Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – May 7, 2021

Thank you to all of our community partners for making this a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week! This annual event allows all of us to recognize the contribution our teachers make to our community! For more information about Teacher Appreciation week check out The National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week Page

School Lunch Hero Day, Friday, May 7, 2021
On Friday, May 7, 2021, we celebrated the 8th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! School Lunch Hero Day is a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria. School Lunch Hero Day provides us with the perfect opportunity to recognize the hard-working professionals in our school cafeterias. School Lunch Hero Day was inspired by author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, of the “Lunch Lady” book series, to remind everyone of the importance school nutrition employees play in our school communities.  They really are superheroes! https://schoolnutrition.org/schoollunchheroday/

Mother’s Day
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in our school community. Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. In the United States, Mother’s Day 2021 is this Sunday, May 9th. Our American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. For more information about Mother’s Day scroll to https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day

School Nurse Appreciation Day
Please join us in celebrating National School Nurse Day on Tuesday, May 12, 2021.  This year our nurses have played a HUGE role in our reopening plans of each of our four schools as well as our ability to keep everyone healthy and safe.  This includes but is not limited to their COVID-19 coordination of pool testing, assistance in contact tracing, and educating all of us in proper safety protocols.  This is in addition to all of their everyday duties and responsibilities of helping each of us make it through the school day and year.  We are grateful to our nurses and recognize them on their special day! https://www.nasn.org/advocacy/school-nurse-day

METCO B.E.A.T Cohort II
Congratulations to Bedford High School students Que’Mya Brewster, Angelica Jones, and AJ Prieto for earning spots on the METCO B.E.A.T Cohort II Team. The team will be researching issues of educational equity specific to the Bedford Public Schools. In June, they will present creative, action-oriented briefings to our school leaders using the knowledge and skills they have gained along the way. We are excited for Que’Mya, Angelica, and AJ and look forward to learning with them. https://metcoinc.org/

Dollars for Scholars
Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s Dollars for Scholars Mail-a-thon Fundraiser.  The program had a record-setting year thanks to the overwhelming community support! We are grateful to everyone who donated to the cause.  This year’s awards will be announced virtually via BedfordTV on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. For more information and to donate go to Bedford Dollars for Scholars

Pooled Testing Update
We are pleased to announce that we have been approved to continue our pooled testing program with DESE and have been matched with a new vendor- Veritas Genetics. Therefore, we will no longer be collecting nasal swabs at school.  If you signed up for pooled testing through Project Beacon, you will need to sign up again through the Veritas Genetics links provided in the pooled testing information.

Starting next week, we will be offering home saliva kits to all students and staff who would like to be tested weekly.   This is a free testing opportunity funded by DESE. This will eliminate the need to collect nasal swab samples at school.  There will be NO time missed on learning by taking students out of the classrooms or from their lunchtime. Also, saliva samples will be pooled at the lab.  If there is a positive pool, the lab will identify the positive case from the original sample.  This eliminates the need for “reflex testing” at school.  We will not need to retest the positive pool members with rapid antigen tests or have to wait for another round of individual PCR testing if the rapid antigen tests were negative.

We are hopeful that we will have a higher participation rate in pooled testing using this new process.  The inconvenience of being part of a positive pool has been eliminated, and the stress of having a nasal swab done at school as well as the time missed from the classroom for the collection process we hope will make it easier for families to sign up for free weekly asymptomatic testing.

For more information and the signup links: Pooled Testing Sign Up

Community COVID-19 Dashboard
The Bedford Board of Health Bedford COVID-19 Dashboard contains data related to case counts, active/recovered cases, case demographics and school case data. The majority of the data on the Dashboard will be updated Monday through Friday, with some data tables and charts updated on a weekly basis. We invite you to view the dashboard at www.bedfordma.gov/covid-stats.

As always, thank you for your patience, your participation, and your continued commitment to our schools,

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