Wednesday, March 4, 2020

From the Superintendent

The following message was sent out on Wednesday by BPS Superintendent Sue Charochak through other digital means. It has has been included here in case you did not receive this information already.

Good Afternoon,

I am writing with the latest update for parents and families with communication and information as it relates to the coronavirus. I appreciate the feedback and questions from families and will do my best to provide a timely response to each of you. As you know, we, like all districts in Massachusetts, continue to access guidance on our concerns from the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Beverly Board of Health, as well as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Mass. Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.). We will continue to monitor all incoming information and respond accordingly.

An area that we continue to monitor in Beverly is in regard to staff or students who have traveled out of the country to areas that are identified at risk for coronavirus. We will consider each individual situation with an abundance of caution and will consult both state and local officials before making any decisions. If we determine there may be a health risk to our students or staff, we will send the person at risk home for a minimum of the fourteen day incubation period. In fact, we implemented this procedure yesterday with a staff member who returned to work after a trip to a country where restricted travel is recommended as a result of the number of cases of coronavirus. The person exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness. However, with our decision rooted in an abundance of caution, we sent the employee home within approximately two hours, and we mutually agreed that the employee will remain home until the fourteen day waiting period is complete. The employee to date continues to exhibit no symptoms of being sick. Additionally, the work area the employee had briefly occupied was immediately professionally sanitized. In consultation with epidemiologists at the state Department of Public Health, the city of Beverly’s Public Health Department, school health services, and Mayor Cahill, we have been reassured that any risk of exposure to the new coronavirus is very low. Moreover, even though the risk was extremely low and the guidance from state and local officials was that other employees that had come in contact with this employee did not need to be excluded from work, we opted to also work with these employees to remain out of work for the incubation period. The employee had no contact with any students at any time while they were in the building. Our students’ and employees’ well-being is always our highest priority and we will continue to proceed in an abundance of caution to ensure that we do our best to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases.

Finally, I will be working with the school committee, Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Poska to monitor any planned overnight trips on a case by case basis. We will provide information to parents and families as soon as a decision is made. I appreciate your patience as we work through the specifics. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principal or myself.

Thank you,

Sue Charochak
Superintendent of Schools