Expanded in-person learning update, flu vaccine change

Expanded in-person learning update, flu vaccine change
Posted on 01/18/2021

Dear CPS Community,

This week, as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and observe a transfer of power in our nation’s capital, we are hopeful that hurtful divisions can begin to heal as we continue our journey towards racial justice.

Here in Cambridge, we are committed to finding shared understanding and opportunities to unite around common ground and solutions. Tomorrow, the School Committee will vote on expanding in-person learning to include all grades beginning March 1. You can read about the plan here. We know that some families are disappointed with the extended timeline. We extended the proposed timeline, including two days for staff planning, in response to requests from educators and administrators to provide:

  • More time to plan and prepare for complex schedules to support in-person and remote learners
  • More time from the post-holiday COVID-19 surge in cases
  • More opportunities for outside learning with warmer weather
  • Quarantine time and surveillance testing after possible exposures from gatherings/travel over February break

In addition to the School Committee’s vote, we are engaging in formal negotiations meetings with the Cambridge Education Association on issues related to the expanded re-opening. We also need to continue monitoring CPS COVID-19 data. Working in collaboration with the Cambridge Public Health Department, we now regularly review more specific data to help us understand the risk of in-school spread of COVID-19: the number of in-school cases, the percentage of staff testing data, and actual in-school transmission. The pandemic has continued to evolve as has our understanding of the virus, and we will continue to make each decision with everyone’s health and safety at the forefront.

It is impossible to meet the needs of every individual affected by these decisions, but we work diligently and earnestly to come to the best solutions we can.

Below, you’ll find additional details about:

  1. Notifications About Enrollment Status and Schedules
  2. Flu Vaccine No Longer Required, But Encouraged
  3. What We Know about COVID-19 Vaccines
  4. Important Dates & Upcoming Meetings/Events

Sincerely,

Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.
Superintendent

1. Notifications About Enrollment Status and Schedules: Second Semester enrollment forms were due last Friday, January 15. If you did not complete one, schools will assume your child’s current instructional mode will continue. Families will hear from schools directly about their students’ enrollment status by January 25th (preschool through grade 8) or January 29th (CRLS).

2. Flu Vaccine No Longer Required, But Encouraged: The state has revised its flu vaccine requirements for this school year and students are no longer mandated to get the flu shot. The state points to a mild flu season to date, which is likely due to many people receiving the season flu vaccine as well as adhering to COVID-19 guidance regarding mask-wearing and social distancing. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health still strongly recommends that everyone ages 6-months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine annually.

3. What We Know about COVID-19 Vaccines: See the Cambridge Public Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccine information page. According to the state’s vaccine distribution timeline, we know K-12 workers are on the priority list for Phase Two, which has a timeframe of February to April.

4. Important dates and reminders to mark on your calendar:

  •  January 27 and February 3: POSSIBLE NO SCHOOL. We have proposed to the School Committee that there be no school on Wednesday, January 27, or Wednesday, February 3, which are currently remote learning days, to allow staff additional time to plan for expanded in-person learning. We will alert you once the School Committee makes a decision on our proposal.
  • January 25: Notification about second semester enrollment (preschool - grade 8)
  • January 28 | 5:30PM: Community Meeting on FY22 Budget
  • January 28 | 7 - 8PM: OSS Caregiver Workshop: Components of a Functional Behavior Assessment and Understanding Behavior by Function: Come join us as we talk about the four different functions of behavior and how to respond to behavior at home. We will also be discussing the purpose and components of the Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). Register by contacting Kaitlin Barlow.
  • January 29: Notification about second semester enrollment (CRLS)
  • February 6 | 10AM: Community Meeting on FY22 Budget
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