March 12, 2020 at 8pm
Dear SPS Community-
As of 8pm, Thursday, March 12th, the Stoughton Schools will be open tomorrow, Friday.
I want to clarify what was meant by "out of state travel" and "field trips" in today's update.
Field trips are those brief trips by a class or grade that are done in a day and are within Massachusetts.
Out of state travel includes all trips out of Massachusetts, most of which are overnight. The cancellation includes Quebec, Nashville, and New York. While initially, it also included the 8th grade trip to Washington DC, we were informed late today that the tour company contract allows us to hold off on making a decision until the beginning of April. Therefore, at the moment, we have NOT cancelled the DC trip. If DESE guidance changes or a clear rule is instated that prevents us from waiting, we may have to cancel the DC trip sooner than the beginning of April.
Thanks to those who have reached out with questions.
March 12, 2020 at 4:25pm
Dear Stoughton Schools Community-
As you are aware, the coronavirus situation continues to evolve daily. As of today, we have no confirmed cases of COVID19 in Stoughton. Over the last couple of days, we have received new information from the local, state, and federal government. Governor Baker has urged employers and organizations to “limit or eliminate non-essential travel and large events where possible.” As such, the SPS administrative team met this morning to go over newly updated guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Education regarding school trips and events. We also met with town leadership (Police, Fire, Public Health, town manager) this morning to ensure we are on the same page, and have established an active working group. The district will continue to update its programs and plans on a daily basis as more information and guidance becomes available from the state and federal government.
As of today, we are continuing to hold classes as usual. We are continuing our additional health measures including extra cleaning, extra hand washing, and insisting sick students or staff stay home. We are monitoring students and staff who may have traveled and are following up with each to ensure they were not in areas of concern and are completely healthy.
Short-term closure: If a staff or student tests positive (or presumptive positive) for COVID19, as per DESE and DPH guidelines, we will close the school right away, alert families, and do a high-intensity cleaning of the building. Because we have so many connections across our schools, we would also close the rest of the buildings (2 days up to 2 weeks, depending on DPH advisory). Quarantining of affected students and staff would begin at that time and last for 14 days.
We are also planning for the potential of a long-term closure, and all schools will be ready. Our hope is that important end-of-year events (most importantly, graduation) all go on as usual. If the Department of Education or the state takes additional measures, we will let you know immediately.
Regular school activities, rehearsals, club and athletic practices that are attended exclusively by students and staff of the Stoughton Schools will continue as scheduled, or until further notice. All activities will need to end by 6pm.
All international and out-of-state travel is cancelled indefinitely.
All field trips that were scheduled through the end of March have been cancelled and may be rescheduled if possible.
Beginning tomorrow (March 13th), all gatherings that bring in visitors or spectators (such as parents and grandparents) (including upcoming plays) are postponed through the end of March.
Athletic practices will begin as scheduled on Monday, March 16th, but scrimmages with other schools will not occur. Additional information on actual games will be coming out shortly.
All outside rentals of school buildings are cancelled indefinitely. Rescheduled school events will need to take priority.
All buildings will now close at 6pm each night to give our cleaning crews additional time to clean and disinfect facilities.
To ensure the well-being of our staff and students in light of the extensive cleaning and disinfecting process now in place, please be assured that all cleaning products and practices have been carefully vetted by our team and follow all state and federal guidelines.
Stoughton staff, parents/guardians, and community members have continued to be amazing amidst some really difficult changes to our regular routines, and those may change again. As we have heard many times recently, our collective efforts to reduce the spread of the virus is the most important thing we can do to keeping our community strong. I’m so very grateful for the offers of help, questions, and suggestions. One theme that has emerged, which is so important, is how we are talking about the coronavirus situation with our students. Principals are committed to working with all staff members to ensure that children are getting age-appropriate, factual, but re-assuring messages at school. Please seek out factual information and ask questions to officials as social media may carry inaccurate messages. We thank you for your continued support, including sharing healthy messages and routines at home.
Please reach out with any questions. Thank you so much!
Dr. John Marcus, Superintendent