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Weekly District Update 12/5/21

Weekly District Update 12/5/21
Posted on 12/03/2021
NPS Engage District News - Weekly Message - Natick Public Schools - Parent Academy Logo - www.natickps.org
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Superintendent Memo
Hello Natick Families,
We are finishing a great week and hope you have a great weekend! Please see below for our weekly information and updates.
UPDATED INFORMATION
Johnson School - Family Planning Meetings
As you may have heard, on (11/15), the School Committee voted (5-1) in favor of the phased closure of the Johnson School to conclude at latest June of 2025. This decision has been filled with emotion from all parts of our community and has not been one taken lightly.
While discussions will happen with Johnson families and staff, I think it’s important to remember that our friends and neighbors will need support and compassion as we all navigate through this process.
An important part of change isn’t in moving to the new, but ensuring that we honor what has been and keeping its spirit alive within our community. Johnson School has been one that served the Natick community for generations, and the school means so much to so many of us. Anytime we lose something that is important to us, grief is expected. As we move through the upcoming transition process, this is our orientation to a smooth three-year transition for our community.
To begin the transition process (which will have many components over a three-year period including interviews with families, staff, students and town partners) we have met with any potentially affected staff to discuss options and expectations. Those meetings were completed prior to Thanksgiving.  
In the month of December, we will conduct personal family interviews in the following order:
  • Incoming K families who have siblings already at JES (9 families)
  • Incoming K families who have never attended JES (approximately 20 families)
  • The majority of these families have been contacted and scheduled, if they desired, this week.
Families currently with students in grades 1-4 are not required to meet to discuss transition at this time, but we will call or email on a rolling basis through the next few months and families can decide their timetable for decision-making prior to June 2025.
Please call 508-647-6500 extension 0 and ask for Rose McDermott who can schedule time with a member of our team or email Rose at rmcdermott@natickps.org.
Please feel free to email questions to me directly at annolin@natickps.org.
Finally, a transition website has been created and will serve as the one-stop for all updates and information on the Johnson school transition will be posted on the Johnson Transition Support Page.
SAVE THE DATE
COVID Booster Vaccine Clinic
December 11 from 8am-3pm
Our partner and local vaccine clinic provider, VCare Pharmacy, is hosting a COVID-19 Booster clinic on Saturday, December 11th from 8am to 3pm at Natick High School.
This clinic will distribute booster doses for anyone ages 18 and up.
They can accommodate 1500+ appointments. Sign up information will be shared as soon as the provider, VCare, makes it available to us.
(NOTE: Natick Public Schools is providing space for this clinic, but is not administering it. VCare Pharmacy is administering the clinic and all questions should be directed to them.)
ANNUAL REMINDER
Avoiding Conflicts of Interest for Staff
As the holiday season approaches, we generally receive many inquiries regarding the policy on providing gifts to staff members, so I thought I’d share the following information with you.
You may or may know that there is a state law requiring all Massachusetts public employees to receive a copy of conflict of interest regulations and to receive mandatory training on this topic and most importantly follow the law. While it is unlikely that teachers receiving tokens of appreciation from students and their families was the impetus for the state government’s emphasis on conflict of interest legalities, it is important that our employees comply with their legal responsibilities. The purpose of the law and accompanying regulations is to avoid any perception that a public employee might display some type of favoritism due to the influence of a gift.
While parents often give gifts to our teachers and assistants at holiday time and/or the end of the year as an expression of gratitude for their hard work, I would appreciate it if parents who choose to do so would adhere to the following guidelines in order to avoid putting our educators in an awkward position:
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 268A and State Ethics Commission rules prohibit all public employees from receiving personal gifts of “substantial value,” which according to the regulations is $50 or more. This includes meals, tickets, services rendered, holiday gifts, etc.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Central Office.
REMINDER
Inclement Weather Procedures
Please see the updated notice below, which is our pre-COVID inclement weather procedures. Our current Cancellation and Delays procedure is always accessible on our website at https://www.natickps.org/about/cancellations_delays.
Please have a great weekend. We are looking forward to another productive week.
Anna
P.S. Don't forget to see below for links to your school newsletters and additional community notices/updates!
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COVID UPDATES
DAILY COVID Symptom Screening (Checklist)
Students and staff who are SICK should STAY HOME.
Please monitor for symptoms each morning before school by reviewing the COVID Symptom Checklist (link).
12/5/21
Weekly COVID Case Dashboard
We encourage you to sign your children up for vaccination and continue to be vigilant about COVID protocols. The horizon for the end is near, but many can still become infected.  
COVID CASES
NHS: 2 student cases; WMS: 2 student cases; KMS 2 student cases, 52 close contacts; Lilja 1 student case; BenHem 1 student case
Chart Terminology:
CC's = Close Contacts
Note:
CC does not mean that these students are in quarantine. Depending on the circumstances, masking and vaccination status, location. As a reminder, direct contact from school nurses and principals occur if a person is a close contact.  We share the close contact information and remind everyone that vaccination helps to avoid needing to quarantine should a close contact occur.
The following close contacts are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols:
  • Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts: Individuals who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols. 
  • Classroom close contacts: An individual who is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom while both individuals were masked, so long as the individuals were spaced at least 3 feet apart, is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.  
  • Bus close contacts: Individuals on buses must be masked according to federal requirements. As such, individuals who are masked on buses when windows are open are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.  
  • Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days: An individual who has been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and then becomes a close contact of someone with COVID-19 is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols if:  
  • The exposure occurred within 90 days of the onset of their own illness AND
  • The exposed individual is recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms.
COVID Procedures
Included in this link are all the COVID Return to School Processes and Protocols (link) you need to know about our return to school. If you and your child are eligible to be vaccinated, please do so. It is the most important step to helping our community. Our three-part testing program, which allows students to avoid unnecessary quarantine and allows us to begin routine, weekly pooled COVID testing as we did last year, will begin as soon as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides us the resources (tests and person power) to execute the program.
  
PLEASE NOTE: Our school nurses are here to serve students and their medical needs. Please do not call school seeking advice if you or your family are sick or quarantined, traveling or testing. If our nurses contact you, it will be about contact tracing within school and outcomes of our testing programs in school.
Our school nurses are NOT contact tracers or advisors for the Natick Department of Public Health like they were last year. If your child is a close contact and eligible for any symptom or test and stay testing you will be notified directly. All other calls should go to your Dr. or department of public health relative to your community based COVID cases.  
COVID Information Website
We have updated our COVID information website to include all the relevant information that we share in this weekly email. We encourage you to save the NPS COVID information page (link) and visit often. (The direct link is: www.natickps.org/covid.)
ADDITIONAL INFO FOR FAMILIES
REMINDER
Inclement Weather Procedures for Winter 2021/22
Our most current School Cancellation and Delay procedures that will be used in the event of inclement weather is accessible on our website at https://www.natickps.org/about/cancellations_delays.
Caring for Our Community
Our current landscape has been challenging, and the holidays can be hard for many on top of it all. To that end, we wanted to remind the community of two resources for counseling and emotional support. Both of these resources are free to you.
The District is in partnership with William James College and shares these resources for your family if you need support.
Provided by Behavioral Health Partners of MetroWest (BHPMW)
Our knowledgeable and compassionate Care Navigators are here to listen and then to match you to the best services for yourself, your family member, or—if you are a health care or other service provider—a person in your care. There is no charge for this service.
The Navigation Line supports the following languages:
Arabic, English, French, Moroccan, Portuguese, Spanish
How to Request Services or Make a Referral
1-844-528-6800
Call our toll- free number Monday-Friday for a free consultation with one of our Care Navigators.
(a Care Navigator will return your call within 24 hours, Monday through Friday)
Upcoming Events & Resources
NATICK 180
Make the Right Call this Holiday Season
HOLIDAYS CAN BE A CHALLENGING TIME OF THE YEAR
If you are concerned about yourself or somebody else's substance use, there are available local resources and ways to reduce risk.
Natick 180 is committed to assisting community members who are addicted to opioids, which include commonly prescribed painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, as well as street drugs like heroin. In order to save the lives of friends and neighbors who experience opioid use disorder, and shares tips to reduce the risk of a fatal overdose in this PDF.
For more information, contact Natick 180 at natick180@natickma.org or (508) 647-6623.

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