Good Afternoon Reading Public School Community,
I hope that you are enjoying your weekend. Here is the latest Fall Reopening Update. I apologize in advance for the large amount of information, however, we did receive a significant amount of information from the state this week that we want to share with you.
- New Teachers Begin This Week-We welcome all of the new teachers that have been hired thus far for the 2020-2021 school year. Our new teachers will begin tomorrow morning with the traditional new teacher induction program. Some of this program will be in person in the Performing Arts Center while the rest of it will be virtual or in the individual schools. When you see or meet virtually one of our new teachers, please welcome them to our school community.
- Community Forums- With the change in the phase in schedule for our hybrid learning plan, I would like to give the community the opportunity to ask questions and hear information in forums this week. The forums will be held on Zoom and will be held at the following dates and times:
Tuesday, August 25th at 4:00 p.m. (Zoom Link Below)
Wednesday, August 26th at 6:00 p.m. (Zoom Link Below)
Thursday, August 27th at 9:00 a.m. (Zoom Link Below)
3. Commissioner Riley’s Briefing-On Friday, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley sent an update (see attached) on several items regarding the start of school, including remote teachers coming to school, allowing children of teachers to come in person both weeks, and allowing teachers to bring their children to school. We are in the process of reviewing these latest recommendations to determine if this is something we can implement in our district. Please note that most of these items are subject to collective bargaining.
4. Rapid Response Testing-We have received word from the Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office that local school officials, after consultation with public health authorities, will be able to request a state sponsored mobile testing unit to test a group of students and/or staff when a potential cluster of COVID-19 cases has been identified and transmission occurred within the school. The purpose of the mobile rapid response unit is to provide testing of asymptomatic individuals who are not known to be a close contact, when there is evidence that COVID-19 transmission may have occurred within a classroom or school in the past 14 days. We hope that we will not need to use this resource, however, it is comforting to know that this resource will now be available to us. Please see the attached memo for more details.
5. Athletics-This past week, the MIAA and DESE released their recommendations for the Fall sports season and subsequent plans for winter and spring seasons. This week, the Middlesex League will be meeting to discuss what the fall season will look like. The links below provide informational documents for the upcoming athletic seasons.
6. Additional Guidance from DPH and DESE on Health Issues-This week we received additional health guidance from the state on several areas, including flu vaccinations, physicals, and vision and hearing screenings. The biggest change is the new requirement for flu vaccination for all K-12 students starting with the 2020-2021 school year. I have attached the information above. We will put out more information in the upcoming weeks on this area.
In addition, DESE and DPH released additional information on refinements and updates to previously released DESE guidance, with a particular focus on protocols for responding to COVID-19 scenarios in school, on the bus, or in community settings. These refinements and updates are a result of questions that have come from the practical implementation of both DESE and DPH guidance, as well as from evolving medical and scientific findings related to COVID-19.