Preparedness Update: March 10, 2020

Dear CPS Community:

I am writing to share updates about continuing efforts to prepare for and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to offer our support during this challenging time for our community.

As of March 10, there are no positive cases of COVID-19 among our students, staff, or any Cambridge resident. We will notify the community if this changes.

Please remember that your doctor is the best person to speak with if you believe you may have been exposed to, or may be sick from this virus. There is an extensive reporting network in place, and your doctor is an important part of it.

The following information - which will be posted online - responds to questions we are receiving and is informed by the latest guidance available from state officials on March 10.

Updates: Tuesday, March 10

  1. Massachusetts State of Emergency: As you may know, this afternoon Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency, which is a governmental action that allows him to access resources that are only available during emergencies. While this indicates the seriousness of the situation, it is good news and not reason for panic. Please know that a lot of people are working hard to keep everyone as safe and informed as possible, and remember to take care of yourselves during this uncertain time.

  2. Updated Guidance on Events & Activities: Based on today’s updated guidance from the Governor and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as well as discussions with city officials, we are issuing the following guidance which will be in effect now until the start of school vacation (April 18). We will continue to update our procedures as new guidance and information emerges.

    • School events for students and staff will continue: At this time, schools will continue to hold in-school events for students and staff. This includes student/staff assemblies without school visitors, parent conferences, staff meetings and professional development, same-day field trips (on a case-by-case basis), and regularly scheduled after-school activities and programs which are considered an extension of the school day.

    • Non-essential extracurricular CPS gatherings will be restricted to 50 participants: CPS- and School-sponsored events that take place after school, in the evening or on weekends will be restricted to 50 participants. CPS events or gatherings for more than 50 participants will be cancelled. This includes performances/rehearsals, and athletic events with more than 50 people in one space. CPS will cancel all external facilities permits for events to be hosted on CPS property after 6PM on weekdays or on weekends.

      This guidance does not apply to Department of Human Services Preschool, After School, Community School programs or meetings governed by Massachusetts public meeting law.

    • Cancelling out-of-state field trips: All out-of-state field trips are cancelled. Staff members are asked to contact CFO Claire Spinner with finance-related questions.

  3. Dealing with stress & talking with children about emergencies: The unfolding health situation is raising worry and anxieties for many of us, and we offer these resources in hopes that they will be helpful in conversations within our community.
  4. More information will be provided soon, including:
    • A joint message with updated health guidelines from the Superintendent and Claude Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer and director of the Cambridge Public Health Department.
    • Later this week, the state is scheduled to provide recommendations for consistency in practices in the event that a student or staff member tests positive for the virus. We will share more information as soon as we have it.
    • By the end of the week, CPS will share detailed information with staff about how staff absences related to COVID-19 will be addressed. 

I want to thank the CRLS students and others who have reached out to share their questions and concerns. Among the updates shared tonight, I hope you will especially pay attention to the importance of taking care of yourself and one another during this uncertain time. I believe in our community and I know that we will get through this. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.
Superintendent

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