COVID Updates, Election Day 2020, Flu Clinics, and More

COVID Updates, Election Day 2020, Flu Clinics, and More
Posted on 11/02/2020

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Dear CPS Community,

Tomorrow marks what is undoubtedly one of the most closely followed elections of our lifetime. We are monitoring the developments carefully in terms of community and national reaction while continuing to concentrate on the important job of educating our students. Please remember, because our schools are used as polling places, all classes will be held remotely tomorrow, Nov. 3, 2020.

In this message:


  • COVID Update, Discussion of Revised Metrics
  • Flu Shots Required for All Students
  • Election 2020
  • Attendance Expectations
  • Shout Out: CPS Social Studies Department
  • Upcoming Events & Resources

COVID-19 Updates, Discussion of Revised Metrics
CPS’s currently monitors three metrics, developed in consultation with CPS’s scientific advisors this summer, to determine when to open and close schools. As part of a planned review of the metrics, CPS’s scientific advisors have recommended CPS update these metrics to utilize more Cambridge-specific data. On Friday, the School Committee’s subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds unanimously passed a motion to accept the recommended changes and the full School Committee will discuss these recommended changes at a special School Committee meeting on Thursday, 6PM.

“In our roles as external scientific advisors, we are writing to provide our updated assessment on the school safety plans. When the original guidelines were approved, we agreed to re-evaluate the metrics in October and to update them based on new information. Our recommendations were based on the data available over this summer. New evidence has emerged about the low frequency of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools, more detailed data sources are now available, and the district has initiated surveillance testing of teachers and staff. As a result, we recommend updated metrics that more accurately reflect this new information and focus more specifically on virus prevalence in Cambridge.” You can read their full letter here.

  Current metrics and closure guidelines
See CPS COVID-19 Data Dashboard
Proposed revisions
Metric 1: Daily new cases
Fewer than 25 new cases per day, per 100,000 people (weighted average for Suffolk County and Middlesex County) (7-day average)
Fewer than 25 new cases per day per 100,000 people (in Cambridge) (7-day average)
Metric 2: Test positivity  Less than 5% of COVID-19 tests are positive in Massachusetts (7-day average)
Less than 5% of COVID-19 tests are positive in Cambridge (7-day average)
Metric 3: Sewage wastewater
COVID-19 in wastewater detected at < 100 copies viral genomes/mL.
No current change. Will discuss change if local Cambridge data becomes available.
Closure If two of these three metrics exceed the “acceptable” level described, CPS will shift to remote only learning.
No change. If two of these three metrics exceed the “acceptable” level described, CPS will shift to remote only learning.  
Reopening Not specified.
In the event of a closure of in-person education due to these metrics being exceeded, schools would remain closed for at least 1 week. In-person education should resume when either one or no metrics are exceeded for 7 consecutive days. 

The recommendations also include offering COVID-19 surveillance testing to older students when prevalence is high.

COVID-19 Testing
Please remember that testing is available at no cost for all CPS staff who are working on site at CPS buildings, as well as any staff members or students who become symptomatic during the school day. The city of Cambridge is also providing free testing to anyone over the age of 8. Testing site information can be found here.

Flu Shots Required for All Students
A reminder that Governor Charlie Baker has mandated that all students receive a flu shot, even those are learning remotely. All students must be vaccinated by December 31, 2020. The City of Cambridge is offering free flu shots at Cambridge flu clinics.

Attendance Expectations
Regular attendance and participation in all classes is the best way for students to stay connected and continue to learn -- it is also expected of all students, as detailed in our 2020-2021 Attendance Expectations and Procedures Policy. Remote learning does not mean “optional learning.” If your child needs extra help or assistance, contact your child’s teacher.

Shout Out: Social Studies Department
Kudos and a special thank you to the Social Studies department for their hard work to support CPS educators to engage students in important conversations about our nation’s government and electoral processes. Educators have emphasized civic engagement coupled with respect for CPS’s ideological diversity. In that context, they have been collaborating with teachers to prepare for difficult and emotional conversations. Here are some resources which you may find helpful:


Election 2020
Thank you to all the CPS students who have been involved in voter registration efforts and congratulations to the many high school upperclassmen who are eligible to vote in their first election tomorrow. We are encouraged that so many of our young, voter-age residents are taking an active role and exercising their constitutional right in this year’s election.

Reminder: Equity Fellows Opportunity, November 5
This Thursday, November 5, is the deadline to apply for a Cambridge Equity Fellowship. If you have an idea on how to best address racism or inequity in Cambridge Public Schools, we urge you to apply for project funding which ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. Fellowships are open to students, caregivers, educators and community members. Applications and information can be found here.

As always, thank you for your partnership and support.


Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.

Upcoming Events

  • November 3: Election Day and Remote Learning for All Students in All Grades
  • November 5: Initial deadline for Equity Fellows: Do you have an idea to address racism or inequity in Cambridge Public Schools? If so, apply to get funding for your project by becoming a 2020-21 Equity Fellow! Fellowships are open to youth, caregivers, educators, and community members. Fellows can receive between $1,000-5,000 to fund their project. See more here.
  • November 11: Schools Closed in Observance of Veteran’s Day

Upcoming School Committee Meetings

  • November 5 | 6PM: Special Meeting: Discussion of Revised Metrics
  • November 17 | 6PM: Regular Meeting
  • November 18 | 6PM: Special Education & Students Supports Sub-Committee Meeting
  • View all >>

Helpful Resources

  • Check out the Innovative Learning Spaces Collaborative website, which includes resources and activities “to learn everywhere” and to create innovative learning experiences that foster curiosity, creativity, and connection.
  • Remote learning support and afterschool opportunities resources sheets: Elementary School Opportunities 2020, Middle School Opportunities 2020, and Tutoring Opportunities 2020.
  • Looking for activities and resources for you and your family? Use Find It Cambridge to search for afterschool, food support, adult education, and more! Contact the Find It Cambridge team for assistance by phone or text (617.686.2998) or email us. To learn about events and activities happening in Cambridge, follow and like us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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