Message from Superintendent Greer: November 1, 2021

Message from Superintendent Greer: November 1, 2021
Posted on 11/01/2021
Greetings CPS Community!

I hope you stayed warm over the chilly, wet weekend. It is hard to believe that it is already November. It seems like only yesterday that I was moving into my office at Berkshire Street.

I am pleased to announce that elementary school family conferences kick off this month. We are very encouraged about the opportunities that families will have to connect with their student’s teachers to partner on ways to support our students to do well in school.

I know that families may have seen or read the recent news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children ages 5-11. We encourage you to take this time to speak to your healthcare provider and learn as much as you can so that you can make the best decision for your family. We are currently focusing all of our efforts on ensuring that students ages 12-19 receive the vaccine. Details about the 5-11 year old student vaccination timeline will be shared in the near future.

I am pleased to announce that we will launch our Student Vaccination Portal in one week, on Monday, November 8. We believe that this portal will offer a convenient method to submit the proper documentation for children 12 and older.

Thank you for your continued engagement and support as we engage our students each day.

Make it Great!

Dr. Victoria L. Greer
Interim Superintendent
Cambridge Public Schools

COVID Questions of the Week
See the full FAQ about student vaccinations here.

When will the Student Vaccination Portal open?
Beginning Monday, November 8, families will be able to upload vaccination documentation and submit exemption requests through a secure portal. As student privacy is paramount, please do not share this information via email with school staff.

What exemptions are permissible? For exemption requests, families will upload the following standard, written evidence for a medical or religious exemption.

  • Religious Exemption: Explanation in writing from a parent/guardian that a vaccine conflicts with their sincerely held religious belief (in alignment with state law).
  • Medical Exemption: Clear documentation from a doctor or health care provider of a medical condition that makes vaccination risky or unsafe.
  • Students with special needs: Clear documentation from a doctor or health care provider of an issue that would serve as a barrier to vaccination.

What is the tentative timeline for children under 12 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? We encourage families to make plans to participate in CPHD scheduled vaccination clinics and other opportunities for vaccination, but CPS has not yet established a timeline for school requirements for students under age 12.

As we approach the holidays, has CPS updated its travel policy?
CPS’ Health, Safety and Facilities Working Group continues to meet weekly and discuss, review and update the district’s COVID-19 Safety & Facilities Procedures Manual. The group is currently revisiting the district’s policy regarding travel and will provide an update next week.

Nutrition Corner
Due to continued national shortages of food and packaging materials, labor and vendor delivery delays and cancellations, more last-minute changes to the CPS breakfast and lunch menus are on the horizon. Please know that the Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) team is working hard to provide meals every day, make adjustments quickly and provide updates about menu changes as soon as possible but please make sure to reach out to your kitchen staff for specifics as menu changes may vary by school based on availability.

For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to FNS at 617.349.6858.

View the November Menu >>

Update: School Committee Meetings Portal
You will notice some changes when you visit the School Committee webpage. The School Committee office and the CPS communications and ICTS offices teamed up to design and launch a new School Committee meeting portal that makes it easier to sign up for public comment and, for the first time, be able to see the final actions of the School Committee in searchable format.

“The new School Committee portal was an important collaboration between the SC office and the administration to modernize School Committee operations and make its work more transparent and accessible to the general public,” said School Committee Vice Chair Manikka Bowman, who oversees the School Committee office.

Transportation
As we move into the winter months, please follow CPS’ Transportation Department on Twitter at @cps_buses for real-time bus route updates.

Apply for Child Tax Credit
Deadline Extended: People who make low or no income can sign up for the Child Tax Credit at any time through November 15. Get up to $1800 per child this year.

Apply with Code For America’s new simple sign-up tool. Learn more >>

Eligible individuals could receive up to thousands of dollars:

  • Up to $1800 with the Child Tax Credit per child for this year
  • Access to all 3 three Stimulus Payments for individuals and/or eligible children/ dependents (between $600-$3200 per person) if they did not get them

This money does not count for SNAP, TAFDC, MassHealth, SSI, public housing or most other benefits. If families do not sign up by November 15, they can apply in early 2022.

Caught Doing Good
RSTA StudentCongratulations to the RSTA Automotive Technology Program for recently passing its program review and on-site visit by NATEF, the national accrediting organization for secondary and post-secondary automotive educational programs. Our new accreditation will be good for 5 years!

We greatly appreciate Automotive teachers Steve Rivera, Steven Rivera Jr., and Roy Doucette for their intense preparation and immense efforts in documentation on Safety instruction, creating and teaching new lesson plans to keep our instruction up-to-date and for their expertise in delivering high quality teaching throughout the pandemic and the various models of remote and in-person learning.

Are you proud of something happening in your school, classroom or program? Share your “Caught Doing Good” story with [email protected].

What We’re Celebrating This Month
Native American Heritage Month
Cambridge sits on the ancestral lands of the Massachusetts and Pawtucket people. We honor and pay respect to these communities and the elders of these nations - past, present and future - whose practices and spiritualities are tied to the land.

Featured Events
Pfizer and Flu Vaccine Clinics
Students, families and the community-at-large are invited to get a free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot on Wednesday, November 10 and Wednesday, December 1 from 3:30PM to 7:30PM at the King Open School located at 850 Cambridge Street.
**Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are encouraged.**

Register >>

Families and Children: Team up and Learn Together
Team up to explore new skills while we stretch our brains and talk about self-care.
Six, 1-hour workshops for adults and children (ages 3 and up). Register >>
 
2022-23 JK/K Registration Information Sessions
The JK/K Lottery for the 2022-2023 school year opens on January 3, 2022 and closes promptly at 4PM on January 31, 2022. All registrations must be fully completed, including all language testing to determine eligibility for Program Language Bonus points. Please consider attending an information session to learn more about the process.

Wednesday, November 3 | 6-7PM
Wednesday, November 17 | 6-7PM

Calendar
Thursday, November 4 | Diwali Begins
Monday, November 8 | Student Vaccine Portal Opens
Thursday, November 11 | Schools Closed, Veterans Day
Wednesday, November 17 | Early Release Day-JK-8 Only
Wednesday, November 24 | Early Release Day, All Schools
Thursday-Friday, November 25 - 26 | Schools Closed, Thanksgiving
Sunday, November 28-Monday, December 6 | Hanukkah
Monday, November 29 | Student Vaccination Requirement for CPS Sponsored Afterschool Activities Takes Effect
Sunday, December 26| Kwanzaa Begins
Friday, December 24-Friday, December 31 | Winter Break

In Case You Missed It: Key Resources

Picture of the Week
Mock ElectionCRLS Mock School Committee Election

Democracy in action!
CRLS 9th graders held a school-wide mock School Committee election on Wednesday, October 27.

We are proud of our students engaging in the democratic process...way to go!
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