School transportation guidelines for the fall, food resources, updates from state government & LPS, & more | July 23, 2020

LYNN NEWS ROUND-UP
JULY 23, 2020

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Guidelines released for school transportation this fall in MA 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay user “pixel2013”

Earlier today the state’s Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education released a document with guidelines on how students would be transported to and from schools in the fall, should schools be opened.

The guidelines include:

  • Masks: Everyone on board, regardless of age, will be required to wear a mask at all times. Some exemptions may apply for medical and/or behavioral reasons.
  • Distance: Only one student per bench, and they will alternate sides each row. Students from the same household may be allowed to sit together.
  • Ventilation: Windows will be open at all times, except during extreme weather.
  • Seat assignments: Students will be assigned to a Particular seat on a particular bus.
  • Bus monitors: May be used to ensure these guidelines are followed.

Officials are encouraging students to walk or bike to school or have parents bring their children to school rather than taking the bus. School districts are being asked to create plans incorporating these guidelines, as well as drop-off & pick-up protocols.

Officials note that this guidance “is subject to change depending on the COVID-19 trends and as we learn more about the virus from medical research.” The full 15-page document that has more information, and graphs of the potential setups, can be found below.


Statement from Lynn Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler

Dear Lynn Public Schools Community,

All, it is my sincere hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones well. These are strange and uncertain times, I hope that you are finding comfort in time spent with family. As you might imagine, this summer is like no other. Several teams are deeply engaged in planning and preparation for reconnecting in reengaging with our beloved students this fall. The plans are still evolving along with the release of guidelines from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). There are still pieces of the guidance that have yet to be released. Accordingly, DESE has asked school districts to hold on releasing plans until early August. This approach will lessen confusion and will allow districts to communicate a plan based on the latest and best information.

While the formal plan is still under construction, there are elements of reopening on which there has been significant movement. This includes, but it not limited to:

  • Completion of space analysis in all schools to build a framework and plan for physical distancing according to the guidelines.
  • First round of purchase of personal protective equipment, including but not limited to masks, hand sanitizer, and face shields.
  • Completion of air quality and ventilation analysis in all schools

Further, we evolved toward a stronger ability to provide robust learning and connection leveraging technology. We purchased 11,000 devices for students, which, along with the existing supply, allows us a 1:1 device-to-student ratio for grades 3-12. We are maximizing a grant opportunity to close the gap for devices for students in grades k-2. This in addition to the purchase of Schoology, our new Learning Management System, will allow for flexibility in multiple modes of instruction next year. No matter the scenario, we are better equipped to provide a rich, continuous learning experience for our students.

By now, we are all-too-familiar with scenarios where there are many questions and only a handful of answers. Nonetheless, the extent to which we stay together and in communication can only lead to better outcomes. Toward that end, I have planned two virtual town halls for LPS families. The first will focus on the health and safety features of our reopening plan. The second will focus on teaching and learning. 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 10, 6pm

In order to accommodate a large group, I will be using a platform called Stream Yard. You will be able to participate via chat in this session. 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

Download this letter in English & Spanish


Free virtual healthy eating workshop, starting August 19th

Click for full-resolution image

From Greater Lynn Senior Services: Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults is a program for older adults (anyone over the age of 18) who want to learn more about nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle changes. This program focuses on heart health, bone health, and nutrition strategies to help maintain or improve wellness and prevent chronic disease development or progression.

This workshop is conducted over 6 sessions, meeting for 2.5 hours per session. There will be an information session held on August 5th at 10AM, for those that want to learn more, which you can join via Zoom by clicking here.

For more information & to register please contact Jousette Anaya by calling 781-599-0110 Ext. 6530 or sending an email to Janaya@glss.net.


E-PBT & free meal information

From Project Bread: For families who are still waiting to receive P-EBT cards, we have good news! DTA has started the process of printing and mailing cards to families again! Please note: not all families will receive their cards right away. They are continuing to print and mail cards over the next few weeks. Please be patient if you are waiting for yours, especially when you begin to see other families receiving their cards.

If you do not receive your card in two weeks, check in with the FoodSource Hotline for an update. The number is 1-800-645-8333 and is available from 8AM-7PM every weekday and 10AM-2PM on Saturdays.

Have a child 18 or under?

You can pick up FREE MEALS for them at any Summer Eats location in Massachusetts! Just drop in, no registration or ID needed. Click here for more information.

The following is a list of food sites in Lynn:

  • Classical High School – 235 O’Callaghan Way
    • Sponsored by Lynn Public Schools, 11AM-1PM every weekday
  • English High School – 50 Goodridge St.
    • Sponsored by Lynn Public Schools, 11AM-1PM every weekda
  • Marshall Middle School – 100 Brookline St.
    • Sponsored by Lynn Public Schools, 11AM-1PM every weekday
  • Lynn Tech – 80 Neptune Blvd.
    • Sponsored by Lynn Public Schools, 11AM-1PM every weekday
  • Lynn YMCA – 20 Neptune Blvd.

    • Sponsored by YMCA Of Metro North, Every weekday at 11:30AM & 3pm (snacks)
  • Cobbett Hill – 500 Essex St.

    • Sponsored by YMCA Of Metro North, Every weekday at 11AM
  • Ahasad Shalom – 151 Ocean St.
    • Sponsored by YMCA Of Metro North, Every weekday at 10AM

Updates from state government

  • As of Wednesday night, DPH reported a total of 107,413 cases of COVID-19. The state has now confirmed a total of 8,249 deaths from the virus. As of Monday, the 7-day weighted average of positive COVID-19 tests stood at 1.7 percent, and it has been below 2 percent for all of July. When the earliest steps of the Baker administration’s reopening plan began on May 18, that figure was 9.6 percent.
  • Governor Baker said 26 organizations, including farms, school meal programs and food pantries, will receive $3 million in the first round of a new food security infrastructure grant program announced in May. Applications will continue to be evaluated on a rolling basis. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said 39 additional vendors are joining the Healthy Incentives Program, which helps families receiving food assistance buy locally grown produce by matching each dollar of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits spent.
  • Click for full-resolution image
  • Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito visited the Lynn Salvation Army yesterday to recognize them for their amazing work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lynn branch has distributed 1.8 million of the over 8 million meals that Salvation Army has provided to residents across the state since the beginning of COVID-19.
  • Governor Baker plans to meet with Vice President Mike Pence this weekend on Nantucket to discuss the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, The Governor will not attend an island fundraiser where the Indiana Republican will be raising money for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Pence will be flying to the island on Saturday for the $25,000-a-head lunch at the home of Robert Reynolds, CEO of Putnam Investments.
  • The House started debate on their version of a comprehensive police reform legislation (h4860). The House’s version would limit the use of qualified immunity, creates a Commission on the Status of African Americans, and establishes a Massachusetts Police Standards and Training Commission responsible for the licensing of all law enforcement. House lawmakers voted on a small number of the 200-plus amendments filed to a wide-ranging police reform bill (H 4860) over the course of nearly eight hours. At points, the House experienced some technical hiccups that delayed roll call votes.
  • What little debate occurred during the session largely centered on non-controversial amendments, although one proposal from Rep. Liz Miranda (D-Boston) drew emotional speeches from Democrats and a Republican around the issue of further restricting no-knock warrants. The amendment (116) would allow use of no-knock warrants only if the law enforcement officer “has no reason to believe that minor children or adults over the age of 65 are in the home.” Representatives approved that measure on a narrow 83-76 roll call vote.
  • The chamber recessed just after 10 p.m. intending to resume its session at 11 a.m. Thursday morning. At day’s end, 171 of the 217 amendments to the police reform bill were still awaiting action. Six were adopted Wednesday, six rejected, and 34 withdrawn without a vote
  • With eight days remaining in the pandemic-disrupted legislative season and several major items still unresolved, Senate and House leaders have had some conversations about continuing past their traditional end-of-July deadline to continue deliberations on weighty bills. Senate President Karen Spilka on Wednesday outlined a list of priorities, including the overdue fiscal 2021 budget and bills addressing climate change and police accountability, and said the Senate would be ready to work past July 31 if those bills are not completed. The branches would need to agree to an extension and House Speaker Robert DeLeo is open to “various scenarios” that involve going past July 31 if necessary, according to his office.
  • In an emergency regulation put on file Tuesday, the Mass. Department of Revenue clarified a ruling on telecommuters. DOR’s emergency regulation explains that any Massachusetts resident who was working in another state immediately before the COVID-19 state of emergency and is now working from their Massachusetts home “will be eligible for a credit for income taxes paid to the state where the employee was previously providing services.” The rule took effect Tuesday and will remain in place until Dec. 31 or 90 days after the governor lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency, whichever is earliest. DOR plans a virtual public hearing on the regulation on Aug. 27, and people interested in speaking at the hearing are encouraged to notify DOR by emailing their full name, mailing address and organization or affiliation to RulesandRegs@dor.state.ma.us by Aug. 26.

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 451 with 3 new cases today. 3,274 Lynn residents have recovered and 107 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 3,832. Please visit the new City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.

Please visit https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-july-22-2020/download to view the State Department of Public Health’s weekly COVID-19 report. This report is updated each Wednesday at 4PM.

STOP THE SPREAD Initiative:

Please visit http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/covid19/resources.shtml#p7GPc1_2 for more information on how you can get a free COVID-19 test in the City of Lynn through August 14th.

We will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 through the City website (www.lynnma.gov), social media, and the Smart 911 emergency notification system (sign up at www.smart911.com).

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