Dear Braintree Parents/Guardians & Students,
This past week has certainly been an adjustment for all of us, and we hope you and your family are healthy and managing to settle into a routine. This letter is to serve as a follow up to the communication we sent to you on Wednesday, March 18. The most important link is our upgraded resource page, which you can find at: https://braintreeschools.org/dailylearning
As you know, Governor Baker directed schools in MA to close until April 7, 2020 in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. After closing on our own on Friday, March 13th, we began the Governor’s shutdown Monday, March 16, 2020. Our last day of school is now locked in for Thursday, June 25th, regardless of how many more days we are out due to our COVID-19 shutdown. Please see our updated 2019-2020 calendar.
State and federal agencies have not been able to provide much clarification on many of the outstanding issues related to virtual and distance learning, but they continue to work through the complex legal and practical implications of school closure. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner of Education held a conference call with all superintendents on Friday, March 20th, and shared the following:
DESE has not finalized guidance on the use of virtual and distance learning and they are still advising that it will not count toward the 180 student day requirement. At this time, it is unclear if this will change.
Given current DESE information, work provided to students during the shutdown cannot be used for student grades, GPAs, and report cards. Consistent with the Commissioner’s initial guidance, virtual and distance learning will still be considered enrichment.
The Commissioner stated that guidance will be released this week with regard to services for students with special needs and the requirements of school districts to provide services during school closures. We are hopeful that this information will provide school districts across the Commonwealth specific direction for the enhanced use of virtual and distance learning.
The resources we provided on March 18th were intended to immediately give students and families learning options while we waited for DESE to provide more clarification and direction regarding state and federal mandates. As a reminder, Friday, March 13 - Wednesday, March 18, are considered ‘snow days’ and have been added to the end of the school year calendar.
In order to provide consistency, there is one district-wide source for all student learning resources. This site has been significantly upgraded since last week, and can be found at: https://braintreeschools.org/dailylearning. In addition, teachers may provide additional enrichment resources or information through online vehicles. The materials and resources now listed are for the week of Monday, March 23 - Friday, March 27. The site will be updated again for the week of Monday, March 30th - Friday, April 3rd. Should the closure be extended, weekly updates will continue until school is reopened. Parents and students will now find suggested weekly assignments for student work, as well as materials identified and organized by grade level and content areas.
For those BHS students taking Advanced Placement courses, a separate communication will be sent by us this week identifying resources to be made available for test preparation, along with how we intend to support our students.
MARKING & REPORT CARD PERIODS
Elementary Level: The marking period for elementary schools ended before the March 13th closing of schools. We will inform students and parents of deadlines for distribution of report cards upon the reopening of schools.
Secondary Level: The current terms will not end as previously scheduled. Once the date of school reopening is finalized, we will determine the necessary adjustments to the end of the current terms, and/or how the start of the next term will be organized, and how marking periods throughout the year will be weighted in determining final grades.
Along with all other town facilities, all school buildings are closed to the public as per order of Mayor Charles C. Kokoros: Town of Braintree Emergency Response.
While the Colbert Administration building (Superintendent’s Office) is closed to the public, it will be minimally staffed. Work permits will not be processed during the school closure. We will do our best to return phone messages, but encourage communication to our general email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has postponed the start of the spring athletic season until April 27th. This decision will be reviewed by the MIAA regularly and we will keep you updated.
All out of state school based trips and international student travel has been canceled. All other scheduled travel, including field trips, have been postponed until further notice. Once the date of school reopening is finalized, we will determine whether trips will be allowed for the remainder of the school year.
Grab and Go Meal Service: We will continue to provide bag breakfasts and lunches for all Braintree students, ages 18 and under. The service will continue to be offered daily at Ross and Hollis from 10AM - Noon. Effective Monday, March 30th, meal pickup days will change from daily to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. On Monday and Wednesday, you will be provided with two breakfasts and two lunches per student. On Friday, April 3, we will provide three breakfasts and three lunches per student. With school currently scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, April 7th, Friday, April 3rd will be the last day of grab and go meal service. Should the school closure be extended, we will communicate our plan for additional days of school closure. IMPORTANT NOTE: For everyone’s health and protection, this is a drive-up or walk-by service. Both parents and students must remain in their vehicles. When you arrive, please roll down the window in your backseat, or open your trunk so that meals can be placed in your vehicle without contact.
Please continue to practice the recommendations made by all health organizations, including hand washing and social distancing. We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.
Be well and take care of each other.
Dr. Frank Hackett
Superintendent of Schools