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Superintendent's Weekly Update (1/15/2021)

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Weekly Update: Friday, January 15, 2021  

  1. Coalition for Equity update

  2. When will COVID-19 screening begin for students? Where can I find information about COVID-19 testing?

  3. COVID-19 District Dashboard (Updated each Sunday evening)

  4. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health removes requirement for Flu vaccination

  5. Funding for families to purchase food

Coalition for Equity update:

The Coalition for Equity held its third meeting on January 14, 2021. The Coalition has developed four working groups to identify areas to further equity of opportunity for our students.  The four working groups are the Mascot Study Group Review, Curriculum and Instruction, Community Outreach, and Policies, Handbooks, and Procedures.  Each working group is identifying a focus and creating potential action steps.  

At yesterday’s meeting, the Coalition discussed reaching out to those who expressed an interest in serving on the Coalition but were not selected. The idea is to engage these stakeholders in the work at the study group level. Each working group will reach out to these individuals in the next couple of weeks. I will share that the members of the Coalition are highly motivated to make a difference, are committed to the work, and have excellent ideas. As the work progresses, Director of English Learners and Equity, Rhoda Webb, and I will provide the community with an update on the Coalition’s progress. The next meeting is scheduled for February 11, 2021.  

I do want to highlight the Mascot Study Group’s work. The Regional School Committee, at its September meeting, charged me to create a study group to review Algonquin Regional High School’s (ARHS) current mascot. The Group is being chaired by ARHS Principal Sean Bevan and has held two meetings to date. Principal Bevan has done an outstanding job being transparent and communicating the Group’s work, conversations, and next steps. I encourage all to follow the work by visiting the Group’s website. If you would like to share your thoughts and perspectives now or at any point during the period of the  Group’s work - please email and your feedback will be noted for the  Group.

When will COVID-19 screening begin for students? Where can I find information about COVID-19 testing?

District Wellness Coordinator, Mary Ellen Duggan is working with the testing vendor to organize student testing. The goal is to launch a weekly student COVID-19 screening the week of February 1, 2021. More detailed information about how to sign-up, the process, and testing will be shared with families next week. In the meantime, I’ve included a FAQ about the testing process for families to review. 

Covid-19 District Dashboard

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health removes requirement for Flu vaccination

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/preschool, primary, secondary and postsecondary education.  Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19.   Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID -19 vaccination efforts.  

DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year.  

Jana Ferguson

Assistant Commissioner 

MA Department of Public Health

Funding for families to purchase food

The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough are committed to ensuring that our students and families receive the support that is needed. 

Students who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals in our schools will receive Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) funds through the 2020-2021 school year. P-EBT funds can be used to help purchase healthy food for your students and families. These funds are issued by the state and are not determined by the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough.  It’s important to stay healthy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be found about the P-EBT Program at

How much funding will students receive?

  • Eligible students in a fully remote learning situation will receive $117.20 per month.

  • Eligible students in a hybrid learning situation will receive  $58.60 per month.

  • Students attending school either half-day or fully in person are not eligible for P-EBT. None of our programs are fully in-person. Even if a student comes to school four days a week, they are eligible for consideration. 

How will students receive P-EBT funds in 2021? 

  • Students who received P-EBT in the past on a P-EBT card: Starting in January, check your P-EBT card for funds on the 25th of each month for the rest of the school year.

  • Students who received P-EBT in the past on a Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) EBT card: Starting in January, check your EBT card for funds on the 25th of each month for the rest of the school year.

  • If you are new to P-EBT: 

    • If you get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), check your DTA EBT card for funds. 

    • If you do NOT get SNAP and/or TAFDC,  you will get a letter in the mail from the DTA. You will also get a P-EBT card in the mail in a different envelope. KEEP THE LETTER UNTIL YOU HAVE GOTTEN AND PINNED THE CARD. The letter has your student’s case number that you need to PIN the card.

Each month, funds will be added to your card on the 25th of each month for the prior month. For example, your February P-EBT funds will be based on your students’ learning situation in January.

No longer have your P-EBT card? 

Request a replacement card at If you need help getting a new card, contact DTA at 1-877-382-2363. 


IMPORTANT: Using P-EBT does not impact you or your student’s immigration status. The public charge rule does not apply to this program.

How does a student apply for Free and Reduced Lunch to then qualify for P-EBT?

  • To get the process started, please visit the District’s Food and Nutrition website -

  • On the bottom right side of this page, you will see links to the applications including translated versions. 

  • All applications can be submitted to each of the school’s main offices. 

  • If you have questions about applying for Free and Reduced Lunch please contact, Keith Lavoie, Director of Operations at

Need more food help? 

  •  If you are eligible for P-EBT you are likely eligible for SNAP, ongoing monthly food funds. Check your eligibility and apply at

  • All children 0-22 years old can receive FREE grab and go school meals at a few of our schools:  

    • Free meals are available for pick-up at Melican Middle School, Trottier Middle School, and Algonquin Regional High School on Mondays between 11-1. 

    • Please contact Kyle Parson, Food Services Manager, for the Melican and Trottier programs at

    • Please contact Dianne Cofer, Food Services Manager, for the Algonquin program at

    • Families that are unable to pick up meals at these locations are encouraged to contact Keith Lavoie for delivery services. 

To receive more help for food insecurity please visit The pandemic has presented many challenges, but through it all, we want to ensure that our families are supported with proper nutrition.   


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