Superintendent's Update: January 14, 2022
The communication below provides important information from the Public Schools of Brookline. Translated versions are available at the following links:
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Greetings PSB Community,
On Monday, January 17th, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Writing in The Washington Post in 1983, Coretta Scott King provided a vision of how the holiday honoring her husband should be observed: "The holiday must be substantive as well as symbolic. It must be more than a day of celebration…Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress." Echoing Mrs. King, we encourage students and families to seek out opportunities to actively engage around Dr. King’s legacy. For example, you might watch his historic "I Have A Dream" Speech or read Letter From Birmingham Jail. Set aside dedicated time to discover things about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement that you didn’t know. Further, you might seek out an opportunity to volunteer in a way that gives back to others – or commit to starting more meaningful conversations about racial justice with friends and family. We honor Dr. King best by self-reflecting, talking about race year-round with one another, and learning as much as we can about the movements that are continuing his legacy of Civil Rights today.
Dr. King believed in freedom, equality and dignity for all people. His dream also envisioned that all children would receive equal access to a quality education.
In the Public Schools of Brookline, we are committed to Dr. King’s same vision and are motivated by our three district themes:
- Ensure a high-quality education: The District will continue to ensure that all students have access to the experiences they need to develop academic and non-academic skills to enable them to meaningfully pursue their post-secondary goals.
- Creating a Culture of Care: Parents and caregivers are foundational to our success with students. The District is committed to ensuring that all schools are inviting, supportive, and affirming places for all of our students, staff, families and community members..
- Eliminating Barriers: The District affirms its commitment to culturally responsive teaching practices and strategic professional learning in equity-based skill sets.
School leaders, teachers, school staff, district staff, parents/guardians, and community members all work in partnership together to put these themes into action each and every day.
I encourage you to spend time this holiday weekend to talk about our district themes and Dr. King’s life and commitment to a free and just society.
Dr. Linus Guillory
Please see below for a few updates and reminders this week:
Health Update: Updated Contact Tracing Protocols
“Due to the intensely rising demands on our health office during this surge, school nurses will not be able to conduct contact tracing on all cases. During the surge, we will prioritize contact tracing in our unvaccinated or partially vaccinated grades, completing contact tracing to the extent feasible.
Contact Tracing during COVID-19 Surge Protocol
- When feasible, we will alert families and staff if they have been identified a close contact.
- When contact tracing is not feasible, we will notify the classroom or grade (and staff) that there was a positive case in the class and advise families and staff to actively monitor for symptoms and to stay home if symptoms develop.
- Nurses will have a list of complex medical needs individuals and will notify them when indicated.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) updated guidance allows schools to recognize at-home rapid antigen tests. Local Boards of Health are not required to contact trace on non-PCR confirmed cases (at home rapid antigen tests).
DESE has stated that in order to further assist with contact tracing, Covid-19 positive student/family and staff should reach out to their personal contacts as well as notify the school. The school should also support contact tracing efforts within the school to the extent feasible.
Test and Stay will continue for those eligible, only if we have a signed consent on file. (Fully vaccinated are not allowed to participate, per DESE). Please sign up CIC Health consent portal here, even if you believe you already have one. Any student for whom we don’t have signed consent will be sent home to complete their 5 days of quarantine.”
- Town of Brookline MLK Day Celebrations: Please join Brookline’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee for Brookline's celebration of the life and values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, January 17, 2022. In collaboration with the Brookline Community Foundation and the Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations, this virtual celebration will feature a variety of speakers and performances, including some by our own PSB students! The program will premiere live on BIG's Civic Channel 3 on RCN and Comcast as well as on the BIG's online channel. More information, including a full listing of events and service projects, can be found here.
- COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Information: Please see resident and employee information about COVID-19 vaccine clinics and resources for employees from the Town of Brookline here.
- Town Community Housing Production Plan Hearing: On January 26, 2022, the Town will hold a public forum on Zoom to update the community on plans to update the 2016 housing plan, share stories from Brookline residents and others about housing problems they have experienced, and learn from participants in the forum about what they think the new Housing Plan priorities should be. Please note that advance registration is required; you can register for the meeting here.