August 26, 2020 Special Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Special Meeting

via Zoom Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 5:40 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting audio live on QATV Channel 22 or at The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, August 28, 2020.

I. QPS Re-Opening Metrics and Timeline - Superintendent Mulvey

II. School Committee Policy Revisions - Mr. Andronico, Mr. Bregoli

A. Sections 1.3 Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination; 1.3.1 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex; 1.3.2 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap (for referral to Policy Subcommittee)

B. Sections 5.5.1 through 5.5.6 Transportation Services Management (Discussion)

C. Sections 9.9.3 Access to Digital Resources (Eligible for Vote)

D. Section 9.9.4 Employee Acceptable Use Policy for Digital Information, Communication, and Technology Resources (Eligible for Vote)

E. Section 9.9.5 Grades 9-12 Student Acceptable Use Policy for Digital Information, Communication, and Technology Resources (Eligible for Vote)

F. Section 9.9.6 Grades Pre-K-8 Student Acceptable Use Policy for Digital Information, Communication, and Technology Resources (Eligible for Vote)

G. Section 9.9.7 1:1 Chromebook Consent Form (Eligible for Vote)

H. Section 9.9.8 Remote Learning (Eligible for Vote)

I. Section 9.11.1 Homework (Discussion)

J. Section 10.11.3 Communicable Diseases (Discussion)

III. Executive Session: Contract Negotiations

IV. Adjournment


Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – August 26, 2020

Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

Vice-Chair Presiding

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 5:50 p.m via Zoom. Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Rita Bailey, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy; Health Commissioner Ruth Jones; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.


QPS Fall 2020 Proposed Re-Entry Schedule

Superintendent Kevin Mulvey reviewed that the Quincy Public Schools Fall 2020 Re-Entry Task Force has been reviewing the COVID-19 Metrics that will be use to assist in decision-making about school re-entry.

Mr. Santoro asked if there was discussion on how many cases would cause a change in status. Mr. Mulvey said there was discussion, but Health Commissioner Ruth Jones was reluctant to set benchmarks as each situation needs to be evaluated individually and in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Mrs. Lebo asked about guidelines, it is difficult for families to hear that decisions will be made individually about classrooms or schools closing and re-opening. Mrs. Lebo asked about teachers living in other communities, how will that effect be calculated. Mr. Mulvey said that will be a metric factor.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the current data in Quincy, Mayor Koch said that Quincy is still in the green, six new cases this week.

Mr. Bregoli asked about data of the age of cases, Mayor Koch said in July there were young adults in their 20s and 30s and more recently several children tested positive, but were asymptomatic.

Mr. Santoro said that the data should be all staff living in other towns, not just teachers.

Mr. Gutro asked for a review of the state color-coded metrics. Mr. Mulvey said all cities and towns are rated as white, green, yellow, and red which indicates the level of community spread. Mr. Andonico said white is less than five active cases, green is fewer than 4 new cases per day on a two-week average per 100,000 residents, yellow is 4-8, and red is above 8. Mayor Koch said the state calculates this based on two-week rolling data analysis.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification, the city reports active cases which are new and ongoing. Mr. Gutro asked if the age of the confirmed cases is active or new. Mr. Mulvey will follow up with Commissioner Jones.

Mr. Gutro asked how the number of confirmed cases in a school or a classroom play into a decision. Mr. Mulvey said that evidence of spreading within a classroom or school may cause a school to be converted to remote learning.

Mr. Gutro asked about how the notification/decision process will work. Mr. Mulvey said that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines changed today, the recommendation is now that asymptomatic cases do not get tested (unless they fall into high risk category or primary care doctor recommends), but should quarantine. Mr. Gutro asked if the Massachusetts Department of Public Health or the City of Quincy will automatically adopt this, Mr. Mulvey said that Commissioner Jones texted to say that we will still recommend testing for close contacts of a confirmed positive case.

City of Quincy Health Commissioner Ruth Jones joined the meeting at 6:15 pm.

Commissioner Jones said that the data are all tools to assist with analysis for how positive cases are developing, including the age cohorts to analyze community spread within the classroom or a school. Commissioner Jones said that as part of case investigation and contact tracing, for example, two students in different classrooms would be investigated for common contacts, either internal or external. Commissioner Jones said that the data is analyzed on a daily basis, with Mayor Koch.

Mr. Gutro asked if there are any best practices shared from states and districts that are already back to school in other parts of the country. Commissioner Jones said that different states, especially in the South, did not have mask orders or social distancing and there have been spikes in cases in those areas.

Mr. Gutro said that School Committee has received many communications encouraging return to school and as many urging full remote learning. Commissioner Jones said that the three-week gap between grade level groups allows for the potential for case development in that time frame. If things go well with the Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3 cohort, the next group of students in Grades 4-8 could begin their three-week entry period.

Mr. Gutro asked about the expectation for updates to School Committee and families, should this be a routine line item on the School Committee agenda. Mr. Mulvey said that families will need to be prepared for the transition and so advance planning and information meetings will be scheduled, both at the district and the school level as are being held for Phase 1. Mr. Mulvey agreed with keeping the item on the School Committee agenda. Commissioner Jones said if the Task Force continues to meet that will be the opportunity to analyze the numbers, along with regular daily meetings with Mayor Koch. This information should be shared on a regular basis.

Mr. Gutro asked about the virtual meeting Zoom hacking incident. Mr. Mulvey said that the Parent Informationmeetings will be organized differently going forward, possibly a webinar format or a streamed on with an email address to submit questions.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification on the first high school term, Mr. Mulvey clarified that the high school principals have figured out a way for the first term to end on November 6 and the new term would begin with the hybrid option on November 9.

Mr. Bregoli said that there are four weeks between Phase 2 and Phase 3, Mr. Mulvey said that is to allow for the first term to end.

Mr. Bregoli asked if there could be an opportunity for Phase 1 students to move into full in-person learning. Mr. Andronico said that School Committee and the Re-Entry task force have recommended the phased approach being discussed here.

Mrs. Lebo said that full in-person is not possible under the 6-foot distancing.

Commissioner Jones said that the three-week intervals were intended to slowly add students to the mix and it would increase the risk to move into larger groups at the same time. Quincy Public Schools does not have room to safely return to full time in-person instruction as Superintendent Mulvey said. If we follow the three phases, we are going to get a much better picture of the potential for spread.

Mr. Bregoli said he understands the rationale, but worries about parents who need to return to work and are struggling with childcare and technical issues. Mr. Bregoli would like to continue to meet regularly to evaluate this issue.

Mr. Andronico confirmed that School Committee will continue to meet weekly until agreement is reached on a phased-in approach.

Mr. Bregoli asked that once Phase 3 begins, the discussion of re-evaluating Phase 1 cohort for full-time in-person learning can begin.

Mr. Bregoli is particularly concerned about students transitioning between schools and hopes for opportunity for teachers and students to meet in person.

Mrs. Hubley asked about the high school terms, Mr. Mulvey confirmed they will be consistent between high schools.

Mrs. Lebo is supportive of the phased in approach, but feels that the metrics are vague right now and would like to see definitive benchmarks attached to the metrics. Mrs. Lebo asked how relevant the age cohort data is, households are multi-age and young students are typically asymptomatic.

Commissioner Jones said the color-coding is based on two-week averages and the City of Quincy is updating daily for a one-week and two-week average. The confirmed case data takes into account household relationships and the potential effect on multiple schools and workplaces.

Mayor Koch thanked Commissioner Jones for all of her work, acknowledged the desire of some parents for students to get to school. There is no right or wrong answer, there is a lot of analysis required to make the decisions as we go. Mayor Koch is concerned about the beginning of flu season.

Commissioner Jones agreed, flu season typically begins in late October and continues through the winter. The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar, there is discussion about a test that would differentiate the two. This is new territory for all of us, learning as we go.

Mrs. Lebo said that the state is now requiring that students have the flu vaccine and students may have mild case or flu symptoms from the vaccine.

Mr. Andronico noted that there will be no vote tonight on the QPS Re-Entry Metrics.


Update of School Committee Policies

Mr. Andronico said that School Committee Policies 1.3 Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination; 1.3.1 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex; 1.3.2 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap are being referred to Policy Subcommittee to be updated.

Mr. Mulvey confirmed QEA has accepted School Committee Policy 9.9.4, the Acceptable Use Policy for Employees. For School Committee Policy 9.9.7 1:1 Chromebook Policy, Mr. Mulvey updated School Committee that all new Chromebooks have five-year warranties for damage of any kind; insurance policies do not cover lost devices, but theft can be covered for $5.55 per device annually.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve School Committee Policies 9.9.3, 9.9.4, 9.9.5. 9.9.6, 9.9.7, and 9.9.8 as proposed. The motion was seconded Mr. Gutro and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

For the School Committee Policies 5.5.1 through 5.5.6 Transportation Services Management , Mr. Gutro is concerned about the number of families affected by the Policy change. Mr. Mulvey reminded School Committee of the factors such as social distancing/capacity (32%) and lack of drivers; the Policy could be adjusted if guidelines change or additional drivers become available. Mr. Mulvey said that advertising is done on SchoolSpring, the Quincy Public Schools website, and the Patriot Ledger (with no response). Human Resources has reached out to the MBTA for retirees and the Quincy Fire Department for staff members who could drive on off-duty days.

Mr. Gutro asked about buses that would be idle, Mr. Draicchio said all mini-buses would be utilized for Special Education transportation along with outside vendors. There are ten full-size buses, seven would not be used. Mr. Draicchio said there is a nation-wide shortage of bus drivers, it requires hours of training and multiple tests have to be passed.

Mr. Gutro asked if we have cross-checked the full remote students with the list of transported students, there may be fewer families impacted. Mr. Mulvey and Ms. Perkins said that elementary principals are in the process of following up with families who did not respond online.

Mrs. Lebo said that remote students may opt for hybrid at a later date, so suggested caution.

For the School Committee Policy 9.11.1 Homework, which had been amended and not yet approved in March, Mr. Gutro asked about grading for homework, is it completely at the discretion of the teacher. Ms. Roy said that at the QPS Fall 2020 Re-Entry Task Force, this was discussed. In a typical year, the teachers have discretion about the weight of homework in a term grade and it is spelled out on the syllabus.

Mr. Santoro said this is a long-discussed issue and the Homework Task Force had addressed, but the Quincy Education Association wanted to retain this discretion.

Mrs. Lebo is fine with the Homework Policy amendment having more teeth and assigning a definite value.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification on the Policy; this is a permanent document and there is a proposed addendum specific to remote and hybrid learning that was share electronically today.

Mr. Andronico suggested ending the discussion and holding for vote next week.

On School Committee Policy 10.11.3 Communicable Diseases, Mr. Gutro reiterated at some point there should be revisiting or rescinding of the mask usage section. Mr. Gutro noted a typo on the first bulleted list that will be updated. Mr. Gutro asked for clarification for a student who refuses to wear a mask, wants to make it clear that the student could be transferred to remote learning.


Executive Session

Mrs. Lebo made a motion at 7:25 pm for School Committee to move to Executive Session for the purpose of Contract Negotiations. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0. School Committee will not return from Executive Session.



The Special School Committee meeting was adjourned at 7:25 pm as School Committee will not return from Executive Session.