Covid-19 Update 3.20.20
Covid-19 Update 3.20.20
Dear Marshfield Families, Students & Staff,
Good afternoon. I hope this note finds you healthy and well. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being patient, flexible and understanding as we all navigated the first week of school closures together. There is no playbook written to prepare for this, but I think the MPSD educators, administrators, students and families did remarkably well, all things considered.
You may still have plenty of questions and concerns about what may happen down the road. I simply ask that we stay in the present, as best we can, and focus on the things that are under our control. It is not going to help anyone if we spend time worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future and that are out of our hands.
That being said, while we cannot truly replicate the magic that goes on in our classrooms, our staff have worked diligently over the past week putting together a number of online learning resources for our students and we have compiled them in our MPSD Community of Learning. This online resource is being continually updated with new voluntary lessons and activities that allow all students to work independently as they stay engaged in academics. As time progresses, the state may provide additional guidance for communities to expand instructional strategies in a way that creates equity within our districts and across the state. As we get more direction from the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) on that front, I will share it out with you.
It has been wonderful to see the variety of ways that our teachers and building/district leaders have found to stay in touch with their students. That connection is key as we all struggle with the challenge of being apart from our students. The positive interactions going back and forth between educators and students will only help us get through these challenging times and they magnify the strong learning culture that exists here in Marshfield.
With regards to those who miss services such as school breakfast and lunch, please know we will continue our Grab-n-Go breakfast and lunch bags that have been distributed this week at the Marshfield Boys & Girls Club on Proprietors Drive. This service is available in the morning between 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM. We have numerous volunteers helping us, along with our friends at the Boys & Girls Club and the Marshfield Food Pantry.
After seeing how things went during the first week, we may reassess our strategies a bit over the weekend and tweak some of the ways we make the meals available. We want to make sure we are reaching as many of our students as possible who rely on our breakfast and lunch programs, as well as those families who are in need of nutritional support. If we change any part of the delivery system for meals, those changes will be communicated to you prior to Monday.
As I noted earlier, some of you may have a number of questions regarding the school year or events that typically take place during the school year. While we cannot address all of them at this time, there is one I do want to touch on and that is regarding the state’s standardized MCAS testing, which takes place every spring. While there has been no official notice of change, it appears there may be legislation filed at the state level that would give the state Commissioner of Education the ability to make real time decisions on cancelling part or all of the tests if needed. While there may likely be some form of change, at this time, we do not know what that change will look like.
You may have also seen that an announcement did come out today that noted the US Department of Education is offering broad waivers to states on federal testing requirements. That is a positive first step, but action still has to take place at the state level before any changes are made here in Massachusetts with our MCAS schedule. I, along with many superintendents from across the state, reached out to Commissioner Riley and urged him to consider postponing the MCAS for the year. Students, staff and families are focused on this international health crisis and on the amount of class time they are already missing. The last thing we should be worried about is trying to squeeze standardized testing into the limited class time we may have. If there are any changes on that front, I will communicate that information out immediately.
Finally, I know some of you may have seen the public service announcement that Police Chief Tavares posted this week on the critical need to practice appropriate social distancing as we try to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Please heed his message and do what you can to stay home as much as possible and to steer clear of large group gatherings. It will help us all if we work together. For those who did not see his announcement, here is the link: Chief Tavares PSA
Thank you again for all of the work that has been put in by our MPSD stakeholders this week. We are in this together and the more we continue to help support each other, the more we will be able to accomplish during these unique times. Please stay healthy and rested and if you have any questions, keep communicating them to your teacher and principals. The MPSD team is here for our students and their families.
Have a great weekend.
Jeffrey W. Granatino
Superintendent of Schools