Checking in during COVID-19

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Dear Friends,

I hope this message finds you well and healthy during these difficult times. As we adjust to the realities of COVID-19, I’ve been working with our new Everett Public Schools (EPS) Superintendent, Priya Tahiliani, and my fellow School Committee members to make sure that our students, families and educators have the support they need while schools are closed.

I’d like to provide you with some updates of our work:

The EPS made the decision to close on March 13, 2020, to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. With 7,440 students and over 500 employees, we were one of the first school districts to announce closure and make sure our community remained safe.

With over 80% of our students living at or below the poverty level, our school meals program is a critical resource. So, a closed school could mean the difference between having a full meal or going hungry.

In response, we launched a meals-to-go program for all student families, with meals available on weekdays for pick up outside Everett High School and the Whittier School. To date, we’ve distributed 21,501 breakfasts and lunches to our families.

We’ve also launched Distance Learning opportunities by distributing printable “learning kits” to all students in kindergarten to 8th grade. Students have access to the kits at the same time they picked up meals.

But in order to increase participation in this learning opportunity, the superintendent and School Committee decided to provide Chromebooks to all Everett students and launch the Tech-to-Go program. By approving additional Chromebooks, the School Committee has ensured all students will have access to a computer at home for learning activities. And thanks to the support of city officials, local businesses, and many volunteers, we’ve already distributed 4,100 Chromebooks to students for use in distance learning.

Further, we’ve worked closely with the Everett Teachers Association to connect educators and students daily for on-line learning activities, so Tech-to-Go will be as interactive and stimulating as possible.

Please note that we’ve temporarily suspended the meals-to-go program and Chromebook pick up/deliveries to keep our staff and community safe due to increased infections of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. We are working closely with city and state officials to assess re-opening both programs. Please follow my Facebook page for updates.

I’m proud to be on the forefront of these efforts working with school administration, educators and colleagues to make sure we provide the support our students and staff need during these difficult times.

I know we’ll come out of this stronger, and continue to make our schools the pride of our city.

Thank you for your continued to support!

Onwards,

Marcony

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