Wood's Weekly News

Superintendent Communication, February 9, 2022

Superintendent of Schools, Michael L. Wood

 

Policy

  1. The Commissioner of Education announced today that he will be lifting the state wide school mask mandate.  This provides the opportunity for the local Board of Health and the School Committee to discuss and decide how to move forward after February 28, 2022.  My recommendation is for policy to discuss and to weigh in with our local COVID committee to hear the data and discuss metrics as to how to off ramp to ensure that our staff, students, and families believe we can do this safely.  

 

  1. We are in the process of transitioning from the Pool Testing/Test  and Stay to Pool Testing / At Home Testing.  The process will start this week with staff receiving the at home kits, and next week the at home kits will be dispersed to our students’ homes.  There will be more later on how that will be done safely.

 

  1. As a reminder, Hatfield Public Schools is pleased to add the latest statewide Covid 19 Testing initiative to our menu of testing options for families and staff:  The Home Test Kit Project.

 

Families who have not yet signed up are invited to complete the DESE / DPH Opt-In Form to begin receiving a free test kit every 2 weeks for each student enrolled.  Each kit contains 2 tests.  Per DESE DPH: 

 

  • All families are encouraged to routinely test their student each Friday.

  • If a student develops symptoms at other times, please keep your student home,    

            test as appropriate, and inform your building nurse if your student has a positive 

            test. 

  • DESE & DPH have encouraged schools to discontinue contact tracing and the 

            “Test & Stay” project as we transition to the new Home Testing Project.  Families 

            will be informed of a cutoff date for the Test & Stay / Contact Tracing efforts 

            shortly.

 

If you haven’t already done so, please enroll by no later than Feb. 15.  An additional summary of the rationale for this testing initiative is attached here.

 

Please remember that the other testing options (Routine Pooled PCR Testing offered on Tuesday mornings and Rapid Antigen Testing for Symptoms while at school) continue to be offered.  If you wish to have your child enroll in the optional Routine Pooled PCR Testing project, we invite you to complete the CIC Health Consent Form for this separate testing program.

 

Finally, if your child has received their vaccines, would you please send a copy of this record to your Building Nurse.

Other information

Supt Newsletter Info

Also: (for your principal news?)....

Local Covid Vaccine Site Updates

Free Forum for Parents: Helping Youth who have Anxiety, Depression, & Stress

Operations and Management

  1. Several of the School Committee have joined me at capital committee meetings and a finance committee meeting.  Our next one will be with Finance on February 15th at 7 pm here at town hall. 

  2. The capital committee has been open to discuss all of our projects (HES Roof, HES/SA Parking lot, Technology Replacement Cycle, and Safety upgrades to the main SA office.)  The last two have had a lot of discussion and while Tech Replacement will likely need more discussion they are open to it being on the Capital Plan, just not sure how to pay for it.  The safety upgrades proposed for the main office needs more number crunching and I will be meeting with an architect next Monday to review the project. 

Personnel

  1. Our BCBA, Gail Palechka, has resigned to take a position closer to home.  We wish her well in her new endeavors.  We will post and or contract for her replacement.  

  2. Additionally we are looking for a cafeteria worker who resigned due to an injury (at home.) We are also trying to fill a vacant paraprofessional position at our elementary school and our high school. 

  3. Melissa Pitrat has accepted being our next principal.  Her start date is still up in the air but won’t be later than March 18, 2022.  That’s about the same time frame we had for Dr. Driscoll to move into his new role.  For the time being I will join the HES staff to lead the school and partner with the teachers, staff, parents and students to have a great spring. 

  4. The School Committee appointed Michael Wood, the full time Superintendent effective February 10, 2022.   The committee negotiated an extended contract for another two years for a complete three year term.  

  5. Our facilities director, Phil Genovese, is on leave.  He will be out for about 4 -6 weeks. We wish him a speedy recovery.