School Committee Holds First Meeting of the New Year

A regular open meeting of the Holliston School Committee began, following a 6:30 PM Executive Session, on Thursday, January 6, 2022, at 7:02 PM.  Chair Cynthia Listewnik said that the group was ready to move into its agenda.  Votes were taken to accept a series of past meeting minutes from both regular and executive sessions that will be posted online.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Kustka (L) and SC Chair Cynthia Listewnik

Reminders were provided by members of the online survey requested by Envisioning Future Holliston (EFH Survey) and January 14, 2022, is a full day of Professional Development for staff.

Matthew Baker, HHS Athletic Director called in from a track meet in Wheaton.  He has emailed all COVID-related protocols concerning sports to the HHS community, all of which are constantly being evaluated.  Superintendent Susan Kustka added, “All are subject to change.”  Among items included are the following:

  • Practices and games are being evaluated on an individual basis;
  • Games may be postponed or cancelled (all contests must be made up by February 24, 2022);
  • Only immediate family members (i.e. household) are permitted to be spectators;
  • No food or drink is allowed (except water);
  • A doctor’s note must be presented in order for an athlete to return following a bout with COVID;
  • Masks must be worn and worn correctly at all times.

Baker will provide another information session during the next SC meeting on January 20, 2022.

In personnel, Dr. Kustka reported the hiring of Brenda Moore to the position of floating nurse prior to Christmas. 

Subcommittee reports included the following:

  • Communications Sub-Committee will meet next on January 18, 2022;
  • Budget Sub-Committee will meet on January 19, 2022;

Superintendent’s Evaluation Sub-Committee- Stacey Raffi, Chair, reported that the group has reviewed goals and Dr. Kustka will add action steps.  They will be using a prior timeline to complete their work. The next meeting is February 3.

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy

The members of the SC had a few questions concerning COVID protocols, and Emergency Management Director Michael Cassidy provided some answers.  Concerning pool testing, as numbers of cases rise, the numbers of “close contacts” that must be contacted is rising exponentially.  So, for example, when 10 pools had a positive result, 100 people had to be contacted, consuming much time.  SC wondered if the Holliston Health Department could aid in this process.  Cassidy said, “There is no capacity for the Health Department to do contact tracing.”  As privacy must be maintained, volunteers or others cannot be added to make these calls.  Dr. Kustka predicted that a rise in the case numbers may cause a change to the present pool testing procedures.  Cassidy reminded everyone that best protection from infection occurs when both parties are wearing masks.  Keith Buday, Assistant Superintendent, reported that prior to the reopening of school on January 3, 486 COVID test kits were distributed to teachers.  The District is hoping to receive more. 

(L-R) School Committee members Minnie Gupta, Stacey Raffi, Amanda Bigelow

The SC continues to review the 2022-23 School Calendar.  Conversation tonight concerned the best placement of a Fall 2022 full day of professional development. With several dates suggested, the final calendar is not ready for approval.

Warrants signed on behalf of the SC by the Chair included school bills for $577,457.13, $81,070.87, $51,817.29, and $253,577.73; student activities account $4,899.33, and cafeteria bill of $25.058.08.

The SC will meet again on January 20, 2022, at 7:00 PM.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Yvette Cain

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