Student COVID-19 Testing, State Updates on In-Person Learning & MCAS

Student COVID-19 Testing, State Updates on In-Person Learning & MCAS
Posted on 03/08/2021

Dear CPS Community,

This upcoming week marks one year since the Cambridge Public Schools announced the emergency spring closure, a somber reminder of how long our lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. Our students, educators, staff, and families have demonstrated remarkable creativity, innovation, and resilience with each step of this unexpected journey. As the weather turns warmer, COVID-19 vaccines become more available to our community, and our in-person learners settle into their in-school routines, we are hopeful about the months ahead.

COVID-19 surveillance testing for students is now available at every grade level, with all elementary schools launching “pooled testing” this week. Kudos to our elementary, upper and high school teams, including our school nurses, for rolling out this important new part of our COVID-19 strategy. In-person staff continue to have access to free, biweekly COVID testing. CPS is grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Cambridge Public Health Department.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to give the state education Commissioner Riley the authority to determine when students must return to in-person instruction after consulting with state health officials and medical experts. This change allows for a phased-in approach and Commissioner Riley’s initial focus will be to bring all elementary school students back to in-person learning five days a week this April. The new regulation allows for families who wish to have their students learn remotely for the rest of this school year, as well as a waiver process for districts. The state also announced that it will postpone MCAS testing for grades 3-8 until May. We will share more details on both of these important updates when they become available.

See below for more details:

  1. Reading Month Continues
  2. International Women’s Day
  3. Community Shout Out
  4. Upcoming Meetings & Events


Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.

More Reading Resources
Reading Month Continues! This week’s reading and research resources provided through the CPS Library Department:

CPS Library Databases: PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next
Pebble GoThis week’s highlighted reading and research resources provided through the CPS Library Department are PebbleGo (Gr. JK-2) and PebbleGo Next (Gr 3-5). These two databases are specifically designed for elementary students and provide access to thousands of high-interest and curriculum-aligned informational articles, ready-made activities, and literacy support to spark curiosity and learning. The article read aloud function features fully narrated text with real voice audio. Many articles enhancements include videos, timelines, games and activities.

Topic areas include:

  • PebbleGo (JK-2): Animals, Biographies, Health, Science, Social Studies
  • PebbleGo Next (3-5): American Indian History, Biographies, Science, Social Studies, States
  • Read More Animals: eBooks
  • Read More Science: eBooks

All CPS elementary students have seamless 24/7 home access to both PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next through their Classlink accounts.

International Women’s Day
As you may know, today is International Women's Day, and this year’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge, encourages us all to do our parts to “call out gender bias and inequality, seek out and celebrate women's achievements, create an inclusive world.” This theme is aligned with our district’s ongoing efforts to make the CPS learning, teaching, and working experience an increasingly equitable and inclusive experience for all.

Community Shoutout
Congratulations to Tracey Pratt, one of CPS’s excellent elementary Health and Wellness teachers, who was recently honored at the 2021 Black Excellence event, hosted annually by the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus.

Upcoming Meetings & Events
March 9 | 7:30PM: Cambridge Families of Asian Descent Get-Together
March 16 | 6PM: School Committee, Regular Meeting
March 18 | 6PM: School Committee, Special Meeting: Presentation of the FY 22 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget.

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