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Update on Coronavirus Regarding School Closure


Dear NPS Community:

I want to begin this email to express my thanks for your patience while we continue to work through what is becoming a rapidly changing health and safety situation. We have been working over the past week to deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our community and appreciate your cooperation as we manage this.

Earlier today, there was communication with the Commissioner of Education, the MA Department of Public Health and Superintendents from across the state. Additionally we have been in constant communication with local districts. At this time, Norton Public Schools will be closing effective Monday, March 16 through at least Friday, March 27. This closure includes all out of district students, sports practices and try-outs, and Champions. This is a precautionary measure as there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Norton. School days will be made up, in the same fashion as snow days, making our last day of school June 19.

We understand that our lives have been inundated with information regarding this virus over the last several weeks. As a district, we have been working to be proactive in our response to the ever changing climate and recommendations. Therefore, in order to support our students and families we are taking the following steps:

  • Students in K-2 will be provided with activity packets that support our learning standards and can be used as enrichment options to continue learning outside of the classroom
  • Students in Grades 3-5 will be allowed to take their district sponsored chromebook home during this time. We ask that parents/guardians of students in Grades 3-5 please take a few moments to complete the Chromebook Loan Agreement indicating that you have received the device and will take responsibility for it while it is at home. This is a digital version of the agreement used for our 1:1 program in grades 6-12.
  • We have created a website NPS Learns that provides digital resources for students at all grade levels to explore while out of school.

Please know that these learning activities are not meant to replace actual curriculum, nor are they mandatory for students to complete. As a district, our goal is to support students and families with options to continue their learning while they are away from school if they so choose.

Previously Scheduled Activities: We are working to reschedule things wherever possible in the coming weeks. We understand that there will be questions about MCAS, AP classes, prom and other special events, information will be communicated as soon as it is made known.

School Facility Use: All rental use of all school facilities, public-at-large use of the facilities, and evening and community events in our facilities have been canceled, effective immediately and until further notice.

The MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) has delayed the spring sports season start, to the earliest, to March 30, 2020.

Food Support for Students: We are working with food services to develop essential services for students experiencing food scarcity and food insecurity to have access to food stations (during this closure) that will comply with social isolation expectations, but still allow kids to eat. Further information to follow.

Community Health & Prevention

For our community health actions to be effective, we need all members to do their part by staying at home as much as possible during the school closure.
Our best guidance to stop the spread of germs is:

  • Practice social isolation—only leaving home as necessary.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid large social gatherings.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers ONLY if soap and water are not available.

What You Need to Know About COVID-19:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf
https://www.mass.gov/doc/english-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-0/download

What to Do If You Are Sick:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/what-you-should-do.pdf

Follow-up and Next Steps

This is an unprecedented public health situation and our hope is that if we all work together, we can reduce the spread of this virus, protect our most vulnerable residents, and resume normal activities as soon as possible.

We encourage everyone to visit the NPS site (www.norton.k12.ma.us/families/coronavirus-covid-19-updates) for up-to-date information about COVID-19, with more resource links for parents and to official public health information.

We will keep you informed of any additional changes in operation as this evolving public health situation continues.

Regards,

Joseph F. Baeta
Superintendent of Schools