LYNN NEWS ROUND-UP
JULY 29, 2020
See our other COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.
Beyond Walls Summer Update
Beyond Walls sent out an update for their summer projects yesterday. At this time of the year Beyond Walls will usually be in the middle of their annual street art festival (watch our award-winning recap of the 2018 festival), but COVID-19 has changed their plans. From Founder/CEO Al Wilson:
“Together, with the help of strong partners, we’ve been extremely responsive to changing needs as a result of COVID-19 outbreak. Equally important, we have raised our voices and offered support of the Black Lives Matters movement.
In partnership with dedicated community leaders and committed funders, we are unveiling our newest summer projects; WaSH, Truth Be Told, and FoLD.
Though we still intend to produce world class, community-rooted public art this calendar year (more on that later!) I am so proud to inform you about projects underway since COVID-19 impacted us all.”
Truth Be Told
This project encourages Lynn youth to share their personal 2020 experiences & express themselves via spoken word, writings, drawings and photography. They are still seeking submissions from all Lynn based elementary, middle school, or high school students!
To learn more about this project please click here.
Beyond Walls has created freestanding hand-washing stations in downtown Lynn for the community to use to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Prototypes were assembled and installed in partnership with Lynn Community Health Center, My Brother’s Table, Lynn Shelter Association & The Lynn YMCA.
Working with design partner Payette and paid interns from Lynn Tech they have refined the design and have begun installing WaSH 2.0 elsewhere in the city. 16 orders for WaSH stations have now been received, including from as far away as Nashua, NH.
To learn more about this project please click here.
Last summer Beyond Walls conducted their PATIO Program, which provided outdoor seating. BW took this concept and worked with Payette & Lynn Tech students to create FoLD, a sleek, accessible pop up system for those seeking to safely gather and dine outdoors.
According to Payette: “This system combines the quality control of a commercial product-design approach with the engagement & inclussion of a grassroots initiative. Laser-cut sheet metal parts flat-pack for simple assembly by novice labor.” It is also customizable and scalable for all businesses.
For more info. on Beyond Walls visit their website by clicking here.
July 29th update from Lynn Public Schools & survey outcomes
Dear Lynn Public Schools Community,
I am writing to update you on information related to reopening this fall. As has been the case since March, we remain in a situation that is fluid with new information and guidelines released on a regular basis. Our work involves interpreting the information and guidance and bringing it to bear on our reopening planning. Rest assured that no priority supersedes the health and safety of our beloved students and staff. Our planning continues with this priority front of mind along with input/feedback from you.
Approximately 43% of Lynn Public Schools households participated in the recent reopening survey. Kindly follow the links below ( FAMILY : STUDENT) to view the results from the family and student (grades 6-12) surveys. I have removed the narrative comments due to the sensitive and private nature of some of them. There are significant takeaways from the responses that help in our planning. Here are a few:
The majority of parents/guardians who participated in the survey are willing to send their children back to in-person instruction in the fall. Relative to messaging, parents/guardians are most interested in hearing about the district’s alignment to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and state health guidelines and how their student will be supported academically.
A majority of parents/guardians indicated that their students would need support in the area of adjusting to new routines more so than other areas. The majority of Parents/guardians ranked the two-day hybrid model as their first or second choice.
I believe deeply in soliciting and responding to input/feedback and will continue to do so.
Relative to reopening, just yesterday, Commissioner Riley released a memorandum indicating that the school year would be 170 days (as opposed to 180) and that all districts must begin their school year by September 16th. The first day of instruction must be preceded by 10 days during which staff will receive training. The school calendar must be agreed upon by local unions and the Lynn School Committee. It is my hope to share a school year calendar the week of August 10th.
Finally, by way of reminder, I have planned two virtual town halls for LPS families. This is an opportunity to communicate specifics of reopening planning, but also to hear your concerns and, to the extent possible, respond to your questions. The sessions are as follows:
Health and Safety – Thursday, August 6th 6pm
Teaching and Learning – Monday, August 10th 6pm
Links to the sessions are forthcoming. Whether or not you are able to attend, I welcome any thoughts, concerns, or ideas to be sent to LPSREOPENING-FAMILIES@LYNNSCHOOLS.ORG. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts.
Yours in partnership,
Patrick Tutwiler, PhD
Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools
Reminder: MA Travel Order takes effect this Saturday, August 1st
From MEMA: Effective August 1st, all visitors and Massachusetts residents returning home, including students returning to campuses for the fall semester, must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower risk state or they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts, or they are included in one of the other, limited exemptions.
Traveler exemptions include people coming from a lower-risk state, people passing through the state, people commuting across state lines for work, people traveling to Massachusetts for medical treatment, people complying with military orders, or people traveling to work in federally designated critical infrastructure sectors (essential services).
For more detailed information please click here for our previous post.
MBTA to Resume Fare Collection on The RIDE Starting Saturday, August 1
The MBTA is announcing today that The RIDE will resume fare collection on Saturday, August 1. Fare collection on The RIDE was temporarily suspended after the MBTA implemented mandatory rear-door boarding on buses and trolleys at street-level stops due to safety reasons during the pandemic. On July 20, after safety protocols were put in place, fare collection on buses and trolleys at street-level stops resumed along with the resumption of front-door boarding. All RIDE customers are advised to check their RIDE account balances to ensure they have sufficient funds for travel.
Updates from state government
- As of Tuesday night, DPH reported a total of 108,740 cases of COVID-19. The state has now confirmed a total of 8,331 deaths from the virus.
- The House and Senate are in the final scheduled days of their formal legislative calendar for the two-year session, but as a result of COVID-19 impacts neither the House nor Senate have produced a full-year spending plan and will have to take the rare step of holding a special session later this year to take up a budget. The Legislature and Governor Baker agreed on a $5.25 billion one-month budget in June to keep state services funded through July, and the administration filed another $5.51 billion budget bill last week to cover spending through August. The Legislature, however, responded Tuesday with an appropriations bill that would give them more time and remove the need to figure out immediately how and when to return for a special post-July 31 session to deal with a spending plan for the rest of fiscal 2021.
- House and Senate leaders are also expected to “imminently” announce an agreement with the Baker administration on a funding level for local aid for the full-year. An agreement over local aid would be intended to give cities, towns and school districts predictability heading into the fall when the Massachusetts Municipal Association has said many cities and towns will probably have to revisit their budgets, depending on what actions the state and Congress take. The bill essentially level funds state programs and services through October, financing state government at the lower of either the fiscal 2020 budget appropriation or Governor Baker’s budget proposal from January. Assuming Governor Baker signs the bill, the Legislature and governor will have appropriated $21.78 billion to cover spending over the first four months of the fiscal year. At that rate of spending, the state’s budget would balloon to over $65 billion, well above the $44.6 billion budget Baker filed in January. But budget officials said state spending is weighted toward the early part of the fiscal year, and would eventually slow down.
- In a tweet posted Tuesday afternoon and then later deleted, Senate Revenue Chairman Adam Hinds also said the budget bill level funds Chapter 70 education funds to school districts, plus $107 million for inflation. As the state delays its annual budget deliberations, cities and towns have been awaiting word on local aid levels, which pair with local property taxes to form the basis of revenues for local school, public safety and other municipal services.
- Young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities would gain new opportunities to participate in public college programs under a bill the Senate approved Tuesday, a step that supporters say will boost inclusion and will help participants acquire important life skills. The bill (S 2844), which sailed through on a 39-0 vote, would make programs that some schools in Massachusetts already offer a permanent requirement in state law. Under the bill, all public higher education institutions would need to offer ways for individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders or developmental disabilities to participate in programs that provide academic, career and independent living skills alongside students who do not have disabilities. Students with disabilities could access courses without first needing to take a standardized test or meeting a similar entrance requirement, and those who are between 18 and 21 could have the costs of doing so covered by a local school committee if higher education is part of their individualized education program.
- The state pension fund would be required to increase the diversity of its investments and to set a goal of having at least 20 percent of its investment managers be minorities, females and persons with disabilities under the terms of an amendment adopted by the House on Tuesday. Language included in a consolidated amendment unanimously adopted as part of an economic development bill calls for the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board to “use minority investment managers to manage PRIT Fund assets, encompassing all asset classes, and to increase the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of PRIT Fund investments to the greatest extent feasible, consistent with sound investment policy.”
- Massachusetts senators unanimously agreed Tuesday that a panel should suggest a new state seal to replace the 122-year-old version that Native Americans largely view as symbolizing white supremacist violence. The Senate voted 39-0 to approve a special commission tasked with designing a new seal and state motto and with studying ways that the existing version, which depicts a Native man standing beneath a disembodied arm and sword, “may be unwittingly harmful to or misunderstood by the citizens of the commonwealth.” Tribal leaders and activists have pushed for decades to replace the state seal, warning that the individual pictured reinforces stereotypes against Native Americans and that the inclusion of the overhead sword implies violent subjugation of the Indigenous people.
- Saying the nation “has one foot in the pandemic and one foot in the recovery,” U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled a long-awaited relief package on Monday that proposes another round of stimulus checks, a scaled-back extension of unemployment benefits, and more than $100 billion aimed at bringing students back to school in the fall. The roughly $1 trillion Republican proposal leaves untouched a range of elements Democrats included in a $3 trillion bill that cleared the House. One House-approved piece critical to the next few months on Beacon Hill is altogether absent from the Republican bill: more aid for state and local governments struggling with a collapse in tax collections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined his party’s proposal, dubbed the HEALS Act, on the Senate floor Monday, saying it targets four areas: health, economic assistance, liability protection, and schools.
Special thanks to MassAccess for the above information.
Census week, Day 4
Many in the country are worried that their citizenship status will come into play with the 2020 Census. Not only are there no questions regarding citizenship or immigration, but the questions are kept confidential for 72 years after the Census.
This means that answers from the Census taken in the 1940 Census were only made available 8 years ago. The results of the 2020 Census won’t be available until 2092.
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 478 with 11 new cases today. 3,323 Lynn residents have recovered and 110 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 3,911. Please visit the new City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.
STOP THE SPREAD Initiative:
Please visit http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/