Marion School Committee talks covid cases, reopening

Oct 14, 2020

MARION — The Marion School Committee gave an update on school reopening operations, facilities and rules for students at an Oct. 14 meeting after two covid cases cropped up at Sippican School this past week. 

“I want to be very forthcoming with what has developed at Sippican School,” Superintendent Michael Nelson said, adding that the administration’s first thoughts are for the wellbeing of those who tested positive for the virus. 

Nelson said the Old Rochester Regional School District has been continuously assessing the reopening situation, and pledged to be “adaptive and volatile.”

Sippican School Principal Marla Sirois echoed Nelson’s statements and said that the district’s students have been resilient through the beginning of the school year. 

She added that coronavirus has caused a “total re-look at how we look at children and how we look at their emotions.” 

At the meeting, the committee approved additions to the student handbook, all relating to covid and in accordance with the district’s other handbooks. 

“I think consistency across the district is important,” Sirois said. 

The additions include guidance on student attendance, which will be determined by whether students are present in zoom meetings, as well as whether they’ve handed in work given to them on remote learning days.

Sirois said that attendance won’t be determined until the morning after a remote learning day. She encouraged parents who feel that their children have been wrongfully marked absent to get in contact with her or their children’s teachers. 

Other additions to the handbook include a mask mandate policy for students second grade and up, which was written before the district adopted a similar policy. Sirois said the school plans to add that policy to handbook in the future. 

Bussing and student drop-off were also addressed in the additions. 

In a facilities update, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Howie Barber explained that the school is working to reduce risk during drop-off, both from covid and the physical risk of cars and pedestrians during drop-off.