Principal's Newsletter 2020-2021
September 24, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope this message finds you well. The faculty and I would like to thank you for your support throughout our reopening process. Whether your child has returned to instruction in-person or remotely, we truly appreciate your patience and partnership. These are difficult times, but these past few weeks have been another reminder to us of how blessed we are to gather together as a school community.
This evening I write to share with you information regarding the "yellow" designation the Town of Melrose received yesterday. Based on the average daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, each city or town is designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Specific town/city designations are published every Wednesday in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report. We utilize information from this report, as well as frequent dialogue with the Melrose Department of Public Health, to inform our decisions regarding health/safety measures and the feasibility of continued in-person learning.
In yesterday's report, Melrose was moved to a "yellow" designation, which means that the average daily incidence rate over the past 14 days is between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000 residents. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends full remote learning only for those municipalities receiving a "red" designation for three weeks in a row unless the district or specific school identifies other extenuating circumstances that prevent in-person instruction.
While this move to "yellow" is not cause for extreme alarm, it is an important reminder that we all need to continue practicing vigilance with regard to the health and safety measures we have in place here at St. Mary's School. These health and safety measures are as follows:
1) Daily Symptom Check Webform: We appreciate your diligence in completing the daily symptom check webform in a timely manner and accurately reporting any symptoms your child may be experiencing. We also appreciate that the general default mode for most of our parents is "when in doubt, keep them out." Keeping students and staff with symptoms out of the building is the most important thing we can do to prevent the spread of the virus, so thank you for your work in this regard.
2) Mask-Wearing: The students are doing an amazing job of wearing their masks, as well as following the proper procedure for removing and putting their masks back on when we have snack, lunch, or mask breaks. A+ for everyone on this one!
3) Distancing: Students have been doing great with this in the classrooms and hallways, and we continue to work with them on maintaining appropriate distance at all times during recess. The one area for improvement with regard to distancing is at afternoon dismissal time. We know it's a long day and we know students want to gather together to socialize. However, this socialization should occur with physical distancing, otherwise there is the potential for all our hard work during the school day to be negated. Over the past week we have noticed gatherings of students outside the school building and in Mary Foley Park that are occurring without appropriate physical distancing. We love that students want to spend time together after school. Our expectation is that if they are outside our school building or in Mary Foley Park they will follow the mask-wearing and distancing protocols we have established to promote the safety of our school community.
4) Handwashing: Another A+ for everyone. The students are doing great with the handwashing and hand sanitizing protocols we have implemented.
Thank you again for your continued partnership and I hope you all have a great weekend.
Mr. Christopher Beza
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Devin Fitzpatrick as our new physical education teacher. Mr. Fitzpatrick has been assigned to us by YoungWorld, a company that provides physical education instruction to many of our Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. YoungWorld has supplied Mr. Fitzpatrick with a comprehensive program of activities to allow students to participate in physical education class while adhering to appropriate social distancing guidelines.
This year Physical Education classes will be held on Mondays and Fridays. Physical Education classes are as follows...
Mondays: Grades 4-8 (* for this week only Grade 4 will have Phys Ed on Friday instead)
Friday: PreKA, PreKB, Kindergarten, Grades 1-3
Daily Symptom Check Webform
We would like to remind everyone that all students who are attending in-person instruction must have a completed symptom check form on file prior to entering the school building each morning. The form must be completed no later than 7:30 am each day. The form is managed through the FACTS student information system and consists of four questions:
1) Has your child had a fever above 100.0 in the last 24 hours?
2) Is your child exhibiting any of these symptoms? [fever, chills, cough (other than chronic cough), shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle/body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash of unknown origin (especially on hands and/or feet) OR headache, runny nose/nasal congestion, fatigue in combination with any other symptom]
3) Is anyone in your household exhibiting any of these symptoms? [Fever, chills, cough (other than chronic cough), shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle/body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash of unknown origin (especially on hands and/or feet) OR headache, runny nose/nasal congestion, fatigue in combination with any other symptom]
4) Has your child been in close contact in the last 14 days with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
To access the daily symptom check webform, please log into the FACTS Family Portal (https://logins2.renweb.com/Logins/ParentsWeb-Login.aspx?, school code SMA-MA). Once you have logged in, under "School", please select "Web Forms." Please select the "COVID Response Form - Family" web form.