Watertown Schools Now Closed Thru April 7, Tips to Keep Students Learning

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With Gov. Baker’s announcement that schools statewide will be closed through early April as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Watertown Public Schools will be closed longer than first announced. Students can still keep their mind active.

On Thursday, Superintendent Dede Galdston announced the town’s schools would be shut for two weeks (originally March 27). Now that has been extended to April 7 with the Governor’s announcement Sunday night, which also impacts restaurants, and gatherings over 25 people.

See the Watertown School’s entire update from Sunday night father below.

Keep Learning Moving

Friday afternoon, the School Committee held a meeting to discuss the closing due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. One of the topics of discussion was how students could keep learning during the break.

Galdston said that while schools are closed the Watertown schools will provide opportunities for students to have activities and learning exercises provided by their teachers. For students at the high school and middle school that will be provided through their Chromebook laptops. Teachers at the elementary schools are planning activities for their students. She added that student’s will not be required to participate in the school’s learning activities and they will not impact their grades.

Staff will not go back to work until Thursday, but students can still keep their minds active, Galdston said.

“Reading is the number one best way to keep learning moving,” Galdston said. “I highly recommend, don’t wait until the middle of the week. Think about what you can do in the meantime.”

The district has given iReady accounts to students in grades K-8, and activities can be found be logging on the iReady website.

Galdston said older students can read the news and other information on the internet. School Committee Vice Chair Kendra Foley said despite the Watertown Library being closed, many resources are still available on the Library’s website at the eLibrary page: https://www.watertownlib.org/223/eLibrary

“The library is great for audio books and ebooks you can download through Hoopla, and a few other services through library, free,” Foley said. “You just need a library card.”

Watertown Schools’ Announcement

The Watertown Public Schools placed the following announcement on its website on Sunday:

Good evening Watertown Public Schools Families and Staff,

Governor Baker just announced that all schools in Massachusetts, with the exception of residential programs, will be closed until April 7. Our Watertown leadership team is meeting tomorrow to continue our diligent planning of continuous learning experiences for our students and will be providing families with our plan mid-week, as noted in my March 13th update.  

The Importance of Social Distancing I want to emphasize once again the need for social distancing. The state-wide school closure is meant to slow the spread of COVID 19 and we must work together to practice social distancing. This means students should not be visiting friends, gathering at playgrounds or parks, or meeting in public spaces. We encourage students to play outside, but only with household members when possible.

Please see the WPS Website for more information about COVID-19, with links to official public health resources: MA DPH and CDC at Update Center Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information.

Food Support for Students We will be distributing grab and go lunches for students beginning tomorrow (Monday) in the Watertown High School rear parking lot. We have worked with our school nutrition department to develop essential services for students experiencing food scarcity and/or insecurity to have access to meals that will comply with social isolation expectations. Meals will be distributed in the faculty parking lot on Barnard Ave behind Watertown High School, Monday – Friday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Please note that all meals must be taken and consumed off-site. If assistance is needed to access the food station, please contact lunch_line@watertown.k12.ma.us or call (617) 926 7766. Additional food resources can be found at https://www.watertown-ma.gov/250/Watertown-Food-Pantry. Building Closure All of our schools are closed.  If you need to get into a building, please contact your school’s principal. 

The Middle School is scheduling a systematic pick up of Chromebooks over the next few days. Principal Martin will be contacting middle school families with a schedule for the pickup. If your child has medication(s) that are needed during this time period, please contact the Student Services Office at 617-926-7766 or email kathleen.desmarais@watertown.k12.ma.us

Thank you for your continued support and please know that your Watertown Public School community is here for you and will be continually providing updates as information becomes available. Link to Newsletter in Smore for translation: https://www.smore.com/43s8j

Kind regards,
Dr. Dede Galdston

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