Welcome back to the first day of school! Over the next few weeks, we are going to move slowly, methodically, and purposefully - taking the time needed to return to teaching and learning safely. As the Superintendent of Schools, I am asking everyone to please to stay positive, supportive, understanding, and most of all, flexible throughout this pandemic.
Our Core Values: Since my arrival the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District, we have always emphasized the need to be "respectful, responsible, and ready to learn!" These core values have served us well in the past couple of years as a learning community; and in this day and age, where there are so many wide ranging views of COVID-19; it is so important to be respectful of everyone’s beliefs. COVID-19 has been around less than a year and everyday there are many conflicting reports in the media as to how dangerous this disease is for different segments of our population. And while there are hundreds of news stories in the media these days that contradict one another; what we do know is that there are simple ways to significantly minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Safety First! According to the CDC, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and our local Boards of Health, every one of these agencies agrees that the following actions steps are necessary to mitigate Covid-19:
- Masks have to be worn.
- Hand washing often and sanitizing often.
- Physical distancing at 6 feet apart is necessary.
- Deep cleaning and disinfecting is essential.
Students, parents/families and staff are asked to remain committed to the safety measures outlined above. To be clear: everyone is expected to wear your mask on the bus and in school each day and wash your hands often for, at least, 20 seconds. Also of great importance, please do not come to school if you do not feel well. Finally, it is important to respect everyone’s personal space (6 feet of physical distancing). By following these simple rules, we will protect one another and minimize the potential of a significant outbreak.
Let us begin... We are taking a cautious approach, to some too cautious, but erring on the side of the health and safety of our students and staff is a necessary and prudent first step. The first four weeks of school will give us plenty of data to examine as we determine the next steps. By starting the year using both models, we can move easily from hybrid to remote and vice versa. Neither model can replace in person learning and a complete return to school for all children. However, it remains paramount to keep students and staff safe at all times and let the public health data drive the regional school district decisions.
Changing "How" we teach and learn... Further, please continue to emphasize with one another and the children that this is an opportunity. This fall all students will receive a device, most Chromebooks. All students and staff will be trained in SeeSaw (Grades PreK-3); Schoology (Grades 4-12); Google Classroom (All Grades), and Zoom. The district is taking a taking the lead in changing “how” we teach and learn together for the benefit of our students. Please continue to remain partners with us - and support us - in the year ahead as we work to reinvent what school looks like this year.
It is our time to thrive... The 2020-2021 school year is going to be an adventure, but as I begin my third year of service as Superintendent of Schools, I have learned that the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District “learning community” thrives when confronted with a challenge and truly comes together better than most during a time of need - as evidenced by our outstanding food service "Grab and Go" meals program. Our goal is to get through the first four weeks of school together; assess where we are as a school district with the goal to return to in-person learning district-wide as soon as is reasonable to do so.
Finally, thank you for your patience and understanding; and thank you for collaborating with us in the education of your child. I look forward to learning from, and with, all of you in the new school year ahead. @ChooseSEBRSD #Progress #Unity #Knowledge
Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.,
Superintendent of Schools