COVID Updates, November 3 Remote Day, and More

COVID Updates, November 3 Remote Day, and More
Posted on 10/27/2020

Dear CPS Community,

This marks our sixth week of remote learning, and our third week with some of our eligible students learning in school buildings. We are off to a very positive start, we continue to monitor public health metrics, and will make any necessary adjustments to the model. Our top priority is the health of our students and staff.

In this message:

  • COVID-19 Updates
  • Flu Shots
  • November 3: Election Day and Remote Learning Day for All Students
  • Shout Out: ICTS Team
  • Upcoming Events

COVID-19 Updates
With that, I want to share two important COVID-19 updates with you. The first surrounds the three metrics designed by our scientific experts to inform our plan: daily new cases, testing rate, and wastewater monitoring. Wastewater from 43 Greater Boston communities is measured at the Deer Island treatment plant to monitor levels of COVID-19. Last week, that measurement surpassed the recommended threshold, putting it at the elevated, orange category. Once two or more metrics reach the maximum threshold, and are displayed as red, CPS will shift all learning to remote only. For now, we continue to monitor the situation with our public health officials.

The second update: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated what it means to be in “close contact” with someone infected with COVID-19. A “close contact” is spending a total of 15 minutes within 6 feet of an infected person, over the course of a day. The minutes don’t have to be consecutive. This revised definition will be important for contact tracers, who step in whenever there is a confirmed case in the district.

A reminder that COVID-19 testing is available for all CPS staff working in person and any staff member or student who becomes symptomatic. Cambridge is also providing free testing to any residents over age 8.

Flu Shots
In addition to hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing, experts say getting a flu vaccine is an important part of protecting your family’s health this season. Cambridge Public Health Services is offering residents a free flu shot at several upcoming clinics around the city.

November 3: Election Day & Remote Learning Day
It’s hard to believe that November is right around the corner. Reminder that Tuesday, November 3 is Election Day and a fully remote school day for all CPS students. Cambridge Youth Council is hosting a Youth Presidential Forum on October 28, 6 - 7:30 PM for youth ages 12-19! Next week, CPS will be sharing resources that students, families, and staff can use in their ongoing discussions about elections and civic engagement.

Shoutout: ICTS Team!
We want to take a moment to recognize and thank our CPS Information, Communication, Technology Service (ICTS) staff and all they do to keep us connected. We all rely on technology now more than ever, and the ICTS team is doing an exceptional job supporting our remote and in-person students, teachers, and families. Beyond the maintenance of a typical year, ICTS is troubleshooting problems and repairing devices through the HelpDesk, distributing Chromebooks, addressing family internet access needs, building new online portals, managing new data needs, exploring new tools for instruction and family engagement, and training staff on new ways of using technology to support students.

In the words of one CPS elementary educator, “I just wanted to tell you how extraordinarily grateful I am for all of the unbelievable tech support I've received at the building level...and from the entire district-wide tech team. The tech modules are honestly the most helpful PD I've ever had -- self-paced, easy to digest, and 100% applicable to my work immediately. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Your work has had an unbelievable impact on the effectiveness of remote learning. I literally don't know what we would have done without your heroic efforts.”

As a reminder, ICTS Technical Services Team operates the Mobile Helpdesk Monday through Friday, 8AM - 4PM, Saturdays: 8AM - 2PM at the Felton St. side of the school in the garage door closest to Cambridge Street.

We are committed to keeping the lines of communication open and will continue using this weekly newsletter to provide information and updates. We hope you find it helpful.

Sincerely,

Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Upcoming Events:

  • October 28, 6 - 7:30PM: Cambridge Youth Council Presidential Election Discussion
  • 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 3: Election Day and Remote Learning for All Students in All Grades
  • November 11: Schools Closed in Observance of Veteran’s Day

Upcoming School Committee Meetings:

  • October 27, 6pm: School Committee roundtable discussion with elementary principals about the opportunities and challenges of this exceptional year
  • October 28, 6PM: Special Education and Student Supports SubCommittee meeting to review and discuss the OSS safety manual and OSS school coordination and collaboration

Helpful Resources:

www.cpsd.us/backtoschool

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