test or a close contact, had the absences counted against them. Dr. Clarke stated that it is documented as an excused absence. Jessica Groleau wanted clarification on a Grade 4 Parent Survey she received regarding technology availability at home. Mr. Trivisonno stated that he was not aware of the survey but that Grades 1-4

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 8, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021

student Chromebooks will be staying in school, not going home with students. Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:45 p.m. Subcommittee and Liaison Reports: The Negotiations Subcommittee continues to meet. No other Subcommittees have met. It was requested that an updated Subcommittees and Liaisons list be set to all members. Dr. Clarke stated that a Finance Subcommittee meeting should be scheduled within the next few weeks. Old Business: None New Business: There has been a request to schedule a meeting with the Chairs of the School Committee, Select Board, Board of Health, Superintendent Clarke, and the Town Administrator. Mrs. Hudak (GVS) and Mr. Sullivan (MHS) reviewed their changes to the 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families. The one major change for everyone is the addition of the COVID-19 Mask Mandate. Mrs. Tetrault reviewed the changes for the ECC. Ms. Morgan questioned page 79, COVID-19 Mask Mandate, and Mrs. Tetrault said she would look into it and revise the information to ensure consistency across the schools. The vote on acceptance of the handbook will be postponed. Ms. Morgan asked if there should be information on where to complete a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) form. After brief discussion, the consensus that it was not necessary. Ms. Morgan stated that on page 86, there were many periods where there should be commas. Dr. Clarke will get the changes made and send the revised copy of the handbook to Committee members in ample time to review prior to the next meeting. Action Items: Distribute 2021-2022 Subcommittee and Liaison List to Committee members. Make handbook revisions and send to Committee members. Schedule COVID-19 discussion with requested people. Finance Subcommittee needs to be scheduled when the variance report is ready. There is no need for Executive Session this evening. Motion by Ms. Morgan to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Mr. Watts) No discussion Motion carries 5-0

School Committee Minutes: Page 4 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 8, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021

Open Session closed at 8:06 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: September 8, 2021-Regular Business Meeting Agenda Monson Public Schools 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families COVID-19 Mask Mandate Handbook Update-Monson High School GV 21-22 Handbook Change Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Kathryn Peterson, Secretary


SC Minutes 9-8-21-Regular Business Meeting
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