ARPS COVID-19 Communication & Resources

Our students and staff is paramount, therefore, we are continuously monitoring the news surrounding COVID-19 and regular updates will continue to be provided to the ARPS community and posted on this website: http://www.arps.org/district/news/covid-19-communication-resources

Any District plans or responses will be developed in accordance with the latest guidance from the Town of Amherst, MA Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We recognize that reports of the impact of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world can be very troubling. Resources and support are available for students through school-based counseling services (that will be provided online, more information will be provided for these services) and for staff through All One Health Employee Assistance Program. If you are an employee of the district and need to contact All One Health, please call (800) 451-1834 (available 24/7).

You can access up-to-date information about COVID-19 on the MA DPH COVID-19 website. Moving forward, we will continue to communicate with you regularly as new information becomes available. The Frequently Asked Questions included below will also be updated as new information becomes available.

Posted in Parent News

Meals for ARPS Students

ARPS is pleased to share that they are delivering meals, once a day, to 13 different locations in Amherst for families who access our federal nutrition program. We are attaching the flier with the locations and times we will be delivering lunch and breakfast during weekdays.

Please note volunteers will be at each of these locations to help with the distribution. We ask that people come, pick up their meal bag and promptly return home. We must follow the state guidance of not having large groups of people congregating in one place.

We are all working hard to make this possible and we may need to make changes as we go along. Please let us know if you have any questions by calling 413-362-1871 or emailing martinezm2@arps.org.

See Scheduled Here

Posted in Parent News

Spring Sports Update

The MIAA Board of Directors has voted to delay to the start of the 2020 Spring season to April 27th.  Respecting the fluidity of this situation, this decision will be revisited in the near future.

For FAQs from the MIAA on this decision, pease visit:

http://miaa.net/gen/miaa_generated_bin/documents/basic_module/MIAA_FAQ_Spring2020_Season.pdf

Posted in Parent News

March SEPAC Updates

Dear SEPAC families,

During this unexpected school closure we are wishing all our district families much love, but especially our families whose children find unexpected changes in routine particularly difficult.  Wishing you love, and patience, and strength.

Through this closure, SEPAC will endeavour to continue to fill our role in advising the district about matters concerning our special education students.  However, we will not be able to have regular board meetings while the schools are closed. Our next meeting scheduled for April 3 is cancelled. Please email us at SEPAC@arps.org with any questions or concerns that you think SEPAC should be aware of. We will remain in contact with the Student Services office.

Our two spring events, Autism Awareness Night and Stars to Special Education are also cancelled.  Please take time to directly thank all those who have positively impacted the life of your special education student.

Please see attached a letter that was sent to district special education parents on March 15.


Sincerely,

Heather Sheldon and Catherine Lodge, SEPAC Co-Presidents

____________________

Email: sepac@arps.org

Website: www.arps.org/sepac

Posted in Parent News

Amherst School Committee Vacancy

The Town Council and School Committee will hold joint meetings to fill a School Committee vacancy on April 14 at 6:00 pm and April 16 at 6:00 pm in the Town Room, Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Avenue.

Interviews will be conducted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 6:00 pm, at a special joint meeting of the Amherst Town Council and the School Committee. If necessary, the remaining interviews will be conducted on Thursday, April 16, 2020, 6:00 pm at a special joint meeting of the Amherst Town Council and the School Committee. The candidate will be selected at a special joint meeting of the Town Council and the School Committee at a meeting on April 16, 2020. Candidate Statement of Interest due by Tuesday, March 31, 4:00 PM.

Interviews to fill the vacancy on the Amherst School Committee will be conducted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 6:00 pm, at a special joint meeting of the Amherst Town Council and the remaining members of the Amherst School Committee. If necessary, the remaining interviews will be conducted on Thursday, April 16, 2020, 6:00 pm at a special joint meeting of the Amherst Town Council and the School Committee. The candidate will be selected at a special joint meeting of the Town Council and the School Committee at a meeting on April 16, 2020. Both special joint meeting will take place at 6:00 pm in the second floor Town Room, Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Avenue. Amherst Media will broadcast the meeting live on channel 17. Public comment will not be part of this special meeting.

Amherst Home Rule Charter, Section 4.1.c, and MGL Chapter 41 Section 11 govern vacancies in elected Town-wide office other than the Town Council. Law requires a roll call vote of both bodies, and the winning candidate must receive a majority of votes of the remaining filled seats on both boards. Under the law, absences and abstentions do not affect that requirement, so at least nine positive votes must be made for the selected individual, regardless of how many members of the Town Council and Amherst School Committee are present.

The selected individual shall be sworn in by the Town Clerk at Amherst Town Hall during business hours as soon as possible and will serve until newly elected members of the Amherst School Committee are sworn in on Monday, January 3, 2022. If the selected individual also wishes to be on the November 2, 2021 ballot for a two-year term, s/he must follow the same process as any other candidate for Town-wide office. Per the Amherst Home Rule Charter, the individual will not be listed on the ballot as “a candidate for re-election”.

The new Amherst School Committee member also serves on the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee. Check the schools’ website http://arps.org/district/other-helpful-links/school-committee for already scheduled meetings of the Amherst School Committee and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee. Depending on schedules and interest, the new Amherst School Committee member may also serve as a member on either the Town of Amherst Joint Capital Planning Committee (JCPC) and/or the Town of Amherst Budget Coordinating Group (BCG).

Candidate Statements of Interest are due by 4:00 pm EST, March 31, 2020. This deadline cannot be extended. A Statement of Interest must be submitted in order to be considered at the meeting of April 14, 2020 or, if necessary, April 16, 2020. Candidates must be physically present at the meeting in the Town Room in order to be considered.

Statements of Interest shall not exceed one single side 8.5 x 11 page (12-point font) and shall include candidate contact information, including name, address of voter registration, email, and at least one telephone number, reasons the candidate wishes to serve on the Amherst School Committee, and the candidate’s qualifications and experience. Resumes and attachments will not be accepted. A description of the Amherst School Committee responsibilities and expectations is also available on the Town Website. This should inform candidates Statements of Interest.

Statements of Interest will be available to the public on the Town web site and as part of the Town Council and School Committee meeting packet materials for the special April 14, 2020 and April 16, 2020 meetings.

On the Wednesday prior to the meeting, the Town Council President will send an email providing all candidates, all members of the Amherst School Committee, and all Town Council members with the process adopted by the Town Council so all are aware of the how the vacancy will be filled. The email will also include the candidates’ Statements of Interest; a description of the Amherst School Committee’s responsibilities and expectations; and questions for the candidate. This material will also be available in the Town Council’s meeting packet materials for the April 14, 2020 and the April 16, 2020 meetings.

Email (preferred) or hard copy Statements of Interest must be made to Clerk of the Town Council Athena O’Keeffe at Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Ave, Amherst MA 01002. All submissions must include the candidate’s name, address of voter registration, email, and at least one telephone number. A Candidate’s eligibility will be determined within three days of submitting their Statement of Interest

Contact: Athena O’Keeffe: (okeeffea@amherstma.gov), Clerk of the Town Council | Phone (413) 259-3209

Posted in Parent News

All Amherst Municipal Buildings Closed to Public

Amherst Town Hall Building Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 all Town of Amherst municipal buildings, including the Town Hall, Senior Center, Jones library and branches will be closed to the public, with a tentative reopening date of April 3, 2020. This does not include the Amherst Police Department building. Town Manager, Paul Bockelman, declared a state of emergency on Monday, March 16, 2020. 

The Amherst Regional Public Schools will close for three weeks starting on Monday, March 16th, with a tentative return date of Tuesday, April 7th.

The Amherst Transfer Station will also be making changes to their operations starting on March 13, 2020. More details on this can be found here.

Meetings of public bodies, except governing and adjudicatory bodies, will be canceled. Governing bodies include the Town Council, School Committee, and Board of Library Trustees. Adjudicatory bodies include the Board of Health, Planning Board, Local Historic District Commission, Historical Commission, Conservation Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals. All meetings until April 3rd will be conducted remotely. The Town will have technology to allow for remote participation and public comment. Meetings will be recorded or broadcast live where possible.

We encourage you to conduct your business online. Please use our website to submit a service request or to make payments online. You may contact the various staff and departments by phone or by email by visiting the staff directory on our website. Any payments, forms and documents that need to be submitted to the Town, and cannot be transmitted electronically, can be deposited in the Treasurer/Collector’s Dropbox on the Main Street side of Amherst Town Hall.

How to Stay Connected:

Updated on March 13, 2020 | Contact: Brianna Sunryd sunrydb@amherstma.gov

Town of Amherst COVID-19 Webpage

Posted in Parent News

COVID-19 News For ARPS Community

Following is a message from Michael Morris, ARPS Superintendent:

Dear ARPS Community:

As noted in my last communication regarding COVID-19, the District has moved to the preparedness phase of dealing with this pandemic.  As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), this phase includes the use of social distancing to help mitigate the spread of the virus.  Social distancing is a tool designed to protect the community as a whole by flattening the curve of the number of infections.  While our local and state Departments of Health are not currently recommending preemptive school closures, we are implementing social distancing protocols wherever possible. This includes measures such as:

  • Meeting with parents/guardians of individual students only (rather than having groups of parents/guardians come into the school);
  • Eliminating all-school assemblies;
  • Canceling non-essential activities that are not part of the core daily operations of the schools, such as external groups who had planned to use our schools.;
  • Eliminating cross school travel by staff between buildings for professional development, including holding leadership meetings by conference call; and
  • Being extra vigilant in contacting a parent/guardian to pick up any student who shows signs of illness while at school.

In addition to social distancing, we can help protect the broader community and its most vulnerable members by practicing good personal health care.  That includes:

  • Staying home if you have a fever of 100.4 or higher, vomiting and/or diarrhea, and until those symptoms have been gone for 24 hours. Fever-free means without the use of fever-reducing medication;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow and immediately washing your hands; and
  • Making decisions about whether to travel based upon the current situation in the areas in which you will be traveling.  You can check travel advisories on the CDC website.

Since this situation is so rapidly evolving, the District is also actively planning for scenarios that may arise, including potential school closure.  While no closure is currently being recommended for ARPS, we are aware that one may be recommended and implemented in the future.  Staff needs time to prepare for such a possibility and the ways in which we will continue to serve students.  Next Monday, March 16, we will have an early dismissal at all Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools, with the secondary schools dismissing at 12:00 p.m. and the elementary schools dismissing at 1:20 p.m.  The afternoon will be a time for school-based planning for instruction in the event of an extended-duration school closure. Collaboration between personnel who work in different buildings will be done electronically. More information on the development of a continuity of learning plan will be shared before Monday afternoon’s meetings.  This planning will continue at the regularly-scheduled staff/department meetings next Wednesday, March 18.  The early dismissal will also allow our facilities staff extra time for cleaning buildings without students present.

Thank you to all of our ARPS families, faculty and staff for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate this difficult situation.  We are committed to doing everything necessary to continue providing support for our students while taking recommended steps to protect the health and safety of our overall community.  For those who have specific questions related to COVID-19, the state has set up a Coronavirus Hotline staffed by RNs and physicians that is open daily from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.  The hotline number is 617-724-7000.

Sincerely,

Michael Morris, Superintendent

Estimada comunidad de ARPS:

Como se señaló en mi última comunicación sobre COVID-19, el Distrito ha pasado a la fase de preparación para enfrentar esta pandemia. Según lo recomendado por los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC) y la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), esta fase incluye el uso de distanciamiento social para ayudar a mitigar la propagación del virus. El distanciamiento social es una herramienta diseñada para proteger a la comunidad en su conjunto al aplanar la curva del número de infecciones. Si bien nuestros Departamentos de Salud locales y estatales no recomiendan actualmente el cierre preventivo de escuelas, estamos implementando protocolos de distanciamiento social siempre que sea posible. Esto incluye medidas como:

  • Reunirse solo con los padres / tutores de estudiantes individuales (en lugar de hacer que grupos de padres / tutores entren a la escuela);
  • Eliminar las asambleas de toda la escuela;
  • Cancelar actividades no esenciales que no son parte de las operaciones diarias centrales de las escuelas, como grupos externos que habían planeado usar nuestras instalaciones escolares;
  • Eliminar los viajes escolares cruzados por el personal entre edificios para el desarrollo profesional, incluida la celebración de reuniones de liderazgo por conferencia telefónica; y Cancelar el uso de nuestros edificios por grupos externos.
  • Estar más atentos al contactar a un padre/tutor para recoger a cualquier estudiante que muestre signos de enfermedad mientras está en la escuela.

Además del distanciamiento social, podemos ayudar a proteger a la comunidad en general y a sus miembros más vulnerables mediante la práctica de una buena atención médica personal. Eso incluye:

  • Quedarse en casa si tiene fiebre de 100.4 o más, vómitos  y/o diarrea: hasta que esos síntomas hayan desaparecido durante 24 horas,  sin el uso de medicamentos para reducir la fiebre.
  • Lavarse las manos con frecuencia con agua y jabón durante 20 segundos.
  • Cubriendo su tos o estornudos con un pañuelo desechable o su codo e inmediatamente lavándose las manos.
  • Tomar decisiones sobre si viajar en función de la situación actual en las áreas en las que viajará. Puede consultar los avisos de viaje en el sitio web de CDC.

Dado que esta situación está evolucionando tan rápidamente, el Distrito también está planificando activamente los escenarios que pueden surgir, incluido el posible cierre de la escuela. Si bien actualmente no se recomienda ningún cierre para ARPS, somos conscientes de que se puede recomendar e implementar en el futuro. El personal necesita tiempo para prepararse para tal posibilidad y las formas en que continuaremos sirviendo a los estudiantes. El próximo lunes 16 de marzo, tendremos una salida temprana en todas las escuelas regionales de Amherst, Pelham y Amherst-Pelham, y las escuelas secundarias saldrán a las 12:00 p.m. y las escuelas primarias que salen a las 1:20 p.m. La tarde será para tener un momento de planificación escolar para la instrucción en caso de un cierre de la escuela de duración prolongada. La colaboración entre el personal que trabaja en diferentes edificios se realizará electrónicamente. Esta planificación continuará en las reuniones del personal / departamento programadas regularmente el próximo miércoles 18 de marzo. La salida temprana también permitirá que el personal de nuestras instalaciones tenga tiempo adicional para limpiar edificios sin estudiantes presentes.

Gracias a todas nuestras familias, personal docente y personal de ARPS por su continua paciencia y comprensión mientras navegamos por esta difícil situación. Estamos comprometidos a hacer todo lo necesario para continuar brindando apoyo a nuestros estudiantes mientras tomamos los pasos recomendados para proteger la salud y la seguridad de nuestra comunidad en general. Para aquellos que tienen preguntas específicas relacionadas con COVID-19, el estado ha establecido una Línea Directa de Coronavirus con personal de RN y médicos que está abierta todos los días de 8 a.m. a 8 p.m. El número de la línea directa es 617-724-7000.

Sinceramente,

Michael Morris, Superintendente

Posted in Parent News