Joint Statement on Behalf of Mayor Curtatone, School Committee Chair, Somerville Educators Union President and Superintendent Skipper - February 12, 2021
Dear Families and Staff:
Yesterday, the membership of the Somerville Educators Union (SEU) overwhelmingly voted to approve a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Somerville School Committee to begin our phased in-person learning. Originally, the School Committee had scheduled a Special School Committee meeting for tonight at 6:45 pm to vote on the MOA. However, out of respect for Shabbat, the School Committee has rescheduled the vote on the agreement for Wednesday, February 17th at 6:45 p.m. The negotiating team is recommending approval of the MOA.
This is an important step in the process and is the result of many months of negotiation to ensure that students and staff can begin safely returning to school buildings. The agreement outlines a process for re-opening school buildings in phases, prioritizing our students in our High Needs Special Education programs, English Language Learner programs, and Pre-K and K with other grades to follow, as long as specific conditions are met, including building readiness. Students will be invited to return to in-person learning in groups with an anticipated start date of March 4, based on their grade level and educational program. Any family who prefers their child to remain in remote learning may do so.
Pending a favorable vote by School Committee on Wednesday, we will provide families and staff with details about the re-opening plans next Friday, including information about the in-person groups and phases, learning schedules, health and safety protocols (including face coverings, physical distancing, sanitization and disinfection, baseline and routine Covid testing, etc.), as well as the negotiated public health metrics for re-opening that are part of the MOA.
We are also excited to share that the new Somerville High School building has passed the remaining tests necessary to attain a Certificate of Occupancy by the end of February. Additionally, the City continues to work to address the remaining ventilation and air filtration in our other buildings so that we can finalize a schedule for additional phases of students.
Our Special Education Department and family liaisons will begin contacting families in Groups 1 and 2 as early as next week with information about intent to return. We will also be updating the district’s website to provide important information about the re-opening plans. Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation. We are excited to welcome our students back into our schools for in-person learning.