The update on Pool Testing is that NPS is eligible for 6 weeks of testing funded by the state through DESE. NPS is waiting to "match" with a vendor and needs 80-90% involvement to be effective. After six weeks Natick would need to fund this program. The technology and transportation budgets were presented, details below.
Boys Basketball is on a pause while they evaluate exposure.
Dr. Nolin cautioned families that they need to continue to “stay in your pod” and cautions that they are “seeing a lot of cases where families are involved in lots of different pods, activities and sports teams”
Free 6 week pool testing offered by DESE
Educators expected to get vaccine in late March/April (voluntary)
General population vaccination will come in waves with hope of herd immunity by fall
Pool testing may help in the meantime...
Takes samples from a group of students and they are grouped together into a pool. That pool is then tested with PCR test and if it is positive then all individuals tested with rapid (antigen) test to see who needs PCR test
Swabs done by school nurses or if old enough students can do to themselves
In case of a pool tests positive but all students test negative with antigen test then all in the pool would need PCR test
Working to get matched with a vendor
Once NPS is matched with a vendor, they will decide what subgroup gets tested and permission slips get sent out
Dr. Nolin doesn't feel nurses have capacity todo attestation forms, contact tracing and this testing
Will need to contract with DESE for 6 weeks of help
School Committee will need to decide what to do after that
Need manager, on site test administrators, transportation of tests to lab
Free for 6 weeks, will have to pay after that
State is predicting start of 2/8 but Dr. Nolin doesn’t think that seems reasonable
Dr. Nolin will come back to SC to ask about what they want to do moving forward after the 6 weeks
Approximate costs after 6 weeks: Test cost $5/child each week, and the plan would be to test 50% of school population each week (either Cohort A or Cohort B), plus $850 per week in administration costs, plus additional support to administer tests, etc)
(PNF estimates this is $15-$18K a week)
What % by in will make this a worthwhile program? Dr. Mangan said 80-90% of students would need to participate.
Budget - Technology (Mr Roche)
Currently have 10,049 devices
904 devices currently loaned out to homes (most of them chromebooks)
Provide incoming freshmen with new chromebooks
Expand 1 to 1 program to 5th and 6th grade
Able to do #1 ad #2 without needing funds from FY22
3. Replace obsolete teacher devices
4. Replace and refresh devices at Elementary Schools
Two additional technicians requested for Kennedy and Wilson, taking technicians from 1 to 2887 to 1 to 1924 (by comparison it was 1 to 1824 in FY19) and from 1 to 800 students to 1 to 533 students (by comparison it was 1 to 460 in FY18).
Overall budget request $1.69 million, which is $95K less than FY21 request.
Budget - Transportation (Dr. Gray)
Transportation includes regular ed and special ed busing
Both contracts expire this fiscal year
FY22 request $1.4 million, up $604K from FY21
Main drivers of increase in budget request is:
Additional costs for regular ed transportation due to less riders allowed on bus and a new contract with bus company (currently under negotiation)
Less bus fees due to less riders
Savings from FY20 from reg ed transportation was returned to the town town, money saved from special ed transportation went toward prepayment of out of district tuition
Kennedy Building Update
All asbestos abatement is complete, there is none in the basement
Demolition underway (20% demolished)