Wednesday, February 10, 2021

School Committee votes to close Davis Thayer (without allowing public comment) and hears about pool testing

Quick Recap:
  • With the weather (snowing), the meeting was conducted fully remote 
  • No surprise on the Davis Thayer (DT) vote to close the school. Putting emotions aside, it was the proper decision to come to. The SchComm could have handled the discussion better; at least allowing community comment. Not Tuesday night however
  • They didn't address some of the timing questions raised by one member that could have been answered by the three ad hoc members (but wasn't). This lead to a weird amendment to change the timing on the closure. The amendment failed by a 5-2 vote. The same 5-2 vote was the formal decision to close the building
  • The district will now be busy putting together the transition plan to move the DT students and faculty (most will but maybe not all, how many remains to be seen?) to the Keller/Sullivan complex for September
  • There was discussion on putting together a 'steering committee' or something to ensure communication during the transition does go to all stakeholders (a novel concept, given the current performance by this committee)
  • Oh, and yes, there is still a pandemic running around. Pool testing will be piloted and hopefully put into place with more then the 50% of the parents that initially said they would. If that goes well, then there could be a return to in person schooling before September. Stay tuned
  • Glossed over in the other items, there is no realistic hope of getting K-1 back in person anytime soon (at least before pool testing).
  • Legislative Forum scheduled for March 2

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #schcom0209

Superintendent report
  • Superintendent report: 'Franklin freedom team' forming to address hate and bias, meeting monthly. More to come as the team work progresses. Unified basketball also part of Fall II season. #schcom0209 Leadership workshop for women. More details in Supt. report when published
  • Congrats to FHS student art work (shared via Franklin Matters #schcom0209 spotlight for Annie Sullivan coming next
Annie SullivanDavis Thayer discussion - Action Item
  • #schcom0209 next up the discussion action items first the retirement of the Davis Thayer elementary school - doc with summary here ->
  • As hoc subcommittee chair Stokes basically reading the report as linked to #schcom0209 stopping for other members to comment or SchComm members to comment/question, public invite likely coming later
  • #schcom0209 FYI up over 170 participants via Zoom now
  • #schcom0209 getting to the recommendations, one to close the school building for FY 2022 (i.e. Sep 2021) and two to study and set up a master plan. Motion to approve, seconded. Discussion before vote, SchComm members up first. Keenan raises question about timing and focus ...
  • Keenan maybe missed that several of the options discussed timing and were put aside, discussion on amendment to the motion. Questions should get addressed before proceeding. Recommendation from subcommittee was unanimous #schcom0209
  • Spencer speaking not as a mom (son at DT) but a SchComm member working for the student of all Franklin. #schcom0209 recommendations for redistricting to address the location issues of district outline
  • Stokes also not speaking as DT mom, working for all Franklin students; Bergen for closure listing multiple reasons #schcom0209 economic efficiency, need the money for counseling, etc for SEL needs. School transition will work. Change is never easy
  • possible amendment for changing the time for closure, so moved and seconded, vote fails 5-2 (Keenan and Spencer voting no) #schcom0209 Master plan includes more than redistricting, huge policy direction change, will take time (MSBA project timeline takes years)
  • Supt answers the question raised on timing, worried about staff retention, #schcom0209 roll call vote 5-2 (Keenan and Spencer no) as before on amendment School approved for closure, no public comment before vote
  • Motion to dissolve ad hoc subcommittee, seconded, roll call vote 7-0 #schcom0209 Moving to discussion only items
  • Franklin now in yellow, #schcom0209 concerned with attendance patterns at FHS, those not going in with cohort are putting others who'd prefer to be there frustrated. $475K for COVID funding, 6 weeks of pilot pool testing Bandwidth increased to 10GB. Letter 2 Gov Baker ...
  • To advocate for teacher vaccinations change in priority. #schcom0209 Q when do we think full in person? Awaiting new guidance from CDC and DESE to update in re: transportation, fall at this time maybe spring, but pool testing needed still in planning process
Pool testing
  • Closer now with pool testing close but details need to be worked. #schcom0209 combined with vaccinations could bring back in spring sometime.
  • Selected slides from presentation, not yet posted to schools page (but will be) #schcom0209
  • More slides #schcom0209
  • #schcom0209 concerned about administration logistics with the pool testing, preK-1 would have adult do testing, 2-12 would self administer under observation. 6' is still a barrier to bring students into school. Additional PPE and staffing a concern; volume a concern too
  • Q on if we don't get much more than the 50% family participation, is that going to affect the educators position in regards to safety? Need to out more pressure on Gov Baker to adjust the priority for teachers #schcom0209 Q who will do transportation to the lab? Details ...
  • Still being worked in the logistics planning. Site based leader to coordinate, plan not shared as details not shared as not all conversations have been had yet meeting Weds to continue, #schcom0209 Q have we started plan for teacher vaccinations?
  • Hearing that it may not be in our preview, may be decided by the State and their rollout plans. #schcom0209 we have capacity here and could do it, just need the supply. Maybe more like 1700 tests/week (still a lot of samples).
  • #schcom0209 recommendation for a communications task force/steering committee or ? something to ensure appropriate stakeholders are involved and all parties are given updates regularly. Now opening for public comments.
public comments (by this time 1/4 of the Zoom participants had left the meeting)
  • 1- Q on UV upgrade and parts backordered, what's status? 2 - Disappointed that comments were listened to before decision and vote made. 3 - should have addressed timing better for the DT decision, I don't know of a plan yet as a staff member. #schcom0209
  • 4 - Q what are you going to do to transition in a positive way? No plan yet. We're promised monthly updates and there were 2, wasn't two way communications. Stop talking at us, talk with us, these are our kids. #schcom0209
Information Matters
  • March 3 budget Subcommittee meeting, forum on Mar 2, #schcom0209 policy meeting Feb 25, SWAC met this morning new webpage up. Nutrition resources, new bee hive coming next meeting Mar 16.
  • Next meeting, #schcom9209. Budget coming March 9 Consent agenda motion to approve, second, via roll call passes 7-0 Motion to adjourn, second vote via roll call passes 7-0 Catch you all next time!


School Committee votes to close Davis Thayer (without allowing public comment) and hears about pool testing
School Committee votes to close Davis Thayer (without allowing public comment) and hears about pool testing

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