June 25, 2020 // Superintendent's Update: State Guidance on Reopening
SPS Families and staff,
Today, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall. It is clear that a high level of thought and care went into the development of this guidance, which includes strong advice from the medical field. The overall goal is to safely return as many students as possible to in-person education this fall, while having contingency plans in place should we need to take different approaches.
District teams are reviewing the guidance to understand how it impacts each of our school buildings and classrooms. We also anticipate adjustments to the guidance throughout the summer and additional guidance on transportation and other areas. Several of the key components are:
Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school - with preventive measures in place - as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults.
Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below as well.
Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet will be the standard maintained throughout our buildings when they reopen.
We will be developing three separate plans - one for a return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning. Based upon the current public health situation, the expectation today is that students will return to full in-person instruction in September; however, that is subject to change.
Receiving the guidance is the first of many steps to reopening the schools. We know that there are many questions that are still unanswered, which may heighten anxiety. Please know that we will be working hard to get those answers in order to keep everyone safe while providing the education that the students need.
I want to thank the community, staff, and students for their support. I also want to echo the Commissioner's call for flexibility and patience.