Coronavirus [COVID-19]: March 16, 2020

Superintendent Edward A. Bouquillon emailed the following letter to Minuteman students, families, and staff on Monday, March 16, 2020, at about 4:30 PM:

Dear Minuteman High School Community,

As you likely know, yesterday Governor Charlie Baker announced that all schools in Massachusetts are closed until Monday, April 6 due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Minuteman High School is following the Governor’s order and will be closed for all activities through Monday, April 6, with students scheduled to return on Tuesday, April 7.

In a press release, the Governor’s office said: “During this period it is critical that students and their families, as well as school staff, stay home as much as possible. If an individual needs to leave home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.”

Visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s coronavirus webpage for information on safety precautions, directives, and more.

The Minuteman administration continues to closely monitor this situation and will follow directions from local, state, and federal authorities. Below, we have compiled the latest updates we have at this time for our school community. Continue to check our website, minuteman.org/coronavirus, for new information over the coming days and weeks.

As of Monday, March 16:

  • Governor Baker has ordered all schools in Massachusetts closed through April 6. In addition, on Sunday, the Governor banned all indoor gatherings of more than 25 people with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies. On Monday, President Trump said groups of more than 10 people should be avoided.

  • Keeping with the Governor’s order, Minuteman High School is closed through Monday, April 6, meaning students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, April 7. In the event that school can be opened sooner than April 6, or if the statewide closure is extended beyond April 6, we will notify our community via email, and on our website, minuteman.org/coronavirus. We will follow the direction of local, state, and federal officials.

  • All activities at Minuteman are cancelled while the school is closed. This includes our grade 9-12 high school, along with afternoon and evening programming for community members and adults through Minuteman Technical Institute and Minuteman Community Education. All student-run public services, including the salon, auto shop, childcare center, plant shop, and restaurant, are closed.

  • Students are expected to participate in online learning activities during the closure. Students must continue to check their Minuteman.org email accounts for assignments and to remain in communication with their teachers. Teachers will be assigning a minimum of two online assignments each week per class. Any student or staff member seeking support for technical issues may call 781-243-3802.

  • Students should continue to work on portfolios and senior projects. Deadlines have not changed.

  • WGBH, Boston’s PBS affiliate, is providing free K-12 learning tools in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. These resources include online tools and television broadcasts.

  • High school students participating in co-op/off-site work opportunities are to report to those job sites unless their employer states otherwise. Parents/guardians can opt not to send their student to a job site and should inform Co-Op Director Joseph Pitta by email.

  • A small number of Minuteman administrators will be working in our building on weekdays until 3:00 PM during the duration of the closure. Please do not arrive at our building without first contacting a school administrator ahead of time.

  • If a student or staff member needs to access the Minuteman building to pick up personal belongings, please email the appropriate school administrator:

  • All our administrators and teachers are available via email. Many business meetings or discussions with parents are continuing via phone or e-conference.

  • Our food services department is donating food typically used for school meals to local food access organizations. If you or someone you know is in need of food, visit our website to find resources in your community.

  • Our custodians are continuing to engage in deep cleaning practices in our facility.

  • For tips on how to speak with children and teenagers about the outbreak, we have posted information from the National Association of School Psychologists on our website.

There are many questions that we are unable to answer at this time due to the uncertainty of this situation. Questions about end-of-year events such as prom, field trips, and incoming ninth-grade orientation cannot be answered as of now. We promise to keep our students, families, and staff informed of decisions about these events as we are able.

Finally, please remember:

  • If you are exhibiting symptoms consistent with the coronavirus (COVID-19), which include cough, fever, or shortness of breath, you should stay at home and contact your primary care physician. Given the highly contagious nature or COVID-19, you should call you doctor before attempting to receive medical care in person.

  • If a physician determines that you have COVID-19, were exposed, or potentially exposed, he/she will contact your local board of health, who would be in contact with Minuteman. Minuteman encourages any student, staff member, or parent who is at risk to share this information with us.

It is important to remember that all of us are morally obligated to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. While much is still unknown about this disease, reports suggest COVID-19 is more contagious than the common cold or flu, and the fatality rate is greater for older people and those with underlying health issues. We must be mindful of our healthcare facilities and prevent the risk of overloading their capacity to treat people who are ill. We must all do our part to look out for one another and care for each other during this difficult period. We are all in this together.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me directly.

Sincerely,

Edward A. Bouquillon, PhD
Superintendent
Minuteman High School