January 5, 2021
Dear SPS Families,
Thank you for joining us in our efforts to provide the best educational experience possible for your students during this difficult school year. We understand how challenging this has been for families and educators alike.
In response to new data, family input, and to improve student learning, we will be making some changes to our hybrid learning model in the next few weeks.
We are asking you now to make a choice for the next few months (effective January 19th to April 16th) about whether your students will participate in our revised hybrid learning model or engage in fully remote learning only.
Please keep in mind that if the number of students choosing hybrid instruction exceeds the capacity of our schools to serve students in person, we will give hybrid slots first to students who are not making adequate academic progress, and then fill the remaining slots through a lottery.
You must make your selection by Friday, January 8th at 9:00 PM (see details below) or we will assign your child to the hybrid or fully remote model.
These new hybrid models, which increase the time students are actively engaged with a teacher, will begin on January 19th. The changes include:
- Elementary (K-4) live remote instruction for all students on Wednesday mornings
- Middle school live in-person or remote instruction for ELA, math and science, and one hour of remote live instruction each afternoon for all students
- High school live in-person or remote instruction for all students for all classes except PE
The document linked below describes what our revised hybrid models will look like.
If, after reviewing the attached hybrid models, you still have questions you feel need answers before you can make a decision for your students regarding their participation in our hybrid model for the upcoming period (January 19th to April 16th), please submit your question through this Google Form:
Answers will be posted daily to this document:
Please remember that for the vast majority of students, learning and achievement improve if they are in-person with their teacher at least some of the time.
Please COMPLETE THIS SURVEY by Friday, January 8th at 9:00 PM to let us know which model (hybrid or full remote) you are choosing for each of your students for January 19th to April 16th:
PLEASE NOTE: If you choose the fully remote option, this is a commitment through April 16th.
Again, we deeply appreciate all your efforts to partner with us in the education of your children, especially this year when families must play a much larger role than ever before to help our students succeed.
Dear Swampscott Families,
As many of you may already be aware, the Board of Health voted at Monday night’s meeting to recommend that the
schools go fully remote. With this recommendation in mind, along with many other conversations and consultations, the
district will move back to the remote model for ALL students PreK-12 beginning Monday, December 21st, 2020,
through Friday, January 8th, 2021.
● The Board of Health made this recommendation because the positive case numbers in our community are
climbing, as are the positive school-aged cases.
● We are receiving more requests from families who are requesting to switch to the remote model.
● With holiday gatherings, we have no oversight, and there will be unknown contacts and transmission.
● Travel plans – again, we have no oversight, and there will be unknown contacts and transmission.
● One week after the break will allow for almost a “requisite” quarantine to safely transition back to the hybrid
model and minimize risk.
● We plan to return to our current hybrid model on Monday, January 11th.
The district has created a COVID Data Dashboard that will be updated weekly.
Thank you in advance for your continued patience and flexibility in these unprecedented times.
Below are some of the relevant points but not the entire letter.
With the increase in COVID cases across the Commonwealth and in our community, the district has made some decisions regarding changes to our programming that will be implemented beginning this coming MONDAY, December 14th.
- Due to staffing challenges, THE HIGH SCHOOL ONLY will move to REMOTE LEARNING next week until the break.
- Students will no longer be able to stay for lunch.
- High needs students may return after they go home for lunch – optional.
More specific details for your school/program to follow in communication from your building principal.
COVID NOTIFICATION LETTERS:
- We have heard from many of you that the letters we are sending per DESE guidance, regarding COVID cases in your child(ren)’s school, families are not finding helpful and because they are receiving them frequently are now holding less meaning and frankly, sometimes, being ignored.
- We have heard you and our Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) along with our Director of Technology are working on a data dashboard to be posted on our website with COVID school and community numbers. We are working on this dashboard and will get it posted as soon as possible.
HYBRID MODEL UPDATES:
- The district is beginning to face challenges of in-person learning even in this model right now with the number of positive cases and close contacts rising significantly and impacting both students and staff. In recent days, staffing issues are becoming a daily challenge.
- Additionally, we are monitoring the classroom temperatures and our Director of Facilities is examining those classroom spaces where the temperature is extremely low even with the heat on and the windows only opened minimally. As a result, as we make our way through the winter months and extremely cold days – we might have to call a “remote” day at the elementary and middle school levels because of potential classroom temperatures.
- Outdoor tents are being taken down and stored for the winter months. Please have your students dress appropriately for the weather.
- We are working on improving our learning plans for remote learners, in-person, and synchronous instruction. More information will be provided in early January.
- I have attempted many times, to articulate the challenges we face with increasing the number of in-person students. These are challenges faced by my colleagues across the Commonwealth. Please see the letter sent to the Governor this week on behalf of all Superintendents and School Committees MASS/MASC Letter to Governor Baker
MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS AND RESOURCE:
- As the number of mental health visits and hospitalizations of students across the Commonwealth has increased significantly this fall, we continue to remain concerned about our students. ● Our faculty and staff are lasered focused on your children and their well-being but we also count on parents, guardians, and caregivers directly to principals and counselors at each of our schools if you have concerns about your child(ren).
- In addition, this is a resource that families might find valuable: HandHold
UPDATED QUARANTINE GUIDANCE FROM THE STATE:
- Earlier this week, the state released updated quarantining guidance.
- Please note: Due to the increase in COVID cases in our community and the School District is NOT ALLOWING THE 7 DAYS OF STRICT QUARANTINING OPTION at this time. ● We have modified our protocols to adhere to the 10-day quarantining period with two modifications noted in red in the chart above.
The Superintendent’s office sent home this letter today about our reopening on Monday, October 26th.
The link in the letter is not working but it was directing you to this page from MA regarding the Mandatory Flu Vaccine.
As always, we are updating our Reunite 2020 page and our Covid 19 pages with the latest communications and information. These pages can be found on our SPS home page or through the Resources tab – Families/Students.
Please visit our ReUNITE 2020 page to view our Fall reopening plan and Hybrid models, as well as recent communications from the Superintendent’s office.
Tech help evenings and hours are coming next week, please visit https://sites.google.com/swampscott.k12.ma.us/digitallearning/family-help page for the most up to date information
We have become aware of a known issue with Zoom and Google Meet and certain types of Chromebooks, many of which are in use throughout our district. We know this has been frustrating for many families and teachers today in Swampscott as well as across the country.
When we reached out to Zoom to discuss, they responded with “While we have a team currently looking at ways to continue optimizing the existing Chrome application, Zoom’s number one goal is delivering the best possible experience for our users. To provide the highest performance and most stable Chrome application, we are focusing on the development of our new, ground-up, next-generation Chrome client. We are partnering directly with Google to ensure it is optimized for speed, features, and compatibility. In the interim, it’s important for Chrome users to ensure they are running the latest Chrome client, (SPS chromebooks are all updated), and to close all other applications and browser tabs.”
If your students experience quality problems with Zoom on a Chromebook, please ask them to follow these steps, which should improve performance.
- Remove any unnecessary extensions in use for Google Chrome.
- Limit the number of open tabs during meetings. Additional tabs use system resources and tax a chromebook.
- Turn off your camera if you have difficulty staying connected to meetings.
This problem, the timing of which could obviously not be worse, is affecting Chromebook users everywhere in all school districts. We are researching other potential workarounds and best practices but a solution will ultimately have to come in the form of a Chrome software update as noted above by Zoom. Please make sure to reach out to the teacher if you have missed a meeting due to a Zoom difficulty so that we can track this data. We are also working with our staff to try out Google Meet as an alternative to Zoom.
SPS Technology & Digital Learning
Website to learn about the Chromebooks: https://sites.google.com/swampscott.k12.ma.us/digitallearning/student-chromebooks
Please email SPSwebmaster@swampscott.k12.ma.us to report inaccessible content or if you have questions or concerns about accessing information on this website.
Complaint procedures and filing formal grievances under Section 504 can be found on our website accessibility page.
Town Hall, 22 Monument Avenue
Swampscott, MA 01907
Main: 781-596-8850 x1263