Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I trust you have had some time to relax and enjoy the December school break. Given the intensity of this school year, I completely disconnected from school-related work over the holiday – and encouraged all staff members to do the same. We will look forward to greeting cohort A tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to go!

Reminder: All students in K-2 will stay until 2pm starting tomorrow (Monday, January 4). This will allow more in-person time with the teacher. As a result, the at-home cohort will now have their 2pm virtual live instruction with a specialist or other school personnel. DESE (The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) has issued mandates regarding the amount of live (virtual or in-person) we must now provide for students. We must have our new plan in place by Jan.19th. We will be working to meet those expectations between now and the 19th. Stay tuned for more information.

Did you travel out of state over the vacation? If so, you must abide by the Mass Covid-19 Travel Order. In that document you will find that children age 10 or under are not required to have a Covid test (“Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not required.”)
However – any child (regardless of age) must have a recent negative covid test or must follow quarantining guidelines before returning to school. This is important information – please make note of it.

Thanks to Leah Kolidas who spearheaded our winter coat drive! She was able to donate 38 new and gently used coats to Boston Area Healthy Families. Leah partnered with a school in Dedham who donated an additional 27 coats! Many thanks for the generous donations from our families to make this happen.

Air quality at Memorial-Spaulding has been a recent topic of discussion and concern. In December we were presented with two air testing reports that contained very different/conflicting information. As you can imagine, this caused quite a bit of concern and worry. Our staff met with the Director of Facilities, as well as the Assistant Superintendent for Operations. Given the level of concern (and mismatched information), the City performed extensive maintenance work on the unit ventilators in classrooms. Additionally, they hired an independent air quality testing/balancing company who performed the tests on Tuesday and Wednesday before the December break. (While testing for fresh air intake, they can adjust the dampers to allow for greater air flow.) Josh Morse, Newton Public Building’s Commissioner, was on hand for the entire two days and he welcomed questions from staff about the state of our air quality and how it is being improved. I know many teachers (and some students) asked hard questions and I believe they were provided with answers and/or explanations. This past week I received a preliminary report from Josh Morse that indicates all spaces in our school are now in compliance with expected “fresh air intake” for 100% occupancy. Once the report is finalized, it will be uploaded to the district website.

Sonja Spears, Head of the Newton Police Task Force – and a social warrior, will speak this Thursday, Jan 7 @ 7pm. More information available HERE

I wish you and your family an extremely healthy, prosperous and happy 2021.

All the best,

Tom Morris, Principal