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3/26/21 Superintendent Weekly District Update

3/26/21 Superintendent Weekly District Update
Posted on 03/26/2021
Dear Natick Community:
 
This is a special time of year for many of the staff, students, and families of our community. For our Jewish families, the first night of Passover begins after sundown on Saturday, March 27th, and continues until the evening of April 4th. Passover commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Ancient Egypt. Many Jewish people around the world will have a “Seder” meal, which is a ritual service and ceremonial dinner for the first night or first two nights of Passover.
 
Next week is also special to many Christians, beginning with Friday, April 2nd, which is known as “Good Friday”. This is a day that Christians believe marks the death of Jesus, followed by his resurrection three days later on Easter Sunday, which will be celebrated this year on April 4th. Eastern Orthodox Christians use a different calendar, and they will celebrate Easter this year on Sunday, May 2nd.
 
While services and celebrations may look different this year because of the ongoing health emergency our world is experiencing, and we hope families will continue to be cautious, we send our best wishes to all of you who celebrate these special holidays.
 
While so much is in flux and all of us are anxious to return to the schedule and business of old, I know my family and I will take time to be together with and reflect on the good and bad of the past year. I am particularly nostalgic about together time as my senior son makes his decision about college this weekend. We won't always be able to count on him here for holidays and weekend time, so I am soaking up every minute. He was 3 just yesterday, (a word to younger parents). I used to wish they would be "easier" when they were younger, and I was so tired! Now I can't find enough time with them! 

The manner in which we cherish our children makes us send our love and support to Gio Tiboh and his family. The Tiboh family will hold his wake and funeral this weekend and our heart break for them. We know students will join these activities, and we have worked with NPD and the local department of health to ensure safety. Please adhere to public health guidance, and continue to care for each other in all ways.
Return to School Updates
In-person return to school
This meeting was a week ago, and much has been updated, negotiated and changed since then. We are pleased to state that all families seeking to return to live school full time have been accommodated in their home schools and with only one additional teacher. 
 
Additional support staff are being relocated across the district as vaccinations take hold, and staff and students return from medical leaves. Class and program stability is our first priority as students transition back to school.
 
Many of you have written about safety at lunch and recess; we believe the program we have put in place addresses these items. We also intend to adapt and advance as infection rates move, and as DESE and health mandates change and adapt. Our goal is to approximate a "typical" school experience as much as possible as quickly as possible.
Updates continue to unfold and the most current schedules K-8 and updates to expectations and routines are contained here:
 
CORRECTION: Early Release Days: An Error for MS and NHS
Please know I made an error in a prior presentation. 
Since Kennedy, Wilson and NHS are not back to full-live school until post–April 26, middle and high school students will keep their April 14th early release day. Students will adhere to the half day schedule they have used thus far this year during hybrid schedule.
Schedules and Special Events
Please note specific dates and schedules after are not finalized for NHS students and guidance emerges daily about limitations on special events. We will adapt and offer as many options as possible as soon as we can in consultation with our local health department.
 
High school seniors are our priority, relative to these events, and special guidance is given for those type of graduations. There is no guidance currently that allows for large gatherings for entire grade levels except graduation.  
 
Given the complexity of the high school and health advisories from DESE and our local department, we are continuing in design and negotiation mode. Thank you for your patience. 
DESE had indicated return guidance by May 10, so we are working to beat that guidance.
Ruvna Update: New Question Added
We will be updating the Ruvna on Monday 3/29 to begin asking a new travel question. The new question will be:
 
"Have you traveled out of state and are unable to meet any of the following exemptions: Less than 24 hours, 2 weeks post completed vaccination, or <90 days from COVID-19 diagnosis." 
Pooled Testing Updates
No positive pools across the district this week. Yay!
Have a great weekend.
Best,
Anna

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