Superintendent's Update - November 20, 2020
Dear Monomoy Families -
As we watch the data showing rising cases of COVID-19 in our community and around the nation, we are monitoring that information closely. Thankfully we have only had three positive cases within our schools since the start of the school year, and the safety measures that we have in place have helped prevent any additional spread among our school population. As we head into Thanksgiving, I understand the want everyone has to celebrate with family and friends, but this year our holidays need to look different in order to make sure everyone is able to be there at the table next year.
I appreciate everything that our students, families, and educators are doing to limit their risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, which in turn is helping keep our schools open. Thank you for wearing masks, maintaining distance, and being mindful with indoor gatherings. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recommended:
- Limit gathering size: Indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people.
- Individuals should stay within their household: For a lower-risk celebration, people should limit in-person holiday gatherings to only people they live with or limit the gathering to a small group of individuals with whom they are regularly in contact.
- Avoid travel: Anyone considering travel should review and abide by Massachusetts travel orders, and people who want to travel to another state that is not a lower-risk state should be aware of the quarantine requirements involved with such travel.
In non-COVID news, we have been studying demographic trends in our elementary schools and developing potential solutions to what have been increasingly dramatic enrollment changes. While Cape Cod as a whole has seen fewer young families with children in recent years, the town of Chatham has experienced a drastic decrease in that population. While just a few years ago, Chatham Elementary School was about half the size of Harwich Elementary, it is now less than one-third the size, on track to have only one class per grade level. At last night’s School Committee meeting, I shared a presentation to the committee with details about the changes and an overview of possible solutions. You can read that information here. In December, we will be surveying elementary families and teachers about the options noted in this report.
As promised, families will be able to request a change of school mode at the half-year point. On Monday, November 30, we will be emailing a form that all families must complete, even if you don’t want any changes. The school mode selection form will help our administrative team rearrange staffing and schedules as needed to meet the needs of the families who wish to move from distance learning to in-person learning, or vice versa. Please be on the lookout for the email with the form on Nov. 30, and submit it promptly.
I wish you all a happy, restful, and safe Thanksgiving. Take care.
Dr. Scott Carpenter, Superintendent
Monomoy Regional School District