•  Dear Carlisle Families,

    This past week was not an ordinary week in the Carlisle Public Schools with Wednesday being Veteran’s Day and then a visit from Governor Baker, Commissioner Riley and Secretary of Education Peyser on Thursday. 

    Though the pandemic has obviously impacted our ability to celebrate our veterans and thank them for their sacrifice and service, I do hope you were able to find some moments of reflections to stop and appreciate the dedication and sacrifice of the people in our armed services.  I also want to point out that Veteran’s Day is not the only day you have to celebrate and honor our veterans and I am sure that over the next few weeks and months the opportunity to support our veterans will present itself multiple times, and I encourage you to do so.

    It was a surprise to get a call last week and learn that the Governor, Commissioner and Secretary of Education wanted to stop by Carlisle and see what we were doing in order to have in-person school.  Knowing how our community has pulled together and worked so incredibly hard to open our schools and provide our students the educational experience that many need, I thought it was a great opportunity to recognize this concerted effort.  Though the visit was a bit of a whirlwind, I thought it went as well as possible as many of our students, staff and leadership were delighted to welcome our dignitaries from the state.  Of course, there are some people in our community who hold other perspectives on the visit, but having observed first-hand the amount of time and energy that was spent on getting us to where we are, I believe it was a wonderful tribute to our entire community which rallied to make this in-person learning possible for our students. 

    On that same theme, we continue to see an uptick in the number of folks we have in quarantine and the number of positive cases in adjoining towns, so it is important to accept that we will most likely see a positive case in our school community in the near future.  We are prepared to address such an occurrence should it arise, and our plan would be to quarantine all close contacts and assess the impact of such quarantines on the operation of the school.  We have observed other nearby districts managing this same problem and this approach has worked well.  We should be aware that towns which have had positive cases among students and staff are reporting very little in school transmission.  It may be reassuring to know that School Committee Chair Christine Lear, School Nurse Lauren Sawyer and I continue to meet weekly with the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) to discuss the town’s ongoing response to the pandemic.  We are also in close contact with Public Health Nurse Tricia McGean, who is the person responsible for following up with contact tracing for any positive cases in our town.  We continue adjust our response and approach based upon state guidance and best practices.

    In preparation for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am again sharing the Department of Public Health Thanksgiving Guidance: Covid-19 and the Massachusetts designated high risk state travel guidance from the state.  If you are planning to travel to one of the “restricted states” over Thanksgiving, we are asking families fill out this Family Travel to Restricted States Form, so that we can reach out to you and establish a plan for your child’s return to school after the trip

    Warm regards,

    Jim