School Committee Updated on Back to School Plans

The Thursday night remote School Committee meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM by Chair Stacey Raffi.  A majority of time concerned the reopening of schools.  Interim Superintendent Susan Kustka provided information about this update:

  • Back to School Plans – School-based teams and district sub-committees have been at work.  The District sub-committees are drafting plans, but because they receive almost daily information, the plans may change direction daily.  Friday, July 24, the 5 sub-committees will meet together to share summaries of where they are and present their recommendations. 
  • Holliston’s Back to School Plan- Due to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on August 10, but this plan will also be fluid. 
  • Parent Survey- Results are being calculated and will be shared within a week.  Part II of the survey will ask more about parent preferences.
  • Staff Survey- A graph will be created to share with the staff.  A Part II Survey will elicit more details.
  • The Commissioner of Education Update – encouraged districts to think of ways the teacher/parent will work. An upcoming survey will ask something more to help these teacher/parents with childcare concerns.
  •  Q & A Session for Parents- The evenings of August 3 and August 4 to “tease out” the plans for back to school. that will be presented to the School Committee for a vote on August 6 and sent to the DESE on August 10.
  • The Administrative Retreat- To be held on July 28-29.  The topic of racism and equity will be embedded in their work.  Superintendent Dr. Kustka invited the members of the School Committee to attend during that time the speaker on racism and equity presents.  
  • Goal of Safety for back to school plans – All guidance and medical information point to support of a 6’ social distancing model.  The Superintendent reported that the 3’ social distancing guidance is not safe and not feasible for Holliston’s plans. 
  • Fall Sports – The MIAA reports no sports will take place until September 14, but the final outcome may change.  As the school year calendar may change, the district will front load staff training.

In other business:

  • SC member Cynthia Lestewnik, chair of the policy sub-committee, presented the 2nd reading of new Gender Identity Support Policy, JBD.  A 3rd reading of the Policy was waived, and the policy passed unanimously.
  • Dr. Susan Kustka was appointed by unanimous vote to both the ACCEPT Education Collaborative and the Tech Collaborative.
  • Cynthia Lestewnik, Dawn Neborsky, and Lisa Kocian attended the Massachusetts Association of School Committees school reopening meeting and breakout sessions on July 22.  
  • Business Manager Keith Buday reported:
    •  The Hardship Fund refunded a total of $50,000.16 to 84 people.  (The average return of $595.24.)  Checks will be sent following approval of the Select Board.
    • Transportation and Facilities planning:
      • A 3’ social-distance must be maintained on school transit, resulting in 25 students per bus (with open windows).
      • Monitors (to check mask-wearing and seat assignments) and cleaning are required.
      • Bus pass information should made public next week.
  • The Annual Town Meeting approved the FY2020-21 School Budget for $35,139.715 on July 20. 
  • Chair Stacey Raffi signed warrants:
    • School bills of $53,898.76, $58,167.86, $60,760.34, $793,203.07, $67,189.11, and Student Activities of $32,183.00.
  • HHS Graduation will be Saturday, July 25, 10:00 AM, at Kamitian Field, limited to graduates and two guests.  The graduation will be broadcast live on HCAT. 

The School Committee adjourned at 8:58 PM and will meet remotely on August 6, at 7:00 PM.

Yvette Cain

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