Community Conversation around Medford (MA) School Reopening Plans

Community Conversation around Medford (MA) School Reopening Plans

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Jennifer Lewis started this petition to Medford Public Schools Administration and

The purpose of this petition is to gather as much support as possible from parents while inviting a more open conversation regarding the dynamic Medford 2020 Reopening Plan with the MPS Administration and School Committee.

We, families of Medford Public School students and community members, find the extensive omissions in the current draft unacceptable. We call on Medford Public Schools Administration, the School Committee and its Chair Mayor Lungo-Koehn, and the Board of Health to honor your commitment to full and open communication with families. We understand that this draft plan is put in place based on DESE guidelines. What we require is twofold: to robustly collect community input from the most impacted families, and to put resources and planning in place to actually make these options happen equitably.


Many significant issues are not addressed at all in the current plan draft, and we demand that more community input be solicited and considered as these key decisions are made over the next six weeks. We demand that the School District Administration, the School Committee, the Board of Health, and the Mayor publicly respond to these concerns before the School Committee meeting on August 6.


1- We demand more Community Input. We understand that a survey will be sent to all families on August 7, 2020. In addition to soliciting community input for logistical planning in this survey, we demand that the survey also identify the barriers that prevent families from providing feedback and/or participating in any of the Reopening Planning. 

2- We demand that the results of this and all prior surveys, listening sessions, Steering Committee, and Subcommittee meeting notes be made available as Public Record.

3- We demand clear Transition Plans for Students switching from in-person or hybrid to remote, and back, as illness and quarantine needs demand. To ease the transition, hybrid and remote teachers must collaborate closely on curriculum which will require significant time, so these plans must be worked out and announced by August 15.

4- We demand clear Transition Plans for Teachers who are ill, have a family member who is ill, or are required to quarantine. 

5- We demand clear Guidelines for Electing to Move Schools Fully Online that will be adhered to by the Mayor and School Administration, which will keep in mind the declaration of systemic racism as a public health issue in Medford.
 

6- We demand clear Procedures for Moving Schools Fully Online (should that be needed) with frequent communication to families. 
Will there be a no-school transition period for teachers to adapt? 
Under what circumstances will high-risk students still attend in person? 

7- We demand clear Contact Tracing Plans that are agreed to by the City Board of Health and the School Administration. Presently the draft plan says that the Board of Health is responsible but there has been no indication that the Board of Health has plans to implement Contact Tracing.

8- We demand an Assessment of the Air Circulation of every room of each school building especially the MHS/MVTHS complex. We demand that no room with insufficient airflow as determined by CDC guidelines for office buildings be used for any purpose other than storage. 

9- We demand that Medford Public Schools procure an Assessment of Air Quality for COVID-19 during the school day from an external vendor in each school building at least monthly while students and parents are present.

We call on the MPS administration and the Mayor to answer these questions and incorporate these concerns as completely as possible before the August 6 School Committee Meeting. In cases where MPS is awaiting information from outside bodies including DESE, the Teachers Union, and funding sources, clearly state the sources of input that are being awaited, when decisions will be made, and what factors will change these decisions. We demand that these specific issues be addressed in updates at least weekly, until and after school begins.


We call on the School Committee and its Chair, the Mayor, to hold the administration accountable to fully answering these questions, and to develop robust systems to include community input in decision-making.


We call on the Board of Health, the Mayor's Office, and all city departments to collaborate with the public schools to ensure the safety of our students and the rest of our community.


We recognize that this is an incredibly challenging situation for everyone and we appreciate the difficult decisions that must be made. We also recognize that plans for schooling affect children's educational, social and emotional development disparately; the ability of families to work and therefore survive; and the health of all members of our community. We recognize that families have many differing needs and no plan can meet all of them. Because this planning is so very important and significant to all of us, we demand that the community have input into every part of this process. 


Respectfully submitted by concerned parents, including:

 

Divya Anand

Georgiana Chevry

Michelle Ciccolo

Jane Hamel

Jen Lewis

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