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Superintendent's Update - April 16, 2021

Dear Monomoy Families,

April break is next week, and it always seems to mark that last push towards the end of the school year. This year has been unlike any other, and I am so proud of our teachers, staff, students, and families for working hard to make it a fulfilling year.

Summer is on the horizon, as is a return to some of the ‘normal’ activities we all enjoy. COVID case numbers in our region are thankfully trending downward again, and the Cape is finally having infection rates on par with where we were prior to Thanksgiving. This is likely due to increasing numbers of vaccinated individuals, but we need to continue to do whatever we can to keep COVID rates down in order for our schools to close out the year with in-person learning. We cannot afford to have rates spike upwards as they did after February vacation. Masking, social distancing, and avoiding indoor gatherings continues to be important. You can always find our current case numbers and other information on our COVID dashboard on our homepage. All Massachusetts residents age 16 and up are eligible to receive the COVD vaccination starting April 19. You can sign up here, as well as directly through local pharmacies.

Many families, including my own, will be traveling over the April Break. The state has amended its guidelines to a Travel Advisory, and you can find those details here. The CDC also has recommendations for travel here. To protect everyone in our school community, our expectation is that unvaccinated students and staff traveling over break will get tested before returning to school and will not return to our buildings until they have gotten negative test results.

After eight weeks of pooled testing, we have found that the pooled testing results are not telling us anything we don’t already know – we’ve known pools would be positive before we’ve gotten the results from the lab. This is because of the great job our families and staff have done about staying home when they or a member of their household is ill or awaiting test results. All pools this week came back negative. Over the past several weeks, the few pool tests that came back positive were positive because an individual in that pool was momentarily asymptomatic, and before the results were received, the individual and/or their family members had become symptomatic and contacted their doctors and the school. We will not continue pooled testing after the April vacation, and we need families and our staff to continue staying home, as needed, and keeping the lines of communication open with our nursing staff.

Our next Community Forum on Monomoy’s elementary schools will be held May 6, with a focus on the question: What is the best configuration of Monomoy’s elementary schools for student learning? You can find event details here. In some of the discussions around this issue, questions have arisen on the number of school choice spots at MRSD. We have compiled a school choice FAQ, with data listing specific figures, that can be found here.

Stay safe and enjoy a relaxing April Break.

Dr. Scott Carpenter, Superintendent
Monomoy Regional School District