Dear Old Colony Community,
We will continue to maintain communication as we process information associated with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its impact on our community. We appreciate your patience as we continue to manage this rapidly changing situation and will take necessary action to put the well-being of our school community at the forefront of all decision making. Please understand the importance of social distancing as it pertains to a collaborative effort to mitigate the heightened regional risk of cross-contamination from outside the community. We are focused on mitigation with the understanding that not all folks who contract COVID-19 will experience the same symptoms or outcomes. As stated in prior correspondence, this action, as part of a statewide strategy, will be most effective with the help and cooperation of the community.
Please note that an update to our school closure schedule was announced by our Governor during a press conference on March 15th. The Governor has made the decision to close all Massachusetts schools through Monday, April 6th with tentative plans to return to school on Tuesday, April 7th. This closure includes all student activities. School days will be made up, in the same fashion as snow days, in late June. However, make-up days will not exceed our 185th day of school. Our last day of school will fall on June 19, 2020.
Please note that during this unprecedented time we will work with our administrative staff and teachers to plan next steps pertaining to the weeks of March 23-27 and March 30-April 3. During this week of March 16-20 our responsibility is to adhere to social distancing recommendations. A status update relative to next steps for the weeks of March 23-27, 2020 and March 30-April 3, 2020 will be distributed to our Old Colony community on Friday, March 20, 2020.
Please know that we have provided guidance below for residents, families and students, and staff to help in practicing social isolating, monitoring symptoms, and avoiding typical student events and large gatherings during this period of closure. The intent is to isolate and therein calm the spread of the virus. If you do not assist us in this manner, we may be staying out of school for no effective result. This is town-wide public health strategy to reduce community illness, please take our requests seriously.
Previously Scheduled Activities While we know it is disappointing that activities are not occurring and key activities are postponed while community health is being prioritized. We are working to reschedule things wherever possible in the coming weeks. We understand that there will be questions about AP classes, college application deadlines, prom and other special events but we cannot yet answer this at this time.
School Employee Information
It is expected that all staff will check work email during this closure to remain informed. During this closure, the school will be cleaned and disinfected using deeper disinfection equipment. Custodial staff will be report to the school to handle these activities. The school is officially closed to all visitors and non-essential staff until further notice. Only pre-approved visitors will be admitted to the building under limited circumstances.
In the interest of business continuity, Old Colony Central Office will be open and the following essential personnel may be called to work during the closure: Principal, Business Manager, Facilities Director, Custodial and Maintenance Staff, Accounts Payable Assistant, Payroll Assistant, Assistant to the Business Manager, Assistant to the Principal, Assistant to the Superintendent, Director of Student Services, and Director of Technology.
In terms of MCAS, the DESE states that it may be possible to receive a waiver from the DOE on this requirement and DESE is looking at legislative relief within Massachusetts as well. The Grade 10 MCAS scheduled for the weeks of school closures have been postponed. Additional information will be provided at a later date.
If your student qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch and you are in need of access to meals, please contact our Food Service Director, Crystal Andrade at email@example.com. She will coordinate meal pick-up with you. We have also created a list of Meal Access Resources available to families. Please click on the link here to find a resource proximal to your respective district.
Community Health & Prevention
When a new illness is circulating, it’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. For our community health actions to be effective, we need all community members to do their part by staying at home as much as possible during the school closure. Our best prevention guidance is:
- Practice social isolation—only leaving home as necessary
- Avoid large social gatherings
- Cover coughs/sneezes with tissues, or cough/sneeze into the inner elbow.
- Practice good handwashing with soap and water as often as possible
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers ONLY if soap and water are not available.
What We Know About COVID-19: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a strain that is part of a large family of coronaviruses which usually cause mild respiratory illnesses, such as the ‘common cold’.
Some coronaviruses have caused more severe illness, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus that was not previously identified in humans before December 2019.
Quarantine and Isolation: Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It can take between 2 to 14 days after a person gets the virus in their body to become (outwardly) ill.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. Your healthcare provider can assess whether a test for COVID-19 is required. Depending on your contact and/or travel history, you will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you had contact with a positive or presumptive positive person.
During the isolation period, you should not have visitors in the location where you are isolating. If you must share living quarters with another person, then that person will be subject to quarantine as well. As noted above, we are asking students not to congregate and to remain as isolated as possible within their families as they can so assist in slowing the virus spread.
Follow-up and Next Steps
This is an unprecedented public health situation that is rapidly changing. We will keep you informed of any additional changes in operation as this rapidly evolving public health situation continues.
Thank you for your continued support and patience.