Superintendent's Update - April 1, 2021
Dear Monomoy families,
As we head into this much-needed three-day weekend and the upcoming April Vacation, we naturally want to gather with loved ones and friends, particularly at a time when the seasons are changing and the Cape is emerging from winter. We are also at a point in this pandemic where there is so much hope and optimism. With 44% of the Cape’s residents having received at least one dose of vaccine (according to the state’s latest weekly COVID Dashboard), it seems like we should be celebrating – however, this week also brought home the jarring reality of how quickly this growing joy can be replaced by sadness.
The good news about the pace of vaccinations has been juxtaposed in the past few days with worry when a member of our staff needed to be hospitalized due to complications with COVID (a first during this pandemic). Welcome news that the staff member was released from the hospital was then followed by extreme sadness upon hearing of the death of one of our student’s parents due to COVID. Our hearts go out to that family and all those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic.
The Cape and its schools are very much in the midst of a third wave of COVID infections. While earlier waves disproportionately affected the elderly, most of whom now are vaccinated, the current wave is hitting homes with school-age children the hardest. Infection rates amongst school-aged children locally are at their highest level since the beginning of this pandemic, which has caused some area schools to shift to fully remote instruction. I strongly encourage our staff and families not to let down their guard and to continue to practice safety measures of masking, social distancing, avoiding indoor gatherings, and getting tested if traveling, in order to help our schools remain open and safe for all. Sacrifices now may both protect continued in-person learning and better enable us to return to normalcy this summer and beyond. As always, you can find current data for our schools on the COVID dashboard on our homepage, and detailed information on a variety of COVID topics here.
The state Department of Education recently released new guidelines for districts, requiring in-person instruction for all students. Thankfully, Monomoy has been doing so since September, and therefore these new guidelines will not have a great impact on our programs. Our elementary and middle school students have been able to learn in-person five days a week since the start of this school year, so Monomoy has already been meeting the state’s new directive for this entire school year. Our high school in-person learners have been on a hybrid schedule that has them in the school building two of every three days, and I would anticipate that our high school would transition to daily in-person learning following April Vacation (although the state has as yet to issue guidance for high schools). Any students who have already been full-time remote learners may continue to do so through the end of this school year.
Effective April 19, 2021, all individuals age 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine in Massachusetts. You can sign up for vaccination appointments via the state’s VaxFinder site here.
The state recently announced that it will continue to fund pooled testing through the end of this school year. We will be reviewing the data and be making a determination soon about whether to continue with the program through June. We appreciate all of those who have been participating in and facilitating the program in our schools over the past weeks.
Take care and stay safe.
Dr. Scott Carpenter, Superintendent
Monomoy Regional School District