COVID Next Steps

Dear DPS Community,

 

We are writing to you today to share three updates this afternoon:

 

  • Feedback Forums

    The daily average of positive cases reported to the Danvers’ Board of Health has recently moved us from a low risk (green) community to a moderate one (yellow). Given this change, we are moving the level-based Feedback Forums to virtual meetings. You will receive a link to your Forum on the day of the event.

 

 

  • Please see the District Wide Nurse’s Update with a revised DPS Family COVID Information Sheet including information on return to school requirements, close contact information and travel information.

    DPS Family Covid Information Sheet

 

 

Kind regards,

Lisa Dana, Keith Taverna and Mary Wermers

First Day of School Family Resources

September 15, 2020

 

Hello Danvers Community,

 

Tomorrow, September 16th, marks the start of the 2020-2021 school year! We are really looking forward to seeing all of our students online for the first day of school. Thursday will be the first in person day for Cohort B and Monday will be the first in person day for Cohort A. Please note that your teacher will provide full details of your child’s schedule tomorrow.

 

If you encounter any technology issues, please fill out the Google Form below so a technology specialist from Danvers Public Schools can assist you. Our technology team will be responding to tickets as soon as possible. Please know that we understand the need for flexibility with all our students during this transition to the remote and hybrid settings.

Student DPS Online Help Desk

 

We wanted to remind you that you can find helpful resources on our website.  Our website has been updated with details on the 2020-2021 Reopening including information on the Safety Protocols for Elementary, Middle School, and High School students as well as protocols across K-12. 

 

Our nurses have provided information for families on what they need to know for a safe return to school, along with a video highlighting health and safety information. As noted in the DPS Family COVID info sheet, please remember to screen your child for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning before attending school. Everyone must do their part to protect others and stay home when feeling unwell.

 

We greatly appreciate our collaborative partnership with our families.

 

Thank you,

 

Lisa Dana, Keith Taverna, Mary Wermers

Free Lunch Program

The U.S.D.A has extended its program to provide all children (ages 0-18) with free breakfast and lunch as late as December 31, 2020 or as long as funding is available. Parents and guardians are still encouraged to apply for meal benefits so there will be no interruption of service when this program comes to an end. Menus and service will remain as close to normal as possible following CDC guidelines and lunches will be available for pick up at DHS from 10:00-11:00 for any remote students and we will soon be making home delivery available to those with transportation issues. Any prepaid funds are still available for individual milk, snack items, and second entrée purchases or will be applied to lunches when this program ends. Please do not hesitate to contact thomaspowers@danvers.org should you have any questions or concerns.

Update 8/14: Danvers Family Reopening Survey and FAQs

Hello Danvers Community,

 

The Danvers Public Schools plan is to open for the 2020-2021 school year in a hybrid model.  Our reopening plan was shared at the August 6th School Committee meeting and can be found here.  We appreciate the feedback from our families and staff.  This week, we have been able to put together a full remote learning alternative taught by Danvers teachers with Danvers curriculum. (This is a revision from the original reopening plan.)

 

In order to help us plan for this hybrid model, we ask that you fill out a survey for each child attending the Danvers Public Schools. 

 

 

This survey requires you to commit to the learning model for your child to participate in for the coming school year (Danvers Hybrid Learning Model or the Danvers Full Remote Learning Alternative). This information will assist us in scheduling cohorts, transportation, after school care, etc.  For families who do not complete this survey by Wednesday, August 19th, your child will be automatically assigned to the Danvers Return To School model – the hybrid model.  

 

We have received many emails from parents and staff with questions that have helped us update our new Reopening FAQ’s. Please review this document before filling out the survey so you are able to make the best decision for your child’s placement.

 

In regards to transportation, please note, families will receive transportation registration information in an email next week. 

 

Thank you,

 

Lisa Dana, Mary Wermers, Keith Taverna

 

Questions? Ask us!

Quick Family Survey 8/10/20

“As a follow-up to Thursday’s School Committee meeting, the district is sending out a quick survey to help us with our Return to School planning.  As required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the district will be offering multiple models of education this fall. As the School Committee voted last week, the district will be returning in a hybrid model with a fully remote learning alternative option available to families. 
 
After the DESE presentations of their full remote learning alternative models and Thursday’s School Committee meeting, the district is exploring the feasibility of a full remote learning alternative model offered by the Danvers Public Schools taught by Danvers teachers and using Danvers Public Schools curriculum.   We’ve put together a Quick Survey to start our feasibility study. Please check your email for the link. If you did not receive the email, please contact us at info@danvers.org
 
Later this week, we will be sending an additional survey to begin to collect specific family information around your intended model to return to school in the Fall. This information will allow us to schedule cohorts, transportation, after school care, etc.”

Danvers Public Schools Reopening Plan Update 8/5

Good Afternoon Danvers Community,

We are writing with an update on our planning process for the start of the next school year.  Below, we are sharing our Return to School Plan as the first step in communicating this plan.

Please click here to join us for our next School Committee meeting on Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 7:00PM. Our administration will present details of our DPS Reopening Plan that includes three learning models – hybrid, remote and in-person. Then, our School Committee members will vote on which learning model to implement this Fall. Other agenda items include policy updates for transportation, the DPS Mask protocol, and reviewing our revised 2020-2021 academic calendar.  Please note that, if you are unable to watch the School Committee meeting on Thursday, DCAT will record the meeting and post it on their website.  

Please take time before the meeting to read our DPS Return To School Plan and our FAQ sheet

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to submit them to info@danvers.org by 3:00 PM tomorrow (Thursday). After the meeting, we will update the FAQ sheet and post it to our website. Thank you to those who have shared their questions regarding the reopening already!

Thank you,

Lisa Dana Keith Taverna Mary Wermers

Danvers Public Schools July 31 Reopening Models

The following document outlines the three potential learning models that Danvers Public Schools is presenting to DESE on July 31.

To watch the Danvers Public Schools School Committee presentation, please click here.

 

Download (PDF, 491KB)

Initial State Reopening Guidance

Dear DPS Community,

Today, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall.  We appreciate the level of thought that went into the development of this guidance, and especially its goal of the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.

Over the coming days, we will be reviewing the guidance to begin to understand how it impacts the Danvers Public Schools.  We have formed a Reopening of Schools Committee and Curriculum and Social-Emotional Learning Subcommittee to develop the necessary plans for a safe reopening of school in September.  The committees met last week and will meet next week to digest the details contained in the Commissioner’s guidance.  There will be additional guidance coming from DESE throughout the summer that will strengthen this initial guidance.  Our committees will continue to reflect on the new guidance and make refinements to our existing plans.   For your information, we have summarized  some key components of the initial guidance:

  • Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school – with preventive measures in place – as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults.

  • Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and staying home from school when sick.

  • Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below.

  • Mask will be required for all district-sponsored transportation.

  • Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established.

DESE is requiring districts to develop three separate plans – one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning.  Although things are subject to change based on the most recent medical information, the expectation today is that students will return to full in-person instruction in September.

We realize that there are more questions than answers at this time, and we will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks and months.  We also encourage you to read the full guidance document, and if you have questions to please send them to our dedicated email address for public comment: info@danvers.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Lisa Dana, Keith Taverna and Mary Wermers

Update 6/1: End of 19-20 School Year, Survey, Parent Resources

Dear DPS Families,

As we head into our last two and half weeks of remote learning, we want to take a moment to once again thank you for being our partners in educating your child(ren).  We consider our collaborative work in remotely educating the students of Danvers as a marathon.  If we were actually running the Boston marathon, we’d be coming off of Heartbreak Hill, running past the BC campus, and beginning our downward descent through Brookline.  As we enter the month of June, we are in our downward descent to the end of the school year; we’ve made it over Heartbreak Hill, we are tired, but the end is near!  In order to support you through the final weeks, we’ve provided resources that we hope you will find useful in supporting your child(ren) to sustain their engagement in remote learning.  Our newest resources are:

As we close out the year, you’ll find that we have two strong weeks of remote learning remaining, with the third short week spent celebrating and closing out the school year.  Your principals and teachers will be sending out school-specific information.

Finally, we want to thank those of you who have completed our Family Remote Learning Survey.  This information has helped us understand your views on the current remote learning plan and will inform the development of future remote learning plans.  If you have not had the chance to respond, please feel free to take the survey:  link to the survey

Take care,

Lisa Dana

Keith Taverna

Mary Wermers

Update 5/18: Remote Learning, Survey, and Family Resources

Dear Danvers Families,

 

We hope that this letter finds you and your family safe and well.  It is hard to believe that we have been away from school for 9 weeks and are starting our 3rd week in Phase III of our remote learning.  As part of this communication, we are sharing a letter from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education which highlights the different phases of remote learning we have experienced and provides a brief picture of Phase IV – preparing for the next school year.  In addition, the letter also includes a 2-page handout on School Connectedness which highlights the Commissioner’s guidance for Phase III of remote learning.

 

We also want to take the time to thank you for being our partners in educating your children.  This unprecedented time has turned our way of educating students upside down.  Not only are many of you working remotely or as an essential worker, but you are also working to support your children as they participate in remote learning experiences.  We are aware of the different needs of our families and have planned our remote learning approach with equity in mind.  That being said, we wanted to provide other resources, as you may need something different to keep your child(ren) engaged for the last four and half weeks of the school year.   First and foremost, please know that our number one goal for remote learning is to keep your children engaged in their learning and connected to their school community.

 

Finally, since we have completed two weeks in Phase III of our remote learning plan, we would like to get your feedback on this plan.  We would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to complete this survey.   Once we’ve completed the school year, we will focus our energies on Phase IV – planning for the opening of school in the fall.  While our hope is that we are all together in school in person, the reality is that we may have a need for remote learning for some periods of time during the next school year.  Your feedback will be important as we plan for the next phase of reopening our schools.

 

Take care,

 

Lisa Dana, Keith Taverna, and Mary Wermers

Update 5/4: Remote Learning Update, Resources, and Expectations

The beginning of May brought beautiful weather along with the reality that we are not going back to school today and will end the school year away from one another.   Given this new reality, on April 24th, the Commissioner of Education released new guidance for the state’s approach to remote learning.   The good news is that we are on the right path with our remote learning plans. The Commissioner’s guidance highlighted two areas we’ve begun to strengthen – new academic content and student connectedness.  

 

During the week of April 6th, many of our teachers started to shift to teaching new content after spending the first weeks of remote learning reinforcing previously taught content.  With the Commissioner’s guidance document released on April 24th, we are now able to focus our work on prerequisite standards – content that all students should learn this school year.  This past week, teachers at all levels reflected on what they taught in the first two-thirds of the school year and determined which standards they must cover for the remaining weeks.  They embarked on collaborative lesson planning and will begin to transition to covering these new standards as soon as they close out the content they are currently covering.

 

In addition to focusing on new content, our teachers also strengthened their commitment to connect with students.  The Commissioner stated in his guidance:  “A quality remote learning program will ensure that opportunities for connection are woven throughout core instruction and enrichment opportunities. Separate group or individual check-ins focused on students’ social-emotional health and well-being are also highly encouraged for all students.“

 

In Danvers, we were on that path by setting up varied opportunities for teachers to connect with students.  To that end, in our family communication on April 24th, we sent guidance on the use of Google Meet by stating our expectations for students while participating in these sessions (see below).  Our approach to student connectedness looks different at each level.  At the Elementary level, teachers are providing two forms of live virtual meeting opportunities. Currently, classroom teachers are hosting a class meeting once or twice a week as an opportunity for students to connect with their teacher and their classmates. In addition to this, beginning the week of May 11th, each grade level team will offer office hours twice a week.  These are optional opportunities for families to join a Google Meet and ask questions about content or particular assignments and get feedback from their teacher.  At the secondary level, teachers will continue to hold daily 30-minute office hours to provide feedback to students on new academic content as well as host opportunities for students to connect in other ways (Team meetings, co-curricular activity check-ins, etc).  

 

This week, May 4-8th, is teacher appreciation week!  We’d like to express our gratitude for the Danvers teachers especially as they have quickly transitioned to remote learning while balancing the care of their own families.   During this pandemic it has become clear that teachers play a very important role in the lives of our students and families.  Please join us this week in showing appreciation for teachers, teacher aides, and Title I tutors along with our nurses for Nurses’ Day (May 6th).  Also, know that we appreciate our families who have become our partners in teaching through our time in quarantine.  We know you may find it challenging to work with your child(ren) on school work but we hope that we’ve provided the structure and materials to assist with this important task.  Please find some additional resources to support you at the end of this letter.  

 

Finally, we are mindful that each and every family has unique circumstances that they are facing during these challenging times so we want to remind you that we are here to support you – be it the need for support with a daily lunch, support with technology or Chromebook repairs (please contact school principal), or support with remote learning.  Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

 

Take care-

Lisa Dana

Keith Taverna

Mary Wermers

Resources for supporting your student with remote learning:

 

District Remote Learning Website

 

Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19

 

How Parents Can Help Their Kids While Managing Distance Learning (secondary)

 

How to Support Your Children in Learning at Home (elementary)

 

Expectations for students during Google Meet sessions:

 

Here are some guidelines for student participation in a Google Meet (Hangout). All students must follow the Danvers Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy .

 

Expectations for students during Online Class Meetings:

 

  • Appearing in a video meeting is a choice. You are also welcome to be a silent observer by simply muting your microphone or camera.
  • Our teacher and classmates will see what is behind you. Make sure it is appropriate and not personal.
  • Find a quiet space where you will not be distracted by family members. Let your family members know that you will be participating in an Online Class Meeting.
  • Think of the space you are using as your classroom. This means dress as if you were in school and keep your conversation school appropriate.
  • You should only be having a teacher led conversation while the teacher is present. When the Online Class Meeting is over the teacher will end the call for the entire class.

  • You may not record the video call as video, audio, or still images (screen captures, etc.)  because it is illegal to record or take pictures without the person’s consent.
  • You may not invite others (share the link) to any Meet hosted by a Danvers Schools staff member.

An age-appropriate form of this statement will be read at the start of each Online Class Meeting:  “Whenever we participate in remote learning through the use of video communication, it is important that we continue to respect the privacy/confidentiality and intellectual property rights of our school community for both students and teachers. By participating, you as students agree that you may not save, record, share, or post a session or any photos/screenshots from a session. I also agree that I will not save, record, share, or post a session or any photos/screenshots from a session. Please remember that all school rules and acceptable use policies apply during these remote learning sessions.”

 

 

Update 4/24: Use of Google Meet

Good Afternoon DPS Families,

 

As we continue to evolve our remote learning, we wanted to share clear expectations for students while utilizing Google Meet (Hangout).

Here are some guidelines for student participation in a Google Meet (Hangout). All students must follow the Danvers Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy .

Expectations for students during Online Class Meetings:

  • Appearing in a video meeting is a choice. You are also welcome to be a silent observer by simply muting your microphone or camera.

  • Before you start, be aware of your background. Your teacher and classmates will see what is behind you. Make sure it is appropriate and not personal.

  • Find a quiet space where you will not be distracted by family members. Let your family members know that you will be participating in an Online Class Meeting.

  • Think of the space you are using as your classroom. This means dress as if you were in school and keep your conversation school appropriate.

  • You should only be having a teacher led conversation while the teacher is present. When the Online Class Meeting is over the teacher will end the call for the entire class.

  • You may not:

    • record the video call as video, audio, or still images (screen captures, etc.)  because it is illegal to record or take pictures without the person’s consent.

    • invite others (share the link) to any Meet hosted by a Danvers Schools staff member.

  • An age-appropriate form of this statement will be read at the start of each Online Class Meeting:

    • “Whenever we participate in remote learning through the use of video communication, it is important that we continue to respect the privacy/confidentiality and intellectual property rights of our school community for both students and teachers. By participating, you as students agree that you may not save, record, share, or post a session or any photos/screenshots from a session. I also agree that I will not save, record, share, or post a session or any photos/screenshots from a session. Please remember that all school rules and acceptable use policies apply during these remote learning sessions.”

With this week’s announcement by Governor Baker extending the school closure until the end of the school year,  we are finalizing our Phase 3 (May 4- June 18th) remote learning plans and will provide an update later next week.  Additionally, we will keep you updated during the Month of May for June end of the year events.

We greatly appreciate your support and collaboration.

Take good care,

Lisa Dana, Keith Taverna, Mary Wermers

Update 4/24: MIAA Announces Spring 2020 Sports & Tournaments Cancelled

Spring Sports and Spring Tournaments cancelled for the remainder of 2019-2020 School Year
April 24, 2020

In accordance with Governor Charles Baker’s announcement Tuesday that Massachusetts schools will be closed to in person learning for the remainder of the school year, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regretfully has cancelled all spring sports and spring tournaments.

Today’s decision by the MIAA Board of Directors was difficult, disappointing, and one that was deferred for several weeks as Association staff, Association members from the Tournament Management Committee (TMC) and the Board worked aggressively to construct optional structures to save the opportunity for our MIAA 80,000 student-athletes to enjoy a spring season.

Despite this disheartening but unavoidable action, it is paramount to applaud our constituents, principals, athletic directors, coaches and student-athletes for their positive power of example and cooperation during this unprecedented crisis.  The “life lessons” inherent in the games we play will be our resiliency to provide mental and physical strength to focus on the discipline and teamwork to make a difference in the challenging chapters in the Game of Life.  #OneTeamOneMIAA

Update 4/21: School Closure through June 18, 2020

Good Afternoon DPS Families,

 

We hope you and your families are doing well and staying healthy.

 

This afternoon the Governor announced that schools will remain closed through the end of the school year in June. We expect additional guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by the end of the week around priority curriculum standards to focus on to prepare for the next school year in addition to logistics for closing out this school year.   We will be in touch next week to address how we will approach our remote learning and the close of school.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.

 

Take care,

Lisa Dana, Mary Wermers and Keith Taverna

Update 4/21: MA DESE Letter to Families

For additional resources for families with children with disabilities, please view the Family Resource Toolbox. This page contains information such as organizations, hotlines, resources to obtain internet access, supplementary learning resources, remote learning lesson help, assistive technology, caregiver tools, and more great resources.

Below you will find a letter to families from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Download (PDF, 150KB)

Update 4/14: April Vacation, MCAS, PBIS, etc.

SC Vote on April Vacation
Our School Committee voted in favor to use the 4 days from April vacation for remote learning and have the last day of school be the 181st day – June 18th. Thank you for all of your support.   1,325 families responded with 86% in favor and 353 staff responded with 92% in favor. Principals and teachers will be sending out more information about learning assignments for next week.
Spring 2020 MCAS Update
Message from Commissioner Riley – “With the federal testing waiver secured and the state legislature officially enacted, I can now confirm that this spring’s regular administration of MCAS in grades 3-10 is canceled.”
The use of PBIS is especially helpful when events disrupt normal routines – events like worldwide health pandemics. This practice brief provides recommendations for families and caregivers on how to use PBIS to continue to support their students’ social and emotional growth and minimize behavioral disruptions in the home.
Legal Notice on remote learning– in our FAQ. Our “Keeping Danvers Students Engaged” webpage has our archived updates and additional resources.

DPS COVID-19 Update 4/2: Special Education

Letter to Parents/Guardians of Students with Special Needs

Danvers Public Schools

 

April 2, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians;

 

During this exceptional time, Special Education providers in the Danvers Public Schools are actively engaged in supporting remote learning opportunities for students as we strive to flatten the curve of COVID-19.  Our top priorities are to keep students and their families connected to us, support students as they learn at home as well as provide and modify these remote learning opportunities to the best of our ability and try to maintain aspects of normalcy in a time of enormous stress.

As you know, COVID-19 is the obstacle to providing service and instruction that we normally would.  During this pandemic, the regular school day cannot be replicated. We cannot provide all expectations of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) nor can we evaluate students as we would if school were open.  Despite severe constraints on our interactions with students we are working hard to provide opportunities that honor the intent of each student’s IEP. This work is different from specially designed instruction but is aligned to the IEP.  We are regularly coordinating, collaborating and communicating with general educators, administrators, support staff and consultants.  

Our Special Education providers, inclusive of related services providers, are planning activities and lessons that focus on maintenance, engagement and Social Emotional Learning.  We will hold some annual reviews via video or teleconferencing with parent/guardian permission and if the health, safety of our students, parents/guardians, staff and community permits.

Our approach during this unavoidable shift to remote learning opportunities is consistent with the guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the U.S. Department of Education.  Of note, the Office of Special Education Services of the U.S. Department of Education maintains that the IDEA was not designed to deliver education during a pandemic and has advised that we focus on the safety, health and welfare of students and staff in our community first and foremost; provide FAPE by delivering services the best we can and to as many students as is reasonable under the constraints we face; and demonstrate a good faith effort to provide services.  

We care deeply about our students and community.  Danvers Public Schools Special Education staff as well as all related service providers meet regularly as groups and with general educators to coordinate our ongoing efforts to support our students.  We will continue to do so. Please, please take care of yourself and your loved ones. Follow the guidance by the CDC. Together we can do this.

Most sincerely,

 

Dr. Mary Tatem

Director of Student Services