February 3, 2021
Dear Shrewsbury Families & Colleagues,
There was a lot of digging out to do yesterday, and I want to thank our Highway and Public Buildings Departments for their work to clear our school campuses of the large amount of snow that fell. As more students return to school tomorrow, I ask that families please be cognizant of the conditions in their neighborhoods regarding sidewalks, snowbanks at bus stops, etc. given the magnitude of this storm.
Please note the following updates:
1) State of the District report: Last week, I presented my annual State of the District report to the School Committee. I wish I had better a more positive status report, but in addition to educational crisis created by the pandemic, our district also faces a budget crisis that threatens to severely compromise our ability to meet our students' needs next year, at a critical time when they need our strong support. I strongly encourage you to watch my presentation here and review the presentation slides here. I will present my detailed budget recommendation with more specific financial information at next Wednesday evening's School Committee meeting (February 10).
2) COVID-19 update: Today marked a milestone in our response to the pandemic, as all SPS staff had the opportunity to be tested as part of our new surveillance testing program. This testing is being supported financially with state and federal fund allocations to be used for COVID-19 issues, and we believe this program will help provide an added measure of certainty regarding the prevalence of the virus in our school community. We plan to expand this testing to high school students in the near future, and then perhaps more students depending on funding availability. Additionally, we have had the first cases of suspected in-school transmission in the new calendar year. These cases occurred at Coolidge School, and we again utilized the state's mobile testing unit to provide testing to students and staff who might be connected to the suspected cases. This testing turned up one additional case among a close contact related to one of the other cases. These 3 cases bring the total of cases traced to potential exposure in school to 6 out of the 308 total positive cases in the hybrid, in-person student and staff population, representing 1.9% of these cases. We will provide another update regarding overall COVID-19 statistics at the beginning of next Wednesday's School Committee meeting. As a reminder, we update our COVID-19 Data Dashboard with the latest data each day at approximately 4:00pm.
Thank you for your continued efforts to support our students as we continue to navigate these difficult times together.
Superintendent of Schools