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Belmont Public Schools News

January 2, 2022 Superintendent letter to BPS Community

Dear BPS community,

I would like to send each of you my best wishes for a happy new year. As we begin the second half of the academic year in the midst of the Omicron surge, I am writing to share several district updates. Our current goal, as it has been all year, is to keep children in school and to do so as safely as possible.

As a reminder, school will start with a one-hour delay tomorrow, Monday January 3rd. This will give us time to distribute KN-95 masks, update our staff on new CDC guidance, and acclimate any subs to our buildings.

Over the past few weeks we have worked to prepare for the January return to school:

  • Secured rapid COVID tests for all staff members. These tests are being distributed today (Sunday) so that staff members can take the test, report any necessary absences, and allow us to prepare for Monday.
  • Procured KN-95 masks for all staff members.
  • Procured child-size fitted masks for any student who needs an extra mask during the school day.
  • Proactively emailed all substitute teachers in the metro Boston area to let them know that we are doubling our typical compensation in order to attract as many subs as possible to our town, if and when we need them. 
  • Communicated with our testing partner, CIC, in an effort to improve our pool testing schedule.

As our partners in educating Belmont children, we ask families to uphold mitigation measures as we return to school, including the following:

  • If you are able to test your child at home before they come to school on Monday, please do so.
  • Send your child to school with a well-fitted mask - please see tips on effective masking.
  • Use the symptom checker before school each day and reach out to our nursing staff with any concerns.

We have learned over the last two years that this pandemic and associated state and federal guidance can be unpredictable and can change quickly. The district is doing our best to prepare for all eventualities. I would ask families to be aware that the next two weeks may require shifts in schedules and staffing in order to maintain our goal of keeping children in school. I appreciate the fact that, like snow days or other unforeseen schedule changes, this can be difficult for families. We hope to avoid changes but want to alert you to this possibility.

Our educators and community have done a great job keeping students in school for the entire first half of the year. Thank you! I am grateful to the Belmont community for everything it has done to allow a return to a much more “normal” school experience, and very much want to see that continue for the remainder of the year.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.


John P. Phelan