GREATER NEW BEDFORD REGIONAL VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
1121 Ashley Boulevard • New Bedford, MA • 02745-2496 Tel. 508-998-3321 • Fax 508-995-7268 • www.gnbvt.edu
Preparation • Passion • Perseverance
August 20, 2021
Dear GNB Voc-Tech Families:
Welcome back! It’s hard to believe that the summer has passed so quickly and we are preparing to begin another school year. We are in the final stages of preparing for our Freshman Orientation next Tuesday, August 24th, as we welcome the Class of 2025 to our campus with their families. Our school year begins on Monday, August 30th for Freshman Only and Tuesday, August 31st for ALL students. Student schedules will be available in Aspen on Monday, August 30th. Please note that the doors to school will open at 7:15 a.m. to begin the school year.
Last year was undoubtedly one of the most challenging for all of us. The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose challenges that impact our daily lives. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) guidance is clear that schools will open, five days a week, with full in-person learning. We all recognize the importance of in-person instruction and learning for all students and we all share a collective responsibility to work collaboratively at keeping one another safe amid a historic pandemic. We are asking students to fill out a Voluntary Student Vaccination Status Survey. If you choose not to disclose your vaccination status, we will assume you have not been vaccinated and you may be subject to quarantine if you are considered to be a close contact.
First, in order to facilitate a safe return to school, we will implement universal masking for all staff, students, and visitors regardless of vaccination status. The universal masking policy is effective Monday, August 23rd, 2021. The healthcare data for our region, city, and towns continues to reflect that this is a necessary safety measure for us to return to school. This vital safety measure is consistent with MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/ Department of Public Health guidance.
Secondly, we will implement a BinaxNow Testing program. Testing by this program will help ensure that individuals who are asymptomatic and have close contacts with others may remain in school pending testing. Parental consent for participation in the BinaxNow Testing program is required. When individuals present symptoms at school, with parental consent, samples will be collected using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test.
Those testing negative with isolated/mild symptoms may remain in school. Individuals who are deemed to have close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual at school may have samples collected using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test. Individuals who test negative would be permitted to stay in school under the ‘Test and Stay’ protocol. Tests would be administered five consecutive days beginning from the date of exposure. Please see attached documents for more information.
As we collaborate with local organizations to increase vaccination rates in our region, we will partner with the New Bedford Board of Health and the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center to host two vaccine clinics at our school. The first will be held on August 24th from 12:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. and the second will be held on September 14th from 3:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. Both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available, though persons under 18 years of age are not eligible to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
People who receive the Pfizer Vaccine on August 24th would be able to receive their second dose on September 14th (first doses for those who miss the August 24th date will also be available on September 14th). Finally, persons aged 12 through 17 must complete a parent permission form in order to receive the vaccine. I know we are all committed to working together for the benefit of all of the members of our school community.
Here is a link to both the school calendar one-page School Calendar and the cycle calendar Cycle Calendar as you prepare for the school year. I hope you all enjoy the remaining days of summer and I look forward to seeing everyone later this month!
Michael P. Watson
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Michael P. Watson, Superintendent-Director
Warley Williams, Principal
Proudly Serving the Towns of Dartmouth and Fairhaven and the City of New Bedford