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1/22/21 Superintendent & COVID Tracking Updates

1/22/21 Superintendent & COVID Tracking Updates
Posted on 01/22/2021
Healthy School Updates
Pooled Testing (six-week trial)
The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has made a 6-week trial available for pooled testing starting around the Feb Break Time period. While we are still uncertain of all the details and the timeline (daily webinars bring more clarity), we will discuss what we know with the public on Monday our school committee meeting (see sidebar meeting link and details).  
I will send consent forms to staff emails and to students/families (via Blackboard Connect) on Monday. DESE indicates that the faster districts get this administrative task done, the faster they can allow us to begin. Therefore, we are asking you to please fill out the electronic form ASAP.
For more information on DESE's pooled testing program or for a refresher/overview on pooled testing click here: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/pooled-testing/.
If you can reserve logistical questions until we have held a more in-depth forum with the community, we'd appreciate it. We understand we are asking you to sign a form of consent (which you can revoke at any time). However, this is like being "preapproved for the mortgage" when buying a home—they want us to move and the faster we gain high numbers for participation, the faster they will help us move to implement.  
Forms will arrive on Monday in the late afternoon. Stay tuned.
REMINDER:
Natick Learning Recovery Program Plan
As discussed in previous emails, we are sharing our Natick Recovery Learning Program Plan with you.
To participate in the program, students will be referred by a teacher to school administration and program coordinators. Parents will be notified of the referral by the referring teacher and the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation.
This document is also linked on our Parent Academy page on the website at natickps.org/parents.
STARTING MONDAY!
RedHawk Winter Walk
Finally, please visit us starting January 25 for the family-friendly RedHawk Winter Walk.
This fun winter walk is led by our Technical Theater students at NHS, in collaboration with local businesses and club leadership from across Natick High clubs and activities.
COVID-19 WEEKLY UPDATES
REMINDER: Natick Board of Health Metric Dashboard Changes
Newly enacted Board of Health Metrics for further nuance in our work to keep schools safe. Voted 1/11/21 by the Board of Health. These metrics revise our color-coded "bubbles" dashboard (click here to view the dashboard). We are pleased to see a small downturn in metrics.
Weekly School Metrics
Weekly COVID metrics
In conjunction with the Natick Board Of Health, the following overview of Virus Thresholds and COVID Closure and Communications Procedures. This is a guiding framework for use in the coming months as we work to keep schools healthy.
For your ease, we will update the NPS COVID dashboard every week with the Board of Health. The Board of Health will work with Dr. Nolin, the superintendent, to make decisions about virus impact to classroom, school and district closures or openings.
The Board of Health has some latitude within aspects of the framework relative to virus clusters (i.e. high rates of nursing home infections should not dictate the closing of schools but would create higher overall community reflection rates). Each Friday, we will also indicate any schools who have quarantined cohorts and overall confirmed cases. However, a three-week window of data for the community as detailed in the above memo will be the indicators used by the Board of Health to decide our open/closure rates. Classes and individuals who must be quarantined will be notified by both our nurses and the Board of Health. Rigorous contact tracing and COVID notice procedures will then ensue.
All individuals directly affected are contacted personally and in writing. Here are our communication procedures. Cases are tracked by the BOH, NPS nursing staff and the Department of Education Mobile Virus Response Unit.
MA COVID Travel Order advisory.

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