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March 29, 2021

FHS SCHOOL COUNCIL: March 29, 2021
Present via Zoom: Deb Berglin, Paula Carlson Cahill, Bill Cone, Mike Feeney, Mary Gans, Sanjay Govindarajan,
Stephen Mello, Zorianna Petrosyan, Noah Schmidt, and Sean Sullivan.
Meeting opened at 3:30 pm.
SCHOOL START TIME: Zorianna has been working with Stephen, Ms. Gans and others. They have organized by
problem areas and arguments against – are wrapping up on transportation and moving into the childcare section.
Zorianna and Stephen spoke with Mr. Murphy about transportation; Mr. Kennedy had not responded.
DESE GUIDELINES FOR RETURNING TO FULL-TIME IN-PERSON LEARNING: K-8 have received dates & guidelines.
Nothing for 9-12 yet. Council members reflect mixed feelings since surging on Cape. While waiting for HS guidance,
we’re proactively surveying families (select 100% in person or 100% remote) – responses so far reflect 65% in
person w/ 35% remote, which is not significantly different from our current 40% remote. Desks will be 3’ apart.
Need to reconfigure classrooms to see how many desks fit and where we’ll need more space. DESE guidelines say if
not enough space, we must find overflow areas. Meals are still 6’ apart so we will also need another lunch area –
looking at gym, field house, auditorium options. Mr. Feeney asked how many classrooms will need overflow areas
and where overflow areas will be? Ms. Gans is still working on that. Mr. Sullivan said Carver Middle Grades 8-12
will dismiss at 12:45 with lunch to go due to space issues. Ms. Gans has heard of other towns doing the same). FHS
will keep our same schedule with Wednesdays slightly modified to stagger passing times. Wednesdays will no
longer be Remote Wednesdays - they will be in-person. Using the small gym for lunch overflow impacts PE, voting,
athletics, etc. It was a lot of work over the summer to configure to meet guidelines and now we will have to
reconfigure to meet the new guidelines. It’s a big change with not a lot of time left in the school year. Some 100%
remote students are doing great and some hybrid students struggle during remote weeks. We’ve added in more
supports for struggling students. We need to realize that some students need to remain remote for their health, or
for the health of their family members. Noah reports he has been an every day student and this has been his
best-ever academic year!
COVID RATES: Members asked if Falmouth rate goes back to red would schools return to fully remote? Not
necessarily. The town could be red but the school could be safe. Barnstable just did go fully remote due to their
positivity rate. Ms. Gans doubts the commissioner would sanction a school for going fully remote for public health
and safety reasons. Families can still choose remote as an option. We have had to go remote for a day or so when,
due to contact tracing, we are left with not enough staff to cover classes.
MCAS: Some Council members agree that it appears the timing for return to full-time in-person learning seems
tied to MCAS testing. High schools are still waiting for 9-12 guidance. Concerns discussed:
** There used to be a 95% participation requirement - how would we achieve that rate with over 30%
remote students who may not choose to test?
** The huge interruption to classes
** The scheduling challenges – worse if still in a hybrid model and cannot mix cohorts.
Numerous superintendents wrote letters to the commissioner for no MCAS this year – however, MCAS is still on.
Mr. Feeney said Grade 8 is a “practice” test – so perhaps at home students can still take it with parent/guardian
help? Noah asked if it is a graduation requirement for this year’s seniors? Mrs. Gans said there is a competency
determination waiver system in place for this year’s seniors where the state will accept the passing of certain
classes in lieu of a passing MCAS score – we have to prove the student took and passed the course(s). We don’t
know yet if the waiver will be in place for next year’s seniors. As of right now, it looks like Grades 10 and 11 will
have to test this year – so that is twice as many as in a regular year. Ms. Berglin asked if Falmouth issued any sort of
declaration that it wants a moratorium? Ms. Gans confirmed that yes, Lori Duerr and the School Committee issued
a declaration. Ms. Berglin asked if that declaration was sent to the state? Ms. Gans will find out and let Ms. Berglin
know.
(Continued)
Page 2, FHS SCHOOL COUNCIL: March 29, 2021
NEASC: September 26 – 29, 2021 Decennial Visit. TBD if in-person, virtual or hybrid. FPS is continuing work on our
“Vision of the Graduate” which is a NEASC requirement. We’ve used each letter in the word CLIPPERS to define the
district-wide expectations for Falmouth graduates – these characteristics differ for grade levels. This vision will be
communicated in depth to all students, staff, and families (see links included in the meeting agenda). Please review
and send feedback to Ms. Gans --- this needs to be student-friendly, simple and straight-forward. Students need to
know it and be able to communicate it. Zorianna asked if it will be distributed school-wide. Ms. Gans confirmed
yes: district-wide.
STUDENT/PARENT/GUARDIAN HANDBOOK REVIEW: Please review and submit any edits and/or suggestions to
Ms. Gans by the first week of May. Ms. Gans reviews and then sends to the district handbook committee. Ms.
Berglin has reviewed and will send her edits to Ms. Gans. Sanjay asked us to check if it addresses student
recordings? Ms. Berglin asked about the Affirmative Action information which talks about a committee and a
subcommittee in the complaint section on Page 75. Ms. Berglin confirmed this is not the town committee (which
she is a part of). Ms. Gans will review this information (which comes from the district). There are new items added
yearly – therefore, we have to review cover-to-cover.
VACCINATIONS vs COVID RATE: Members discussed thinking the Covid positive rate would go down as the
vaccination rate increased, but it seems opposite in this current surge. It seems most students will not be
vaccinated by the time we return to full-time in-person learning. Members are curious if it will increase
student-to-student spread and wonder if because some folks are vaccinated, it lends to a false sense of security,
thus creating more spread.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Please see list on the Agenda.
Mrs. Gans encouraged us to “wear your masks, wash your hands, be excellent to each other and stay safe.”
NEXT MEETING (last for this year): Monday, May 10th @ 3:30 pm on zoom.