A Note from Principal Tony Byers: November 16, 2020

Dear Families,

Please see the summary of new information below. We suggest that those considering travel for Thanksgiving read in more detail. And we wish a happy Diwali to those who celebrate.

Summary of New Information

  • All School: Wednesday, November 18th, is an Early Release Day
    • The student day ends at 12:00.
  • All School: Wednesday, November 25th, is an Early Release Day
    • The student day ends at 12:00.
  • At-School: Revised Reopening Metrics
  • At-School: COVID-19, Thanksgiving Gatherings, and Travel
    • Please read the detailed guidelines below.
    • Below is G&P’s summary and interpretation of the Governor's Emergency Orders.
    • We will update you when we hear more from the district.
  • At-Home: November 18: Library Pop Up

All School Updates.

Wednesday, November 18th, is an Early Release Day
This Wednesday, November 18th, is an Early Release Day. The student day ends at lunch time. No work or check-ins will be scheduled after 12:00.

Wednesday, November 25th, is an Early Release Day
The day before Thanksgiving break is always an Early Release Day. The student day ends at lunch time. No work or check-ins will be scheduled after 12:00.

At-School Updates

Revised Reopening Metrics
The Cambridge School Committee approved revised reopening metrics on November 12th. The previous metrics were based on data from Suffolk and Middlesex Counties. The new metrics are based on Cambridge-specific data, where available. The CPSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard tracks the new metrics. See here for a complete description of the change.

COVID-19, Thanksgiving Gatherings, and Travel
Note: The Information below is our interpretation of state guidelines. We will follow with any additional district guidelines when they are available.

We’re all missing being together with our families and wrestling with whether or not to travel and/or gather for Thanksgiving. With COVID-19 cases rising across the country, gathering with family members outside your immediate household is a risk. Traveling to most other states is also a risk. This year, remember that the risks you choose to take have the potential to impact the health and safety of our staff and students. Please consider our wider community as you plan.

Massachusetts Emergency Orders
At-school learners will return to school buildings after the Thanksgiving break. Dr. Salim’s last community update reminded families that they must follow Governor Charlie Baker’s Emergency Orders over the break, including specific travel orders. The relevant orders are below, adapted from the links above:

  • Indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people.
  • All persons are required to wear face-coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  • All individuals entering Massachusetts who are over the age of 18 or an unaccompanied minor must complete and submit the online Massachusetts Travel Form, with the exception of travelers from Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. This order includes individuals reentering the state after holiday travel.
  • All individuals entering Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival in Massachusetts unless the individual is coming from Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont. This order includes individuals reentering the state after holiday travel.
    • An individual does not have to quarantine if they can produce, upon request, proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 from a test administered on a sample taken no longer than 72 hours before their arrival in Massachusetts.
    • An individual may obtain a test at their own expense after arriving in Massachusetts, but they MUST quarantine until they can provide proof of a negative result.
    • Children who are 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household, are not required to take a COVID-19 test. The adult must be tested or quarantined.

What is the bottom line for planning Thanksgiving travel?
The emergency orders can be confusing, especially as applied to short out-of-state trips. Here is the bottom line: if you travel to any state other than the four listed above, you must quarantine or get tested upon your return. You are unlikely to be able to obtain an out-of-state COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your return to Massachusetts. In addition, any family gathering would occur within that 72-hour window, making the test practically irrelevant. Children 10 and under are not required to obtain a COVID-19 test, but we strongly encourage you to have your child tested before they return to school.

Where and when can I get tested?
Cambridge offers COVID-19 testing 7 days a week. Go to this website to see the schedule, testing locations, and book a test. We recommend that you create your travel plans with enough time to get tested and receive your results prior to Monday, November 30th. Students may not come to school for the purpose of obtaining a test. Schools will only test students who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day.

What happens if we need to quarantine while waiting for a test result?
Children 10 years and younger are not required to obtain a negative test before returning to school after out-of-state travel. However, we strongly encourage you to have your child tested before returning to school.

Teachers are not expected to teach both at-school and at-home learners at the same time. We realize this fact may discourage families from keeping their children home while waiting for a negative test result. Regardless, we urge you to put our community’s safety first if you choose to travel and especially if you choose to attend a gathering of more than 10 people.

At-Home Updates

November 18th: Library Pop Up
Please see this flyer about our library pop up on Wednesday, November 18th from 2-4. Older students may pick up reserved books and younger students may “Pick-a-Pair.”


All best,
Tony and Claudie

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