Good afternoon everyone,
Before diving into the latest on school closures and curriculum we’d like to begin with an article, an activity and a piece from our students at WAVM who are members of our communications classes. Enjoy!
First: A Good View
The Broadcast Journalism class would like to share pictures of what we are doing, how we are feeling, and things that make us smile during this unprecedented school closure.
Communications & Broadcasting Teacher
Maynard High School
Second: A Good Read
Teacher Travis Zimmerman shared an article with the entire high school staff that may be of interest to you regarding COVID 19 and its impact on people’s outlook and emotional state.
As Travis put it in his cover note to staff, “It (the article) classifies our societal response to the pandemic and public health measures as natural responses to grief. We grieve the loss of the expected normal. It’s a good read with a good message at its core…”
Third: A Good “To Do”
From Paulette Renault-Caragianes, the Associate Dean for Health and Wellness at UMASS/Lowell.
There is free access to a course in Mindfulness for Anxiety and Sleep: Learn Practices that Help Reduce Stress and Calm Fears on Udemy. (Udemy is an online, video learning platform.)
Here's what you will learn:
Why trying to avoid fear is a losing strategy
How to distinguish healthy concern from being caught in fear's trance
The ways anxiety can fuel addictive and compulsive behaviors
How to meet challenges with courage and wisdom
Mindfulness strategies for relaxation and improved sleep
Udemy courses are online and on demand - you can complete them at your own pace from wherever you are. The free registration window will only last until 3/30, but once you're registered, the course is yours to keep! You can use the code ANXIETY-FREE-2020 at checkout.
We’d like to thank our students, Hannah, Travis and Paulette for sending these great items along.
Next comes news regarding the ongoing school closures across the Commonwealth and the impact on Maynard High School.
It has been 15 days since the last full day of classes at Maynard High School. To our knowledge no new cases of COVID 19 are linked to contact at Maynard High School beyond the non-resident of Maynard staff member who was diagnosed approximately two weeks ago. That individual is recovering well and all community members who were deemed to be in close contact with that staff member have completed their quarantine period(s) without emergence of the illness.
As we’re sure you have heard, all schools from pre-K to 12 are currently closed across Massachusetts until, in Governor Baker’s words, “At least May 4th” due to the COVID 19 outbreak. As this is being written approximately 100,000 cases are now confirmed or presumed in the United States and more than 2,400 are within Massachusetts as of Thursday afternoon. Looking west to NewYork State and south to New York City the situation is stretching medical capacity to the limits and beyond in some localities. Given this reality, we know that educational services within the traditional setting of Maynard High School are many weeks away.
We urge you to follow the Governor’s directive to socially shelter and distance yourselves from others, to follow state Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines for handwashing and other preventative measures and to immediately seek out medical assistance if you develop symptoms associated with COVID 19 including a persistent cough, fever and shortness of breath.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary (DESE) has been updating guidance to schools with increasing clarity for grades Pre-K to 8, but has acknowledged that high schools present a different set of challenges given the nature of credit granting for course completion and the formation of transcripts for future college applications and employment. Further meetings between DESE and school superintendents are scheduled for this coming Monday and DESE promises further guidance specifically for high schools early in the week of April 7th.
Until that time students and parents are reminded that teachers are following current state guidelines by posting enrichment activities on the District Website, and in some cases google classroom. Teachers are also available for questions and answers regarding curriculum via email or other electronic platforms they have designated to their students.
Students should be checking their school issued email accounts regularly, visiting district and classroom sites electronically and engaging in suggested academic activities to the greatest extent possible.
As more clarity regarding academic expectations for high school students arrives from the state the current situation may well shift in a new direction.
Beyond academic expectations, staff members and student groups are now working on broader activities for social outreach via digital platforms and other medically safe means. Stay tuned as these begin to come on line.
In other news, the College Board has altered expectations for AP testing dramatically this year. A single question with a 45 minute time limit will be taken by students from home this year in nearly all subjects. The College Board has stated that further information will be sent out next Friday April 3rd.
The MCAS Tests for this spring have been, at a minimum, postponed. The possibility of outright cancellation exists as do waivers for current seniors. The state promises more clarification in the near future as legislative and regulatory changes at the state and federal level need to be completed and in place prior to a final decision regarding outright cancellation.
The MIAA has stated there will be a fall season so long as schools go back into session on May 4th. Teams would form on the 4th, practice for one week and begin games the week of May 11th. A shortened regular season would be played allowing for league champions, but no state tournaments will be held. Additionally, the Maynard Public Schools reserves the right to determine if conditions are sufficiently safe for athletics to resume for Maynard students based on local conditions. The MIAA has further indicated, though not released an official statement, that should school closures extend beyond May 4th it is likely no spring season will be held.
That is the news for this week under unprecedented circumstances.
Please take care and be well.
Chuck Caragianes Kevin Caruso
Principal for Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction Principal for Leadership & Operations