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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Lisa Dana, Keith Taverna and Mary Wermers