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February 9, 2021

george school

Brockton, Massachusetts
Organizational Meeting
February 9, 2021
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The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening, at seven o'clock.

These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and read the following information for the record.
 
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and State of Emergency, on March 12, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order Temporarily Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20. Pursuant to the Order, public bodies are temporarily relieved from the Open Meeting Law’s requirement that meetings be held in public places, open and physically accessible to the public, so long as measures are taken to ensure public access to the bodies' deliberations "through adequate, alternative means."

This meeting will be held and will be accessible to the public via Brockton Community Access, Brockton Public Schools website, www.bpsma.org, YouTube and Comcast channel 98

The public can access this meeting via this link: www.youtube.TheBrocktonChannels

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call to establish a quorum.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – no (arrived later)  
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                    
    
Also Present:  Superintendent Thomas, Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson, BEA President, Richard Bath

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair established a quorum, followed by a salute to the flag.

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair turned the meeting over to Superintendent Thomas to introduce a special guest of honor.

Superintendent Thomas welcomed Ms. Elizabeth Doyle a grade four teacher at the Raymond School to share a story with the school committee from her zoom class this past Friday that was noted in the Enterprise and local news stations.

Ms. Doyle shared as her class returned back to zoom after lunch one of her students mentioned her fire alarm was going off, the students could hear it and became excited and she had them to mute themselves to confirm as often batteries need to be changed.  Ms. Doyle asked the student if she saw or smelled smoke or seen fire, she replied she smelled smoke and at that point Ms. Doyle instructed the student to get everyone out of the house.  She realized this was becoming traumatic for her students and ended the zoom call.

Ms. Doyle called her student directly from her phone, called the Fire Department on another phone and emailed the school administration. The Fire Department arrived quickly and assessed the situation, an incense stick fell on some clothing that caught fire in the basement.  Everything worked out well and the student did an awesome job getting her family members out of the house and followed directions.    

Superintendent Thomas thanked Ms. Doyle for the amazing job done on Friday and all that is done every day and teachers across the district not only remote learning but dealing with situations that come up making sure they’re handled appropriately.

Mr. D’Agostino also commended Ms. Doyle for the amazing job well done.

Mr. Sullivan thanked Ms. Doyle for her quick judgement and fast thinking that saved a home and lives too, great job.

Mr. Minichiello thanked Ms. Doyle and acknowledged her awareness of what’s going on and certainly appreciates her quick thinking.

Ms. Doyle mentioned upon returning to their zoom class the students were eager to get back to class and check on their classmate and shared their stories, the Vice-Principal and guidance department were also on the zoom call.  They were able to talk about fire safety which was a good learning experience.  Ms. Doyle mentioned concerns since the spring smoke detectors beep a lot during her zoom classes and wants to get the word out that it’s really important getting the word out to change batteries because the smoke detector saved this family’s life and could have been a different outcome had it not worked.    

Superintendent Thomas thanked Ms. Doyle for being on the school committee zoom meeting.  He also thanked our partners with the Brockton Fire Department.  As soon as this happened Chief Michael F. Williams notified Dr. Cobbs to let us know.  The Fire Department does a great job coming in with our health classes as they have for years teaching fire prevention and safety education with our young students and again, we really appreciate their partnership and how quickly they responded to that students’ home.

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair asked that Dr. Richard Herman is taken out of order this evening, Item IV-A, Report of Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant COVID-19 Metrics update.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to take Item IV-A, Report of Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant – COVID-19 Metrics update out of order, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

    Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – absent
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                    
                    
    
Mr. D’Agostino turned it over to Dr. Herman to present his power point.

Dr. Herman thanked the School Committee members for inviting him to come back and discuss the metrics for the City of Brockton and presented a PowerPoint.

COVID-19 Update:  City of Brockton (PowerPoint)

* CDC/Updated:  Feb. 9, 2021
* US COVID-19 Average Daily Case Rate in Last 7 Days
* Brockton:  New COVID Cases per day
* City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
* City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard, Tuesday, February 9, 2021
* Average Daily Case Count per 100,000
* Population
* Hospitalized Cases:  good Samaritan and Brockton Hospital
* Cases by Age Group – From Start of Pandemic
* % COVID Positive Tests – Brockton Residents
* Weekly Deaths
* Daily Case Count per 100,000 Population (Each bar represents the average of prior 14 Days)
* COVID:  Brockton Kids – 1,040 Total – Through January 25, 2021
* COVID:  Brockton Kids – 1,138 Total – Through February 8, 2021
* Brockton Children  with COVID – Monthly Number of Cases Ages 0-18
* Pediatric Cases by Week – Age 0-18
* PEDIATRIC (<18) Cases – Through February 8, 2021
* Number of Cases – Through Age 22 – Through February 8, 2021
* COVID Cases by School Age Group – January 26, 2021
* COVID Cases by School Age Group
* Community Tracing Collaborative
* January 28, 2021 – February 3, 2021
* Source Exposure:  COVID Cases Age 0-18
* Source Exposure COVID Cases Age 0-18 – November 2020 through February 2021
* Brockton Neighborhood Health Center Staff COVID Vaccination Rates
* Variants of concern
* B.1.1.7 (UK Variant)
Mr. D’Agostino thanked Dr. Herman for attending the School Committee meeting this evening, as always your reports are very informative and in-depth, and we appreciate all the work and important information that you provide for the members and keep on top of.

Questions/Answers    

* Mr. D’Agostino inquired about the names of the different variants.
Dr. Herman mentioned there is a South African variant and Brazilian variant, luckily none of those variants have been reported in Massachusetts yet.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked with the new variants are vaccines being worked on?
Dr. Herman mentioned the FDA has a game plan to rapidly ramp up to make new vaccines quickly and identify an antibody against the new variant and make a vaccine more quickly, it will be a race of science versus virus and everyone is hopeful that the vaccine will win out over mutations.
* Ms. Asack thanked Dr. Herman and spoke on the variant.  She mentioned there is talks that in the month of March it’s going to get worse.  She asked Dr. Herman to clarify once a person has gotten the virus if they are ok for 90 days.
Dr. Herman mentioned in general the 90 day rule is from the CDC guidance that says once you’ve tested positive for COVID then theoretically the antibodies that you’ve developed have given you protection from the standard COVID strain for at least 90 days.  There is some evidence that says even if you’ve gotten COVID you still may be able to become infected with one of the variants of concern, it’s not likely right now due to it not being widespread as far as we know.  Most people that have had COVID theoretically are protected for a least 90 days.

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair thanked Dr. Herman for his professionalism and medical expertise in attending the school committee meeting giving a COVID-19 update report.

Consent Agenda  

 Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion.  Ms. Sullivan asked to remove Items B, C and D giving an overview report on the consent agenda items.    
    
    Mr. Minichiello moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items: A, E, F, and G seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

A. Approval of Minutes:  January 26, 2021 Regular School Committee Meeting
E. Approval of the BPS 2021-2022 District Calendar
F.    Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Non-Certified
G. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements
    
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call vote to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – absent
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                    

                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

    Item B, Approval of Paul and Jean Studenski Memorial Scholarship discussing the agenda item:
    
    Ms. Sullivan acknowledged the scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00 that will go towards a candidate graduating from Brockton High School.  She listed the requirements and information for the scholarship.

    Item C, Approval of The Rhomona M. Wells Memorial Scholarship discussing the agenda item:

    Ms. Sullivan acknowledged the scholarship in the amount of $1,200.00 that will go towards a candidate graduating from High School and a Brockton Resident.  She listed the requirements and information for the scholarship.

    Item D, Approval of John Davis Memorial Scholarship discussing the agenda item:

    Ms. Sullivan acknowledged the scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00 that will go towards a candidate graduating from Brockton High School or someone receiving DDS services in the Brockton Area.  She listed the requirements and information for the scholarship.

    Ms. Sullivan moved to approve Items B, C and D, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call vote to approve Items B, C and D:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – absent
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                    
            

                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
    
Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Thomas presented a power point to discuss the Hybrid Reopening Plan. He acknowledged Jess Hodges, the Executive Team members, Ms. Linda Cahill, Ms. Laurie Mason and others who helped work on this reopening plan.

Hybrid Reopening Plan

* What is a hybrid learning model?
* Target Return Dates (subject to change based on a review of public health data.)
* Cohort Breakdown
* Cohort breakdown fur students in substantially separate programs (presented by Laurie Mason)
* Safety Protocols
* Transportation Safety
* Building Safety
* Entering/Exiting the School
* Mask Requirements
* Daily Routine
* Student Meals
* Social Emotional Supports (presented by Sharon Wolder)
* Medical Waiting Room (presented by Linda Cahill)
* If a child has been identified as a close contact of an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19…
* If your child tests positive for COVID-19 but does not have any symptoms…
* If your child tests positive for COVID-19 and exhibiting symptoms…
* Contact Tracing
* Information Sessions
* Thank You/Questions

Mr. D’Agostino thanked everyone involved in putting this plan together and appreciate all the efforts.

Questions/Answers

* Ms. Asack thanked Superintendent Thomas, the Executive Team members and Jess Hodges.
She asked for clarification on the masks that should be worn by students.
Superintendent Thomas mentioned they need to be double layered masks (not a bandanna) this information is clear in the addendum to our handbook.  We will remind parents of this; we are giving all students three cloth masks with the Brockton logo and we have plenty of blue paper masks as a backup and others given by the Department of Education that will be provided to every building.
* Ms. Asack thanked Linda Cahill for the informative power point on the bps website for our families to watch.
* Superintendent Thomas thanked Kellie Jones, Director of Bilingual Education and the Bilingual Community Facilitators they also spent a lot time translating for our parents and help getting information out about hybrid or the return to school.  The Bilingual Department along with our Community Facilitators are there to provide any information to our families.
* Ms. Asack asked how are we doing the high school lunches in the cafeterias?
Dr. Murray mentioned the tables in the cafeteria tables are 6 feet in diameter from corner to corner. When spaced out approximately that is 50 tables in two cafeterias with two seats at each table, we are able to accommodate 100 students at a time totaling 400 students per lunch (3 total lunches) very comfortable and safe for both our staff and our students.
* Ms. Asack asked what is being done to clean the buses during each run.
Superintendent Thomas mentioned he believed the drivers will be wiping down the buses but will speak to First Students to see what their plan is.  He asked Dr. Cobbs to give an update.
Dr. Cobbs mentioned it’s a combination of both wiping down the high used surfaces in between the two tier runs, each bus will be sprayed down in the evening with the hydrostatic electrostatic sprayers to disinfect to sit overnight.
* Ms. Asack mentioned some concerns from parents are, who determines when the windows are open on the buses giving that the temperature especially in the morning, how do we do this safely without our student getting sick?
Dr. Cobbs mentioned meetings with the Massachusetts Association of People Transport and the CDC guidelines they recommend having the windows open, weather permitting, they only have to be open an inch and not wide open so the buses can stay warmer, again this is a short transport time for the most part.  The goal is to have just some airflow.
* Ms. Asack mentioned a concern and asked who will monitor the students on the bus?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned the bus drivers will be monitoring and again at 25% that equals to 23 students on the bus, several parents have informed us they will driving their child to school.  If there is an issue on the bus, First Student will let the Principal know and if it’s a continued issue, we will address it and if necessary, put a monitor on the bus.
* Ms. Asack asked what will be done for the cleaning of the restrooms throughout the day?
Dr. Cobbs mentioned there is a plan in place and a check list that will go in each restroom going through at least hourly and wipe down those surfaces, spraying every morning and evening and signing off the check list.
* Mr. Rodrigues thanked everyone involved for the presentation this evening.  The question asked is what are we considering the independent work when a student is at home and not in person?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned the teacher will be launching the lesson together with the class and spend time with the students in front of them, students at home would work independent for short periods of time and the teacher will do a check in.
* Ms. Sullivan asked Superintendent Thomas to clarify the following questions parents had regarding hybrid, online classes and students remaining fully remote.
Superintendent Thomas mentioned there a two different remote groups of students, there are students that are hybrid who are coming to school one day a week or the two days a week with student with special needs, and the days at home they will be with their teacher.  Superintendent Thomas is working with the BEA President Kim Gibson and the goal is to keep students with their teacher.
* Mr. Sullivan mentioned what will happen with the vaccination program if the high school is coming back in March?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned the vaccination program will move to the Shaw’s Center next week.
* Ms. Sullivan asked will the siblings go the same day across all the schools?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned yes, Dr. Cancell, the IT department and Kevin Daponte worked on this report and only has 4 conflicts out of 16, 000 students which was amazing.  The only thing we could guarantee is that all siblings from the same household would go to school on the same day.  If that has not happened for parents, they are asked to call the school directly and the principal will work with them to solve the problem.

Social and Emotional Supports (additional information)

Ms. Wolder mentioned we do have a contract with the mental health clinician Dr. Booth who has been working with her and will offer a parent academy for social emotional health and well-being, that information will be getting out and continue to work with schools and students of the things that people are experiencing as they return.  As students come back, we will have to make some adjustments and add in supports.  Superintendent Thomas spoke at a previous meeting about the six additional adjustment counselors that we are getting, and we will continue to support schools, students and families as we move forward.

Fall 2 Sports

Superintendent Thomas invited Mr. Kevin Karo, Athletic Director to present the MIAA guidelines around the Fall 2 Sports, just as before the school committee would have to take a vote to allow participation in those sports.

Mr. Karo mentioned in September the MIAA pushed football to this floating season along with indoor track, girls’ volleyball and cheerleading.  It is scheduled to begin February 22, 2021 and go through April 24, 2021.  He thinks if we continue to be vigilant with having the coaches take temperatures when the students come in, do a daily check-in, keep social distance and practice good hygiene we should be able to have a very successful and safe Fall 2 season.

Questions/Answers
* Mr. Rodrigues asked regarding spectators for the football game what are the guidelines?
Mr. Karo responded we would do the same that we did in the fall which we allowed two parents or two family members per player and they would have to come in and check in with us at the gate, socially distance them in the stadium and wear a mask.  
*     Mr. Rodrigues mentioned we have concession stands will they be open?
    Mr. Karo replied as of right now they’re a no-go.
Superintendent Thomas commended and thanked Mr. Karo and all the coaches for the job that they’ve done with the students to keep themselves safe and all the effort and time they’ve put in.

Mr. Karo mentioned he appreciates that from Superintendent Thomas and thanked the School Committee members and everyone for trusting him, the coaches and students for doing the right thing.

Mr. Karo highlighted he thinks a big factor in having those sports in the fall and winter we’ve been able to sign 4 students to college scholarships in various sports and thinks that without this some students would have been left behind.  They were presented with this great opportunity and they took advantage of it and believe it will continue in fall 2 and in the spring because we have some talented students.

Mr. Sullivan made a motion that the Brockton Public Schools moves forward with the Fall 2 Sports on the four leagues; football, girls’ volleyball, winter track and cheerleading beginning February 22, 2021, seconded by Ms. Asack.

         Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call vote:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – yes  
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                    
    
                    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Items to Refer to Subcommittee          None            
            
                                            
Unfinished Business             

Mr. Sullivan discussed the Security, Safety and Transportation Subcommittee held on February 2, 2021.  In attendance were Mr. Sullivan, Chair; Ms. Asack and Mr. Rodrigues.  The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m.  A power point presentation was made by Mr. Aldo Petronio, Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Jim Cobbs, Executive Director of Operations on the purchase of school buses.  Many questions were asked and answered.  
    
A motion was made by Mr. Rodrigues and seconded by Ms. Asack to move favorable to the Finance Subcommittee.  A motion was passed unanimous also approving the purchase of 70 buses. The meeting adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to accept the recommendation to move favorable of the subcommittee, seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call vote:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – yes  
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes            

                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Mr. D’Agostino discussed the Finance Subcommittee held on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.  Item #1, Purchase of buses and vans.  A discussion related to the purchase of buses and vans.  A motion was made by Mr. Sullivan to move favorable to the full committee to approve the amount of $5.2 million dollars to purchase up to 70 buses with consultation with our lawyer and seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.  A roll call vote was taken to move this to the full committee.  The vote was passed unanimous.

As a point of information Mr. D’Agostino had a discussion with our Attorney and Mr. Troy Clarkson, City Hall CFO.  They didn’t see any potential problem with us accepting this recommendation at this time.  Mr. Petronio, BPS CFO was asked if he had any comment.  Mr. Petronio mentioned during the meeting we discussed radios and air conditioning on the buses.  Mr. Petronio and Dr. Cobbs met with the bus vendor a couple of times and worked through those additional costs and added a little more cost to the overall project, which we can afford within our budget and in discussions with the City CFO and our legal counsel.  They suggested that we have a special meeting for the actual transfer of the funds from operations to capital purchases so that we vote on that.  They want the meeting posted with that in it so it’s very clear to meet the state law of hosting meetings since this is something very specific.  Mr. Petronio mentioned we are in good shape and hopefully we can set up a special meeting to discuss that one item and move forward.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to accept the favorable recommendation of the Finance Subcommittee as it relates to the purchases of buses and vans, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

        Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair took a roll call vote:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – yes  
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes                

    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Mr. D’Agostino asked School Committee members if they would be available next Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 6:15 p.m. for a Special School Committee meeting.  All replied, yes.
                                           
New Business                             

Mr. Minichiello asked if we’ve thought about the students involved with band, chorus and drama. Superintendent Thomas mentioned he’ll invite Mr. Hogan, Mr. Smith, Mr. Cunningham to our next School Committee meeting to present what they did in the fall and their plans for the spring.   

Mr. Sullivan asked Superintendent Thomas if the John and Abigail scholarships phots from the yearbook be used to put on the billboard on Belmont St. Superintendent Thomas mentioned he will ask Jess Hodges to work on that as long as we are able to get the pictures and perhaps run it on the digital board.           
                           
Mr. Sullivan inquired about the new logo.Superintendent Thomas mentioned the information will be in their Friday packet.

Executive Session

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair announced, “The Committee will enter Executive Session:  Pursuant Session to M.G.L. c. 30A, § 21(a)(3), to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining, as conducting this deliberation in an open session would have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the Committee.  The Committee will not return to open session following the executive session.”
            
Mr. Sullivan motioned to enter Executive Session, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.    
        
Mr. D’Agostino took a roll call vote:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes                
Mr. Minichiello – yes                   
Mr. Rodrigues – yes  
Ms. Sullivan – yes                
Mr. Sullivan – yes    
    
                                                  School Committee members went into Executive Session at 9:20 p.m.
                          
                                             Respectfully submitted,
                                                 Michael P. Thomas
                                            Superintendent/Secretary   
 
            mdc
                                            
            Power point:  COVID-19:  City of Brockton, Hybrid Reopening Plan