Responding to COVID cases; Teacher Collaboration; OSS Workshop & Town Hall

Responding to COVID cases; Teacher Collaboration; OSS Workshop & Town Hall
Posted on 11/17/2020
Dear CPS Community,

Navigating COVID-19 situations takes considerable collaboration between school and district officials, as well as CPS and the Cambridge Public Health Department. This collaboration supports our impressive COVID-19 testing and tracing programs, as well as continuous updates to the COVID-19 Data Dashboard, which have been expanded to provide additional information, with more to come.

Responding to COVID Cases
This collaboration was critical this weekend, when an increase in COVID-19 cases led to a decision to shift the Amigos School to remote learning for two weeks. Families were notified on Sunday evening, shortly after the district found out about the additional cases and reviewed the circumstances in collaboration with the Cambridge Public Health Department.

We know it can be confusing about what happens when there is a case in a classroom or school, because the specifics of each situation must be taken into consideration to inform a decision.

Positive case in your child's classroom
  • All families in classroom are notified
  • Current protocol is for a classroom with a positive case (staff or student) to shift to remote learning for 14 days as of the last potential contact with an individual who tested positive
Positive case in school building, not your child's classroom
  • Families of all students in school will be notified
  • Cambridge Department of Public Health will conduct contact tracing and determine the need for quarantining

Key Protocols
Given recent scenarios, we have updated our guidance to urge any students or staff with household relatives or housemates who are symptomatic to remain home until those relatives or housemates receive a negative test.

We also want to remind you that federal and state education and health privacy laws make it illegal to share private information about individuals.

  • FAMILIES/CAREGIVERS: If your child tests positive: Contact the principal. Do NOT communicate this information to other students or families
  • STAFF: If a parent/caregiver tells you that a student has tested positive: Contact the principal. Do NOT communicate this information to other staff, students, or families.

Educator Collaboration
Collaboration has always been a key ingredient for a dynamic education experience, and it is even more important during these challenging times. Educators rely on collaborative planning time to improve the in-person and remote learning experiences for all students. A few examples:

  • At Tobin, teacher teams meet with instructional coaches to plan for each subject area. The school uses a common planning tool to ensure that all students - in-person and remote learners, across classrooms - receive consistent lessons. As Principal Frost notes, “The amount of work is tremendous--it also allows us to give every family a similar outline, so they know what to expect for content...I am so proud of this work.”
  • After meeting with students for advisory on Wednesdays, Amigos Upper School teachers have facilitated meetings dedicated to advisory planning, interdisciplinary learning, special and general education collaboration and inclusion as well as curriculum development with coaches. Principal Bartels-Marrero describes this as “cherished time that allows us to be our best for our students.”
  • The schedule at Putnam Ave Upper School includes two blocks of teacher common planning time on Wednesdays. Last week, PAUS used one block to review math and literacy data to identify school-wide strategies and immediate implications for classroom work. The 8th grade team recently used a planning block to refine the “Good Life” portion of the portfolio for their advisory block by working together to incorporate UDL (universal design for learning) strategies to remove barriers for students. Principal Chardin noted, “This time allows educators to plan together and offer feedback before implementing a uniform approach across the grade level.”

I also want to acknowledge the many emails we have received from parents of children in grades 4-12 inquiring about the plan for those students to return to an in-person learning model. We are diligently working on our plan, which we will share at tomorrow night’s School Committee meeting and with the greater community later this week.

See below for more details on:

  • COVID-19 Metrics & Data Dashboard Update
  • OSS Update: Town Hall Tuesday and Executive Functioning Workshop
  • Flu Shots Available at the Teen Health Center!
  • Upcoming Events
  • Resources

I want to commend all CPS teachers and support staff for their ongoing dedication. Our students benefit from their exceptional daily effort and their commitment to student success.

Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.


COVID-19 Metrics & Data Dashboard Update

  • The CPS COVID-19 COVID-19 Data Dashboard, has recently been updated to reflect revisions to the CPS metrics for re-opening as well as CPS case data.
  • The metrics used to inform decision making will be reviewed on a regular basis to consider recommendations from scientific advisors based on emerging knowledge. The next planned updates are January 2021 and March 2021.
  • Questions or feedback about the metrics or this dashboard? Send a message to [email protected]. Messages are monitored and routed to the appropriate staff person or scientific advisors for responses. Please refrain from contacting the CPS scientific advisors directly so that we can respect the time they contribute to CPS on a voluntary basis.

Flu Shots Available at the Teen Health Center!

  • The flu shot is now REQUIRED for all children who attend MA schools and is the best way to help protect you and your loved ones against the flu.
  • CHA patients (12 - 22 years old) OR Cambridge Public School students (12 - 22 years old) can now receive a flu shot at the Teen Health Center located in Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Call 617.665.154 to schedule an appointment.

OSS Update:

  • OSS Town Hall: The Office of Student Services will present a Town Hall on Tuesday, November 17 from 3:30p.m. to 4:30p.m. in a live session held on Zoom. The town hall is designed to answer your questions regarding Special Education at CPS.
  • Executive Functioning Workshop: The Office of Student Services, Family and Community Engagement Department, and the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is hosting a four-week Executive Function Workshop to support parents/caregivers who will gain a deeper understanding of how to support all students, especially remote learners, with challenging tasks as they set goals, shift flexibly, organize materials and information, and self-monitor their behavior and their work. Space is limited and will be prioritized for caregivers of students that are struggling with remote learning. Sessions will be recorded and made available to the broader community.

Key Dates:

  • November 17 | 6PM: Regular School Committee Meeting
  • November 18 | 4PM: Virtual Roundtable Meeting to discuss how disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color may be factored more explicitly into the CPS Re-opening Plan’s metrics.
  • November 18 | 6PM: Special Education & Students Supports Sub-Committee Meeting to discuss the reading level benchmark data, resources to scholars reading below grade level, dyslexia indicators, and professional development to educators.
  • December 2 | 5PM: School Climate Sub-Committee Meeting

City Resources:

  • The Citywide Eviction Moratorium is still in effect. Click here to stay up-to-date on your rights and the resources available to you as a tenant. This information is available in English, Bangla, Chinese, Amharic, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.
  • The City of Cambridge COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program serves to provide short term financial assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing housing instability due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program represents the City of Cambridge’s second phase of COVID-19 related resource disbursement for housing assistance. You can learn more here.
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