Dear Shrewsbury Families & Colleagues,
Governor Baker has issued an order to close all schools in Massachusetts until at least April 7 as part of the mitigation strategy to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Governor also has issued several other orders limiting public gatherings to no more than 25 people and restricting access to restaurants and other businesses/places where people gather. There is NO change regarding public access to grocery stores and pharmacies.
Gov. Baker made it very clear in his press conference that he is asking families to make the school closures effective in stopping the spread of the virus from this point forward by truly practicing strict social distancing measures, i.e., not allowing young people to gather in each other's homes on play dates or otherwise congregate. We will provide additional information regarding this guidance in a communication tomorrow. This link from the CDC has some helpful information regarding how you can reduce the risk for yourself, your family, and your community.
This morning, Rep. Hannah Kane organized a taping of a television show where several state and local officials spoke about the COVID-19 situation, including herself, Dr. Michael Hirsh, Medical Director of the Worcester Division of Public Health, Senator Michael Moore, and town officials, including School Committee Chair Sandra Fryc and myself. You can watch this program by clicking this link. It will also play tonight on SELCO Channels 30 and 330. I think you will find the information helpful.
1) All Town of Shrewsbury buildings, including the Town Hall, Public Library, and Senior Center are closed to the public effective tomorrow. This includes the School Department Central Office at Town Hall. The School Department and other municipal departments will be open and you may reach out by phone or email. You may reach the School Department Central Office by calling 508-841-8400 during business hours of 8:00am to 4:30pm, or by sending an email to email@example.com.
2) Shrewsbury Public Schools school buildings are closed to the public, including parents and students. We will provide an opportunity early in the coming week for parents and/or students to retrieve student items that may have been left at school, such as an iPad, musical instrument, etc. Please do not go to a school building until we provide further guidance regarding this. Thank you.
3) Information will be provided early in the week regarding "remote learning" opportunities for students. We have been making preparations regarding how to support students' learning at home during this unprecedented time, and we will provide initial guidance on this on Monday. We are awaiting further communication from the state Department of Education on this topic, as there are complexities related to public education that we must address, and we need to ensure our educators, parents, and students are on the same page. In the meantime, I know that many of our middle and high school students have existing assignments they can access through Schoology which they can work on, and as always all of our students are encouraged to read as much as possible. We are committed to finding ways to help students learn at home during this extended period of not being able to attend school, and I have complete faith that our educators, parents, and students will rise to this challenge. I appreciate your patience as we work to do this thoughtfully and effectively.
4) Information regarding meals for students who need them was sent earlier today and can be found here.
This is an extraordinary time in history, and we have a collective responsibility to respond to this challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic is creating massive change in our society, and while it is natural to feel anxious regarding all that is happening, we have the opportunity in the days and weeks ahead to help mitigate its impact on our community.
Most importantly, please protect your own health and well-being and that of your children, family members, friends, and fellow community members - especially those who are older or who have health conditions that make them more vulnerable to getting very sick or dying. Please follow the stricter social distancing and other health guidance that is being issued by the state. By doing this together, we will save lives.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate this extremely challenging time together as a community.
Superintendent of Schools