I hope this Superintendent Update for December 2021 finds you and yours well.
Enrollment: Our enrollment as a regional school district has steadied. As of this morning, we have 1425 students enrolled within our district. David Prouty High School has 337 students enrolled; Knox Trail Middle School has 404 students; Wire Village School has 420 students; and East Brookfield Elementary School has 233 students including 92 students enrolled for the "Cubs Corner" Preschool!
Personnel: We continue to post for paraprofessionals to join our district. If you are interested in becoming a part of our family, please apply at: https://www.schoolspring.com
Covid-19 Update: As of this morning, we have had a total of 49 confirmed cases of Covid-19 within our schools. We have had 37 students and 12 staff members test positive for Covid-19, to date. This increase amongst our students and staff is a sign that we need to remain vigilant and adhere to the safety protocols for everyone’s benefit so we may keep our school house doors open. Please continue to work together with us - to maintain our safety protocols throughout the school year with frequent hand washing, disinfecting, test and stay as well as masking. Masks are required on all buses and when staff/students enter our schools. All of these safety protocols are essential.
As you are already aware, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has extended the mask mandate for all schools in Massachusetts through January 15th, 2022. None of our schools within the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District are eligible for optional masking due to the fact we are not at the 80% vaccination rate required.
Covid-19 Protocols: In anticipation of the upcoming holidays and family/social gatherings, District Administration and members of our Health Services Department met last week to review DESE/CDC guidelines and protocols for COVID-19. We would like to take this time to offer a few reminders.
Health and Safety Reminder
As mentioned above, parents / families play a critical role in supporting the culture of health and safety in our schools. As an important reminder, please keep your child home if they have been identified as a close contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19. If you or someone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19, please notify your child’s school nurse or principal, who can help guide you with this process.
Parents should perform daily Covid-19 symptom checks before leaving home. Students should stay home if they are having any one symptom of Covid-19, as indicated below. The following symptoms were taken from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website.
- Fever (100.0 Degrees Fahrenheit or above)
- Cough (not due to other known cause)
- Lower respiratory symptoms (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Fatigue/weakness, when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when combined with other symptoms/ If your child has chronic allergies, please request a note from your child’s physician indicating such.
Attendance: If your child presents at home or in school with any symptoms listed above, please contact your child’s physician for COVID testing. If the physician determines that there is an alternative diagnosis, you MUST provide the school nurse with a written doctor’s note stating the diagnosis and signed by the physician, prior to returning to school.
*Please notify your child’s school principal or school nurse if you have any difficulties following any of these guidelines.
Vaccine Data Collection: Also of note, throughout the month of December, we will be working with our staff and student’s parents /families to collect data on vaccine status. As we continue to receive more information from our parents and families about their child’s vaccination status, we will update our percentages accordingly and alert the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education once we reach the 80% threshold at each of our schools. This data collection is voluntary.
Inclement Weather Notifications: As noted in our 2021-2022 school calendar, we will have traditional snow days this year. Safety considerations, uniform access to electricity/internet during the school day, and COVID fatigue, make snow days an important part of successfully navigating the school year. Calling snow days in New England is a difficult task. As the Superintendent of Schools, I have a unique opportunity to evaluate conditions in real time, as well as consult with the National Weather Service, Department of Public Works, local Emergency Management officials, and neighboring towns. My decision regarding delaying, closing, or releasing schools early always has been and always will be based upon “safety first” for everyone within our learning community. If you have not already done so please put a plan in place for the safe care and/or receipt of your child in the event that a weather-related delay, closing, or release is necessary.
Notification Process: Our district has now transitioned over to the latest version of our App and website. Our latest App and website services are our primary means for delivering the most up-to-date information to your cell phones with our notification feature. To get the App, you can go to the Apple Store or Google Play Store and search for “SEBRSD” then download the App to your phone.
As well, as a backup communication service, notifications will be made through our OneCall Notification System. I will do my best to let you know the night prior, but not later than 5:30 a.m. on the day in question. Further, notifications will be placed on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter Account for the district well as Channel 4 (WBZ), Channel 5 (WCVB), Channel 7 (WHDH), and Channel 25 (FOX).
MSBA Update: A Districtwide Community Forum for the David Prouty High School Building project is panned for Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 at 6:00pm at the Wire Village School in Spencer, MA. This community forum will include a brief presentation of our proposed “Addition/Renovation” of David Prouty HS as well as have a question/answer session at the end of the evening. All are welcome to this important in-person event.
Monthly Meeting of the David Prouty HS Building Committee: Also, later in the month, on Thursday, December 16th,2021 at 6:00pm, the School Building Committee will hold its annual meeting in-person, also at the Wire Village School.
Upcoming Events in December!
Finally, we have many exciting activities taking place throughout our learning community in the month of December.
- Event: DPHS Marching Band & AA Transportation's Stuff the Bus! (Sat, Nov, 27th, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM at David Prouty HS!) Donations may also be made throughout the first week of December 2021.
- Event: Elementary Report Cards Distributed (Fri, Dec 3)
- Event: Winter Crafts & Vendor Fair at East Brookfield Elementary School (Sat, Dec 4, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
- Event: SEPAC Meeting via Zoom (Mon, Dec 6, 6:30 PM)
- Event: Community forum re: the David Prouty HS “Addition/Renovation” Project (Tues, Dec 7, 6:00 PM)
- Event: School Committee Meeting (Tue, Dec 14, 6:00 PM)
- Event: School Closed - Holiday Break (Wed, Dec 24 – Fri, Dec 31)
Finally, from our family to yours, have a safe and healthy holiday season and a happy new year! And as always, thank you for your partnership and support of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District! #Innovate #Inspire #Achieve
Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District