ACCESS and MCAS will remain in person, virtual drama shows from LEHS, updates from the state, & more | January 5, 2021

JANUARY 5, 2021

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ACCESS & MCAS to be taken in person this year, updates from Lynn Public School

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Happy New Year! I cannot recall a time in my life when that celebratory greeting, Happy New Year, has been more meaningful than now. We move into each new calendar year with plans, new commitments, and hope for a better year than the previous one. This year is no different, although there is undoubtedly a deeper longing for better times ahead. I remain deeply optimistic about better times ahead and I look forward to our continued partnership.
Although we launched the school year in full remote learning and continue to provide services in that manner, I want to make you aware of state-mandated assessments that must be administered in person between the months of January and June. The state-mandated assessments are as follows:

  • All students who qualify as an English Learner (EL) are required to take the ACCESS test to assess progress toward English language proficiency.
  • Students in grades 3-10 are required to take MCAS assessments in ELA and Math. 5th, 8th, and 9th will also take an MCAS Science assessment.
  • High school students beyond grade 10 who have not earned a passing score on the high school English and Math sections in previous years are required to take MCAS assessments in English and Math.
Both assessments (ACCESS and MCAS) are used to make decisions about instruction and the high school MCAS remains a graduation requirement. Neither assessment can be administered remotely.
Safety continues to be our foremost priority. Since the summer of 2020, we have dedicated careful thought to safely accommodating students on site. In recent months, we focused our attention specifically on safe, in-person administration of the state-mandated assessments. In addition to full compliance with all Center for Disease Control and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidance, we have added additional safety precautions which include but are not limited to:
  • Small groups of students on site at any given time
  • Limited time on site
  • No more than 10 students in a classroom
  • Ability keep students physically distant at a degree of 6 feet or more
  • Desktop plexiglass shields
If your student is expected to take the MCAS and/or ACCESS assessment this year, you can expect to hear directly from your studentโ€™s building principal with specific information on dates, times, and protocols. Further we welcome and are prepared to respond to any questions or concerns.
Yours in partnership,
Patrick Tutwiler, PhD
Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools
Download the letter in English & Spanish.
The above press release is courtesy of Lynn Public Schools.


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LEHS Drama Club Creating Work Despite COVID-19, virtual show set to premiere on January 8th

Green Screen Set Up at Lynn English HS

Having worked for weeks, individually recording their scenes under the safest of guidelines, the students of the LEHS drama club have created three short works to premiere virtually on January 8 2021. Each student recorded all their scenes following a guide audio recording in their ears so that the individual scenes would sync up to create whole scenes with as many as ten actors. Some were recorded in spaces in the school building while others were done in front of a green screen. The scenes are now being put together, edited and digitally manipulated to create a whole work. The show is called โ€œThree for One (341)โ€ and consists of three short plays.

The Lost Girl, or First Chair by Lauren Yee: When the first chair violinist at a performing arts high school disappears, the competition is on to find her replacement. As the girls who occupy the second to fifth chairs vie for the prime spot, the mystery of what exactly happened to Katie, the first chair, unfolds.

Ghay Soe as The Man in the Boat

Old Folks by Max Posner What separates the teen years from the seventies, eighties and nineties? Not as much as you might think. As these old folks reminisce about each other and their pasts, their younger selves come forward to give a glimpse of their youth before they move on.

The Astonishing and Dangerous History of Mazefield the Frog by Jen Silverman What do you get when you mix jealous sisters, the meanest kids on the planet, skateboarders, internet dating, foreign spies and a homicidal vigilante frog? The best school dance ever!

Three for One is a collection of three short plays all created specifically by professional contemporary playwrights to be performed by teen actors. This play is free for any student who wishes to see it. Adults may purchase tickets on a โ€œpay what you canโ€ scale, and we are also asking for donations from anyone who can afford it to help keep our group going.

To see the show visit and search for LEHS Drama Club. The show will be available for viewing from January 8-14 but you can get your ticket now!

The above press release & pictures were provided to us by the Lynn English High School Drama Club.


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Updates from state government

  • As of Monday night, DPH reported a total of 375,455 cases of COVID-19. The state reported 4,358 new confirmed cases. The state has now confirmed a total of 12,401 deaths from the virus.
  • Massachusetts first responders will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations next week, while some of the stateโ€™s oldest residents will move up in line to access the crucial immunization, state officials announced Monday. Governor Baker said the more than 45,000 police officers, firefighters and EMTs in Massachusetts will gain access to the first doses starting Jan. 11.
  • The Baker administration is also finalizing details on several sites that will be able to administer 2,000 vaccines per day, which should open to first responders by the end of the month. Those mass vaccination sites will likely expand into serving other populations as the months-long distribution plan unfolds.
  • With responders up next, the administration has started offering vaccines to three of the six groups outlined in the first phase of its distribution plan. Those in congregate care settings such as correctional facilities and shelters, home-based health care workers, and health care workers who are not involved in COVID response are next on the list. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the state will increase the priority level for residents aged 75 and older and allow them to receive vaccines early in the second rollout stage. They will now fall into โ€œPhase Two, Group Oneโ€ alongside individuals who have two or more comorbidities increasing their risk of serious illness.
  • Secretary Sudders said the update, which will affect about 170,000 Massachusetts residents, follows new federal guidelines for vaccine prioritization based on the higher threats that older adults face from the respiratory illness and its complications. Under the original plan, all adults 65 years old and older were near the bottom of the list for receiving vaccines in the second phase, which officials aim to run between February and April. The change leapfrogs those 75 and older ahead of workers in early education, K-12 education, transit, grocery stores, utilities, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health workers.
  • Legislation (S 2995) setting a net-zero greenhouse gas emission limit for 2050 and establishing emissions limits every five years over the next 30 years made its way to Governor Bakerโ€™s desk Monday after the Legislature fast-tracked a compromise version. The House enacted the bill on a 145-9 vote. A six-member conference committee negotiated differences between House and Senate versions for about six months and released their agreement Sunday.
  • There is only one day left before the end of the 2019-2020 session and by midnight Tuesday lawmakers must halt their work for the current session. The House held open a formal session all day Monday and advanced a large bunch of local bills and fiscal 2021 budget line-item veto overrides. The House resumes its formal session on Tuesday at noon, when lawmakers might have an idea whether major transportation and economic development bills will emerge.
  • The Senate passed the multi-faceted climate policy bill, 38-2, a day after it was reported by a House-Senate negotiating team. The only dissent in the Senate came from two members of the four-man GOP caucus, and the legislation (S 2995) was sent to Governor Baker on a voice vote around suppertime.
  • The Senate and House also continued to shuttle local bills back and forth and process overrides to Governor Bakerโ€™s budget line-item vetoes. Both branches are back at noon Tuesday, the final day of this General Court, when they can only meet for a maximum of 12 hours before all unresolved legislation dies at midnight
  • Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care on Monday said their previously announced plan to become one organization has taken effect, as of Jan. 1, 2021, with all regulatory approvals in hand. The organization plans to announce its new name in the second quarter of 2021.

Special thanks to MassAccess for sharing these updates with us.

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From Mayor McGee’s office: The Lynn Public Health Department has confirmed that as of today, the number of active, confirmed positive COVID-19 cases is 2,025 with 210 new cases today. 9,730 Lynn residents have recovered and 161 have died. The total number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Lynn since March 21, 2020, including those who have died and recovered, is 11,916. Please visit the City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.

COVID-19 Relief for Businesses

Last month, the Commonwealth made an additional $668 million available to support businesses through new and existing programs. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will target a portion of these funds to sectors experiencing the most significant economic hardship and a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This business relief fund targets the hardest hit small businesses that have an exceptional need of cash relief.ย The application period is currently open until Friday, January 15th. Businesses can apply here: Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (4) Application Manager (

Please visit for more information on the small business relief program and how to apply.

Please visit for the most up to date COVID-19 Testing information.

We will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 and any Snow Emergency Parking Bans through the City website (, social media, and the Smart 911 emergency notification system (sign up at

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