Showing posts with label masks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label masks. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Franklin, MA School Committee meeting - 11/23/21 - audio in two parts

FM #667-668 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 667-668 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Franklin, MA School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: the School Committee members were in the Council Chambers along with some of the public, other members of the public joined via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The recording of the public meeting runs two hours and fifteen minutes. The School Committee enters Executive Session (for approx. 45 minutes) and returns to the public meeting for about 1 minute before closing the meeting. 

I split the meeting into two segments:


Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents released for this meeting are included in the show notes. The link to my notes taken during the meeting is also provided.

Let’s listen to this segment of the School Committee meeting Nov 23, 2021


School Committee Meeting packet folder ->…  

Meeting agenda doc ->…   

My notes captured during the meeting 


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Franklin, MA School Committee meeting - 11/23/21 - audio in two parts
Franklin, MA School Committee meeting - 11/23/21 - audio in two parts

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Recap: School Committee hears update on MCAS results; votes to implement optional mask for vaccinated students; votes on MOU for FEA

Quick Recap:
  • MCAS performance declined during the pandemic, work ongoing to meet students where they are and bring them to the level appropriate for them
  • Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion job description approved. The position will be posted and anticipated to be hired for approx. March 2021 or July 2021 depending upon potential candidate and timing
  • Optional mask for FHS vaccinated students/faculty approval received from DESE (one of 11 districts thus far), plan for implementation approved by 4-3 vote; most voting against seemed to be looking to delay start until Jan 2022
  • Open Meeting Complaint acknowledged but no action required. Complainer alleged violation but meeting had been gaveled to a break and then returned to open meeting after the disturbance was resolved (my twitter notes acknowledged such a comment from a Zoom participant during the meeting in question)
  • Entered Executive Session and returned to ratify the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Franklin Education Association (FEA) by 7-0 roll call vote and close the meeting
As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the Council Chambers. 
The Twitter hashtag #schcom1123 can be found online The thread begins with

Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one album ->


Superintendent's report
  • no citizen comments this evening, next to Supt report, Mamma Mia was well done! kudos to the cast, crew, etc.  #schcom1123;  Congrats to fall athletic teams; football Thanksgiving vs. KP; robotics did well at WPI in soccer championship there
  • parent teacher conf happened recently; more in person at elem, more remote at middle, even more at FHS; 2nd round for elementary in March; acknowledge Critical Conversations event last Thursday - thanks to those participating #schcom1123
  • slides and resources to be shared soon, will share once available - #schcom1123 approx. 80 between online and in person. role of student representatives - per state law, ex officio and no voting; generally FHS students are student class officers
  • lucky to have the SAFE resource here in the community; #schcom1123 DESE offering some funding via grant for hate crime work, apps due 12/8
MCAS presentation
  • next up, MCAS presentation - doc shared earlier, putting it in context as this is not a 'normal' report  #schcom1123
  • internet apparently went out, still live via Franklin TV - should be back soon; meeting continues #schcom1123
  • student growth metric (SGP) is a concern; esp. in Gr 10 math where Franklin was lower than State (altho DESE says difference is insignificant) #schcom1123
  • "recording in progress" announcement says the system is back #schcom1123 areas of strength slide high participation rate (i.e. 95 to 100%) vs about 90% at state
  • areas for growth slide - achievement gaps being addressed, esp across all the high needs students #schcom1123 Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) an assessment system being used to help drive approach to meet needs of students
  • NWEA assessment tool piloted last spring, implemented in the fall for grades K-8  #schcom1123 working to ensure educators have the same base of understanding on the assessments and resources, tools
  • round of #schcom1123 member questions, comments; interested to see next years results - while participation was high, it was a decline from prior years; MAP = measurement of academic progress, learning math remotely was difficult, lack of manipulatives, etc.
  • Dr. Tina Rogers and Dr. Linda Ashley - first time before committee in roles created after Dr Edwards retired; the positions were budget neutral; Stokes acknowledging their working together as apparently evident in this presentation and collaboration #schcom1123
  • can you further expand on 'scaffolding'? gradual approach to support during the learning process at each grade level with the curriculum #schcom1123 just in time, providing support so they don't get stuck
Discussion/Action items
  • moving to Discussion/Action items - A. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Job Description - "I recommend approval of the new position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as discussed. #schcom1123
  • job description approval allows for start of search, possible start for Mar 2022 altho may not be able to fulfill until Jul depending upon field, requirements, and candidate commitments #schcom1123
  • some of the work of the individual would be addressing individual equity actions, or policy changes within district, or perhaps recommendations for #schcom1123 action; restorative process is already in place and developing, would assist with this as well
  • motion and seconded, after discussion vote -> 7- 0 for  #schcom1123
  • next up mask proposal for FHS, numbers verified by vaccination records; #schcom1123 FHS has 35% of the district population, had 10 cases year to date; not socially distanced in some cases, nor masked in others; unvaccinated students are still req'd to wear masks
  • there are methods and stats to go back to masks if req'd #schcom1123 1 - attestation from parent/guardian, 2 - child is permitted to remove, 3 - permission granted to share info with faculty/staff; mask wearing does not indicate vaccine status; compliance through …
  • progressive approach; in Hopkinton, about 40% still work masks in their implementation period; #schcom1123
  • B. Proposal for Optional Mask Wearing by Vaccinated Students/Staff at FHS related to Policy EBCFA Face Coverings I recommend approval of the proposal for optional mask wearing by vaccinated students/staff at FHS as discussed.  #schcom1123
  • no plans currently for pool testing; only 26% participated last time; not enough to be effective for the work required to process; #schcom1123 positivity reported on Thur evening, could turn a pause on by Monday; Mr Hanna provides input on FHS 'feeling' …
  • comfortable with option based upon choice; Supt - mask compliance has wanned during the year; hard to enforce when it is so spread; #schcom1123 need to take care and be kind across the board
  • on compliance for those needing masks for those non-vaccinated; varies by case, starts with conversation; in a private setting; in rare case when the convo and call home didn't resolve, then escalation needed #schcom1123
  • there has been an uptick but not yet seen at FHS, #schcom1123 could consider postponing start until Jan 22 to get by holidays
  • only 11 districts with this type of waiver, comms among the 11 on what to do how to, etc. underway, Hopkinton was first and they have provided info; #schcom1123 DESE doesn't yet include boosters as part of the calc; may come on later (due to timing)
  • boosters only or 18+, hence not much part of the FHS students population; CDC hasn't changed definition of vaccinated yet either #schcom1123 data would be input into the system, and appear in faculty student lists and info
  • expressing concern on teachers taking on the added burden of mask enforcement; would be more comfortable with this after the holiday; students are traveling everywhere; #schcom1123
  • suggestion that trial period and policy start could get postponed if uptick continues; another leaning toward postponing to Jan 22; Hanna jumps into to advocate no pause on behalf of the students #schcom1123 we'll do what is asked of us
  • it could set us up in a confusing place; when there are too many changes, it is harder to keep the moment going #schcom1123 via roll call passes 4-3 (Bernstein, Charles, Whitmore voted no; Callaghan, McNeill, Spencer and Stokes voted yes)
Open Meeting Law Complaint Response
  • moving to discussion only items: Open Meeting Law Complaint Response - Ms. Denise Spencer - there is no transcript due to break in the meeting; hence no further action needed or required, copy sent to complainer, and to Attny General #schcom1123
new business
  • new business - workshop on finances; lifelong learning update; #schcom1123 
Consent agenda
Executive Session and return to open
  • motion to enter executive session, and to return in Open Session.  approved 7-0  #schcom1123
  • meeting re-opens at 9:56 PM - motion and second to ratify the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Franklin Education Association (FEA); passed via roll call vote 7-0. No details on memo provided. Motion to adjourn, seconded, passed via roll call 7-0

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

Recap: School Committee hears update on MCAS results; votes to implement optional mask for vaccinated students; votes on MOU for FEA
Recap: School Committee hears update on MCAS results; votes to implement optional mask for vaccinated students; votes on MOU for FEA

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

MIAA continues mask policy used for Fall sports to start Winter season

"This #MIAA memo regarding Winter Masking guidelines was recently sent to schools. #patience #understanding #OneTeamOneMIAA" 

 Shared from Twitter:

MIAA continues mask policy used for Fall sports to start Winter season
MIAA continues mask policy used for Fall sports to start Winter season

Monday, November 22, 2021

Mask Waiver for Franklin High School - Implementation process, timeline, and details proposed

To: Franklin School Committee 
From: Sara Ahern, Superintendent 
Date: November 16, 2021
Re: Agenda Item for Discussion/Action - Policy EBCFA Face Coverings

As you are aware, DESE approved a Mask Waiver for Franklin High School since the vaccination rate at the school is above 80%. With this waiver, the School Committee can make a local decision to ease the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff, making wearing a mask or face covering optional for these individuals. The following memo outlines a proposed timeline, details, and process.

Background Information:
The overall vaccination rate at FHS is 82%.
There have only been 10 cases at FHS since the start of the school year. This is 10% of the FPS cases but FHS has 35% of the school population.
We have had no evidence of in-school transmission or clusters at FHS.
Hundreds of students eat lunch, unmasked, in the cafeteria each day.

With the waiver now granted, I propose the following provisions:
Masks become optional for vaccinated FHS students and staff
Beginning December 13, 2021 through December 23, 2021 (this will allow us to see if we have an uptick in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday and plan for implementation); then again, beginning January 10, 2022 following the winter break.
Families complete an attestation form related to vaccination status and permission to share it
Masks would still be required for
Unvaccinated FHS students and staff
All visitors, regardless of vaccination status
All individuals in the Nurse’s office
All individuals on buses/school transportation
All spectators/audience members at events, regardless of vaccination status
Vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts
Athletics - Mask requirements for athletes and MIAA events remain to be determined. We will remain apprised of MIAA/DESE/Hockomock League Rules (see also above).
Masks remain optional as long as the following metrics are met
14-day percent positivity in Franklin less than 4%
There is no evidence of in-school transmission
There is no evidence of clusters based on classroom or activity
Recognizing that this is a fluid situation, additional metrics or provisions may need to be established

While this will not be welcome news to all, the sentiment I sense from FHS is that the school community is generally in favor of relaxing the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals. Masks are only one mitigation strategy among many that we are using to prevent the spread of COVID. Important FHS mitigation strategies also include vaccination, UVGI throughout the entire school, portable HEPA filtration units, good hand hygiene practices, monitoring symptoms and staying home when sick, Test and Stay for close contacts, and symptomatic COVID testing.

Mask Waiver for Franklin High School - Implementation process, timeline, and details proposed
Mask Waiver for Franklin High School - Implementation process, timeline, and details proposed

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Boston Globe: "When can the COVID-19 masks finally come off?"

"Amid the turmoil of the past two years — a period that included a deadly pandemic, mass layoffs, an ugly presidential election and an attack on the U.S. Capitol — some of the fiercest political debates in America have been waged over a nearly weightless piece of fabric: the face mask.

U.S. officials were slow to embrace face masks as a strategy for slowing the spread of the coronavirus. When they finally did, masks became a potent symbol of the pandemic — a common-sense public health measure turned political flashpoint and a visible reminder that life was anything but normal.

Now, with the summer’s delta surge in the rearview mirror and the vaccination of school-age children underway, many Americans are wondering when the masks might finally come off."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Boston Globe: "When can the COVID-19 masks finally come off?"
Boston Globe: "When can the COVID-19 masks finally come off?"

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Pantherbook: Articles worth reading - Downtown Franklin, mask mandate, climate change

"History of Franklin: Downtown Franklin"
Nihara Lijan, Writer

"Many of us have either been to or driven through downtown Franklin, but do we really know the significance or history behind each building located there? There are seven main sections of downtown Franklin that are important to the history of how Franklin developed. Let’s look at each one of them in depth!"

Continue reading -> 


"Mask Mandate at Franklin High School"
Anna Hoffmann, Writer

"The 2021 to 2022 school year is well underway. Public schools in the United States are chock-full of students, bustling hallways, and swarming cafeterias. Students and staff alike are no longer separated by six feet. However, unfortunately, the Covid-19 virus is as well underway as the current school year is. Of course, vaccinations have become readily available, treatment for Covid-19 has improved, and cases are falling. Google Meets have become a practically nonexistent area of academic lives. Progress has been made. Still, the virus remains a threat. There is no cure, it can still spread, and we need to be cautious of the new strains and variants. This means mask mandates have become typical for most public schools. Franklin High School students, and public school students in general, have become somewhat fed up with required mask-wearing. As a result, it has become a political, contentious issue in the United States. Overall, the Franklin High School community, school communities in general, have been left to wonder: when will it end? "

Continue reading -> 

"Climate Change: How it is Misunderstood"
Lucia Perkins, Writer

"We have all heard of climate change, but we as world citizens have not heard enough of it. Climate change is happening everywhere. Fluctuations of temperatures in the environment have been and continue to be a worldwide issue. Global issues come with misunderstandings and climate change is no exception. It is never too late to learn them because the more we educate ourselves and the FHS community, the more we can help the world in small, but powerful ways."

Continue reading ->

Pantherbook: Articles worth reading
Pantherbook: Articles worth reading

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Recap: School Committee meeting interrupted by audience; MASC resolutions discussed, mask policy approved, Executive Session closed meeting

Quick Recap:
  • The FHS student updates were interrupted by some members of the audience, a shouting match ensued, and a break in the meeting was gaveled by the Chair
  • As the meeting back to business, they heard a presentation from the Science National Honor Society, status update on re-opening, and the Oct 1 enrollment report (with lots of details) 
  • The MASC resolutions were discussed, and while most passed, the exact vote outcome was not clear (all seven members were in the Chambers and roll call was not required)
  • Given the DESE decision to extend the mask policy was announced Tuesday afternoon, the policy proposal had been reworded to provide room for implementation of future changes. The decision to apply for the waiver (as FHS has reached 82% vaccination rate) was approved. The masks don't go away immediately. The next school committee will hear of the proposed implementation plan before it is set in motion. Given what has been happening around with other districts, a cautious approach is quite likely with more of a relaxed implementation after the holidays (assuming the number of COVID cases remains low)
  • Recognition of the three members not returning (they are not running for re-election) was moved from meeting opening to just before the Executive Session. They received a plaque and a token of appreciation
  • The Committee entered executive session not to return to public meeting and the broadcast/live stream ended
As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real time via the Zoom/live stream 
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #schcom1026 
Agenda doc ->
Meeting packet folder - >
Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one folder
  • Getting ready for live tweeting/ reporting on the Franklin  #schcom1026 meeting
  • Meeting packet folder contains agenda doc, connection info, and anything else released 4 this meeting. Superintendent's report gets added on Weds… #schcom1026
  • In a time warp? #schcom10126 we'll find out soon…
  • Something of a time warp in that the live stream started before some folks were allowed into the Zoom session (at least me) #schcom1026
  • Motion to move the recognition of departing members to end of meeting, moved, seconded, (to conclude all business) before executive session #schcom1026 passes (likely 7-0; to be confirmed as members are viewed)
Citizen Comments
  • Citizen comment on 'protected students' who is  who determines? Shouldn't be a division looking for definition. #schcom1026 
  • Husband of candidate Videra reads the section left out of the statement from the candidate forum quote from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Parent with comment on student lunch time and recess time, Franklin has done nothing in the 8 years she has been complaining about, then shifts to sex talk for 9 year olds, "the hate you give" being read earlier than recommended #schcom1026
  • Parent speaking on the DESE extension and lack of initiative for FPS to go on their own, #schcom1026 no survey done of parents to see where they fall on this 
  • Parent talking about possible coercion for vaccine to kids as discussed by SchCom at prior meeting
  • Resident complains about the lack of Franklin TV for making the #SchCom1026 videos available.
  • FHS students plugging production of "Mamma Mia" Nov 12-13; trunk or treat this weekend in FHS parking lot; National Honor society project to run theater clinic for elementary students; #schcom1026 Medway doing regular testing in lieu of masks
  • FHS seniors coming back and now starting to feel stress as college apps are being done, hard transition; enforcing masks, students not following be considerate of those around and their well-being #schcom1026
  • Spirit week, include photos to add soul to the school, gym decorated, corner colors by class, cabaret last week, Dalton award from Globe for sports, #schcom1026 student responds to protected student question, everyone is protected
  • Meeting takes a break as parent objects to FHS student comment on harassment and voices are raised #schcom1026
  • Chair gaveled for break after request for silence was not adhered to, zoom muted, live stream audio switch to radio. Assume it will come back some time #schcom1026
  • Someone on Zoom complaining about violating open meeting, actually no. Once gaveled for a break, they are not in an official meeting, when they gavel back the meeting will resume. #schcom1026
  • Gaveling back to order. #schcom1026
  • Everyone was respectful in their comments, that same respect should be accorded the FHS students. #schcom1026
Superintendent Report
  • Next up Superintendent Report, Professional development schedule for Nov 2; congrats to FHS for Dalton award, leaving room for parking at the gym for election #schcom1026 FDA working towards making vaccine available when approved in a local clinic
  • With round of committee option to comment or question the report, confirms that all seven are indeed in the Chambers this evening #schcom1026
FHS Science National Honor Society
  • FHS students presenting on national honor society for science #schcom1026
  • Screen grabs on science nights conducted by group pre-COVID #schcom1026
  • YouTube channel created during COVID to share the experiments #schcom1026
  • Working with elementary school to develop a science project for their curriculum #schcom1026 ad-hoc comments on promotion of DEI setting a good role model for younger students given tonight's events
MASC resolutions
  • Next up discussion action item; MASC resolutions for delegate representation at conf next week, motion on resolution 1  #schcom1026 vote not clear but would pass (Pfeffer no, someone else no, possible abstain also)
  • MASC resolution 2 Pfeffer also speaks to no on this, (the resolution would enable MASC to lobby on our behalf for these) #schcom1026 vote likely 6-1 
  • Resolution 3 - Pfeffer also speaks to no, Keenan where is the prioritization on these? How does that come to play? Superintendent adds some clarification around funding and priorities and funding sources, res 4 would require time on learning change for recess #schcom1026  Vote on res 3, likely 6-1 
  • #schcom1026 resolution 4 Pfeffer also speaks to no due to her lack of understanding of the wording; vote likely 6-1 
  • Resolution 5 - Pfeffer likes this one! Zero tolerance policy should be avoided whenever possible, use restorative practice, vote 7-0
  • Resolution 6 an alternative to MCAS, vote 7-0
  • Resolution 7 SchComm and receivership; Pfeffer speaks to no on this (?) Discussion on this as intending to restoration of local control - vote 6-1 likely #schcom1026
  • Resolution 8 - Pfeffer too altruistic statement, chances of getting in her opinion slim to none, voting no; vote hard to say but likely not passed
  • Resolution 9 - voting 6-1 #schcom1026
Policy discussion/approvals
New business / recognition
  • New business; Nov 9, organization meeting, vote on leadership and subcommittees; MCAS update later in Nov, update on waiver and next steps for facial covering implementation (assuming waiver accepted) #schcom1026 consent agenda approved, passes 7-0
  • Recognition of departing #schcom1026 members, last two years were most challenging, pandemic, budget, facility analysis; Keenan first, Pfeffer next, Bergen next
  • Photos to be added, plaque, token of appreciation given to the three members in recognition #schcom1026
  • Keenan: Appreciate the patience, we haven't always agreed but is has been an honor and a privilege, it takes a lot to whomever is elected, keep it civil and kind, #schcom1026 "it is easier to listen the more civil and kind it is"
  • Pfeffer: to do this properly we need to ask questions, examine the costs and manpower, how does the school get money? how does the town get money? New members should be given a copy of Roberts Rules of Order #schcom1026
  • Bergen: thanks to the community for the honor of serving, thanks for your patience in the world of Zoom, tech is not one of my strengths; showed concern for staff as well as the students; wrote a few closing remarks - the Portrait of a Graduate is an impressive accomplishment
  • Schools and town services are affected by the budget shortfall it is up to the residents to decide, we provide an objective transparent view of the budget and issues, legislative forums among others outreach efforts #schcom1026
  • Rigorous academic education as well as physical emotional well-being, what Horace Mann knew, opioid problem hasn't gone away, emotional health issues are growing around us, a community issue, #schcom1026 we need to understand the toll it takes on us and the children
  • In my time, 9 superintendents, never had one dealt with the challenges that Dr Ahern has in her term, it has not been done by her alone, along with her central office staff and the principals across the district, the whole staff bus drivers, custodians, etc. #schcom1026
  • Thanks to Chris Sterns and Franklin TV for making the meetings happen, thanks, Horace Mann would be proud of us today. #schcom1026 
  • MJ interjects to give thanks, Judy jokes that she'll go to the Planning Board next. MJ acknowledges knowing Dr Bergen and working with her
Executive session / not to return to open meeting
  • Motion to enter executive session, not to return to open meeting, to discuss negotiation and legal issues Via roll call passes 7-0
  • That's all for tonight (yup, late to this, what a night!) #schcom1026
  • Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

FHS Science National Honor Society provides update
FHS Science National Honor Society provides update