Reading, MA — Eight students tested positive for COVID-19 in the Reading Public Schools this past week, leading 65 students and one staff member to be asked to quarantine. Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty covered this and other topics such as updates regarding faculty vacancies in his most recent Pathways blog post.
Of the eight positive cases, one was in Birch Meadow, two were in Coolidge, one was in Wood End, one was in Joshua Eaton, two were in Parker, and one was Killam. Twelve students at Parker, 11 students at Coolidge, and 17 students and one staff member were asked to quarantine due to their possible proximity to positive cases at their schools. Although the student who tested positive at Birch Meadow was learning remotely at the time they tested positive, Doherty stated that seven outside student contacts were asked to quarantine out of an abundance of caution.
Two hundred twelve groups of students took part in pooled testing this past week, with one pooled test coming back positive and one coming back inconclusive. Upon further testing, the one positive pool found to be including a student who had already tested positive for the virus within the last 90 days, meaning that the school did not need to conduct contract tracing. Inconclusive tests require all students part of the pool to take part in individual antigen testing, which found the one positive case within Killam.
Doherty also provided updates regarding searches for candidates seeking to fill multiple staff vacancies. Currently, the RPS is seeking to fill the positions of RMHS Principal, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching, Birch Meadow Principal, and METCO Director.
“This week, we will be finalizing our RMHS Principal Search by attending site visits of all three finalists and then having one final interview with each candidate. A decision on the next Principal of RMHS will be made by this Friday,” stated Doherty regarding the search for the next RMHS Principal.
“The Screening Committee has been chosen for the Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching, and they have had their first meeting. There will be a follow-up meeting to design the questions prior to the interviews. The deadline for applications for this search is April 23, 2021,” stated Doherty regarding the search for a new Assistant Superintendent.
For METCO Director and Birch Meadow Principal’s positions, Doherty stated that his staff is currently in the process of choosing screening committees for the respective roles and that interviews will begin after April vacation.
Doherty ended the blog post by inviting parents to participate in the next Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) meeting, which will take place at 7 pm on April 13th.
“New business to be discussed includes a presentation by Team Chair, Kelly DiCato, on the DESE Resource Guide to the MA Curriculum Frameworks for Students with Disabilities, followed by caregiver comments/questions; also a parent prepared presentation on local/regional community resources providing family education/advocacy, recreational opportunities, and summer camps, followed by a parent discussion regarding the same; and other items” stated Doherty.