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District Email Update: August 25, 2020

Hi Folks,


I am getting in touch tonight to provide some updates to the fall reopening sequence for students.  Thank you to all parents who completed the survey asking whether you wanted a full (at home) remote or a hybrid (part in-school and part at home) learning experience for your children.  We received over 2200 student responses, and last week our principals began tracking down individual selections for all other students.  These preliminary choice preferences for each school were reported to the School Committee last week.  


Remember - all students will begin remote (at home) instruction on Wednesday, September 16.  Students will begin in-school instruction based upon a phased approach beginning Monday, September 21.  Now that we have most of the student preferences in hand, principals will be communicating specific student cohort information by the end of this week.  Depending upon a student’s specific needs, these cohorts could be two days or four days per week.  Wednesdays will be a remote learning day for all students, and will allow for deep cleaning of all buildings. This cohort information will allow parents to finalize plans for which days of the week their children will eventually phase into in-school instruction.  Please reference the district’s dedicated fall reopening website which has the entire APPROVED comprehensive reopening plan  posted as a pdf document.  


The School Committee and the Dedham Education Association continue negotiations on the impact of the district’s approved reopening plan.  There have been 8 sessions so far with another session scheduled for Thursday, August 27.  Teachers will be reporting back to the schools on Monday, August 31, and will continue with professional development training leading up to our first day of remote learning on Wednesday, September 16.  I appreciate the time and investment of the 18 Dedham educators along with the 7 parents and district representatives who are assisting in this collaborative effort as we work to safely return to school.


Last week the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and DESE released guidance for fall athletics.  However, this guidance will require additional decisions by athletic leagues (Dedham competes in the Tri-Valley League) and School Committees in order to determine exactly how things will work.  The Tri-Valley League Athletic Directors met last Friday and will be finalizing their discussions this week.  As soon as decisions are reached, DPS Athletic Director Steve Traister and DHS Principal Jim Forrest will provide additional details.


Thank you again for your ongoing patience and support of the Dedham Public Schools.


All my best,


Mike Welch