by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 08/08/2021
Sunday, August 8, 2021
by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 08/08/2021
Monday, July 26, 2021
Even with social distancing, there are opportunities for creativity and fun!
"We surprised random people with an unexpected 100-person dance party on the streets of NYC.
Full Story: https://improveverywhere.com/2021/07/15/stand-here-for-dance-party/
Note: Our entire cast and crew were fully vaccinated for COVID-19
This project is made in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York and their new exhibition New York, New Music: 1980-1986.
Learn more here: https://www.mcny.org/exhibition/new-york-new-music"
Stand Here for Dance Party
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
"Updated Close Contact Requirements and Quarantine Calculation sheets can be found on our Reopening Website under the Health Office tab. These reflect the new 3 foot guidance in classrooms and on buses."https://t.co/XlqjKppZjN or https://sites.google.com/franklinps.net/returntoschoolplan/health-office-information
|Franklin Public Schools, MA: Updated Close Contact Requirements and Quarantine Calculation|
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
"Effective immediately, the Hockomock League will admit 2 family members of all AWAY student-athletes competing in games, matches, or meets. Home-team spectator restrictions continue to be limited to 2 adult family members and siblings per HOME participant.
This policy will include all league sports offered during the Fall II season: Cheerleading, Football, Volleyball, Track and Field, and Unified Basketball.
The Athletic Directors will continue to monitor information as it is made available from the EEA, DESE, and our local Boards of Health. Each district has the ability to modify this policy based on its own facility limitations and/or local Board of Health restrictions. It is our goal to focus on the health and safety of our communities while safely permitting family members of our athletes the opportunity to watch high school sports in person. "
|Hockomock League: Away Spectators Expanded for all Fall II Competitions|
Friday, April 2, 2021
"Dear Franklin Families,
We hope you are doing well. This letter contains important information about pool testing, attendance expectations, instruction during quarantine, and reminders about travel. First, however, I want to begin with some important acknowledgments.
I want to acknowledge our remote only students, families, and faculty/staff. Much of our recent efforts have been in eager anticipation of a return to full and in-person school. I want to take a moment to acknowledge and recognize the dedication and creativity of our remote only teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrator in our Virtual Learning Academy. I also want to acknowledge how much we are thinking of our K-12 remote only students and families and, through our re-entry planning, are striving to keep our connections to you in our minds. We know this year has not been easy! Going forward, instruction in the VLA will continue as it has been. As we move ahead, remote-only instruction at the middle and high schools will have a different rhythm and feel with more students in the building, but you will still be receiving instruction from your currently assigned classroom teachers.
I also want to acknowledge the students and staff who have been full-time and in-person since the beginning of the year. Many of our special education teachers, school nurses, secretaries, van drivers, paraprofessionals, and related service providers have been in school five days a week since September. In so many ways, the successes of our PreSchool and five-day specialized programs have paved the way for our in-person return K-12. Our nurses’ efforts in keeping everyone safe are most noteworthy!
I also want to give a big “shout out” to our custodians who have been working so diligently to keep our schools safe with their daily disinfecting and cleaning routines. Additionally, the Facilities Department has been working tremendously hard in these past several weeks to get our schools up and running with furniture and other materials for April 5 and 12. In addition, our cafeteria staff and our teachers are actively preparing for more in-person students.
Last but certainly not least, our administrative team deserves an enthusiastic round of applause. I feel so fortunate to be working with such a dedicated, student-centered, and wise group of school leaders. Their hearts are focused on the core of what we do -- teaching and learning -- and doing so in ways that keep everyone in their buildings safe. They are always thinking of others -- students, staff, and families alike. They are rolling up their sleeves and doing whatever needs to be done -- supporting teachers, delivering lunch, substitute teaching, delivering materials to homes, and tending to many, many conversations and e-mails -- to name just a few. Please join me in giving them all of the appreciation they deserve."
Continue reading the update from Superintendent Ahern at this link: https://t.co/5lA2cWZgsu or with this PDF version https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MJ35s0lpSpX_XJWGC-xfu9-NDXtkCrxL/view?usp=sharing
People are fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks AFTER their 2nd dose (Pfizer or Moderna) or
- 2 weeks AFTER a 1 dose vaccine (J&J's)
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Pantherbook: Girl Up club leads “A Discussion on Gender Equality" ; FHS switches to 'in person' learning Apr 12
"On Thursday, March 25, students met through the Girl Up club for “A Discussion on Gender Equality.” The meeting was led by Girl Up Teen Advisor Angelina Perez.
The meeting drew local participants as well as Girl Up members from LA, the British Virgin Islands, Syracuse, and Washington D.C.
The discussion started with the simple question, “How have you been impacted by sexism or misogyny?”
High Schoolers from Franklin and around the country met over Zoom to discuss gender equality. Photo used with permission from Angelina Perez
Quickly, the floodgates opened and girls shared deeply personal stories."
April 12th is the finalized date for when Franklin High will be having nearly eighty percent of their students back in school. The CDC recently approved that it is safe for students to now be three feet apart in classrooms.
When talking to Mr. Hanna he explains how there are many different safety measures put in at FHS for not only the students, but the staff as well. There will be a maximum of twenty four desks per classroom all measured to be at least 3 feet apart, there will also always be six feet between a teacher and a student.
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Dear Franklin Families,
We hope you are doing well. We are eagerly looking forward to the dates of April 5 and April 12 when we are planning to return more students to full time in person education.
Much of the specific information is being shared through the building administrators. I am writing to share a few important pieces of information that pertain to all schools.
Adherence to our Health and Safety Protocols
Although we are following new guidance and using 3-6 feet of distance between students (with 6 feet of distance for our faculty/staff) as our standard and Massachusetts has entered into Phase 4 of reopening and there is much excitement around new possibilities for gatherings, our return to in person school must be done as safely as possible. Franklin students, families, and residents have done a tremendous job over the past year in keeping the community safe. Keep up the good work!
Many are attributing the safety of schools to the sound health and safety practices put in place earlier in the school year. Now is a good time for us all to recommit to the Health and Safety Protocols. Families are reminded that our core practices for health and safety include mask wearing, physical distancing, and good hand hygiene. Research is showing that mask wearing is an incredibly effective safety practice. Here are a few reminders about appropriate mask wearing.
A mask or face covering is a garment that covers your nose and mouth including dust masks, disposable medical masks, and homemade cloth masks. Masks/face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably over the sides of the face. Face coverings should be consistent with school handbook expectations. Bandanas and many gaiters do not provide adequate protection and are not permitted. Face masks with valves are not permitted. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
All students in Franklin Public Schools will be required to wear a mask/face-covering in school and on school buses.
All adults, including educators and staff, will be required to wear masks/face coverings. Fully vaccinated individuals are required to wear masks.
Exceptions will be made for those with medical conditions, disability, or other health/safety factors that prohibit them from wearing a mask/face covering. A physician's note is required.
Schools will develop a schedule for mask breaks that will occur throughout the day. During mask breaks, students will be at least six feet apart and in a well-ventilated space (outside or with the windows open).
Student masks/face coverings should be provided by the student/family. Schools will have extra masks available for children who need them. Masks/face coverings should be clearly labeled with the student’s names or initials to avoid confusion or swapping.
Staff will be provided with disposable masks by Franklin Public Schools. Staff will be permitted to wear their own mask/face covering. Cloth face coverings, if used, must be washed daily.
If your child is returning to school in person, please also commit to screening your child for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to sending them to school. Your child should stay home if they are exhibiting ANY of the symptoms of COVID-19:
Temperature above 100 degrees F
Respiratory symptoms not attributable to other illnesses (e.g. allergies): Fever above 100 degrees F, chills, or shaking chills
Cough (not due to other known causes, such as a chronic cough)* Allergy and asthma symptoms are NOT acute respiratory illnesses
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
New loss of taste or smell
Muscle aches or body aches
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies)
Being in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or told by a healthcare provider that they may have COVID-19
Overall Pool Testing
We have completed the third week of the District Pool Testing Program. We have over 60% of staff participation and about 40% student participation. We have had a total of 3691 swabs/580 pools as of Friday, March 26. Our experiences are showing us the value of the program.
As background information, with pool testing, lower nasal swabs are collected from participating students and faculty/staff members. Ten swabs are placed in a “pool” and a PCR test is run to see if the Coronavirus is present. Tests are sent to a nearby lab and within 24 hours, we have been receiving results.
We recently had our first experiences with positive pools. Last week, two of the 169 pools collected came back positive which meant that one person in each of the two pools (1151 individuals) was COVID-positive. This did not mean that everyone in the positive pools was positive.
All individuals in the positive pools reported to the Health Office for individual follow-up testing using the BinaxNOW follow-up test which produced results in 15 minutes. The individuals whose test was negative remained in school as normal. There was no further follow-up needed. The individuals who tested positive were sent home to isolate/quarantine, and the contact tracing process was completed.
By finding and isolating a positive case, our schools just became safer for everyone. We encourage more students and faculty/staff to participate in the program. If you have not signed up for the Pool Testing Program and wish to do so we encourage you to go to the Pool Testing section of the FPS Reopening website or contact your child’s building administrator.
The Franklin Public Schools, after consulting with our local health department and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is amending its expectations for students and staff related to returning to school after travel. FPS urges students and staff to follow the new Massachusetts Travel Advisory. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-advisory
According to this advisory, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Travelers in the following categories are exempt from this quarantine advisory:
Travelers who have received a negative COVID-19 result on a test administered not more than 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. Travelers may also test out of the quarantine advisory after arrival in Massachusetts, as long as they quarantine until receiving a negative test result.
Anyone who is entering Massachusetts for fewer than 24 hours
Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after being out of the State for fewer than 24 hours
Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) during required commuting to or from work and while at work.
Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 or more days ago) and who do not have symptoms.
International Travel: January 12, 2021, CDC announced an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. Air passengers will also be required to confirm that the information they present is true in the form of an attestation. The CDC also advises:
Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
If your child needs bus transportation to and from school, families can sign up for transportation through the following link: https://www.franklinps.net/district/transportation.
If you have questions about District policies/practices about reopening, you can view our Reopening Website https://sites.google.com/franklinps.net/returntoschoolplan/home or email our reopening email account: email@example.com
Building based specifics are best addressed by the school administration. They will continue to communicate with you through their regular avenues such as their newsletters and personal communications with you.
Have a wonderful week!
Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Schools
|Reopening update regarding in-person learning|
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Expressions Enrichment is hosting the Easter Bunny at their Studio on Saturday, March 27 from 1-3pm. There is no admission cost.
Pictures will be available from Time is Precious Photography for a fee.
This will be a Covid-19 safe event with social distancing measures. Masks must be worn.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
"When it comes to combating COVID-19, experts and officials warn the U.S. is its own worst enemy as governors across the country lift restrictions and the public grows increasingly weary of pandemic life.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Monday that the U.S. is at “a fork in the road” on the pandemic, with the two extremes perhaps best illustrated by spring breakers partying in Florida over the weekend while about 1,000 people are dying of COVID-19 every day.
Despite an aggressive pace of vaccination, the number of new infections across the country is rising in states across the Northeast and Upper Midwest and has essentially plateaued nationally. "
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Please find the latest update from Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern here https://t.co/WBbXxufDNr
This week marks the year anniversary of our school closure and pandemic response and it is not lost on me. I want to begin this very important informational e-mail acknowledging the collective efforts across Franklin. First, I am incredibly proud of the efforts of each administrator and educator in the Franklin school system and all of our staff. Our employees are serving students in ways we never could have imagined; we’ve learned along the way and there has been much adaptation and growth. I also want to recognize your efforts and resilience as Franklin families. Without a doubt, school closure, remote learning, and hybrid instruction has been very difficult on family life. Community organizations deserve our acknowledgment as they have mobilized to support families including the YMCA, Adirondack Club, and the Franklin Food Pantry, among others. Throughout the entire pandemic, there has been strong collaboration between my office and that of the Town Administrator. I feel so fortunate to be the Superintendent in a town with excellent collaboration and I am grateful for the support from the Health, Technology, Facilities, DPW, Fire, Police, and other town departments. I hope everyone in the Franklin community takes a moment to reflect on the year and pat yourselves on the back for the collective effort. We are not out of the woods yet, and continued diligence is important. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I outlined a framework for a return to in-person school for grades K-5 (date: Monday, April 5) and grades 6-12 (target date: Monday, April 12) at the recent School Committee meeting. The presentation can be found on our reopening site: https://sites.google.com/franklinps.net/returntoschoolplan/next-steps
○ Hybrid instruction is being phased out in Districts across the state.
○ Students in grades K-5 will begin full and in-person instruction five days a week on April 5.
○ Our target date for students in grades 6-12 to begin full and in-person instruction five days a week is April 12.
○ The Wednesday schedule is still being worked out but will no longer be fully remote.
○ Parents/guardians will continue to have a remote learning option (see below for level-based information).
○ Students will be in school at distances between 3-6 feet, which will depend on classroom square footage and class size. There will be distancing of 6 feet for faculty and staff whenever possible.
○ Distancing during lunch will be 6 feet.
○ All health and safety practices will be in place: mask-wearing, hand hygiene, symptom screening, ventilation strategies, and daily disinfecting/cleaning. We are also continuing our pool testing pilot; new participants are still welcome to sign up. Please inquire with school buildings on how to do this.
○ Physical distancing restrictions have been lifted on buses, expanding bus ridership capacity. All riders must be masked, hand sanitization will be in place, and windows will be open at least two inches.
○ Attendance requirements will be strengthened and students will be required to be in school for in-person learning. More information will be coming soon.
○ Instruction will be provided for students needing to quarantine. We anticipate larger numbers of close contacts being identified as the standard for close contacts will continue to be based on 6 feet of distance. Cases within the community are trending downwards, however.
We are not going to survey K-5 families. If your child is in the hybrid learning model and you would like to request Virtual Learning Academy for remote-only instruction, please submit a request in writing to your child’s school principal. If your child is in the Virtual Learning Academy and you would like to request a seat for in school learning, please submit your request in writing to the VLA administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seats in both our current classes and the VLA are limited. Large numbers of requests in either direction may be difficult to accommodate and may require an adjustment of teachers. The deadline to submit a request is 5 PM on Monday, March 15.
Grades 6-12 Families
The middle schools principals are currently collaborating on a survey and will send it to families next week. This survey will ask for a commitment to in-person instruction or remote-only instruction for the remainder of the school year.
At this time, the high school is surveying families (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScGVRAUw-MavKZUlHbilSsNYmFrsPb0MuZGnmNUpAMlbjcMPQ/viewform?usp=sf_link) about commitments to in-person instruction or remote only instruction for the remainder of the school year. Returning full and in person with our current schedule is dependent on a percentage of FHS students remaining remote. We appreciate you taking another survey under a new model. Please complete this survey by Wednesday, March 17 by 5 PM. Mr. Hanna will be holding a Q and A session on Monday, March 15 at the PCC meeting 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm.
At this time, we are holding our plans to collapse the 3 cohorts to 2 so that we can focus on a full and in-person return in April.
Building-based specifics are best addressed by the school administration. They will continue to communicate with you through their regular avenues such as their newsletters and personal communications with you.
To sign up for busing, please visit our website: https://www.franklinps.net/district/transportation
More information will be forthcoming about options for childcare through our Solutions program.
Franklin Public Schools
|Franklin Public Schools, MA: Reopening Update - March 12, 2021|
Sunday, March 7, 2021
"CDC links restaurant dining to a rise in cases"
"Even as officials in Texas and Mississippi lifted statewide mask mandates, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday offered fresh evidence of the importance of face coverings, reporting that mask-wearing mandates were linked to fewer infections with the coronavirus and COVID-19 deaths in counties across the United States.
Federal researchers also found that counties opening restaurants for on-premises dining — indoors or outdoors — saw a rise in daily infections about six weeks later, and an increase in COVID-19 death rates about two months later.
The study does not prove cause and effect, but the findings square with other research showing that masks prevent infection and that indoor spaces foster the spread of the virus through aerosols, tiny respiratory particles that linger in the air.
“You have decreases in cases and deaths when you wear masks, and you have increases in cases and deaths when you have in-person restaurant dining,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said Friday. “And so we would advocate for policies, certainly while we’re at this plateau of a high number of cases, that would listen to that public health science.”
"After a year of hunkering down, the country is about to bask in the biggest boom in nearly four decades. But the scars of the pandemic linger.
By summer, most American adults should be vaccinated, and life is expected to return to something approaching normal as people eat in restaurants, hop on a plane, or catch a game at Fenway Park. Getting out of the house for work and recreation will swell the economy, juiced by another big federal stimulus program and trillions of dollars in savings that consumers are eager to spend.
Yet that rosy outlook isn’t reflected in the sentiments of many local employers who would benefit greatly from a post-pandemic resurgence. Hammered by COVID-19 shutdowns, they remain wary after earlier forecasts about the trajectory of the disease proved too optimistic.
Instead of the rapid rebound projected by economists, these employers — from small business owners to big institutions such as hospitals and universities — expect a more gradual recovery marked by fits and starts. So they’re ramping up slowly and delaying hiring decisions until the picture is clearer."
Friday, March 5, 2021
We are very excited to welcome you back!