Criteria for Reopening School Buildings

Criteria for Reopening School Buildings



STGRSD Letterhead

November 30, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope you all had a relaxing and safe Thanksgiving. When reflecting on one of the things I am so thankful for, it is working with families and staff that put children first and prioritize the value of in-person teaching.

Last Tuesday, at our School Committee Meeting, I presented the conditions of the new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that was passed by both the Southwick Educators’ Association and the School Committee. In the original MOA, a Hampden County COVID-19 Positivity Rate of 3% was the single metric determining school closure. The new MOA specifies multiple data points and criteria for school closure. Under the new MOA, in order to close, two of the three criteria below must be met:
Hampden County at a 5% or higher COVID-19 Positivity Rate for a 14-day period
Southwick, Tolland, or Granville, becomes red on the Community-Level COVID-19 Data Reporting map for two consecutive weeks
1% or more (more than 11 people) of the in-person/hybrid District (students and staff) are absent due to a positive COVID-19 test

Additionally, the new MOA provides the following exemptions to automatic closure:
If one of our three schools has no cases of COVID-19 in their in-person/hybrid population, they CAN remain open if it is deemed safe by the safety committee
If one of our substantially separate special education programs has no cases of COVID-19 in their in-person/hybrid population, they CAN remain open if it is deemed safe by the safety committee

The new MOA also allows for closure of a school, or the District, in the event that a “cluster” is identified in one or more buildings. A cluster is defined as:
Two or more students/staff within the classroom group develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and transmission/exposure occurred in the classroom
More than 3% of the cohort/grade (at least 3 individuals) develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and transmission/exposure occurred in the school
More than 3% of the school develops COVID-19 within 14 days, and there is evidence of transmission within the school
Three or more staff within the same school develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and there is evidence of transmission among the staff

I continue to emphasize that my interest is in getting our students back to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so. The safety committee will continue to meet weekly to monitor COVID-19 trends and positive cases in our STGRSD community. It is our greatest hope, that we can reopen some of our buildings and/or programs as early as Monday, December 7, 2020. Please understand, due to the timing of data released from the State, notification about school building reopening will happen on either the Thursday or Friday preceding a Monday reopening date. We acknowledge this is not ideal timing for planning purposes, but must ensure we are reopening our schools with the most current data for the safest return to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Willard
Superintendent of Schools

To view the full Memorandum of Agreement, visit the District webpage: https://www.stgrsd.org/departments/human_resources/employment_contracts
 
To locate Hampden County or local COVID-19 data, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-weekly-public-health-report-

The STGRSD safety committee includes the following individuals: Superintendent of Schools, Union President, School Nurse Leader, School Committee Chairperson, Director of Finance and Operations, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, Southwick Public Health Nurse, Southwick Board of Health Director, Granville Selectboard Chairperson
©2021 Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District