- Sudbury Public Schools
March 10, 2020 // Superintendent's Update on Coronavirus
March 10, 2020
Dear SPS Families,
As a district, we are carefully monitoring developments around COVID-19 and following the guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and we want to keep you updated on our efforts to address an evolving situation.
The purpose of this communication is to share proactive steps the district has taken to date, share current guidance from state agencies, and preview some of the potential decisions we may need to make in the future depending upon how the situation unfolds.
Above all, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as this situation has continued to develop, as well as for your efforts to alleviate concerns your children may have about COVID-19.
Whitsons Food Services has provided additional training and issued attendance guidance to staff. Whitsons has also taken additional precautions, such as increased sanitation of the entire kitchen using recommended disinfectants targeting high-touch items such as keypads, and individually portioning food bar items such as salad fixings and dressings.
First Student Transportation is wiping down seats and hand railings on buses between rides.
Deep cleaning is routinely being done at schools, including disinfecting “high-touch” areas and items.
In some schools, schedules have been adjusted to ensure that students are able to wash their hands before lunch. In others, handwashing sinks and hand sanitizer stations have been identified. At Noyes, an additional sink will be installed shortly in the cafeteria.
Technology devices such as Chromebooks are cleaned using a disinfectant wipe that has had the moisture reduced. In order to avoid shorting out the device, it is essential to avoid having liquid get between the keys. Elementary students are assigned to a device, cutting down on cross-contamination and 1:1 middle school and staff devices are cleaned before being assigned permanently or as loaners.
Nursing and health educators are providing handwashing training and resources to staff and students. Staff and students are being encouraged to wash hands throughout the day.
The Facilities Department has inventoried and provisioned recommended disinfectants and other cleaning and hygiene products.
School Closings and Group Events
DESE has issued guidance regarding the obligation of districts to meet the 180 days of time-on-learning guidelines. Districts are obligated to make up all school days missed prior to April 1st. Days missed after April 1st, districts are obligated to make-up missed school days up to and including the 5-day snow day allowance. Days missed after June 1st, schools are not required to make up missed school days.
Currently, the DESE is not considering Remote Learning days as an option to meet the 180 day teaching and learning requirement. We will continue to monitor the situation and our Teaching and Learning Team has begun planning to fulfill the 180 day requirement while awaiting further guidance from DESE.
Governor Charlie Baker has recommended that all international trips be canceled. DPH is not recommending canceling large gatherings or domestic trips. Local trips and concerts are considered an extension of the classroom. However, we are investigating and evaluating alternatives while still meeting the overarching goals.
Staff and Student Absences
Symptomatic staff and students should stay home and observe the recommended quarantine parameters. Staff and families are also encouraged to share information regarding illness and exposure in a timely manner with school-based nursing staff and health care providers. Student absences will be marked excused. It is important to note, however, that we remain obligated to issue attendance letters after the mandatory 10-day cut-off.
In this time of uncertainty, please know that the Sudbury Public Schools will continue to partner with public safety and health personnel and prioritize the well-being of students and staff. We ask for your assistance by reinforcing the schools’ messaging around handwashing, maintaining open lines of communication, and sharing only accurate, up-to-date information as rumors and misinformation are counterproductive and potentially harmful. We remain committed to providing timely updates as the situation develops, and I encourage you to reach out to your students’ principal directly with any questions or concerns you may have.