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Thanksgiving Break Letter to Families 11-19-20

November 19, 2020


Dear Families,


Some of my best family memories are from Thanksgiving. My favorites were always the stuffing, the pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream, and gravy which I poured over everything. We played football, we watched football. We argued around the dinner table. I even have some fond memories of washing dishes with music blaring, dancing, and laughing with my brothers, sisters, and our kids.


Sadly, Thanksgiving break won’t be what we typically expect because of the precautions we all need to take to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe and to stay in school.


Will School Be Open after Thanksgiving?

We’ve been able to stay in school for more than two months now because our families, students, and staff have made great choices to keep each other safe. Whether school is open for in-person learning after Thanksgiving depends on the choices each of us make in the coming weeks. At this point, we continue to plan to be back in school immediately after Thanksgiving break, but that can change if all members of our community don’t help to keep COVID down. We are working very closely with the Gloucester Department of Health and are keeping an eye on the daily data to make sure it continues to be safe to be in school. 


For the sake of your family, friends, and loved ones, please limit family gatherings

Cases in Gloucester have been growing primarily because of gatherings of families and friends such as parties, communions, weddings, and family dinners. Please limit these types of activities as much as possible. Governor Baker has urged families to only have Thanksgiving with those you live with and has put a limit of 10 people on all gatherings in homes. If we do not take care of each other and ourselves, we risk COVID getting much worse for our families.


We Can Do This

If you do gather with family or friends please be sure to continue to wear masks, wash hands frequently, and stay six feet from each other. We do this in school. We can all do it at home. The state is now saying that we should wear masks anytime we’re near people we don’t live with including family members. Gloucester has been doing a good job keeping cases of COVID low. But if we don’t continue to follow safety guidelines in and out of school, we risk going fully remote.



The state has released some helpful tips on having a safe and healthy Thanksgiving that you may want to share with your family.


Some Alternatives to the Big Family Gathering

     Keep visits short – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than short gatherings.

     Host a virtual holiday dinner with extended family or friends, especially if they are at higher risk for illness from COVID-19.

     Help those who can’t be with others - There will be many people in our community who can’t gather with loved ones this year. With your children, prepare some traditional family recipes for family or neighbors who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others

If you Travel, Plan Ahead and Schedule a Test so your Children can Return to School on Monday, November 30th

If your family plans to travel during the Thanksgiving break, you must follow the Massachusetts Travel Order. All residents who travel to any of the 45 high risk states or overseas must get tested and get a negative result before returning to school, work, and resuming normal activities. Without a negative test, your family must quarantine for 14 days and stay out of school. 


Right now, there are only four low-risk states - Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Hawaii. So, if you travel to Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, or any other state your student cannot return to school for 14 days or until they get a negative test.


Please schedule a test ahead of time so you can get the test result as soon as possible and your student(s) can safely return to school after the break. For all the details about the Massachusetts State Travel Order and what you have to do if you travel, please go here.


Early Release Schedule for 11/25 and 12/23

We have set the early dismissal schedule for Wednesday, November 25, and Wednesday, December 23. Each school will communicate directly about dismissal times.


There is nothing I would rather do than spend Thanksgiving dinner with my two college-aged children, my mom, and my wife’s family. But that won’t happen this year. My daughter won’t be coming home, and I don’t want to put my elderly mother or mother-in-law at a risk. I don’t want to get colleagues sick and potentially put them out of work.


Please don’t get too comfortable with this virus. We can live and work with it, but it takes continued vigilance from all of us to keep our students in school. Please take care of yourself and others.


All my best to you and your families,




Ben Lummis


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