Coronavirus [COVID-19]: April 1, 2020

Superintendent-Director Edward A. Bouqillon issued the following email to Minuteman students and families on Wednesday, April 1, at approximately 5:00 PM:

Dear Minuteman High School Community,

I hope that each one of you are safe, healthy and well during this critical time, as our nation and our world have changed significantly over the past three weeks. Yesterday, the White House announced the number of coronavirus deaths are predicted to reach between 100,000 and 240,000 across the United States between now and June if everyone practices social distancing guidelines. These sobering numbers could be much higher if people relax their social distancing practices.

We are all in this together, including everyone in the Minuteman High School community. We are all making sacrifices right now. It’s been truly remarkable to observe students, teachers, staff, and parents/guardians working remotely to preserve the educational experience as much as possible. We do our part by staying apart, and for that, I’m proud of you all.

However, doing our part means making difficult decisions. It also means accepting that, despite our best efforts, everyone will temporarily experience challenges or setbacks in the educational process, or in participating in events we typically take for granted.

With that, I am making several important announcements:

  • We sincerely regret to inform you that the junior/senior prom has been cancelled. This event was originally scheduled for May 1. Due to the changing nature of this public health emergency, we do not believe it’s in the best interests of students to attempt to reschedule the prom at this time. However, we plan to hold a celebratory event for seniors at some point in the future. If you have submitted a deposit for prom to John Donato, we will contact you and provide you a full refund.

  • We have not decided if the Class of 2020 graduation ceremony will be held due to the reasons stated above. It is currently scheduled for June 5. We will continue to assess how this national emergency is impacting our school and will inform you with a decision soon.

  • Should we return to school on May 4, which is what is currently planned unless circumstances change, the last scheduled day of school is Tuesday, June 23. If school reopens in May, seniors must attend school until June 23. Typically, seniors have been dismissed earlier, but we have decided to change this practice due to the unprecedented circumstances. There is a possibility that our ongoing school closure could extend beyond May 4 if the ongoing public emergency does not subside.

  • We strongly encourage all students to participate in remote enrichment learning. Our teachers and students are using digital platforms such as Aspen, Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business, Khan Academy, EdPuzzle, GoFormative, and Microsoft Teams. Some of our teachers are beginning to post their lessons on YouTube as well, with more to come. Additional K-12 distance learning resources are available on the WGBH website.

  • Beginning on Monday, April 6, we will begin implementing a daily recommended schedule for students for remote enrichment learning. This is not a required class schedule, but rather a recommended guide to help students build healthy daily routines. The recommended schedule includes 1 hour to 90 minutes for academic or career technical education (CTE) work, designated office hours with teachers, an hour of physical activity, an hour of creative time, and an hour to work on academic-CTE integration projects. The schedule and additional details are now posted on our website.

  • REMINDER: Students must use their Minuteman.org email accounts – and cannot use their personal email accounts – to communicate with teachers and to receive instructions and feedback for remote enrichment learning.

  • Students will be assessed for the remote enrichment learning work, but these assessments are intended as feedback and will not count toward a student’s academic standing. We strongly encourage all students to participate in remote enrichment learning. Remote learning helps students retain skills that will be needed for college, career, or licensure exams. We believe it is important for students to receive feedback on their work in order to assess how well they are grasping the material, while also motivating them to learn.

    Please note:

    • We must respect that some students and their families may be suffering from economic hardships, limited access to technology, or health issues during this crisis.

    • Assessment of students’ remote learning work during the coronavirus crisis cannot count toward their overall grade or academic standing, per a recommendation from the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

    • At Minuteman, all students will receive either a “1,” “2,” or “3,” as feedback for their remote enrichment learning work. “1” represents excellent quality; “2” is high quality; and “3” is fair quality. If students do not complete assignments or submit work of poor quality, the point value will be left bank. Students will not receive any failing grades. This system was created with the feedback of Minuteman teachers.

    • Students are assigned two pieces or work per week, per class.

    • Remote enrichment learning is intended to be a review of previously learned skills and content, and not a way to introduce new material or skills, per DESE guidelines.

  • Grading for the third quarter has been extended until May 4, when school is scheduled to re-open. All assignments given prior to the closure can be made up or resubmitted for a new grade by May 4. Fourth-quarter grading will begin on May 4. We strongly encourage students to submit pre-closure third-quarter assignments for an improved grade.

  • Special Education: Minuteman’s special education staff continue to communicate with students designated as receiving special education services on a regular basis. We cannot provide the same level of individualized service as we could if school were in session. We are working to provide support so all students can access the enrichment activities. We are closely monitoring guidelines from state and federal education officials. If your student is struggling to understand an enrichment concept or activity, please email the Academic Support Teacher to seek additional support. Further information is available on our website.

  • Lastly, we would like to remind you that counseling resources are available for any student or adult experiencing difficulty. The National Association of School Psychologists has provided advice on how to speak with children and teenagers. Students may contact their Minuteman counselor for check-ins and can be contacted via email to set up a time to connect. For immediate counseling support 24 hours a day, please contact the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program at 1-877-382-1609 or the program’s MetroWest Resource Line at 1-800-640-5432. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

I would like to again express my gratitude for everyone in the Minuteman High School community for doing their part by staying apart – and staying the course – during these challenging times. We will all get through this together!


Sincerely,

Edward A. Bouquillon, PhD
Superintendent-Director
Minuteman High School