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August 10, 2020 // Superintendent's Update

Dear SPS Families,

The District is kicking into high gear to get ready, now that we are just several weeks away from the start of another school year. I would like to report on several important items that we have addressed related to the safe return of the staff and students. I am confident we can and will deliver a safe learning environment for teachers and students when the first school bell rings this fall.

One of the numerous steps we have taken to improve the conditions of our schools was to engage an HVAC consultancy firm to evaluate our systems, resulting in the use of new, higher quality air filters, an increase in outside air, and greater air circulation. This is in alignment with safety guidance recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Further recognizing the efficacy of simple fresh air, time was spent this summer identifying outdoor learning spaces at each of our schools. In the past, we have supported teachers’ efforts to make curriculum come to life by exploring the woods around Curtis Middle School for indigengous wildlife or by learning in the courtyards and gardens around the elementary schools. We have also identified a vendor for large banquet style canopies that will provide shade for students outside.  These canopies are on order and each school will receive at least one before school starts.

Turning our attention back to the schools themselves, we have likewise spent time overhauling our cleaning protocols and procedures.  In addition to the equipment and chemicals used for sanitization,  SPS has purchased 19 electrostatic sprayers, which medical literature indicates “provide rapid and effective decontamination of portable equipment and large open areas.” The new cleaning agents now being deployed have been shown to kill the COVID-19 virus while leaving behind no toxic residue.

SPS is also taking the topic of personal protective equipment (PPE) very seriously. The Initial Fall Reopening Plan from DESE recommended face masks be worn by all students in grades 2 and above whenever attending in-person classes; we are going one step further by asking that all students from kindergarten up wear a face mask. Our principals wrote to you earlier this summer about the important role face masks will play in the reopening of schools, and I encourage you to review it again as we approach that occasion. To support this message, every student and staff member will receive a SPS facemask at the start of the school year. 

PPE encompasses far more than just face masks, however, and SPS is prepared to ensure that our staff and students are properly attired to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. To date, using grant funds and reimbursements, we have spent more than $32,000 purchasing faceshields, sanitizing wipes, isolation gowns, clear masks, latex gloves, and other forms of PPE. These are in the process of being delivered to each of the schools and will be available for use on day one.

More than anything else, though, the one thing that gives me the greatest confidence that we can safely return to school is the fact that we are already doing it. Haynes Elementary School is hosting live, in-person sessions of our Extended School Year program. I recently had the pleasure of touring the program, and was very reassured by the way students and teachers were engaging in learning.

As a reminder, you can fill out the Family Designation form as soon as you are ready, and they are due by 4pm on Friday August, 14th. To date, about 50% of SPS families have completed the form.

Sincerely,

Brad Crozier
Superintendent, Sudbury Public Schools