Superintendent's Update - March 23, 2021

Superintendent's Update - March 23, 2021
Posted on 03/23/2021
Superintendent's Update - March 23, 2021

Dear Medway families, 

We hope that your families are well.  We are certainly excited about the full in-person return of our hybrid students in grades 6-12 on April 12.  I would like to thank the community for your support and patience during the planning for the return process.  Principals at both our middle and high schools have offered multiple opportunities for families to connect to learn more about the specifics of return planning.  Based on feedback from attendees, there is a great deal of excitement about this upcoming return.

As you know, we continue to manage the impact of COVID-19 within our school community.  Our ability to return as planned is largely dependent on members of our school community continuing to adhere closely to the health and safety strategies that have been put into place.  Recently, another Massachusetts high school moved to full virtual due to a significant COVID-19 infection cluster within the community.  We have the ability to avoid this by ensuring that each of us takes the continued threat of COVID-19 seriously.  

One way you can help is to ensure that you have signed your child up for weekly COVID-19 testing (grades 2-12).  Our partner, Ginkgo Bioworks, has released an electronic consent form that makes sign-up easy.  Participation in weekly testing is not only protective for your child, but for our school communities.  Through our continued partnerships we will ensure that our students are able to continue with in-person learning.  Please see sign-up procedures below.   

Finally, there are many other important items below.  Please take a few minutes to review this update. 




Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools


REMINDER:  Early Release Day TOMORROW, March 24:

Please note that tomorrow will be an early release day for all students.  Virtual School students will follow the same scheduled dismissal time as their in person peers.  Dismissal times are as follows:

McGovern Elementary School (including McGovern Virtual School students):  12:00 p.m.

Burke-Memorial Elementary School (including Burke-Memorial Virtual School students):  11:30 a.m.

Medway Middle School (including Medway Middle Virtual School students):  11:02 a.m.

Medway High School (including Medway High Virtual School students): 11:34 a.m. 


Planning for a Full Return Updates

With our planned full Grade 6-12 student return taking place on Monday, April 12, we want to ensure that families have access to as much information as they need in order to support this transition.  

The recording, webinar slides, and additional research that we shared can be found here:

Webinar Recording:  Planning for a Full Return - March 9, 2021

Slideshow:  Planning for a Full Return - March 9, 2021

Additional Study on Physical Distancing in Massachusetts Schools 


Transportation Guidance 

In February, DESE released updated transportation guidance allowing additional capacity on school buses. This is important with our full return of grades 6-12 in the coming weeks.  Health and safety practices must still be followed including mask wearing and opening windows.  The complete update can be found here

We were pleased to receive support from the School Committee during their March 18 meeting regarding our full return plan and continue to feel incredibly thankful for their support and that from the greater community.

Many families found alternative transportation options for their children when we began school in September.  This was very helpful as we were dealing with diminished transportation capacity on buses.  With the recent change in transportation guidance, we are now able to accommodate more students on buses.  Families interested in requesting transportation should contact Don Aicardi, Director of Finance and Operations, at Please note that it will take some time to review and respond to requests. 

Staff and Student COVID-19 Testing Updates

Registration continues to take place and participation has increased for student COVID-19 testing.  62% of Medway Middle School students and 61% of Medway High School students have signed up to participate.  Thank you to all of our families for supporting this work and we continue to encourage sign-ups and participation.  

We are pleased to share that our testing company, Ginkgo Bioworks, is now offering an online consent form that accepts an electronic signature which simplifies this process.  The consent form can be found here.  Attached below are additional instructions to guide you through the consent process. The access code you will need on the second screen is mutating-medway.

Please note:

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, do not fill out Ginkgo's consent form.  If you have already completed and sent the previous consent form, your consent is still valid. There is no need to complete this new form.

If you would like a paper copy of the consent form, you can pick one up at your child’s school.  

Questions or concerns about the consent form or the testing program can be directed to Kylie O’Neill at

Also, please find the following informational resources that may be useful:

Instructions for Gingko’s Consent Form

Recording of Medway Public School Webinar- January 27, 2021

Slideshow about Regular Student Testing Program from Webinar 

FAQs for Student Testing

FY22 Budget Presentations and School Committee Approval

On Thursday, March 18, Dr. Pires presented the Proposed Superintendent’s FY22 School Budget to the community during a Budget Public Hearing.  Following, the School Committee voted and approved the FY22 Budget.  At this point, the budget will move forward to become part of the town’s FY22 budget which will be voted on at the Medway Town Meeting on May 10.  The Medway Public Schools FY22 Budget Presentation can be found here.

Student Services Update Presented to the School Committee

During their March 18 School Committee meeting, Ms. Kat Bernklow presented the annual Student Services update.  The presentation can be found here.

Save the Date:  Parent/Guardian T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:  April 13

As a follow-up to the email sent last week with a few Technology Updates, we are pleased to share that a parent/guardian learning opportunity has been finalized.  Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. will be hosting a live parent webinar on April 13, at 6:30 p.m., featuring Dr. Elizabeth Englander.  Dr. Englander will speak with parents about the social and emotional challenges imposed by the pandemic and how these challenges are related to issues like screen use and cyberbullying.  Event registration and information can be found here

Equity Assessment Request for Proposals Approved

During their meeting on March 18, the School Committee finalized and voted on a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be distributed broadly that will assist the district in identifying a partner to support our work to assess our equity and inclusion practices within our district.  This is an important first step as part of this process. We anticipate an early April, ‘go live’ date with the RFP being made available on a variety of platforms.  Our procurement officer, Don Aicardi, will receive interest from potential partners in the form of bids.  We anticipate work to start in this area sometime this summer. 

Tiered Focused Monitoring Updates:  Special Education, Civil Rights, English Learners

The Offices of the Assistant Superintendent and Student Services are continuing to work to prepare for the “onsite” portion of the Tiered Focused Monitoring processes for special education, civil rights, and english learners.  This is a review process that is facilitated every seven years by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  This week, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education conducted their onsite review of special education and civil rights documents and during the last week in April, the Department will conduct their onsite interviews connected with the English Learner Program.  

You’re Invited to a Trivia Night Hosted By the Medway Middle School Performing Arts Department

The 2021 cast and crew of Medway Middle School's production of Into the Woods Jr. is sponsoring a Family Trivia Night on Zoom. Please join in for a fun night of trivia and music for families and students on March 25 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Families of any size can compete as one team AND/OR teams can be formed by combining families/friends of up to 6 people - one of which must be an adult. If you combine with people outside of your immediate family, getting together is discouraged, but you can open up a second video-chat feature to collaborate and talk during the game. More information and the link to register can be found here.

Nominations Sought:  Burke-Memorial Plaque

Medway Public Schools is now accepting nominations for names to be placed on the Burke-Memorial School plaque.  Nominations must be submitted to the Office of the Superintendent, Medway Public Schools, 45 Holliston Street, Medway, MA 02053, by May 31, 2021.

Candidates for inclusion on the Burke-Memorial School plaque must have made a significant or memorable contribution to the town and/or school community.  Through their behavior and character, the candidate can be shown to be/have been an excellent role model.  This person, through service, volunteerism or dedication has made Medway school or town life better for those who follow.

Residents, past or present, who have sacrificed their lives or freedom in service to their country, either as members of the military or as civilians contributing to military or peace efforts, may also be nominated.

The superintendent’s office shall send a letter to the candidate(s) or their families to advise them that a nomination has been made.

The Medway School Committee will vote on the nominations in June.  The nomination form can be found here.

Grade 4 Class Photo Video

Thank you to Tim Rice and to the members of the Medway Elementary Parent / Teacher Organization (MEPTO) for your hard work to facilitate our annual Grade 4 class photo in a safe, COVID supportive way.  With the use of a drone, multiple time slots, and video editing, the Burke-Memorial Class of 2021 photo exists!  You can see a video of the process here:  Grade 4 Class Photo 

Technology Update

The IT department strongly encourages all students and families to manage their technology devices as safely as possible.  Supply chains for new devices and repair parts are stretched to the limit, with many devices and parts not available for the foreseeable future. This is causing prolonged repair times. Please take care of and speak to students about proper care of the devices.

In addition to the above, as we approach the MCAS testing season, the IT department requests that all students in need of device repair please inform our department immediately. This will ensure devices and students are prepared for the testing windows with a fully functioning device. Support can be reached by emailing

We will provide more details about end of year device collection as we move deeper into the spring.   

2021-2022 School Calendar

The 2021-2022 School calendar was approved at the February 25 School Committee meeting and can be found here.

2021-2022 Medway Middle School Program of Studies Changes Approved

The 2021-2022 Medway Middle School Program of Studies changes were presented to the School Committee on March 4, 2021.  These changes were then approved during the March 18 meeting of the School Committee.  The presentation that was shared can be found here.

2021-2022 School Year Kindergarten Registration

The district opened registration for incoming kindergarten students for the 2021-2022 school year on March 1, 2021. More information can be found here.

COVID-19 Reporting Hotline 

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please call 508-321-4779 or email covid@medwayschools.orgUsing the hotline helps to ensure an efficient response and protects student privacy.  If you are not reporting a positive COVID-19 test result but have questions about COVID-19 and your child, please contact your school nurse.  

Medway Youth Baseball Challenger Division

We are pleased to communicate a cross community opportunity that has recently been shared with us.  Please see the linked opportunity for students to join Medway Youth Baseball - Challenger Division, Spring 2021.  This opportunity is open to all students between the ages of 4-18 (or 22 if still enrolled in school) who love the game and who have either a physical or intellectual disability.  If you are interested in becoming a “buddy” for students in the program, please reach out to the program coordinators for more information on how to engage in the “buddy” system.  No scores will be kept. Every player is a winner.  Everyone takes a turn at bat, advances the bases, and plays the field.  Unique to this division is the buddy system, where a Challenger player partners with a "buddy" who is at least 12 years old.  There is no charge for the Challenger Division this season! 

COVID protocols will be in place for all coaches and participants including mask wearing at all times for everyone at the park, social distancing, no shared food/drink, and all participants should depart the field as soon as the sessions end.  

For questions, please reach out to Jay Golden at or Medway Youth Baseball President Rich Coakley at

For more information or to register,  please follow this link:

Medway Public Schools In the News

Press Release: Medway High School Seniors Receive National Merit Commendations

Press Release: Medway Schools Completes Energy Efficient Projects at Middle, High Schools with Green Communities Funding

Press Release: Medway Public Schools Shares Plans to Return Grade 6-12 Students to Full-Time, In-Person Learning Next Month 

Press Release: Medway High School Chorus and Band Students Accepted to Central District Junior Festival

Press Release: Medway Public Schools Now Accepting Nominations for Memorial School Plaque Honorees

Upcoming EventsUpcoming Events

March 24, 2021

Early Release: All Schools: Professional Development

McGovern Elementary School (including McGovern Virtual School students): 12:00 p.m.

Burke-Memorial Elementary School (including Burke-Memorial Virtual School students): 11:30 a.m.

Medway Middle School (including Medway Middle Virtual School students): 11:02 a.m.

Medway High School (including Medway High Virtual School students): 11:34 a.m.

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

March 25, 2021

Full Return Follow-up Drop in Session, Medway High School, Register here, 8:00 a.m.

Family Trivia Night on Zoom, Medway Middle School, 7:00 p.m.

April 1, 2021

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

April 2, 2021

No School: Good Friday

April 12, 2021

First Full Return, In Person Day of Learning for All Grade 6-12 Students!

April 13, 2021

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

T.H.R.I.V.E. parent/guardian event on digital safety, log in and information, 6:30 p.m.

April 15, 2021

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

April 19-23, 2021

No School: April Vacation

April 28, 2021

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

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