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Superintendent Email Update: June 10

DPS Coronavirus Update

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

10:00 PM


Hi Folks,


Over the past two days I have participated in a number of conversations and virtual meetings with parents, community members, and faculty/staff.  Everyone wants to know the same thing:  What is school going to look like in the fall?


I need to clearly state that as of this time, we just don’t know.  There are currently no official state-issued guidelines for what school will look like in the fall.  We are preparing for many different possible scenarios (completely in-person, completely remote, and hybrid combinations of the two) and all the different questions prompted by each method and current/anticipated social distancing restrictions.  


As I mentioned in my most recent message, on Sunday night the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released preliminary guidance for school districts regarding the possibility of limited in-person special education services during the summer.  This guidance supplements the Initial Summer School Re-Opening Guidance provided last Thursday.  These two documents deal with SUMMER PROGRAMMING ONLY and should not be perceived as a prediction of what school will look like more than two-and-one-half months from now. Each day that goes by provides better information about COVID-19 and the pandemic’s trajectory, and this information will be critical to mold next steps.


Superintendents are awaiting additional guidance for opening this fall, and we expect this information to come out sometime in the next two weeks.  This information will be based upon the best data that is available at that time.  Once that information is introduced, we will put together a committee with broad representation to begin planning how we in Dedham will manage this process.  I expect that many aspects of the fall opening (80%+) will be directly prescribed by the state, so it is not helpful to speculate and guess at this time.  Once we have better information, we will survey members of the school community, launch into this work, and communicate next steps.  Stay tuned.  I know we all want answers, but guessing starts rumors that are not based on facts and makes everyone stressed and anxious. 


As we begin to prepare for the transition to summer, we expect that our very popular food services “Grab and Go” meals program will continue after the last day of school (Friday, 6-19).  It is very likely that distribution days will be adjusted to twice per week.  This will be easier for our food service workers and distribution volunteers, and hopefully more convenient for patrons also.  I’ll provide more specific information next week on which weekdays will be used for distribution.


If you haven’t explored Stress and COVID-19: A Course For Teens In School, I encourage your middle and high school kids to take a look.  This interactive course provides a series of tips and coping strategies on topics related to technology use, relaxation, sleep, establishing routines, and exercise.  Remember that these resources are geared toward our Gr. 6-12 students.  


Also remember that the Dedham School of Music's Community Band Director, Jenn Allen Zevos, is producing a virtual performance of "Stars and Stripes Forever" in preparation to release on the 4th of July, and they want members of the community to help out!  Sheet music is linked right here!  Video submissions are due by June 22nd to  Online rehearsals are via Zoom (link = on Thursday, June 11 and June 18 at these times:

7:00-7:30 woodwinds

7:30-8:00 brass 

8:00-8:30 percussion


All my best,


Mike Welch