September 9, 2020

Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting September 9, 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/j95380576568 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; Granite Valley School Principal Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Joe Trivisonno; Monson High School Principal William Metzger; Monson High School Assistant Principal Jill Foulis; Director of Counseling Robert Bardwell; 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. Mr. Dubois-White read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: Dr. Clarke stated that communication has been sent to families regarding the delivery of necessary technology materials for remote learning. Bus routes will be followed for the purpose of delivery and items will only be dropped off if an adult is present. Items may be retrieved at Quarry Hill-Technology Department on Friday, the timeframe was included in Dr. Clarke’s family communication. Delivery to School Choice students will occur on Saturday. Dr. Clarke suggested that students turn on their Chromebook to ensure it is working properly for the Monday, September 14, 2020 fully remote start of the 2020-2021 school year. Subcommittee & Liaison Reports: Policy Subcommittee: The Subcommittee met at 6:00 p.m. this evening. Language for a Mask Policy was discussed to be sure it was in line with the 2020-2021 Monson Public Schools Handbook. It will be sent to members of the School Committee for review for a vote at the next Regular Business Meeting. Superintendent’s Report:

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-September 9, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 23, 2020

Dr. Clarke started by acknowledging that the in-person hybrid model was scheduled to begin today, though due to several positive COVID-19 cases in town, and because there were some large gatherings where social distancing and mask protocol was not observed, there was a decision to postpone in-person learning to September 21, 2020 for safety reasons. Monson has been deemed a COVID-19 Red Zone by the Department of Public Health. September 9, 10 and 11, 2020 will be considered snow days and will be added to the end of the 2020-2021 school calendar year. Dr. Clarke offered her thanks to Mr. Trivisonno, Mrs. Watts, Mrs. Zippin, Mrs. Loglisci, the Transportation Department staff and the Administrative Leadership Team for working non-stop as the district pivots to fully remote learning. Several questions followed about returning to in-person learning if the district should change to a yellow or unshaded COVID-19 Zone. Dr. Clarke reviewed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines for returning to school. Mr. Lord stated that though it would be an unpopular decision, he supports fully remote learning until further notice, citing safety as the priority. The Committee will continue to meet weekly to determine when it is safe for staff and students to begin the hybrid model with in person learning. Town Board of Health agent Ms. McCool stated that it is important to understand the numbers, adding that a change to a COVID-19 Yellow Zone doesn’t necessarily constitute a safe return to in person learning. She emphasized the importance of following protocol of mask wearing and safe distancing when people are out and about. Ms. Peterson commended Dr. Clarke for her leadership. Nurse Leader Mrs. Fedora said that COVID-19 grows exponentially and it could be months before the community sees the total impact. Motion by Mr. Lord to go to remote learning, at all 3 schools, until further notice. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) No discussion Roll Call Vote: Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 A discussion was held on staff needs for remote learning. Some staff would prefer to have access to their classroom to teach remote. A staggering staff model may work but the high school schedule would continue to be an issue. This discussion will continue at the next meeting after dialogue with the Monson Teachers’ Association, staff and ALT has occurred. Athletic Director Mrs. Zippin stated that athletics could not begin if a district was considered a COVID-19 Red Zone. She would like to hold off on cancelling the first season until the virus metrics come out next Wednesday. Mr. Lord and Ms. Flynn feel that the district should operate under consistent guidelines. Ms. McCool was in favor of waiting for next week’s data to determine the possibility of starting athletics. Ms. Graves-Harrison asked what the timeframe was to make the decision. Mrs. Zippin stated that practices are slated to begin on September 18, 2020, games on October 1, 2020, noting that it is a very modified season and legally athletics cannot be held if a district is in a Red Zone.

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-September 9, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 23, 2020

Ms. Flynn asked for an update on distribution of school lunches. Dr. Clarke stated that school lunches will be provided to all students enrolled in Monson Public Schools, free of charge, for the remainder of September 2020, acknowledging that the cafeteria staff works tirelessly to follow all safety guidelines. She thanked Food Services Director Mrs. Gustafson and her staff for their continued dedication to the families of the district. Dr. Clarke participated in a call from the Commissioner of Education today and told everyone that MCAS testing is going forward. Educator evaluation templates are being updated. Fiber is being added to increase the bandwidth for the district. Dr. Clarke said there are hotspots available to families in need and the staff is being provided internet access at home. Ms. Graves-Harrison commended Director of Facilities Paul DeMaio and staff for continuous commitment to assuring clean and sanitized buildings. Dr. Clarke thanked teachers stating that there are wonderful lessons and activities being planned for remote learning. The last day of school will be June 15, 2021 with the addition of the September 9, 10 and 11, 2020 as snow days. Public session: Mr. Lord opened Public Session at 8:05 p.m. Several Town Residents addressed the Committee with concerns about athletics, many in favor of not cancelling them. There was a question on where to find the map of COVID-19 Zones. Dr. Clarke responded that she will have it put on the school’s website. There was a reminder that masks are still expected to be worn at outdoor gatherings. Mr. Lord closed Public Session at 8:14 p.m. Review of Action Items: Add draft minutes for approval to next Agenda. Post proposed Mask Policy to website for public review. 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) Roll Call Vote: Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Mr. Lord Yes

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 4 Regular Business Meeting-September 9, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-September 23, 2020

Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 8:18 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: September 9, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Agenda Personal Protection and Face Masks Information Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________

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