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Message from Superintendent Duerr

March 25, 2020
 
Dear Clipper Families,
 
Today, Governor Baker announced that our school closure will be extended to Monday, May 4, 2020. I will share additional information in the coming days as the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) prepares new guidance for districts. In addition, the School Committee will hold a special meeting on the evening of Tuesday, March 31, 2020, to discuss the current state of affairs. The meeting will be held via Zoom. I will send information on how to access the virtual meeting. We hope you will join us.
 
That said, I have determined that we will keep with the plan for a Spirit Day as I announced at last night’s School Committee meeting. Our students need to know they are connected -- now more than ever. We want to ensure that our students have a chance to connect with each other and to be united as a school community, so we are announcing that tomorrow will be that chance -- we will have a much-needed SPIRIT DAY! Tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, 2020 I kindly ask all FPS students and families to show their Clipper spirit! Please wear maroon and white tomorrow and take a pic! Share your photos on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FalmouthPS/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/falmouthps). Watch for your teachers and other friendly staff photos along with those of your friends. This will be the start of some “socially distanced” fun, so watch our social media for more!
 

Additional updates:
 
The initial impact of the closure along with today’s news has led us to reconsider how we update our Continuity of Learning Plans in support of this extended period of closure.
 
Prior to launching updated plans, our team of educators have prepared a collection of online resources. Students can access resources to explore and enhance their learning while we are out of school. The resources can be found on our Continuity of Learning Plans landing page, https://www.falmouth.k12.ma.us/Page/3311. The links listed have been provided by companies for free to families and students during the period of closure. I want to share that this list of resources is not necessarily representative of the online resources Falmouth Public Schools uses during the academic year, and the district makes no claim to the content contained within.
 
Today, the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Woods Hole Sea Grant hosted the second of two live science webinars. Today’s focus was on “science from the sky” as scientist and researcher Allison Henry shared her aerial studies of whales. On Monday, Falmouth’s own Grace Simpkins hosted “Marine Mammals in our Backyard.” The series is designed for elementary students in grades two through five -- but are really fun for whole families! These opportunities along with registrations are shared on NOAA’s and Woods Hold Sea Grant’s social media channels. You can also visit the Woods Hold Sea Grant site for more fun ideas: https://seagrant.whoi.edu/suggested-educational-resources-for-use-during-school-closures/
 
Last Friday we were able to briefly see a great number of our families during the Chromebook and Paper Packet pick-up. However, we know that we have some students who still need to secure their Chromebooks. If your child is still in need of their Chromebook, please email your principal who will help you make arrangements to secure the device. Also, with regard to Chromebooks and use of digital tools for learning, we are seeing an increase in telecommunications among educators and students. Educators who choose to use programs aside from those contained within Google will be asking parents/guardians for permission.
 
Please note that while engaged in telecommunications to support continuity of learning, educators will ask students to be observant of rules and procedures outlined in the Student/Parent/Guardian Handbook. These are written in alignment with Massachusetts’ two-way consent law, meaning both educators and students understand that audio may be recorded through these tools. Educators must ensure that parents/guardians understand that they and their children must not record or take screenshots so as to protect student privacy/confidentiality and prevent cyberbullying. Educators, mindful of their schools’ “no photo” lists, may share a snapshot if a warranted occasion arises.
 
We received notice today that the Falmouth Service Center has temporarily closed through this Friday, March 27th, and suspended all food distribution in an abundance of caution. They are expected to provide one day of food distribution next week. I want to remind everyone that we are still offering grab and go breakfast and lunch meals. Curbside pickup is available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (two days of breakfasts and lunches each day) from 11am -12 noon at East Falmouth Elementary, Teaticket Elementary, Mullen-Hall Elementary, and Falmouth High School. You may pick up meals at any location. For planning purposes, please let us know the number of meals you will pick up at info@falmouth.k12.ma.us. If you need delivery, please indicate it in your email.
 
Just a reminder that all updates and resources are located on our website at falmouth.k12.ma.us/COVID19
 
Best to you and your loved ones!
 
Lori Duerr, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Falmouth Public Schools