Superintendent Feb-3 Family Communication

February 3, 2021


Dear Needham Public Schools Families:


Last night, I presented a plan to the Needham School Committee for enhancing health and safety and strengthening the elementary instructional model for the Needham Public Schools. I am pleased to share highlights below and make the full plan available for your review at this link:  Enhancing Health & Safety and Strengthening the Elementary Instructional Model


The district applied lessons learned from the most recent research findings on health and safety and the hybrid learning model and assessed where we can affect change and where we cannot due to health considerations, space limitations, and cost. We identified strategic and focused improvements to meet the needs of our youngest and struggling learners while also supporting our creative and caring staff. These improvements are:


1.     Offer COVID surveillance testing for all staff and implement a daily student Health Attestation form for all families.

2.     Bring our K to 2 students back to school full-time (four days per week; on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) in class sections of no more than 17 that will allow for appropriate levels of physical distancing (3-6 feet); starting March 8.

3.     Increase support for grades 3 to 5 students in the at-home cohort of the hybrid model with additional live interaction and instruction; starting March 8.


I am hosting an Elementary Family Open House for students in the hybrid model on Thursday, February 4 at 6:30pm to present more details about the K to 5 plan and to answer your questions. I will record the meeting and post on our website for those who are unable to attend. Another Family Open House for PreK to 12 families will be scheduled on February 25 at 6:30pm (Zoom link to follow) where we will discuss the new Health Attestation form and update you on health and safety in our schools.


As a district, we will continue to work through obstacles and challenges to address all students’ learning and social and emotional needs as they arise and fortify our health and safety measures in response to the pandemic.     


With appreciation for your patience and continued partnership,


Dan Gutekanst

Superintendent of Schools
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