March 10, 2020 Update

Dear SPS Community- 

I am writing to provide an update to my earlier correspondence this week. As mentioned, the district continues to take additional measures to ensure our students, staff, and families remain healthy during this flu season and COVID19 issues. 

We have created a new web site, top left link on our district homepage, to house our health-related communications and provide helpful links to various organizations around the coronavirus situation. 

Yesterday, the Administrative Team along with Supervisor of Health Services, and Director of Food Services, met to discuss field trips, local and out-of-district events, communication protocols, and planning for any school closures. Most importantly, we talked about the risk of COVID19 infection being very low, that tried and true prevention measures are still the best thing we can be doing, and that we will take each decision individually using guidance from Massachusetts DPH, CDC, and our local Public Health Association. 

As of today, we have been informed of one parent who has been asked to self-quarantine by their employer but is not showing any signs of sickness. In those cases, DPH is clear that healthy children may be in school. We have heard of other situations such as area businesses asking parents to work from home, and we anticipate those things to continue. We will take each case individually and, if there is important information to share, we will do so on our new web site or via email. 

Cancellations: We have gone through as many trips and events as possible and have determined that, as of today, most are still good to go. As a general rule, and again, as of today, if an event is happening in Stoughton for Stoughton students and families, we are not cancelling it. This is true for upcoming plays, science fairs, and meetings. If an event is out-of-district and would have our students traveling a distance or in a large group offsite, we are cancelling those for now. Unfortunately, this includes the fifth-grade trip to the BSO set to occur this Thursday. We are working on an alternate date or a similar experience now. The OMS trip to Quebec has been cancelled based on the International travel restrictions laid out by the governor and the DESE. Similarly, along with many other districts, we will not be sending our DECA team to the International event in Nashville in a few weeks. 

- Watching closely: We are discussing and may need to postpone a HS music trip to New York City in mid-April. The SEMSBA Festival slated for next Friday is also being examined and may be postponed until late May. 

- DPH guidance, an abundance of caution, and staff and student safety must be our rule of thumb for decisions about trips and events. We will continue to keep folks informed of any adjustments or cancellations. 

Finally, with very recent guidance from DESE, we are making preparations in case of either a short or long-term closing. A short-term closing would occur if there was a need to do a thorough cleaning and establish small/individual quarantines. For extended closings, we are working on providing reasonable assignments for students based on grade and particular courses to maintain as much continuity as possible. If we did have a long-term closure, we are preparing for device/internet access and food service for students who would need that support. 

As we head into a warmer, sunnier Spring, we will keep lines of communication open, continue to monitor the situation, and follow all guidelines from local and state authorities to keep our students, staff, and families healthy and safe. 

Thank you. 

Dr. John Marcus, Superintendent