Dear Shrewsbury Families & Colleagues,
I hope you continue to be well. There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shrewsbury, but with expanded testing beginning to happen I assume it is a matter of time until we have the first confirmed case within our community. Please help protect our older family and friends, those with health conditions, first responders, and medical professionals by practicing social distancing. Click here for information on this in case you missed it. You will continue to receive updates from school district leaders, and principals in the days ahead, and all district communications regarding the COVID-19 situation are posted here. While schools and the Central Office are closed to the public, parents and students are welcome to email our staff or school leaders with questions, while if you have general questions at the district level you can email email@example.com or call 508-841-8400 between 8:00am and 4:30pm.
Please note the following:
1) Last night's "virtual" School Committee meeting included an update from our administration regarding our district's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to watch a video of that report, and click here to see the report slide deck. I shared three key messages:
- The health & well-being of students, families, & staff is priority #1.
- This is an extraordinary time in history, and everyone in our community has a collective responsibility to respond to this challenge.
- Even though our schools are closed, we will continue to support our students, families, and staff from a distance and empower our students with opportunities for learning.
2) Last night, the School Committee voted to approve recommended adjustments to this year's school calendar:
- Per Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education guidance regarding school closures, school districts are not required to go beyond the 185th planned student day (180 required school days plus minimum of 5 days built-in for potential snow days) in its calendar for the end of the school year, which for our district is June 19. In order to ensure our staff are working now during the school closure period and to provide more predictability for families, it was decided that based on the current school closure situation the school year will not end any later than Friday, June 19.
- It was also determined that, in order to maximize student instructional time when students return to school, all scheduled early release days for the remainder of this school year will be converted to full days of school.
- If the school closure period is extended beyond April 6, I will consider making recommendations for potential further adjustments to the school calendar. At this time, no adjustments to the planned April school vacation week have been made.
3) Our curriculum leaders and educators continue to work on determining ways to best provide learning opportunities during this closure. Please click here for the information and resources that have been shared by the district, and see the various emails, Schoology posts, etc. that educators have sent to parents and students directly over the course of this week. The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education has scheduled a conference call with school districts tomorrow to provide more guidance regarding legal and civil rights guidelines that public school districts are responsible for following with regard to remote learning opportunities during school closures; we will provide additional information tomorrow after we receive that guidance, with more details to come at the beginning of next week. I am grateful to our parents for helping your children stay engaged with learning activities at home, and I am grateful to our educators for connecting with students and families and providing various learning options. This process will continue to evolve, and I appreciate everyone's patience as we work to do this effectively during a time when many students' families and staff's families are undergoing a significant amount of upheaval.
This crisis is creating health and financial difficulties for so many, and the unpredictability and fear regarding what might happen naturally can create stress, anxiety, and emotional and physical exhaustion. These are trying times, so it is important for us all to show empathy, patience, kindness, and goodwill toward one another, and to model these things for our children. If we do, courage, fortitude, and perseverance will follow.
Hang in there, and best wishes for your and your family's health.
Superintendent of Schools