For how long are schools closed?
Per the Governor’s press conference on March 25, all MA schools will be closed through May 1st. As of now, the district plans to reopen on Monday, May 4th. This timeline will be reassessed and may or may not be extended based on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When will the school year end with all of these no-school days?
The MA Commissioner of Education, Jeff Riley, has waived the 180 school day requirement. Therefore, our last day of school is June 23, despite the number of days we miss moving forward. All missed days due to the public health emergency are considered non-school days; therefore time-on-learning requirements for both general education and special education services are not mandated.
Will April vacation be canceled and replaced with school days?
No. With the Commissioner waiving the 180 day requirement, we will not have to replace April vacation with school days.
What will the school provide my child(ren) so learning continues at home?
Per the guidance of the Commissioner of Education, we will be sending home suggested home enrichment activities that we encourage, not require, students to take advantage of. These will be released at the end of the week of March 16 as our staff is spending time compiling/creating valuable resources and we will update/refresh the activity choices on an ongoing basis. School is no longer in session and, therefore, formal instruction has come to a halt. However, it is important to us that we provide opportunities for students to stay connected to their learning.This will also allow for an easier transition when it is time to re-engage students back to the classroom.
What should my child be doing while schools are closed?
The social emotional well being of our students is a top priority. We encourage you to establish routines at home and take a deep breath as no new learning is expected right now. Please keep in mind, per the guidance of the Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control, that these at-home days are different from a “snow day” in that group activities and play dates should be avoided. If we all do our part with social-distancing, the virus will be abated sooner and normal learning and living can resume for our students.
Will my child receive special education services?
During this time you should anticipate outreach from your child’s service provider(s). All general education and special education staff members will be creating resources to share. We are hopeful that suggested resources will assist all students with maintenance of skills and continuous enrichment. Like general education, during school closures we are unable to provide special education services.
What about important standardized tests that are scheduled this spring (MCAS, AP, SATs)?
ELA MCAS, which is the first round of MCAS, has formally been postponed and the new date has not been announced. The Commissioner is exploring the possibility of requesting a waiver regarding the MCAS requirement for this year, but the need for that is currently being reviewed at the State and Federal levels. AP and SAT guidance is forthcoming from the State. The Commissioner is working closely with the College Board.
What if I don’t have a device at home for my student to access the home enrichmentactivities online?
If you do not have access to any computer device at home, please contact your child’s principal. Please note the district has limited Chromebooks set up for out of school use and will need some time to prepare the devices appropriately.
Will our staff continue work and to be paid?
Westford School Committee approved paying regular-based salaries and wages to salaried and hourly employees during the current emergency school closure or through the end of the school year. Limited staff will be working from some of our buildings on an as-needed basis. Most staff will be working remotely. School buildings and the Central Office will be closed to the public.
What if my child receives free or reduced lunch?
The WPS Food Services staff will provide bagged lunches for our students in need that will be distributed from Westford Academy starting on Thursday, March 19 from 10:30am-12pm.
What about school sports?
While school is not in session, there are no school sports. The intent of school closures during the health crisis is to maintain social distancing. Currently the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) is discussing the status of spring sports moving forward.
What if I need to get an essential item from my child’s school (e.g., student medication)?
While we are working hard to keep the school buildings closed, if there is an essential item you need to retrieve for your child, please email the building principal to schedule a time for pick-up.