Superintendent Updates

October 21, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools and Greenfield Middle School
  • AEL Wrap Care
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Bus Expectations
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Pooled Testing
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY and GMS

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am.  Greenfield Middle School also has conferences these same days and students will be released at 11:10 am.

AEL AFTERNOON WRAPCARE

The AEL Wrap care program will not be available on Friday, Oct 22 in the afternoon.  We are experiencing some staffing shortages but are actively working to address that.  We apologize for any inconvenience this unavailable change has created.

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least November 1. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

BUS EXPECTATIONS

It is extremely important for all of our students to follow rules for safe and respectful behavior on our buses.  Students need to remain seated, leave their masks on and speak in “talking” not “yelling” voices.  Our principals will work with families for any of our students who have a hard time following the rules but we are asking parents to help reinforce safe behavior on buses. Thank you

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had no positive cases in the district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

POOLED TESTING

This week I sent a message about some members of the National Guard assisting with our routine COVID 19 checks.  I accepted an offer from the Department of Education for added assistance due to the concerns shared by members of the community about the testing not occurring as planned.  The nursing staff tried to do all three types of testing without assistance but were unable to follow the schedule they had hoped.  I cannot thank our nurses and health assistants enough for all of their work in the testing protocols.

Some families have asked about the National Guard staff who are on site.  I had the pleasure of meeting them on Wednesday and they expressed how pleased they are to be able to help in this critical effort.  As they are here in the capacity of the National Guard, they are in uniform but are not armed.  A member of the GPS staff is also with them while they are on site.

I would like to thank them for their assistance as we transition to another vendor for the ongoing testing efforts.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state-level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care

Christine

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 15, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Masks on Buses
  • Positive Case Notification
  • MCAS Results
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least November 1. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

MASKS ON BUSES

Masks continue to be mandated on buses. This is according to federal, DESE and local mandates.  Please make sure your child has a mask when they leave home and they know it must be worn on the bus. Thank you for your assistance.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had one positive case in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

MCAS RESULTS

MCAS results from last year’s test administration are being sent home today.

REMINDERS

I have been carrying forward the reminders about COVID testing and protocols but at this time, the information will be available on the district website.  If you have any questions about COVID 19 protocols, symptoms or testing, please check the website or feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care

Christine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 7, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Farewell and Welcome
  • Late Bus
  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Positive Case Notification
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

FAREWELL AND WELCOME

Please join us in wishing Caissie Putman, Principal at Discovery School a fond farewell. We wish Caissie the best of her luck in her new district and many thanks for her work here in Greenfield.

Also please join us in welcoming Michael Browning as the Interim Principal at Discovery School.  We are excited to welcome an experienced administrator from the Greenfield Public Schools to a new position.

LATE BUS

We have begun offering a late bus for middle and high school students.  The late bus will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, when school is in session for full days.  Middle school late bus will pick up students at 3:40 for afternoon runs and high school students will be picked up at approximately 3:50.  More information will be provided at each school regarding sign ups

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least November 1. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had five positive cases in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

REMINDERS

We have no school on Monday, October 11.

I have been carrying forward the reminders about COVID testing and protocols but at this time, the information will be available on the district website.  If you have any questions about COVID 19 protocols, symptoms or testing, please check the website or feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care,

Christine

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 30, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • TikTok Challenge – Serious Issue
  • Late Bus
  • Open House for GMS and GHS
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Letters for Attendance and MCAS
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

TIKTOK CHALLENGES

We have been made aware of a serious issue with the Tik Tok challenges.  This month’s challenge is to slap a staff person/teacher.  This is a completely unacceptable behavior and will lead to serious consequences for our students. This is especially true for our older, high school students.

All students will participate in an advisory or morning meeting tomorrow to discuss respectful behavior and positive expectations for behavior in school and with others.  The elementary level will focus more on global positive behavior but may also touch on possible exposure to older siblings or friends discussing online things that aren’t appropriate behavior.  Our middle and high school students will have language developmentally appropriate but more specific in terms of addressing Tik Tok.

We are asking all families to remind your students that this behavior may be considered assault.  Please partner with us to remind students about good choices, being leaders rather than following social media and to treat others as they would like to be treated.  If we unfortunately encounter this behavior, we will need to respond with appropriate consequences as we take this very seriously.  Thank you for your support.

LATE BUS

We will begin offering a late bus for middle and high school students on October 4.  The late bus will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, when school is in session for full days.  Middle school late bus will pick up students at 3:40 for afternoon runs and high school students will be picked up at approximately 3:50.  More information will be provided at each school regarding sign ups

OPEN HOUSE

Greenfield Middle School Open House will be on October 7th from 5 pm – 6 pm.  Greenfield High School will host its Open House that same evening from 6 pm – 7 pm.  Our elementary schools will have Parent Conferences later in October and more information will be provided at a later date.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had three positive cases in district.

LETTERS COMING HOME

Some of our students will receive letters with a summary of attendance in the next week or so.  We are reporting all absences, including those for COVID.  The letters are meant to be information for families so please contact us if you believe the information is incorrect.  For students who have missed a significant number of days that are not related to COVID 19, we’d like to work with families to increase students’ time in school.

MCAS reports will also be available October 15.  We realize the testing was completed during the pandemic and the district is using the results as a broad measure of where we have areas for improvement in curriculum, instruction and assessment.  More information will be provided prior to Oct 15.

REMINDERS

I have been carrying forward the reminders about COVID testing and protocols but at this time, the information will be available on the district website.  If you have any questions about COVID 19 protocols, symptoms or testing, please check the website or feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care

Christine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 23, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Mandatory Testing for Athletics
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • TikTok Issues and Bathrooms
  • Riders on Assigned Buses Only
  • Late Bus
  • Open House for GMS and GHS
  • Sports Schedule
  • Community Tree Planting
  • Thank you

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioner’s mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well.  We ask that families try to send an extra mask with students in the event one is lost or damaged during the day. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies is reviewed frequently. We have reinstituted assigned seating in cafeterias at the elementary level to aid in contact tracing. Our older students are better able to assist with contact tracing if needed so we are not assigning seats at this time. In classrooms, we will maintain seating charts to assist with contact tracing if students are less than three feet apart, especially if they are eating snack. We continue with sanitizing restrooms, rooms where ill staff or students have been and high touch areas. Hand sanitizer is available in high traffic areas and use of hand sanitizer will be required when hand washing is not readily available. We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur.

I have received some questions about use of cohorts while students are outside at recess.  According to DESE protocols dated August 13, 2021, a close contact is defined as someone who has “been within 6 ft of a COVID – 19 positive individual while indoors for at least 15 minutes during a 24 hour period”.  Students outside at recess would not be considered close contacts in that setting.

It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well and we ask families to continue to contact our school nurses.  Unfortunately, we do have some students who have come to school not feeling their best so we ask parents to check in with students daily about how they are feeling.

COVID TESTING - Update

District nurses and health assistants will begin pooled testing for the Greenfield elementary schools next week with the secondary schools beginning the week after.  This is the plan as of now and we will provide any updates if needed.

A reminder that pooled testing is just one of three testing scenarios available to our students. Rapid tests have been provided for any student who is ill.  These are being done by our nurses and this rapid testing began with the start of school.  We are also doing the Test and Stay, in which students who are identified as close contacts within the schools but are not showing symptoms, are tested at school and then remain in school as long as they are feeling well and the tests are negative.  This type of testing has also been used since the start of school.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about testing was shared by our Head Nurse, Kelly Savitri, earlier this week and is available on the district website.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

MANDATORY TESTING FOR INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETICS

At the September 13 meeting, the School Committee voted to require COVID 19 testing for students who participate in interscholastic athletics at both the middle and high school levels.  This testing will begin as soon as pooled testing is available for all students who have signed consent.  If any athletes have questions, please contact the high school nursing office or the high school administration.  Please see the link to the consent form above.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had four positive cases in district.

TIKTOK and BATHROOMS

Many students follow TIKTOK on social media.  Unfortunately, some of our students, most notably at the secondary level, have engaged in a trend that involves taking items that are not theirs.  Please help us in reminding all students that they are expected to be respectful of other people’s things and to not engage in this type of behavior.  Vandalism led to restrooms at both the middle school and high school needing to be closed for periods of time. When school restrooms are vandalized we need to have them off limits to students while repairs or restorations are completed.  Closing of rest rooms is extremely unfortunate but also avoidable so we appreciate your assistance in reminding students to respect school property. Please see the link below for more information.

https://www.newsweek.com/tiktok-devious-licks-trend-stolen-items-school-1628463

EXTRA RIDERS ON BUSES

Kuzmeskus Bus has asked that we not allow students to ride buses except their assigned bus.  Given the increased numbers of COVID 19 cases and the possibility for contact tracing, they need to have riders on their assigned buses only.  Thank you for your cooperation with this update.

LATE BUS

We will begin offering a late bus for middle and high school students on October 4.  The late bus will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, when school is in session for full days.  Middle school late bus will pick up students at 3:40 for afternoon runs and high school students will be picked up at approximately 3:50.  More information will be provided regarding sign ups at each school.

OPEN HOUSE

Greenfield Middle School Open House will be on October 7th from 5 pm – 6 pm.  Greenfield High School will host its Open House that same evening from 6 pm – 7 pm.  Our elementary schools will have Parent Conferences later in October and more information will be provided at a later date.

SPORTS SCHEDULE

The Greenfield High School and Greenfield Middle School sports schedules can be found here:

https://www.arbiterlive.com/School/Calendar/9037

We hope to see you at the games!!!

COMMUNITY TREE PLANTING

A community tree planting event will be held at Newton Street School on Saturday October 2 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm.  We hope you are able to attend this community event.

THANK YOU

I realize that the start of the school year has presented some challenges for some of our students and families. Adjusting to a full time, back to school schedule has been difficult and some of our students need additional support to feel successful.  Added to the start of school, many families are talking with our nursing staff and office staff about difficult or challenging subjects, including illness and district policy.  I’d like to thank the families who have been working through these issues with our district staff.  We understand that at times it’s frustrating but greatly appreciate the respectful and collaborative conversations with families.  THANK YOU!!!

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care,

Christine

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 16, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Mandatory Testing for Athletics
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Before School Care
  • TikTok issues
  • Riders on Assigned Buses Only

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioner’s mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well.  We ask that families try to send an extra mask with students in the event one is lost or damaged during the day. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies is reviewed frequently. We have reinstituted assigned seating in cafeterias at the elementary level to aid in contact tracing. Our older students are better able to assist with contact tracing if needed so we are not assigning seats at this time. In classrooms, we will maintain seating charts to assist with contact tracing if students are less than three feet apart, especially if they are eating snack. We continue with sanitizing restrooms, rooms where ill staff or students have been and high touch areas. Hand sanitizer is available in high traffic areas and use of hand sanitizer will be required when hand washing is not readily available. We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur.

I have received some questions about use of cohorts while students are outside at recess.  According to DESE protocols dated August 13, 2021, a close contact is defined as someone who has “been within 6 ft of a COVID – 19 positive individual while indoors for at least 15 minutes during a 24 hour period”.  Students outside at recess would not be considered close contacts in that setting.

It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well and we ask families to continue to contact our school nurses. 

COVID TESTING - Update

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not yet been able to provide the resources offered to districts to conduct pooled testing for COVID 19.  We are working to hire sufficient medically based staff (nurses, health assistants etc…) to provide the pooled testing using Greenfield Public School staff rather than continue to wait for the state level resources.  We hope to have that system in place very soon.  In the meantime, we are providing the two other types of testing for our students.  Rapid tests have been provided for any student who is ill.  These are being done by our nurses and this rapid testing began with the start of school.  We are also doing the Test and Stay, in which students who are identified as close contacts within the schools but are not showing symptoms, are tested at school and then remain in school as long as they are feeling well and the tests are negative.  This type of testing has also been used since the start of school. We will begin doing district-wide pooled testing as soon as the staffing is in place or the DESE vendor is able to provide the staffing. 

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

MANDATORY TESTING FOR INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETICS

At the September 13 meeting, the School Committee voted to require COVID 19 testing for students who participate in interscholastic athletics at both the middle and high school levels.  This testing will begin as soon as pooled testing is available for all students who have signed consent.  If any athletes have questions, please contact the high school nursing office or the high school administration.  Please see the link to the consent form above.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had five positive cases in district.

BEFORE SCHOOL CARE

We have the ability to offer additional spots for students in our before school care program. Parents will need to sign up for before school care at least a week prior to the date on which they need their child to start so we can confirm we have appropriate staffing levels.  It is very important for safety and keeping track of the students at before school that parents not drop off students we are not expecting.  If you are interested in signing your child up for before school care, please contact your child’s school. If you have questions about before school care, please contact your child’s school and one of the program coordinators will get back to you.

TIKTOK

Many students follow TIKTOK on social media.  Unfortunately, some of our students, most notably at the Greenfield Middle School have engaged in a trend that involves taking items that are not theirs.  Please help us in reminding all students that they are expected to be respectful of other people’s things and to not engage in this type of behavior.  We appreciate your support.  Please see the link below for more information.

https://www.newsweek.com/tiktok-devious-licks-trend-stolen-items-school-1628463

EXTRA RIDERS ON BUSES

Kuzmeskus Bus has asked that we not allow students to ride buses except their assigned bus.  Given the increased numbers of COVID 19 cases and the possibility for contact tracing, they need to have riders on their assigned buses only.  Thank you for your cooperation with this update.

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

I hope everyone enjoys the Fair and the projected beautiful weather this weekend

Take care,

Christine

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 9, 2021

Good evening,

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Bus Routes and Student Pick Up
  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Before School Care
  • Lunch Menu Changes
  • Picture Day for Newton School
  • Newton School PTO Meeting

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

BUS ROUTES

The bus routes are on the Greenfield Public Schools website and can be found here: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/2021-2022-bus-routes

If you have questions about the routes, please contact Travel Kuz at 413-863-2595.

A reminder that parents of our kindergarten students need to meet their children at the bus stops at afternoon drop off.  Thank you

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioner’s mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We are hearing that a number of students are boarding buses without them.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies continues to be critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of illness.  In the Greenfield Schools we will be continuing to utilize these strategies, in addition to the wearing of masks indoors. There is no requirement for specific social distancing from DESE, however, we will be providing added space when possible. This includes in the cafeterias when students are unmasked to eat. Other mitigation strategies include: frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, having students facing the same direction when possible to limit direct face to face when speaking.  We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur. It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well.  There will be an updated list of COVID symptoms on our website. 

Our goal is to keep our students and staff in school for the full year. Your help in following the mitigation strategies is greatly appreciated as we collectively focus on the health and safety of the entire Greenfield Public School Community. Thank you!

COVID TESTING

We are again doing routine COVID safety checks (previously referred to as “pool testing”) in the Greenfield Public Schools.

There are three types of testing available for students.

  • We can administer a rapid antigen testing if students exhibit symptoms after they arrive at school – again please keep students home if they are not feeling well
  • Test and Stay - if students are identified as a close contact from school exposure , they can continue to come to school and get tested daily as long as they are not showing any symptoms
  • COVID safety checks

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had two positive cases in district.

BEFORE SCHOOL CARE

We are pleased to share that our before school care started this Tuesday.  We have staff in place to support the students who had signed up as of Friday Sept 3.  Parents will need to sign up for before school care at least a week prior to the date on which they need their child to start so we can confirm we have appropriate staffing levels.  It is very important for safety and keeping track of the students at before school that parents not drop off students we are not expecting.  Thank you so much for helping with this important matter.  If you have questions about before school care, please contact your child’s school and one of the program coordinators will get back to you.

LUNCH MENU CHANGES

We are experiencing some supply chain issues and at times, the lunch offerings may be different from what is on the menu because we aren’t able to get food orders on time. The Food Service staff is working to keep the menu options as close as possible to the published menus. Thank you for your understanding.

PICTURE DAYS

Please remember that Newton School has pictures on September 17th.

NEWTON STREET PTO

The Newton Street PTO meeting will be held virtually on September 16 at 4:00 pm.

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

I hope everyone enjoys the Fair and the projected beautiful weather this weekend

Take care

Christine

_______________________________________________________________________________

September 2, 2021

Welcome to the 2021-2022 academic year! Our students, grades 1 – 12 have had a successful start to the new school year and we are looking forward to welcoming the class of 2035 for kindergarten and our new preschool students tomorrow.

Each week while we are dealing with COVID 19 in our area, I will send out a Parent Update to all families through School Messenger.  I will try to send them on Thursdays in the early evening but periodically, I’m not able to send the Update until Friday so thank you in advance for your flexibility. Once COVID related information is no longer relevant, I will gather feedback from the community to determine if a weekly update from the Superintendent would still be helpful. My Parent Update will include information that is general to the district and also related to COVID 19 protocols and information.

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Start of School and Labor Day
  • Bus Routes
  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Staff Vaccination Status
  • Before School Care
  • Lunch Menu Changes
  • Drop Off
  • Picture Days

START OF SCHOOL

Kindergarten and Preschool Friday September 3, 2021 –  K and PK students will have a half day with dismissal at 11:55 am.

Schools are closed Monday September 6 for Labor Day

START AND END TIMES

Our typical start and end times for school are:

Greenfield High School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Greenfield Middle School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Elementary Schools (Newton, Federal and Four Corners) – start at 8:30 am and end at 2:55 pm

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

BUS ROUTES

The bus routes are on the Greenfield Public Schools website and can be found here: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/2021-2022-bus-routes

If you have questions about the routes, please contact Travel Kuz at 413-863-2595.

 COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioners mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We are hearing that a number of students are boarding buses without them.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies continues to be critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of illness.  In the Greenfield Schools we will be continuing to utilize these strategies, in addition to the wearing of masks indoors. There is no requirement for specific social distancing from DESE, however, we will be providing added space when possible. This includes in the cafeterias when students are unmasked to eat. Other mitigation strategies include: frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, having students facing the same direction when possible to limit direct face to face when speaking.  We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur. It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well.  There will be an updated list of COVID symptoms on our website. 

Our goal is to keep our students and staff in school for the full year. Your help in following the mitigation strategies is greatly appreciated as we collectively focus on the health and safety of the entire Greenfield Public School Community. Thank you!

COVID TESTING

We are again doing routine COVID safety checks (previously referred to as “pool testing”) in the Greenfield Public Schools.

There are three types of testing available for students.

  • We can administer a rapid antigen testing if students exhibit symptoms after they arrive at school – again please keep students home if they are not feeling well
  • Test and Stay - if students are identified as a close contact from school exposure , they can continue to come to school and get tested daily as long as they are not showing any symptoms
  • COVID safety checks

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

STAFF VACINATION STATUS

It can be very challenging to send students back to school with much uncertainty about COVID; however, some families have asked staff to disclose their vaccination status.  Vaccination status of our staff is considered personal health information and they are not required to discuss that, or any other health information with families.  I realize that knowing the vaccination status of your child’s teacher or other support staff could reduce anxiety or concern but please know that we are following recommended mitigation strategies aimed at reducing the likelihood that illness will spread.  The staff takes the risk of COVID 19 very seriously and is doing everything we have asked to protect your children and themselves.  I realize that not knowing the vaccination status of staff may lead some families to make difficult decisions and we invite you to discuss our mitigation strategies with the building principal as our goal is to help you feel as comfortable as possible, following our legal requirements. Thank you for respecting the privacy of our staff regarding health information.

BEFORE SCHOOL CARE

We continue to look for staff for the before school care program.  We have more than 130 students signed up but do not have all the staff to safely supervise that many students.  This is one of the top priorities for our district and we realize that parents are looking to this before school care to assist with work schedules.

We have advertised on SchoolSpring so the posting is visible to the public, so please share that information with anyone who may be willing to cover the morning, even as a substitute.  We have also reached out to some of our community partners, who also are dealing with staffing shortages.  We are continuing to search for applicants and will continue to do so.  I apologize that the program was not up and running on the first day of school but as I said, we continue to keep this a top priority.

I will continue to provide updates on our progress and we are optimistic that we will be able to start at some point soon.

LUNCH MENU CHANGES

We are experiencing some supply chain issues and at times, the lunch offerings may be different from what is on the menu because we aren’t able to get food orders on time. The Food Service staff is working to keep the menu options as close as possible to the published menus. Thank you for your understanding.

STUDENT DROP OFF

We are asking all families who drop their children off for school to please be aware of the buses and not drop students off in the parking lots.  Thank you so much for helping us to keep all of our students safe!

PICTURE DAYS

Please remember that GHS picture day is September 3 and Newton School has pictures on September 17th.

I hope everyone enjoys the mild weather this weekend

Take care,

Christine

 

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August 26, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

I am so pleased to have started my time as Superintendent here in Greenfield. I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with so many wonderful staff and I look forward to meeting our students and families throughout the year. I am beginning to visit schools and can see the pride our staff takes in how cared for and welcoming our school are. New teacher orientation is being held this week and our Food Service Staff did an amazing job welcoming the new members of the GPS community.  The excitement is building as we all look forward to the first day with our students.

Each week while we are dealing with COVID 19 in our area, I will send out a Parent Update to all families through School Messenger.  I will try to send them on Thursdays in the early evening but periodically, I’m not able to send the Update until Friday so thank you in advance for your flexibility. Once COVID related information is no longer relevant, I will gather feedback from the community to determine if a weekly update from the Superintendent would still be helpful. My Parent Update will include information that is general to the district and also related to COVID 19 protocols and information.

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Start of School
  • School Hours – new information is included
  • Bus Routes
  • Meet and Greets
  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Staff Vacancies
  • Elementary Specials

START OF SCHOOL

  • Grades 1-12 Wednesday, September 1, 2021 – Students will have a half-day with dismissal at 11:55 am for Elementary and 11:15 am for Middle and High School.
  • Kindergarten and Preschool Friday September 3, 2021 –  K and PK students will have a half-day with dismissal at 11:55 am.

START AND END TIMES

Our typical start and end times for school are:

Greenfield High School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Greenfield Middle School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Elementary Schools (Newton, Federal and Four Corners) – start at 8:30 am and end at 2:55 pm

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

 A FEW REMINDERS

  • Students may still go outside during the academic day for instruction, breaks etc… Please make sure they have water bottles, hats and have applied sunscreen prior to leaving home if appropriate based on the weather
  • Parent will need to bring any medication to the school nurses. Our students are not permitted to bring in their own medication.

MEET AND GREETS

The Meet and Greets at our schools are scheduled for Monday August 30 with building specific times available on the website.  With COVID continuing to be a concern, we ask families to please consider limiting the number of guests who attend. This will help to provide added space in the buildings. We also ask that families read the COVID protocols below, especially related to the mask mandate. Thank you so much in advance for everyone’s assistance.

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.  While the Commissioners mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well. 

The use of mitigation strategies continues to be critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of illness.  In the Greenfield Schools we will be continuing to utilize these strategies, in addition to the wearing of masks indoors. There is no requirement for specific social distancing from DESE, however, we will be providing added space when possible. This includes in the cafeterias when students are unmasked to eat. Other mitigation strategies include: frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, having students facing the same direction when possible to limit direct face to face when speaking.  It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well.  There will be an updated list of COVID symptoms on our website. 

Our goal is to keep our students and staff in school for the full year. Your help in following the mitigation strategies is greatly appreciated as we collectively focus on the health and safety of the entire Greenfield Public School Community. Thank you!

COVID TESTING

We are again doing routine COVID safety checks (previously referred to as “pool testing”) in the Greenfield Public Schools.

There are three types of testing available for students.

  • We can administer a rapid antigen testing if students exhibit symptoms after they arrive at school – again please keep students home if they are not feeling well
  • Test and Stay - if students are identified as a close contact , they can continue to come to school and get tested daily as long as they are not showing any symptoms
  • COVID safety checks

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

STAFF VACANCIES

We are working hard to fill all of the positions in the GPS. AT this time, there are still some unfilled positions and we thank you for your patience as we interview qualified candidates.

ELEMENTARY SPECIALS

There has been a recent schedule change related to elementary special subjects (art, music, PE, technology). This schedule change was made to ensure that all of our elementary students had access to all of these classes since the previous staff schedules did not allow all of our students to enjoy instruction in these important subject areas.  However, we do realize that chorus and band have been affected with this change.  We are working with the elementary specials teachers and administrators to address some questions and logistical issues that are typical with any schedule change and we continue to explore creative ways to potentially offer band and chorus.  I appreciate that a late schedule change can be frustrating for families and I appreciate you giving us to the time to address the situation in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner.

Dr. Christine DeBarge, Superintendent of Schools

superintendent update banner spring 1

June 18, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

The last day of school has arrived for our students. After a very difficult year of remote learning and a return to in-person learning with restrictions that have placed hardships on everyone, we want to congratulate all our students and families for accomplishing a great deal under trying circumstances. I particularly want to thank our administrators, educators, and all staff for the incredible work they’ve done while working our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the summer approaches, it comes with optimism and hope for a brighter future. The administration of the Greenfield Public Schools will be preparing for the 2021-2022 school year, starting next week. There is much to do to meet the challenges that lie ahead. During the summer months, I will update you on our progress.

The School Committee received the names of the finalists for the permanent position of Superintendent of Schools. They are Bernard Audette, Jennifer Culkeen, Christine Debarge, Thaddeus King, and Carole Learned-Miller. A brief summary of their biographies was sent to our GPS Community on Thursday, June 17th. We have also posted their resumes for anyone interested in reading them on the Superintendent Search web page.

Each of the candidates will be visiting our district for a day on July 6, 7, 8, 12, and 13 to meet with administrators, educators, staff members, parents, and community leaders. Be on the lookout for a survey next week to register your interest in meeting with the candidates. At the conclusion of each day’s visit, each candidate will be interviewed by the School Committee in a public session. The School Committee will deliberate at their July 14th meeting and vote on their choice to take on the leadership of the district.

Wishing you all a happy and safe summer!

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


June 3, 2021

Hello GPS Community!

Three items for your information below:

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

We are coming down to the end of what has been an extraordinary school year and our Seniors at GHS are very excited about their graduation on Saturday, June 5th. Per orders of the Board of Health, this is a ticketed event, open to a limited number of guests with all physical distancing protocols followed. There will be a video of the event for those of you who would like to watch it from home. Those without a ticket will not be able to attend. 

Last Week of School activities

The last week of school is the week of June 14th. All of our schools have planned ways to help students learn the significance of the Juneteenth holiday, signed into law in Massachusetts in May. Check out your child’s school newsletters and communications from the principals for the details of the observances, along with other end-of-the-year activities. Please understand that typical events for the end of the year will be different this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions. We thank our families for your understanding.

Our last day of school will be Friday, June 18th. It will be a half-day for students. The observed Juneteenth Holiday for the Greenfield Public Schools will be on Monday, June 21st. All school and district offices will be closed on that day.

Family and Community Survey

The Greenfield Public Schools is partnering with TMS, an education management firm, to conduct an independent survey of expectations, experiences, and school-to-home communications. The feedback and insight provided by you will help inform the school leadership team and school committee as efforts are made to strengthen the school system.

As a parent or guardian, teacher, staff member, student, or resident of Greenfield, you have a valuable perspective on the state of Greenfield's public schools. Your input is extremely important.

The survey opens today and closes Sunday evening. It takes just a few minutes to complete and your input is critically important. 

Click here to take the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPS2021survey

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


May 21, 2021

Good afternoon GPS Community,

This has been a week of rapid changes by the state regarding mask-wearing in public schools. As a result, the Greenfield School Committee met on May 21, 2021, to revise their current face coverings policy to reflect these changes. Click here to read the updated version. The revisions allow for the following exemptions to mask-wearing at school:

  • for students only, while outside (recess, physical education, youth sports, and outdoor learning environments) per the DESE guidelines, published May 17, 2021;

  • for athletes on spring teams in active play outdoors, on the bench/dugout, indoors at low-risk sports where 14 feet or more of distance are consistently maintained between each participant (per MIAA guidelines, published May 17, 2021);

  • spectators, chaperones, coaches, staff, referees, umpires/other officials who can meet the district’s 6-foot distancing guidelines outdoors only (per MIAA guidelines, published May 17, 2021).

Adults must continue to wear masks outdoors if distancing cannot be maintained, per the May 17, 2021, DESE guidelines. Visitors, spectators, volunteers, and staff must wear masks indoors during athletic events per the May 17, 2021, MIAA guidelines.

In response to the peaceful protest regarding equity, equality, race, and social justice at GHS last week, Principal Patenaude has been working closely with students to get their input into how to move forward. The students have plans to continue their work by engaging with both faculty and students and are making plans to participate in an upcoming faculty meeting.

We have also reached out to the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, which is providing support to districts across the Pioneer Valley in the areas of social justice and equity. We have engaged in some preliminary discussions regarding professional development for staff members and community engagement. We will share more details as they become available over the summer months.

I would like to remind our families that there is a half-day of school for students on Friday, May 28, 2021. This early release day will afford our teachers some professional time to work together on ensuring smooth transitions for students as we look forward to the 2021-2022 school year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


May 14, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

This has been a busy week in the Greenfield Public Schools. As you know, we did have a couple of positive cases of COVID-19 within our school community, but thanks to everyone’s work at following our Daily Four protocols, we have not seen any further spread. Although the CDC is making recommendations regarding vaccinations and mask-wearing, the GPS Facecovering policy remains in effect for all staff and students in our schools and on our grounds. Thank you all in advance for continuing to follow our protocols. While we as educators teach, we also learn from our students. On Friday morning, May 17th, a group of students had a conversation in the form of a peaceful protest with our high school principal, Ms. Karin Patenaude, about equity, equality, race, and social justice. The students were thoughtful in their approach, identifying several issues they wish to see addressed and it was a mutually beneficial discussion for the adults and the students. The students have also made a commitment to actively engage in finding solutions to their concerns. I also met with them to hear their ideas about ways we can resolve some of the concerns and issues they have identified. In the coming days, we will be meeting with the students again, will be reaching out to Community Action and Stand Up, and working with the high school leadership team and our students to continue to meet the students’ needs. Look for a public announcement next week on the details of our approach. The School Committee met on Wednesday evening and reviewed several policies that are in need of an addition to the policy manual or revisions to existing policies. You can read the policies that were adopted or are under review by going to our website, gpsk12.org, and clicking on the School Committee meetings page. The policies are included in the 5/12/21 meeting materials. The Committee will be meeting in a special session on Tuesday evening, May 8th, at 6:00 pm, to continue this important work. Sincerely, Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


May 10, 2021

Greetings GPS Community, 

The month of May is in full swing and with it, several things to share with you. We appreciate everyone’s vigilance with The Daily Four, as it really makes a difference in our schools. Another way to protect our school community is through participation in the GPS Pooled Testing program. If you have not yet signed your child up for pooled testing, click here to register. Thank you.

The City of Greenfield is winding down their COVID-19 vaccine program, but there are still slots available for anyone age 18 and over to receive the Moderna vaccine at the John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street. You can register through the state’s COVID-19 system, https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/locations/greenfield-senior-center. No insurance is required or asked for and no IDs are required (if an 18-year-old looks young they may need to verify their birthdate). If you have trouble registering through the state website, you can call or email 413-775-6411 or vaccine.clinics@greenfield-ma.gov for 5/12 and 5/14 clinic dates.

The Greenfield School Committee will meet on Wednesday, May 12th, at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held via a Webex link. You can find the agenda and packet here: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district/committee-meetings.

Kindergarten registration is in full swing! Our Registrar, Sierra Rother, will be available for some special hours over the next couple of weeks, beginning Tuesday, May 11th. If you have a child who will be the age of 5 by September 1st and haven’t yet registered for Kindergarten, these special hours will give you an extra opportunity to do that. You can find more information on that by clicking here.

The Greenfield Public Schools are hiring! We are a great place to work and learn and we have a variety of positions available in many areas: teachers, instructional assistants, substitute teachers, and instructional assistants, cafeteria staff, crossing guards, and custodial staff. You can find more information on our website at https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district-wide/administration/employment. Come join our teamwork in your community and be a part of what makes Greenfield a wonderful place to be!

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 29, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

We are now back to in-person learning in all our schools! Thanks to the hard work of our administration, faculty, and staff as well as our transportation providers, things are going pretty smoothly. GHS and GMS families should be aware of the new traffic patterns at both schools for drop-off and pick-up. Please remember that GHS students should not arrive at school until 7:10 am and GMS students should not arrive until 7:45 am, as we do not have supervision available ahead of those times. Thank you for your cooperation.

We also want to remind the broader community that school grounds are off-limits to the general community for personal use during school hours. This includes our playgrounds and outdoor athletic facilities. Our overall safety protocols require that these areas be open to students and staff only. We thank the community for your understanding and cooperation with this district policy.

As you know, we are continuing our downward trend in Massachusetts regarding the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, statewide. As more people are being vaccinated, we are beginning to see some loosening of restrictions by Governor Baker. One of those areas is with regard to mask-wearing. Please be advised that the GPS policy on face coverings is still in force in the district and will remain that way for the remainder of the school year. We want to end the year strong and appreciate our families’ help with ensuring that students have masks available for all places and at all times except meals and supervised mask breaks.

One way in which we can continue to keep our community safe is through pooled testing at school. Our school nurses have worked tirelessly to get this program in place and we have learned from the state that they will fund this program through the end of August. Staff and students will have the opportunity to be tested once a week.

Now, our nurses have created an easier way to register for both pooled testing and BinaxNow testing (in case your child experiences symptoms of illness at school). If you haven’t registered your child yet, please click on Greenfield Pooled Testing to complete our new electronic consent process.

If you are having any concerns about your child’s comfort with COVID-19 testing, please watch this adorable video of a 2nd grader demonstrating how to do a nasal swab. He’s an expert at showing just how easy and painless it is! Also, feel free to reach out to your school nurse with any questions or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 22, 2021

To our GPS Community:

I hope that everyone has been enjoying the April break. We have certainly had a wide range of weather!

As we prepare to return to school next week and to welcome our GMS and GHS students on Wednesday, April 28th, I want to remind everyone of The Daily Four, the keys to our success. These steps are important both in school and in the community.

  1. Wear a mask – With vaccinations becoming more widespread, it’s easy to think that we no longer need masks. We are still operating under a mask mandate per the School Committee’s policy and state regulations. Click here to read the policy. Even though hope is on the horizon, wearing a mask is our best protection – both in school and in the community.
  2. Wash your hands (and use hand sanitizer) – This is another easy, yet effective way to protect yourself and others against the COVID-19 virus. The CDC recommends 20 seconds of washing – the equivalent of singing “Happy Birthday” two times. Teaching our youngest learners the “happy birthday” method will help them know the 20-second rule and can be a fun activity at home. We also provide hand sanitizer in our schools for extra protection for students and staff.
  3. Stay apart – The recommended distance, person-to-person, is 6 feet. Our distancing protocols in school provide for this amount of space between our students. Furniture has been arranged to allow for that and stickers are on our hallway floors to ensure everyone keeps that distance. Many places in our community use similar floor markers, one-way aisles in stores, and other cues to help remind us of keeping a proper distance. Research has shown that physical distancing is an effective preventative measure.
  4. Stay home if your child or someone in your household does not feel well – We are doing everything in our power to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, but we need the help of our families to keep our schools safe. We can’t stress enough the importance of everyone’s efforts in this regard. The CDC has a list of symptoms that you can check. Be sure to check for these in your household daily before children leave for school. Click here to read the list. If anyone in your household has these symptoms, get tested immediately and quarantine until you get the results.

Together, we can make these final weeks of school a valuable learning experience for all our students. Thank you for doing your part to help keep our schools safe!

A special note to our GMS and GHS families: Our bus contractor, F.M. Kuzmeskis, has published preliminary bus routes for the return to in-person learning on April 28th. There are still some adjustments that may need to be made prior to then, so be sure to check back up until next Tuesday for any last-minute changes. Please make sure your child arrives at the stop, with a mask on, 5 minutes ahead of the scheduled pick-up time. Masks are required on all our buses. Click here to see the routes.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 16, 2021

To our GPS Community:

Our first two weeks of in-person learning went pretty smoothly. I want to express my deep appreciation to all our administrators, faculty, staff, and transportation providers for the extensive work in preparing for students’ return to our school buildings and for making sure everyone was warmly welcomed and settled in.

On Wednesday, April 28th, GMS and GHS will welcome our 5th through 12th graders back to in-person learning. Preparations are underway for what we anticipate to be a smooth opening. Both GMS and GHS have some welcome back events scheduled for their students on Monday and Tuesday, April 26th and 27th. Check your emails for the details for each school. We anticipate that bus routes for GMS and GHS will be made available early during the week of April 19th. We will make sure everyone knows how to access that information as soon as it becomes available.

As we head into the April vacation week, we want to remind everyone of our “Daily Four” and to be sure to practice those actions throughout the vacation week: (1) Wear a mask, (2) Wash and sanitize your hands, (3) Keep apart (6 feet, person-to-person), and (4) Stay home if you don’t feel well. We understand that everyone is COVID-weary and that the availability of vaccines is giving us hope, but it is important that we all stay vigilant during the April vacation week, particularly if you have plans to travel. Together, we can be sure that our schools continue to be safe places for our students to learn and grow.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 2, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

After a lot of hard work by all our administrators, faculty, and staff, we look forward to welcoming our PK-4 students back to in-person learning on Monday, April 5, 2021. Children in grades PK and K will be coming to school in the mornings only on April 5 and 6, with an early release in the afternoon. All children in grades 1-4 will have a full day of school on those days.

Bus routes for the elementary grades have been posted to our website, which you can find by clicking this link: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/2020-2021-bus-routes Please bear in mind, as is the case with any opening of school, that there may be some glitches in the first few days as we get routines of drop off and pick up of children established. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated.

Families of students at GMS and GHS are reminded that we need your information about whether or not your children are returning to school and, if so, whether or not they will be using bus transportation or some other means to get to school and back each day. Please be sure to fill out the in-person survey link by Monday, April 5th. Here's the link: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/gps-person-learning-survey After that day, the survey will close.

If you have any questions about the specifics by school, please feel free to reach out to your children's principals for more information.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 29, 2021

Hello GPS Families!

Our GPS Virtual Tour is up for viewing. You can find it, along with a list of FAQs about the return to in-person learning, on our website page dedicated to in-person learning at https://www.gpsk12.org/in-person-learning.

In order to get bus routes planned and published by week's end, we need your help to complete our survey about your intentions regarding your student's return to school on this same web page. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, March 30th, at noon.

Thank you for your cooperation. Our PK-4 students will be released from remote learning on Thursday, April 1st and Friday, April 2nd at 11:55 am. Students who are attending in-person will also be released at that time on these dates. This will allow teachers time to prepare their classrooms for students' return on April 5th.

The School Committee approved a revised mask policy at their March 25th meeting. You can find the details on this policy by clicking here. These revisions are in response to recent updates to the guidance from the state on mask-wearing.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 26, 2021

Hello GPS Community!

I want to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend our public forums on the return to in-person learning on March 24 and March 25. We have established a new web page on our site for In-Person Learning, where you can find links to the recordings, in case you were not able to attend. Here’s the link to that page: https://www.gpsk12.org/in-person-learning. You can also get to that page from our main website by clicking the “for FAMILIES & COMMUNITY” and clicking on the In-Person Learning link in the menu. We will continue to update this special web page with information about our in-person learning plans on a frequent basis over the next few weeks, so be sure to check back often. We will keep our families informed of updates via our School Messenger system.

We have launched our follow-up survey for families to let us know whether or not you will be choosing to return to in-person learning in April per our plan and how you will be arranging for transportation to and from school. It is important that we receive these surveys back no later than Tuesday, March 30th, as we need this information to finish setting up our classrooms and determining bus routes. Here is the link to the survey: https://forms.gle/UBFXJqH3caTNMbyz5. You can also find the survey link on our new In-Person Learning web page.

Our administrators, faculty, and staff are hard at work getting everything ready to welcome our students back to a friendly and safe environment and we look forward to seeing our students back with us in April!

The School Committee voted on a change to the school calendar for next week in order to give our PreK - Grade 4 teachers time to prepare their classrooms. Students in grades PreK-4 will be released from online learning at 11:55 on Thursday, April 1st, and Friday, April 2nd. There will be no online classes or lessons to complete so teachers can come to school and get their classrooms ready for students. All PreK and Kindergarten students will only have a half day on the first two days of school, April 5th and 6th. Students in grades 1-4 will have full days on those days.

The Greenfield School Committee appreciates the time and effort being made to prepare for a return to in-person learning. As all our efforts are focused on this issue, there will be no subcommittee meetings until after the next full meeting of the School Committee on April 14, 2021. At that time, we will address the schedule of subcommittees for the remainder of the spring.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 22, 2021

Dear GPS Community,

On Thursday, March 18th, the Greenfield School Committee approved a plan for reopening our schools. Following the Commissioner of Education’s plan to begin the process in April, we will be welcoming our Academy of Early Learning, Discovery at Four Corners, Federal Street, and Newton Street Schools students back on Monday, April 5th. Greenfield Middle and Greenfield High Schools will be welcoming their students back on Wednesday, April 28th. You can find the details as we have them to date by clicking this link. These dates required that we apply for a waiver from the Commissioner to allow our fifth grade students to return to school with our middle school students. That waiver was granted on March 18, 2021.

On Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday at noon, the Greenfield Public Schools will host virtual public forums to answer questions and address concerns related to the reopening of schools. In an effort to make these forums as efficient and productive as possible, please submit your questions in advance. Our moderator will read questions aloud and school administration will answer the questions.

Click on this link to submit your question: https://forms.gle/p4M8tdwuoLnDn9jB9

You may register for one of these webinar forums by clicking the link below:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GbwrFP0TQByys5_cEBlFPQ.

Once you have registered for the webinar, you will receive an email confirmation with instructions for logging into the session. If you are unable to attend, the webinars will be recorded and shared later.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


We are continuing with planning for a return to in-person learning for our elementary students in grades PK-5 on April 5, 2021. Our In-Person Learning (IPL) Command System is addressing needs for physical distancing within the guidelines provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

On March 10, 2021, the Greenfield School Committee adopted a Face Coverings policy that addresses the requirements for mask wearing in schools during in-person learning. You can find a copy of that policy by clicking this link. This policy, as amended by the DESE Commissioner of Education, includes all staff and students in grades PK and up.

Our families should also have received information about our upcoming pooled testing program, along with links to grant permission for that testing. If you have any questions about this COVID-19 testing program or did not receive the email with the information, please be sure to contact your school nurse.

I want to thank all of our families for sharing your initial thoughts with us regarding in-person learning during our recent survey. I realize that it was difficult to complete without more details of what in-person learning will look like. More information will be forthcoming soon about those details and we will follow up with another survey soon that will ask you for more information about your plans. Keep an eye out for email notifications from our Student Messenger system. If you have not received notifications about these updates, please be sure to check your information in PowerSchool or call your child’s school to ensure that we have your correct email address listed.

As we work our way to reopening our schools to in-person learning, we want to remind everyone that it will take everyone’s collaboration to ensure that our schools will be healthy and safe environments for teaching and learning. You will soon be seeing signs up around our school buildings reminding everyone to be sure we are practicing “The GPS Daily Four.” Now is a great time to start practicing these healthy habits!

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools