As the holiday break approaches, we’re sharing a state-of-play summary about COVID management and mitigation at Parker. We also want to call your attention to a news item in this week’s Friday Announcements (below) about an upcoming deadline for Division 3 students to have obtained two doses of meningococcal vaccine.
As is true elsewhere, we’ve seen an uptick in COVID-positive cases at Parker in the past month. To date this year we have had a total of eighteen positive cases; over half of them occurred in the weeks since Thanksgiving. When conducting contact tracing, Lisa estimates that transmission in 80% of those cases occurred off campus and she has not yet identified a school-based cluster of cases. That said, it’s clearly time to stay vigilant and even increase our efforts.
Toward those ends, we’re seeking a date for an on-campus vaccine booster clinic, for example, and hope to be able to offer an on-campus booster clinic early in 2022. For the most part, students have been voluntarily adhering to the indoor masking requirement, which is currently in effect state-wide until January 15th (DESE will make an announcement in January about whether the mandate is extended). We have reminded staff about the importance of physical distancing and mask wearing. There are true HEPA filters in each room and many teachers use them daily; some prefer to open windows or do both. Our on-campus testing programs are working: several of the recent positive cases were caught in the routine COVID safety checks on Wednesdays; the test-and-stay program reduces missed in-person learning time for students determined to be close contacts of a COVID-positive individual (a close contact is someone who spends fifteen minutes in a twenty-four hour period within three feet of a COVID-positive individual). We think our high level of voluntary participation in the on-campus testing programs is a real plus in managing and mitigating risk of transmission at Parker. High vaccination rates in our community are also helping: our current voluntary vaccination rate for students is 90%, 100% for teachers, and 90% for staff. At this time we are not actively considering a change in school model, nor are we being encouraged to do so by DESE or DPH.
Thank you for supporting the ongoing work of managing and mitigating COVID-19 transmission so that we can continue in-person learning at Parker throughout 2021-2022!
—Todd & Lisa
This week’s topics:
- Meningococcal Vaccination Deadline
- Saturday Show Time Change
- Day Change for COVID-19 Safety Checks
- Café Wednesday on December 22
- Holiday Break
- Register for Ski & Snowboard Club by December 27
- Toys for Tots Thanks YOU
- PLEASE Call the Attendance Line
- Employment Opportunities at Parker
- Our Essential Commitment Fund
- Enrollment is Open – Siblings Apply Now!
- Sewing Machines Needed
- DESE Site Visit February 2022
- Dental Care
- Our Thanks and Warm Wishes
- Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
- COVID-19 Safety Checks
- Health Office COVID-19 Information
Meningococcal Vaccination Deadline
We are approaching an enforceable Department of Public Health (DPH) deadline for Division 3 students to have received their second dose of the meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY). Unlike the COVID-19 vaccination, students in Massachusetts public schools are REQUIRED BY LAW, beginning with the 2021 – 2022 school year, to show proof of their second dose of meningococcal vaccination prior to entering 11th grade. Parker requested and received a sixty (60) day extension on enforcing this requirement, thereby giving families additional time to obtain their second dose of the meningococcal vaccination for their student(s). Please be informed that Parker will exclude any Division 3 student from in-person learning, beginning on January 14, 2022, if the student has not submitted documentation of their second dose of the meningococcal vaccination or received a religious exemption. Lisa has provided individual written notice to those students and families who are not currently in compliance with this Massachusetts public health requirement. Additional information about this requirement is available on the DPH website at: new-menacwy-school-req-flyer.doc (live.com).
FALL SHOW - Saturday Performance Time Change!
Due to snow in the forcast, the Saturday, December 18th performance of the Parker Theater’s production of William Shakespeare’s tale of love and betrayal, Much Ado About Nothing, will now occur at 1 PM instead of 7 PM.
This show features your Parker friends performing original music, choreography, acrobatics, romance, stage combat, and, of course, fancy Shakespearean verse!
You can buy tickets at the door for $12, but it’s less expensive to buy online for $10! Go to www.parkertheaterboxoffice.com to purchase your tickets today! While you’re there, don’t forget to purchase a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a poster, or a tote bag! You can also check out our cast and creative section for info on our and crew! The site is updating daily, so go early and go often!
COVID-19 Safety Checks on December 20th
During the week Holiday Break begins, the COVID-19 Safety Checks which usually occur on Wednesdays will take place on Monday, 12/20, instead. The change should allow us to receive pooled testing results before the students are released for the break.
Café Holiday on December 22nd
The Café Wednesday Community Block is celebrating the arrival of Café Holiday! Coming live from the Cafegymatorium on December 22nd starting at 6:30 PM and ending at 8:00 PM, we will hold a series of winter-related skits, story-telling, sing-a-longs, charades, cereal eating, baking horror stories, and so much more! Come and watch talented Parker students, classmates, and teachers, blast into the holiday season!
Holiday Break begins on Thursday, December 23, with a Noon Dismissal. There will be no after school coverage or activities, and the building will be closed and locked at 12:30 PM. Please make the appropriate arrangements. Classes will resume for students on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
Ski & Snowboard Club
Deadline for signing up is December 27th. Reminder parents and siblings (Grade 3 and up) are also eligible to sign up through the Parker link. Also, if a student already has a pass but wants to be part of the club, they can indicate during the registration process that they already have a pass and will still be included in our group and count towards our numbers for chaperone purposes. Click here for more information and registration instructions. Email Kristen at [email protected] with questions.
TOYS for TOTS Thanks YOU!
You've proven again what an amazing and generous community we have at Parker. MANY thanks for supporting the effort to bring a ray of holiday joy to a child in need.
PLEASE Call the Attendance Line!
Planning an extended family trip during the HOLIDAY BREAK? Remember to LEAVE A MESSAGE on the ATTENDANCE LINE (978-772-3293, x1 - available 24 hours a day) to let the Main Office know that your child(ren) will miss additional days (even if you've already notified their advisor(s). For regular attendance notices (daily absences or tardies), PLEASE call the attendance line BEFORE 9 AM - messages left after that time are not heard until the following day.
Employment Opportunities at Parker
Parker is seeking individuals to join our team in the positions of long-term substitute MST Teacher and IT Support Technician. Please refer interested individuals to the posting on this page.
Our Essential Commitment Fund
This week saw the holiday season of giving continue—as of December 16th, we have received over $98,000 from Parker's Board of Trustees members, staff, current families, ALUMNI, parents of graduates, and friends of Parker. Thank you!
During these last few busy weeks of the holiday season, please consider a year-end, tax deductible gift to Parker by clicking here - ALL GIFTS MATTER AND MAKE AN IMPACT! For more information on Our Essential Commitment Fund, click here.
Enrollment is Open - Siblings Apply Now!
Parker is currently accepting applications for students entering grades 7 through 9. If you are interested in the Parker School for the 2022-2023 school year, you MUST complete an application and return it to Parker no later than February 1, 2022 (this includes siblings of current students). You may visit the website to complete an application online. It is your responsibility to verify that we are in receipt of your completed application. You are welcome to call our front office prior to February 1, 2022, to make sure it has been received. A completed application will include you in the lottery.
Sewing Machines Needed!
The Parker Art Room currently has four sewing machines - we would love to add to this collection so that more students are able to participate in sewing-related community blocks, help with costumes, or use them for textile-related art. Sewing machines will be lovingly cared for by Cordelia, Parker’s art teacher and experienced seamstress. Donations of functional sewing machines would be greatly appreciated, but we are also happy to accept loaner machines!
DESE Site Visit February 10, 2022
On February 10, 2022, Parker will host a one-day Core Criteria visit by staff from DESE’s Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign. You’ll be hearing more about this site visit in the weeks ahead. Here is an overview of the site visit protocol, in DESE’s words:
“The Charter School Performance Criteria (Criteria) (attached) form the foundation of the site visit process. The Criteria expand upon and give definition to the three areas of charter school accountability: faithfulness to charter, academic performance, and organizational viability. During the site visit, the school is assessed on all or a subset of the performance indicators contained in the Criteria. The scope of this visit will include:
- Criterion 1: Mission and Key Design Elements
- Criterion 2: Access and Equity
- Criterion 3: Compliance (if applicable)
- Criterion 5: Student Performance
- Key Indicator 6.2 Instruction
- Key Indicator 6.4: Supports for All Learners
- Criterion 9: Governance
- Criterion 10: Finance
The product of the site visit will be a written report that will become part of the body of evidence for the school’s renewal.”
Here is a link to the Charter School Performance Criteria that “form the foundation” of the upcoming site visit:
Charter School Performance Criteria
Dental Care at Parker (Caring for Kids)
Dental Care sign-up deadline is approaching. Please sign your student up as soon as possible. Students have an opportunity to receive dental care here at Parker School through the Caring for Kids program. All dental personnel will be vaccinated and screened prior to caring for students. Please read about Caring for Kids HERE and complete the documents by clicking HERE and return to Nurse Lisa as soon as possible. The dental program provides a dental examination, x-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants, and teeth cleaning. There is no direct cost to the patient. However, if the child has insurance, the insurance will be billed. If you have any questions, please email Lisa Zick at [email protected].
Our THANKS and WARM WISHES!
How thoughtful you were
to think of us!
All the goodies and treats;
you made such a fuss!
Our thanks for your kindness
and we wish you the best.
Have a wonderful break
and enjoy an earned rest!
Happy New Year!
Parker extends the warmest wishes of the season to you and your loved ones. Enjoy the break - see you in 2022!
Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
Positive COVID-19 cases in the Parker community are reported to the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) and to the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, which is our local board of health. The following are positive cases in the Parker community from 12/10/21-12/17/21:
- Staff – 1
- Students – 4
If there is a positive case on campus, all close contacts will be contacted immediately by Lisa Zick, School Nurse.
COVID-19 Safety Checks
Participating individuals are tested individually once a week with a nasal swab test. Each person does a shallow swab of their own nose by rotating three (3) times inside each nostril. A maximum of 10 swabs are mixed together into a group called a "pool" and sent out to a lab for a molecular PCR test and tested for COVID-19 at one time.
- If the pool test comes back negative, all staff/students in the pool are COVID-negative. In this case, you will not hear from us.
- If the pool test comes back positive, it means that at least one person in the pool is COVID-positive. In this case, all members of that pool will come back to school as soon as possible for an individual rapid follow-up test with the school nurse.
- On occasion, a pool will be resulted as inconclusive which may be due to lab error or too much mucous in the tube. In this case, Nurse Lisa will retest staff/students who were in that "inconclusive" pool.
Pooled Test Results from 12/10/21-12/17/21:
- # of pools = 38
- # of NEGATIVE pools = 37
- # of POSITIVE pools = 1
- # of INCONCLUSIVE pools = 0
Health Office COVID-19 Information
Reminder to please call or email the school nurse if any family member tests positive for COVID-19 or is a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Lisa Zick can be reached at 978-772-3293 x135 or [email protected].
Reminder that students should not come to school if:
- the student is sick, even if they don’t have a fever. Reach out to Nurse Lisa with questions
- the student or a family member living in the same household presents with COVID-19 symptoms
- a student has been exposed to COVID-19 (close contact outside of the school setting which does not include close contacts at school) and is in quarantine, regardless of a negative test result
- a family member has been exposed to COVID-19 (close contact) and is unable to isolate from the rest of the family, regardless of a negative test result
- a family member/student is AWAITING RESULTS of a COVID-19 test
Below is the full list of COVID-19 symptoms to monitor for:
- Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
- Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
An individual experiencing a symptom in bold (above) should get a PCR test and quarantine. If an individual has other symptoms on this list, getting a PCR test is recommended especially if the individual has a combination of symptoms on the list. Please stay home while waiting for test results.
Note: Fully vaccinated individuals are testing positive for COVID-19. Many are presenting with symptoms, but some are asymptomatic.
Close Contacts - Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic
Based on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health protocols, students who are fully vaccinated and are asymptomatic, do not have to quarantine or test but must continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Close Contacts - NOT fully vaccinated and asymptomatic - Can do Test & Stay
- Must be symptom free
- NOT fully vaccinated
- Wear masks in school at all times, other than eating or drinking, and should maintain 3 feet of distance from other individuals
- Take a rapid antigen test (BinaxNow) on each school day for 7 days from last exposure and receive a negative result. When the 7 days from the date of exposure includes weekends or holidays, individuals should quarantine on weekends, and if they remain asymptomatic, upon return to school be tested immediately. If the individual remains negative, they can stay in school
- Conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and self-isolate at home if symptoms develop
- Must quarantine outside of school per the Board of Health
Upcoming Dates of Note:
Fall Show (1 PM)
Begin Holiday Break
Looking for help with or information concerning:
a specific class or assignment
the teacher of that class (see Parker email list)
email: [email protected]
your family’s or student’s health
email: [email protected]
mental health/emotional support needs
email: [email protected]
food insecurity/free and reduced school lunch needs
email: [email protected]