Showing posts with label facial covering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label facial covering. Show all posts

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Boston Globe: mask and schools; inappropriate behavior changes rule for KP football games

"Mass. communities are reluctant to let students remove masks in school — even when they can"
"Scores of Massachusetts communities have been so effective at getting students and school staff vaccinated that they may no longer have to abide by the state’s mask mandates for their middle and high schools right now — if they chose to.

But while more than 60 communities have met the Baker administration’s threshold of 80 percent or higher vaccination rates among teens, only two — Hopkinton and Ashland — have sought and received permission to stop requiring inoculated students and staff to wear masks in their high school.

And Hopkinton officials are having second thoughts.

The Hopkinton School Committee opted to delay any action to lift the state mask mandate in its high school even though the state gave the town permission on Oct. 7."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

"‘Inappropriate’ behavior prompts new rule for some students at King Philip Regional High football games"
"Middle and elementary school students will now have to bring a parent or guardian with them to attend varsity football games in Wrentham following unruly behavior at home matchups this season, according to a letter sent to King Philip Regional School District families last week.

The new requirement was put in place after young students were caught “exhibiting unruly, inappropriate, disrespectful, and unsportsmanlike behavior during games” at King Philip Regional High School several times over the last few weeks, Superintendent Paul Zinni said in the Tuesday letter.

Zinni said the incidents are “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

“At King Philip, we pride ourselves on our sportsmanship and integrity for all student-athletes and the student body,” Zinni wrote. “We have all been enjoying cheering on our team this season and wish for their continued success.”
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Boston Globe: "Behind the state’s school masking policy: a collision of science and politics"

"Opponents of school mask mandates have often been louder and more insistent than supporters — even though polls suggest they’re in the minority. Parent groups opposed to making students wear masks in school have filed at least six lawsuits across Massachusetts to stop the policy.

Now, internal state e-mails suggest that anti-masking activists are having a significant impact on the Baker administration, which has resisted full compliance with federal guidance that students should wear masks at school even if they’ve been vaccinated. Current policy will soon allow schools with high vaccination rates to drop mask requirements for vaccinated students and staff.

The determination to follow this middle path may be in part political. When a Massachusetts General Hospital doctor asked in an e-mail why the state was not following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, a top state health official was blunt: pressure."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Boston Globe: "Behind the state’s school masking policy: a collision of science and politics"
Boston Globe: "Behind the state’s school masking policy: a collision of science and politics"

Friday, October 1, 2021

Recap: School Committee meeting hears of graffiti incident, DLI updates, ESSER III grant draft plans, and approves facial covering policy

Quick recap:
  • Graffiti incident at FHS discussed, Superintendent Ahern updated on Principal Hanna's response and work still underway
  • School topics (Davis Thayer, budget, etc.) scheduled for Town Council meeting Oct 6
  • New communications person, Lily Rivera introduced
  • Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) provided updates on their work supporting teachers and learning technology
  • The draft plan was previewed for use of the ESSER III (Federal funding) to be made available
  • MASC delegate approved, review of MASC resolutions conducted, vote on them scheduled for next meeting. Odd situation may occur, if Denise Spencer doesn't get re-elected Nov 2, with the MASC conference scheduled for Nov 3, the conference would not have a Franklin representative
  • Facial covering policy approved, this wont be the last update, more are likely as the pandemic continues
  • Minutes from Sep 14 split from Consent agenda and approved; the remaining items of the Consent agenda also approved; both votes via roll call


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting live in the Council Chambers.


The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #schcom0928

School Committee agenda: 

School Committee packet folder (all the doc for the meeting) 


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


Citizens Comments
  • I stepped up to share about the Franklin Area Nonprofit Network (FANN) in an effort to reach out to the PCC organizations. The FANN vision "Franklin will be a community where nonprofit organizations work together for the greater good of its residents. " #schcom0928
  • Citizen comment on disappointing curriculum night experience was paperwork instead of info sharing and teacher info sharing #schcom0928
  • Citizen comment on when will get out of this? #schcom0928
FHS Student updates
  • Superintendent introduces the new FHS representatives. MacKenzie Atwood a senior (returning this year) production of Mama Mia Nov 12-13; speaks to the recent act of hateful graffiti found on a back door of the school #schcom0928 she can't feel safe in the halls.
  • "While we have made progress ... but more needs to be done, it has been met with more hatred" #schcom0928
  • Shaw Downing with an update on PSAT's, needing proctors to conduct the testing. Back to school night Thursday, Home coming Oct 7, register before req'd #schcom0928
Superintendent's report
  • Superintendent's report - key follow up to Kenzie's info; Principal Hanna sent note to FHS community today (copy to share later) #schcom0928, it was not a FPS student but they were found. "It puts a voice to the hurt" thank you for sharing and having the courage to do so
  • Principal Hanna reaching to the appropriate clubs to respond to the FHS community. Half day on Friday, PDD for staff. #schcom0928 Supt report link to be posted Weds (while be shared after it is available)
  • Supt Ahern and Business Admin Goodman to participate in the Town Council meeting next week to talk school topics among budget. School transport and buses an issue, late buses not available now. hence club and activities potentially hindered. #schcom0928
  • curriculum night was a question to be in person or remote, hoped in person would be better; COVID protocols needed to be followed, to address # of folks in a room, shorter duration and smaller groups #schcom0928 middle/FHS coming later
  • materials prepared for consistency in delivery, further opportunities? yes, all year long - teachers are responsive to requests; conferences coming in Nov #schcom0928
  • "this highlights how important our diversity, equity and inclusion work is" different experience for a SchCom member at the curriculum night, it was informally organized and allowed for moving around. #schcom0928
Discussion/Action Items
  • Franklin TV Board Appointment - I recommend the appointment of Rose Turco to the Franklin TV Board of Directors. - motion seconded, passes via roll call 7-0 #schcom0928
  • MASC Delegate - I recommend the Committee appoint Denise Spencer to serve as the Committee's delegate to the annual MASC Annual Meeting of Delegates as discussed.  motion seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928 (risk of delegate due to conf and election timing)
  • ** Policy - Waiving 1st reading - I recommend waiving the First Reading of Policy EBCFA Face Coverings as discussed. motion, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928
  • ** D. Policy Adoption - I recommend adopting policy EBCFA - Face Coverings as discussed  #schcom0928 - minor changes, and inclusion of non-compliance section - motion, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call - (community) input included in the policy;
  • policy discussion on masks not over yet, DESE guidance still incomplete and lacking; we can be stronger than DESE but not more lenient, hard to plan for policy changes in these circumstances #schcom0928
  • MASC resolution discussion tonight, vote comes later: doc with resolution can be found ->  #schcom0928
Discussion Only Items
  • next up - ESSER III funding plan ->  #schcom0928
  • beginning slide 4, an accounting of the COVID funding received thus far #schcom0928 page 7 gets into the ESSER III funding to be spread over next couple of years; putting plan together in consideration of other funding sources
  • page 10 highlighted items are an area of funding possible via ESSER funds; some although ranked high don't really qualify for this funding; #schcom0928 Air conditioning is a project beyond the scope of this funding
  • page 11 also has two highlights for areas of possible funding #schcom0928 page 15 has the five priority areas broken out by the stakeholder groups - Page 17 has the start of the proposed ESSER funding requests
  • page 18 closes out the proposal with two more line items - "Our Challenge - Develop a plan between FY 22 and FY 24 to sustain investments that are needed in the long-term"  #schcom0928
  • The survey can also be used as input for other needs discussions. #schcom0928 a job description would come to committee for review before posting once needed
  • next up - back to school status update -> doc located here #schcom0928 gradually approx. 80% across Franklin, how to determine which of these are FPS vs. elsewhere
  • data collection currently focused on FHS, currently 75% with more clarification on the numbers being worked. Middle school problematic as not all of them are currently eligible; close contacts will get complicated as this goes forward without masks (i.e 3' to 6') #schcom0928
  • test and stay up and running - no testing without consent, forms on website, top of page easy to find #schcom0928 MCAS scores coming out this week, more full evaluation forthcoming once received and understood. Math a standout area of concern
  • what happens if we don't get to 80%, then the whole school stays masked until such time. #schcom0928 to check on testing form if submitted, contact the school nurse; out of school exposure does not qualify for test/stay
Information matters
  • Info matters - budget handout prepared by budget subcommittee; booth at Harvest Festival (Zone 5 - Rockland Trust parking lot, near Emmons St) #schcom0928
  • Policy next meeting, Oct 6; 6 to 7:30 PM likely in training room; next meeting Oct 21 
  • Joint PCC did meet yesterday; no field trips for fall, maybe for spring; equitable funding and resources desired. Substance taskforce, looking for SAFE hosting #schcom0928
  • SWAC first meeting next week; ad-hoc committee to schedule meeting; Hock Y still serving free food, daycare available; other support groups for specific illnesses; #schco0928
  • moving to consent agenda - separate the minutes for Sep 14, motion to approve, second, passes via roll call 6-0-1 (1 abstain -Judy)
  • motion to accept consent agenda, second, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928
  • motion to adjourn, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call, that's all for tonight  #schcom0928

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days


Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) team
Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) team

Saturday, September 25, 2021

"a mask reduces the potential exposure of the person wearing it"

"If I’m the only person wearing a mask in a store or other indoor location, am I really protected from infection?

It’s true that masks work best when everyone in the room is wearing one. That’s because when an infected person wears a mask, a large percentage of their exhaled infectious particles are trapped, stopping viral spread at the source. And when fewer viral particles are floating around the room, the masks others are wearing would likely block those that have escaped.

But there is also plenty of evidence showing that masks protect the wearer even when others around them are mask-free. The amount of protection depends on the quality of the mask and how well it fits. During a hotel outbreak in Switzerland, for instance, several employees and a guest who tested positive for the coronavirus were wearing only face shields (with no masks); those who wore masks were not infected. And a Tennessee study found that communities with mask mandates had lower hospitalization rates than areas where masks weren’t required."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Ben's guide to mask wearing - #DoYourPartFranklin
Ben's guide to mask wearing - #DoYourPartFranklin

Thursday, September 9, 2021

FM #600 - Franklin's Health Director Cathleen Liberty - 08/31/21 (audio)

FM #600 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 600 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Health Director Cathleen Liberty on August 31, 2021. We had our conversation via virtual conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

We talk about the major topics of 

  • Protocol set for COVID-19 exposure

  • Public health nurse update

  • Metacomet Shared Service grant update

  • Tune it out program update

  • New podcast coming - “The Topic”

The recording runs about 30 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Cathleen

Audio file ->


Health Dept. page

Board of Health page


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit  or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Town of Franklin Health Director Cathleen Liberty
Town of Franklin Health Director Cathleen Liberty

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

MindShift: "How to Choose the Best Face Mask for Your Kids"

MindShift (@MindShiftKQED) tweeted on Mon, Aug 30, 2021:
Experts agree that the most important thing in selecting masks is to choose one that a child will actually wear properly all day long.

"Which masks are best to keep kids safe? It's a question on many parents' minds as students return to in-person school amid a huge wave of coronavirus infections. Masking is a key safety measure in schools for all kids, especially for children too young to be eligible for any COVID-19 vaccine.

A recent study involving 100 school districts and 14 charter schools in North Carolina found that masks were effective at preventing in-school transmission of COVID-19 — even with physical distancing of less than 3 feet.

We asked several experts what parents should consider when it comes to masks for their kids. They all agreed that the most important thing is to choose one that a child will actually wear properly all day long."

Shared from Twitter:

MindShift:  "How to Choose the Best Face Mask for Your Kids"
MindShift:  "How to Choose the Best Face Mask for Your Kids"

Friday, August 27, 2021

MIAA statement on indoor mask wearing mandate

MIAA (@MIAA033) tweeted on Thu, Aug 26, 2021:
Read #MIAA statement from Executive Director Bob Baldwin regarding the recent indoor mask wearing mandate by @MASchoolsK12  

MIAA statement on indoor mask wearing mandate
MIAA statement on indoor mask wearing mandate


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Aug 24, 2021

School Committee Meeting

Municipal Building - Council Chambers (Virtual Link in Agenda)

  • Call to Order 
  • Pledge of Allegiance 
  • Moment of Silence
I. Routine Business
A. Review of Agenda
B. Citizen’s Comments
In the spirit of open communication, “the Committee will hold a public participation segment (also called Citizen’s Comments) about matters not related to an agenda item at the beginning of each regular School Committee meeting. The Committee will listen to, but not respond to any comment made…. A Committee member may add an agenda item to a future meeting as a result of a citizen comment…. The Committee will hear public comments related to an agenda item when the Chair deems appropriate during the Committee meeting. Topics for discussion during the meeting must be limited to those items listed on the Committee meeting agenda for that evening…. ” - from Policy BEDH

C. FHS Student Representative Comments
D. Superintendent’s Report
II. Guests/Presentations
A. none
III. Discussion/Action Items
A. Policy - Waiving 1st reading
I recommend waiving the First Reading of Policy EBCFA Face Coverings as discussed.
B. Policy Adoption
I recommend adopting policy EBCFA - Face Coverings as discussed.
C. ACCEPT Collaborative Capital Reserve
I recommend the approval of the creation of ACCEPT’s Capital Reserve with a balance limit of $1,000,000 for the purpose of accumulating funds for the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of capital items.
D. School Handbooks and Back to School Health and Safety
I recommend approval of the school handbooks as discussed.
IV. Discussion Only Items
A. Back to School Status Update - 8-20-21
B. Summary of New Hires
V.  Information Matters
A. School Committee Sub-Committee Reports (e.g. Ad Hoc Supt. Evaluation, Budget, Community Relations/Public Schools Advocacy, Policy, Transportation)
B. School Committee Liaison Reports (e.g. Joint PCC, Substance Abuse Task Force, School Wellness Advisory Council)
VI. New Business
A. To discuss any future agenda items
VII. Consent Agenda
A. Approval of Minutes
I recommend approval of the minutes from the August 10, 2021 School Committee meeting as detailed.
B. Transfers
I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed.
C. FHS Gift
I recommend acceptance of a check for $901.90 from Stop & Shop for supplemental supplies at FHS as detailed.
D. Jefferson Donation
I recommend acceptance of the donation of furniture (valued at $3,350.00) from Cardi’s Furniture for the Jefferson Teacher’s Room.
E. Music Gift
I recommend acceptance of a check for $3,287.50 from music parents for in-house enrichment as detailed.
F. Student Activity Accounts
I recommend approval of the 2021-22 Student Activity Accounts as detailed.

VIII. Payment of Bills Dr. Bergen
IX. Payroll Atty. Pond-Pfeffer
X. Adjournment
Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Aug 24, 2021
Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Aug 24, 2021

Saturday, August 21, 2021

In another shift, Baker Administration will mandate masks for K-12 school opening

Massachusetts K-12 (@MASchoolsK12) tweeted Fri, Aug 20, 2021:

PRESS RELEASE Education Commissioner to Ask Board for Authority to Mandate Masks in Public Schools to Provide Time to Increase Vaccinations - #MaEdu #COVID19MA @MassEducation

"Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley will ask the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to grant him authority to mandate masks for all public K-12 students, educators, and staff through October 1 to ensure schools fully reopen safely and to provide time for more students and educators to get vaccinated. After October 1, the commissioner’s policy would allow middle and high schools to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff only if the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80 percent of students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. Unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks.

The mandate would include exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.
The Commissioner will revisit the mandate in the near future to revise it as warranted by public health data. The purpose of the policy is to encourage higher vaccination rates among students and staff and to implement a uniform policy for all schools to begin the year."
Continue reading the full press release:

Assuming the proposal does come to reality, the Franklin School Committee will remove from its agenda its own policy update as 'not needed'

Press release hared from Twitter:

State education commissioner Jeff Riley. (Photo by Llyr Johansen)
State education commissioner Jeff Riley. (Photo by Llyr Johansen)

Senator Rausch responds to DESE Masking Guidance

Statement from Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham):

"Families across Massachusetts will finally have peace of mind sending their children back to classrooms with the protection of universal masking in K-12 schools. This victory belongs to every student, parent, teacher, school committee member, public health expert, and advocate who joined me in speaking up for science and safety. The Baker Administration owes our Commonwealth an apology for holding our communities' health and well-being in limbo until mere days before our children return to school, and I urge the Governor to extend these same protections to our early education settings. Statewide data-driven public health measures will give our children the safe, supportive, and successful school year they deserve."

Senator Rausch responds to DESE Masking Guidance
Senator Rausch responds to DESE Masking Guidance