LPS COVID-19 Updates from the Superintendent

Lee Public Schools COVID-19 Updates from Superintendent Richard

4/13/2021 - April Vacation Update

Good afternoon, members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that after April break students at all grade levels in the Lee Public Schools will return to full-time, in-person teaching and learning.  The first week-plus of full-time in-person instruction at LES has been quite successful and I expect this success to continue.  In order to support the District’s efforts to keep our students and staff healthy and safe while we are fully in-person, I am asking families to remember to practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing whenever going out in public.  These simple steps will serve to keep everyone safe and healthy.  I am also reminding families about the TRAVEL ADVISORY that the Commonwealth has issued which includes a recommendation to quarantine for ten (10) days when returning from out-of-State travel unless you qualify for an exemption.  The advisory also includes a suggested consultation with the CDC Guidelines for DOMESTIC TRAVEL and INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL.  If your family plans to travel over the April vacation, please be encouraged to communicate with the school administration and nursing staff to ensure that proper safety protocols are being followed for your student’s return to school.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has also announced that they will be fiscally responsible for Pooled Testing through August 31, 2021.  I mention this as encouragement for you to complete a consent form for your student(s) to participate in this initiative. You can access the consent form HERE; to date, we have consent for almost 350 students to participate in Pooled Testing.

I want to thank the entire school community for your unwavering support of our students’ educational experiences.  We have persevered through some challenging times, and we have been successful.  I look forward to working with the entire school community to see us through the end of the school year.  In the coming weeks, we will be sharing information about summer programming designed to mitigate learning loss and provide enrichment for our students.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher, counselor, Principal, or me…  We are all here to help!


4/12/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that a member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school.  The individual who tested positive was not in school today or last week.  Anyone who was in close contact with any of this community member has or will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

As we have transitioned to full-time, in-person learning at LES and are preparing to do the same at LMHS on Monday, April 26, it is important to remember to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  Similarly, it is important to stay home if you are not feeling well and to be sure to maintain social distancing in your household if others are not feeling well.  

Also, if you wish to have your child participate in Pooled Testing but you haven’t completed the consent form, you can access it at this link: https://forms.gle/SWc5jwrnQVdXHvRA8

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


4/3/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that an additional member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school.  The individual who tested positive was in school earlier this week.  As such, the staff and Health Department are conducting contact tracing.  Anyone who was in close contact with any of this community member has or will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

As we prepare to transition to full-time, in-person learning (at LES on Monday, April 5 and LMHS on Monday, April 26), it is important to remember to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  Similarly, it is important to stay home if you are not feeling well and to be sure to maintain social distancing in your household if others are not feeling well.  

Also, if you wish to have your child participate in Pooled Testing but you haven’t completed the consent form, you can access it at this link: https://forms.gle/SWc5jwrnQVdXHvRA8

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

Please note that the positivity rate in Lee dropped this week to 2.86% but it will require a concerted effort to keep that figure trending downward.  We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


4/2/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that multiple members of our school community have tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school.  The individuals who tested positive were in school earlier this week.  As such, the staff and Health Department are conducting contact tracing.  Anyone who was in close contact with any of these community members has or will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

As we prepare to transition to full-time, in-person learning (at LES on Monday, April 5 and LMHS on Monday, April 26), it is important to remember to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  Similarly, it is important to stay home if you are not feeling well and to be sure to maintain social distancing in your household if others are not feeling well.  

Also, if you wish to have your child participate in Pooled Testing but you haven’t completed the consent form, you can access it at this link: https://forms.gle/SWc5jwrnQVdXHvRA8

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

Please note that the positivity rate in Lee dropped this week to 2.86% but it will require a concerted effort to keep that figure trending downward.  We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


3/26/2021 - Pooled Testing Info

Good afternoon members of the Lee Public Schools community. This is Superintendent Michael Richard with a very important message regarding COVID-19 pooled testing.  As I am sure you know, there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in Lee over the past two weeks causing Lee to be classified as a “red” community per the State’s Public Health database (more information can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-march-25-2021/download). 

In order to assist our families in feeling safe sending their children to school each day we are offering an opportunity for all Lee Public Schools students to participate in drive-thru pooled testing tomorrow - Saturday, March 27.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity you need to make sure that you have a consent form on file with the schools.  You can access the digital consent form here: https://forms.gle/k9HvSE1GaYFgRvQ19; access to the digital consent form will only be available until 8:00 on Saturday morning.  If you are unable to complete the digital consent form then paper copies of student consent forms will be available on-site.  Please note that you do not need to resubmit a consent form if you have already completed a paper or digital consent form.  

Here are the important details…

LOCATION: Lee Middle and High School (300 Greylock Street) Main Entrance

DATE: Saturday, March 27, 2021

TIME: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

FORMAT: Drive-thru service.  Participants will remain in their vehicles and must wear a mask.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE: Any student of the Lee Public Schools who has a consent form on file; paper copies will be accepted on site.

A special thank you to County Ambulance for being on site and assisting us in keeping our students safe...


3/25/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that multiple members of our school community have tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school, but may be related to an extracurricular activity.  This has prompted the district to suspend afterschool activities through the weekend to mitigate any possible spread.  The individuals who tested positive were in school last week and earlier this week.  As such, the staff and Health Department are conducting contact tracing.  Anyone who was in close contact with the community member has or will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

As we prepare to transition to full-time, in-person learning, it is important to remember to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  Similarly, it is important to stay home if you are not feeling well and to be sure to maintain social distancing in your household if others are not feeling well.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


3/23/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that one member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school.  However this individual was in the school late last week.  As such, the staff and Health Department are conducting contact tracing.  Anyone who was in close contact with the community member has been or will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

As we prepare to transition to full-time, in-person learning, it is important to remember to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  Similarly, it is important to stay home if you are not feeling well and to be sure to maintain social distancing in your household if others are not feeling well.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


3/19/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that one member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school.  However this individual was in the school this week.  As such, the staff and Health Department are conducting contact tracing.  Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

As we prepare to transition to full-time, in-person learning at Lee Elementary School, it is important to remember to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  Similarly, it is important to stay home if you are not feeling well and to be sure to maintain social distancing in your household if others are not feeling well.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


3/17/2021 - Supt Update

Good afternoon, members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I am writing to provide you with a few updates on the status of education in Lee.

First, as the Commissioner has mandated that elementary school students return to in-person instruction the week of April 5, the District is carefully planning how this will occur in a safe and strategic manner.  The School Committee and the Lee Education Association are collaborating to ensure that our plans align with the contract; this process is ongoing and I expect that there may be some form of resolution in the coming days.  Therefore, please expect to hear more from Principals Brighenti and Retzel and me early next week, including the schedule of return to in-person learning for students at LMHS.

As part of the change in mode of instruction, families should also know that there will be some changes to the school calendar.  Specifically, I expect that the half-day arrangements on Wednesdays will no longer be feasible in order for us to meet “Structured Learning Time” requirements set forth by DESE.  This is an item that needs to be addressed with the School Committee, but I want families to be on notice that this change should be expected.

One important part of our planning includes accounting for how students will get to and from school each day.  As many of you know, the traffic at LES for arrival and dismissal can be significant.  I am asking LES families to consider accessing busing as the primary means of transportation; this will help alleviate much of the traffic.  I understand that the deadline for making these decisions was yesterday, but this is a final request to have families make adjustments to plans.

Pooled Testing for staff took place today and we will include students beginning next week.  If you would like to have your student participant but haven’t completed the consent form, please do so by accessing this link: https://forms.gle/E4gKoaDRsmyJCHsb8

Finally, please remember that this Friday, March 19 is a Professional Development day for faculty and staff.  As such, there is NO SCHOOL for students.


3/12/2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that one member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed that this transmission occurred outside of the school.  However this individual was in the school on Tuesday of this week.  As such, the staff and Health Department are conducting contact tracing.  Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified privately by the public health nurse or the school administration.  

Please continue to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


3/3/2021 - Pooled Testing Update

Good morning, members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I wanted to give you a quick reminder about the Pooled Testing Webinar that is taking place tonight at 6:00.  Youi can register for the webinar by going to this site: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJErcuGgqDkoHtcH-3vyxcsj9bISX0edhEdS 

The focus of the webinar is to help you learn more about how pooled testing at schools can help teachers and students get back to in-person learning more safely. This presentation will be followed up by a Q&A session with CIC’s CEO, Tim Rowe. All sessions are recorded and will be available for viewing afterward.

Also, and equally if not more important is the reminder to complete the digital consent form for our pooled testing efforts. The form can be found at: https://forms.gle/cu4JRKng2b7ZhC6s9 and on the Lee Public Schools website under the "COVID-19 Updates and Resources" section that is prominently found at the top-center of the homepage.

Thank you for all of your patience, understanding, support, and cooperation as we work together to keep our schools open, our students and staff safe, and our teaching and learning efforts moving forward! 

As always, if you have any questions, please email: RETURNTOSCHOOL2020@leepublicschools.net


3/1/2021 - Pooled Testing Update

Good afternoon members of the Lee Public Schools community.  Last week I sent you some information about pooled testing and our intentions of moving forward with these practices.  We are still going forward, and I wanted to let you know that there will be a webinar hosted on Wednesday evening at 6:00 to discuss the process.  During the webinar, you will learn more about how pooled testing at schools can help teachers and students get back to in-person learning more safely. This presentation will be followed up by a Q&A session with CIC’s CEO, Tim Rowe. All sessions are recorded and will be available for viewing afterward.  [Note: CIC is the vendor with whom we are working to conduct these tests].  If you would like to register for this webinar, please go here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJErcuGgqDkoHtcH-3vyxcsj9bISX0edhEdS

Also, later today or tomorrow, we will be uploading the consent forms for families to access to begin the process of compiling the list of students/staff who will participate in this venture.  While you are encouraged to complete the digital consent form, paper copies will be mailed home.  The digital form can be accessed on the COVID-19 Updates and Resources link at the Lee Public Schools website at: http://www.leepublicschools.net/ or at: https://forms.gle/cu4JRKng2b7ZhC6s9. Please complete one digital consent form per student. 


February 26, 2021 - Update

Good afternoon.  I am writing to share a couple of important pieces of information with you.  First, I hope that everyone is healthy and well.  The MA Public Health data that were released yesterday show Lee as having a COVID-19 positivity percentage of 1.34% (up slightly from last week).  As a community, I want to thank everyone for their collective efforts to maintain low numbers and to stem the infection spread.

Second, I want to alert families that we are planning on rolling out “pooled testing” for staff and students in the coming weeks.  This effort is being supported by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) through the end of April.  Pooled testing involves mixing several test samples together in a "batch" or "pool" and then testing the pooled sample with a PCR test for detection of SARS-CoV-2.  Early next week, the District will be sending out consent forms for families to sign so that students in the schools can easily access this testing system.  The consent forms will be made available in both digital and print mediums (i.e. GoogleForms and mailed paper copies).

Third, I want to be sure that the community is aware of the recent announcement by both Governor Baker and Commissioner Riley that the Commissioner will be asking the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for the authority to require the return of students to in-person instructional models.  The plan, as proposed, would be for elementary schools to return to full in-person during the week of April 5 and that middle school and high school students would phase in over time.  While this proposed plan is not set-in-stone and still requires approval by BESE, we are making plans in the District to adjust our models to be in alignment with the expectations of the Commissioner if/when this happens.  Regardless of the direction that we take as we move forward, I want to thank you for your continued, ongoing flexibility and support.

If you have any questions that you would like the State to answer, you can contact DESE at: COVID19K12ParentInfo@mass.gov.  Otherwise, please send questions to: RETURNTOSCHOOL2020@leepublicschools.net.  


February 20, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that a member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  This transmission occurred outside of the school, however there are a limited number of close contacts within our school community. Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified by school administration and will be advised on next steps. 

As we have done from the outset of this pandemic, we will continue to follow strict protocols around cleaning and sanitizing.  Please continue to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

Also, as we prepare to return to school on Monday, I would like to once again stress to families and staff the importance of our collective adherence to the MA Travel Guidelines.  Along with masking, distancing, enhanced ventilation, and many other mitigation strategies, the travel order works to ensure our safety and the reduce interruptions that are created when students or staff arrive at school having been exposed to COVID-19.  Documented observance of the travel order is necessary for children and staff who have traveled out of state to attend school.  As the week unfolds, our administrators and school nursing staff will work with the Board of Health to monitor and respond to the COVID-related effects of vacation week travel.   

The Town's positivity rate has dropped below 1% and the average daily case counts in town are on the decline.  I urge all families and staff to continue their vigilance.  No one who is COVID-positive, exhibiting flu-like symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of a positive case should report to school.  This is to ensure that all members of our school community remain safe and healthy!  It also enables us to continue our hybrid model of teaching and learning!

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


January 23, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that a member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  This transmission occurred outside of the school, however there are a limited number of close contacts within our school community. Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified by school administration and will be advised on next steps.  

Please know that I have consulted with the Health Department and we will still reopen schools in our hybrid model on Tuesday, January 26.  As we have done from the outset of this pandemic, we will continue to follow strict protocols around cleaning and sanitizing.  Please continue to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

Also, as a reminder, if you or your child(ren) do not feel well or are symptomatic please do not come in to the schools. The extra precaution of staying home will help to stem the possible spread of COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


January 21, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Good morning members of the LPS community!  I am writing to let you know that the data that we received show that the COVID-19 numbers in Lee are trending in the right direction and that we will return to our HYBRID model of teaching and learning on Tuesday, January 26.  Please be reminded that Monday, January 25 is a Professional Development Day and there is no school for students..

Thank you all for your continued support and be well!

January 20, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that two (2) members of our school community have tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed by the public health nurse that this transmission occurred outside of the school, and furthermore that no “close contacts” within the school have been identified; neither of these community members have been in a school building since their exposure. Anyone who was in close contact with either of the community members will be notified privately by the public health nurse.  

While we are in our remote teaching and learning model until January 26, it is important that the cases of positive tests are communicated to families.  Please continue to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


January 19, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that one member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed by the public health nurse that this transmission occurred outside of the school, and furthermore that no “close contacts” within the school have been identified; this community member has not been in a school building since exposure. Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified privately by the public health nurse.  

While we are in our remote teaching and learning model until January 26, it is important that the cases of positive tests are communicated to families.  Please continue to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


January 12, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians:

I am writing to inform you that two (2) members of our school community have tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed by the public health nurse that this transmission occurred outside of the school, and furthermore that no “close contacts” within the school have been identified; neither of these community members have been in a school building since their exposure. Anyone who was in close contact with either of the community members will be notified privately by the public health nurse.  

While we are in our remote teaching and learning model until January 26, it is important that the cases of positive tests are communicated to families.  Please continue to follow safety protocols - including hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing - when you gather with family or friends, or when you venture into the community.  These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13.   

We are committed to continuous communication with our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


January 9, 2021 - Remote Learning Update

Good afternoon. I apologize for disturbing your Saturday, but am writing to you to clarify some misinformation that is circulating about our next two weeks of remote teaching and learning.  It is important to thank those of you who have reached out with questions, and I am hopeful that this will serve to answer them…

First, while we are in a remote model, the school-aged children of faculty and staff are being permitted to be in the classroom of their parent/guardian.  The District is requiring teachers and staff to work from the school buildings during the remote period.  As such, we are allowing children of our staff to sit in the classroom alone with their parent/guardian; students will not have physical access to their own teachers.  I liken this to a situation where teachers would be working from home and their children would be in the same household.  It is very important to distinguish between being “supervised” in person and accessing in-person instruction; the latter will not be happening.  This accommodation has been made so that our instructional model can be as comprehensive as possible and so that teachers will have access to their full complement of instructional resources.

Second, the plan is for the district to be remote for two weeks.  This is designed to address the increased COVID-19 numbers in Lee.  As the district has been doing since the summer, our team will be meeting regularly to evaluate the positivity rates and consult with the health experts about which model of teaching and learning is most appropriate for Lee.  I firmly believe that we will be able to return to our hybrid model soon.  You can be assured that we will give you as much notice as possible if we are not able to return to our hybrid model on January 26.

Thank you very much and I hope that you have an excellent weekend.


January 7, 2021 - Moving to Remote Model on January 11th

Good evening members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I am writing to you tonight to let you know that our schools will switch to a remote teaching and learning model effective Monday, January 11.  This model will remain in place for two weeks.  The expectation at this time is that we will return to our hybrid model on Tuesday, January 26 (please be reminded that Monday, January 25 is a Professional Development Day for staff).

While I had remained hopeful that this transition would not need to happen, it is our responsibility to take the steps necessary to protect our students, staff, and community from further spread.  During this two-week period, it is critically important that families stay in contact with our teaching staff and administrators to ensure that students are actively engaged in their daily work.  Teaching and learning will happen “synchronously.”  This means that students will follow their “bell schedule” and will log in to their remote/online classrooms to receive the same lesson as their peers.  The school day will begin and end at the normal times (i.e. 7:58 - 2:29 at LMHS and 8:35 - 3:09 at LES).  Many students have had some experience with this since last March, but the rigidity of this schedule will be important for students to maintain.

If they have not already, students and families should expect to hear from their teachers before Monday morning with information about logging in to classrooms, video conferencing sites, etc.  

If families who wish to take advantage of meal provisions, please know that meal distribution will take place at LMHS each Tuesday between 9:30 and 11:30 am.  In order for the food service department to be adequately prepared, you are asked to email the food service department at: lunches@leepublicschools.net.  If you do not have email access please call (413)243-0336 Ext: 3333.  In your email or voicemail, please indicate that you would like to pick up weekly meals and include the student(s) name.  If there are other children in the household under the age of 18 they are also eligible to receive weekly meals. 

In closing, I would like to reiterate the importance of practicing social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing.  The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines is a process that will take some time to complete.  Families should remain vigilant in our collective approach to maintaining safety among our community members; it’s a team effort!  


January 5, 2021 - Possible Remote Switch

Good evening members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I am writing to let you know that the District is considering a switch to Remote Teaching and Learning for all students effective Monday, January 11 with the plan to return to in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 26.  At this time, we are carefully monitoring the cases of COVID-19 in the community.  As of the time of this message, it is very important to note that we have not had any identified positive cases related to students or staff in the new year (i.e. since our return to school).  However, due to some local business and organizational spread, we are extra cautious about our role as a community partner.  To that end, please begin to explore whatever options you may need to accommodate any potential move to a remote teaching and learning environment.  If we need to adjust our model, I will notify the community on Thursday evening, January 7.  Please know that, if we need to make the adjustment to the schedule, our students and teachers will be following their regular schedules and will be accessing learning synchronously (via the internet and invites scheduled by the teachers).  All students will be expected to be in attendance and actively participate in the lessons.  Any switch to remote teaching and learning will not excuse the expectation that students give their full attention to their academic responsibilities.

To date, we have done an extraordinary job of keeping our doors open to in-person learning; I am hopeful that this will continue.  I want to thank everyone in our community for your flexibility during these most challenging times.  Ours is an amazing, collaborative, and cohesive community; one that is like no other that I have been a part of!  Let’s keep the positive momentum going and our work together will ultimately benefit our students!

Thank you and have an excellent evening! 


January 2, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

Good evening members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I am writing to let you know that the District is considering a switch to Remote Teaching and Learning for all students effective Monday, January 11 with the plan to return to in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 26.  At this time, we are carefully monitoring the cases of COVID-19 in the community.  As of the time of this message, it is very important to note that we have not had any identified positive cases related to students or staff in the new year (i.e. since our return to school).  However, due to some local business and organizational spread, we are extra cautious about our role as a community partner.  To that end, please begin to explore whatever options you may need to accommodate any potential move to a remote teaching and learning environment.  If we need to adjust our model, I will notify the community on Thursday evening, January 7.  Please know that, if we need to make the adjustment to the schedule, our students and teachers will be following their regular schedules and will be accessing learning synchronously (via the internet and invites scheduled by the teachers).  All students will be expected to be in attendance and actively participate in the lessons.  Any switch to remote teaching and learning will not excuse the expectation that students give their full attention to their academic responsibilities.

To date, we have done an extraordinary job of keeping our doors open to in-person learning; I am hopeful that this will continue.  I want to thank everyone in our community for your flexibility during these most challenging times.  Ours is an amazing, collaborative, and cohesive community; one that is like no other that I have been a part of!  Let’s keep the positive momentum going and our work together will ultimately benefit our students!

Thank you and have an excellent evening! 


December 28, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Good day, members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I am writing today to update you on the plan for return to school after the New Year.  As of today, Monday, December 28 the Town of Lee is designated as a “Red” community in the State’s Department of Public Health system.  The Town’s numbers have not adjusted with any degree of significance since the last report prior to school vacation.  I am continuing to work closely with Tri Town Health, school administration, faculty and nursing staff representatives, and the School Committee to monitor the COVID-19 numbers in and around Lee.  There are a few important pieces of information for you…

  1. No decision has been made about what model of instruction will be in place when school resumes on January 4, 2021.  The COVID-19 Task Force met this morning and will meet again this weekend to evaluate the data.  If any changes to the model of instruction are to be made, you will be notified on Saturday, January 2.
  2. If you or anyone in your household have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should do the following.  First, contact your health care provider and arrange for a COVID-19 test.  Second, alert the school (i.e. LES or LMHS) so that we can plan and respond accordingly.
  3. Continue to follow the guidance and protocols for hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.  Also, if you are traveling out-of-State, please adhere to travel guidelines that have been put in place by the Governor.  You can find more information about this at mass.gov.

Also, an important reminder that if you are not feeling well, please stay home.  If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, it is critically important that you self-quarantine and consult your health care provider immediately.  

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the schools.

Thank you and have an excellent day.


December 6, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon members of the Lee Public Schools community.  I hope that you are settling nicely into the month of December.  I want to first thank you for working so hard to adhere to the guidelines around social distancing, mask wearing, and hand-washing.  As a community we have maintained relatively low numbers of COVID-19 infection rates.  Our solidarity in terms of battling this spread is working!

Secondly, I want to let families know that in our efforts to keep our schools open for in-person learning, I am asking that in any instance where a family member is being asked to quarantine that you keep students, including siblings, home.  The short-term implications will be far-outweighed by the long-term benefits.  If you have any questions about whether to send your student to school, please call your school’s nurse and we will be happy to guide you in the decision-making process.

Have an excellent afternoon and remember: WILDCATS: WEAR their masks, WASH their hands, and WATCH their distance.


December 3, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

I am writing to inform you that one member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe.  We have been informed by the public health nurse that this transmission occurred outside of the school, and furthermore that no “close contacts” within the school have been identified. Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified privately by the public health nurse.  

Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

As a school and community, we will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue in-person learning.  With updated statistics being released sometime today, we will evaluate the status of our schools and our community to determine whether any adjustments to our delivery of instruction needs to be made.   

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13. Please contact us immediately should you or someone in your home begin to show symptoms.   

We are committed to continuous communication with and support of our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


November 25, 2020 - Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Lee Public Schools Community,

I hope this message finds our LPS families preparing for a restful, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving.  During this Thanksgiving holiday, I am appreciative of the extraordinary effort families, students and LPS staff have made to create the conditions that have allowed for our students to safely sustain the hybrid educational model.  Our continued success relies on our continued partnership.  

To successfully return to school on November 30, we will need staff, students, LPS families and the wider community to continue to observe distancing and masking guidance and limit gathering size, exposure and travel.  Throughout this weekend we will continue to monitor local and regional health metrics in order to assess our readiness to continue with instructional schedules that have been in place.  

In the weeks ahead, as we navigate together through a difficult phase of this pandemic, it will be imperative for families and staff to observe the MA Travel Restrictions and err on the side of caution in keeping children home if they have any flu-like symptoms.  For your convenience, I have summarized the travel requirements below. I appreciate your partnership and careful attention to the requirements that will keep all members of the LPS community safe.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


November 19, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians,

I am writing to inform you that one member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe, and it is noteworthy that this individual who recently tested positive has not been in our schools for the last week.  We have been informed by the public health nurse that this transmission occurred outside of the school, and furthermore that no “close contacts” within the school have been identified. Anyone who was in close contact with the community member will be notified privately by the public health nurse.  

Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

As a school and community, we will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue in-person learning.   

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13. Please contact us immediately should you or someone in your home begin to show symptoms.   

We are committed to continuous communication with and support of our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


November 17, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Dear staff, students, parents, caregivers, and guardians,

I am writing to inform you that two people in our school community have tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe, and it is noteworthy that these individuals who recently tested positive have not been in our schools for a week.  I can also assure you that any contact tracing associated with these cases would be due to out-of-school contacts.

Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.  

Anyone who was in close contact with the community members will be notified privately by the public health nurse.  Because these incidents originated outside of school and the individuals have not been in school since exposure, the public health nurse will be the main point of contact and will provide directions on next steps for anyone identified as a close contact. 

As a school and community, we will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue in-person learning.   

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. 

You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13. Please contact us immediately should you or someone in your home begin to show symptoms.   

We are committed to continuous communication with and support of our families.  If there is additional transmission as a result of these cases or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.


November 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon, Lee PS families.  As I am sure you are aware, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County.  While there is no certainty of the impact that this will have on our schools, I am writing today to let you know that we are preparing for the need to go fully remote, if necessary.  Some of the surrounding communities have taken this step already in response to their local cases.  Here in Lee, we are collaborating with the Board of Health and closely monitoring the number of cases in and around our Town.  This morning we were made aware of some contact tracing that is tied back to youth athletics.  There are no known positive tests in the school community as of the date of this communication, and we are approaching this with a heightened sense of caution.  Some students have been proactively removed from classroom environments until test results have been received which will clear them to return. 

I know that the struggle is real for many families and that if we need to go remote then there will be greater demands placed on students and families.  Please know that we are empathetic to your situation and wish to be as responsive as possible to your needs.  At this time, we are working to ensure that all of our students and staff are prepared for a transition to remote teaching and learning.  Flexibility has become our daily mantra and it will need to remain so as we move forward.  Our IT department is putting together quick tutorials to demonstrate how to log in to student accounts so that you will be in a good position to assist your student(s) as necessary; these will be posted to the district’s website shortly.  Also, tonight there is a two-hour session on supporting your child’s online learning; it starts at 6:00 and can be accessed at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81062641949?pwd=NVVtc0ZsRklOYUQrNnRkRmU1YVAyZz09.

In the meantime, I encourage you to remain vigilant in practicing health and safety protocols.  Wash your hands regularly, wear your mask, and maintain social distancing.  We are a strong community and together we can ensure that our students continue to receive excellent instruction and skills to last them a lifetime.  In order to ensure that students are prepared for any unanticipated change in schedule, please remind your student(s) to bring their school textbooks, resources, Chromebook/tablet, and supplies home each day; this will ensure a seamless transition should we need to go to a remote environment.

In closing, please do not hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.  If your student is not feeling well, you are reminded to keep them home - for their own safety and the safety of their classmates and teachers.


November 5, 2020 - Travel Advisory and Models of Teaching and Learning UPDATE

I hope that this email finds you well. The purpose of this communication is to remind you to take great care during the upcoming holiday season in order to protect yourselves and the community from an outbreak of COVID-19.  As I am sure you are aware, Governor Baker recently announced a series of Executive Orders which are designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Included among these orders are limitations on gatherings in public and at home and requirements around mask-wearing.  It is important to note that following these restrictions will assist the Lee Public Schools in maintaining our in-person and hybrid models for teaching and learning.  As a community, we have done some amazing work in keeping the transmission of COVID-19 to a minimum; we must remain vigilant in our approach to controlling spread and managing our collective health!  To that end, I ask that you please consider limiting your plans for travel and gathering with friends and family.  While I know that 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, it is especially important for us to adhere to the State and local guidance and directives.

At this time, it is also incumbent upon me to let you know that we are no longer accepting letters of intent for families to switch from virtual to hybrid for quarter two.  We have reached our capacity for quarter two, but will entertain requests at the mid-year (i.e. February 1) for a switch for Quarter 3.  If you wish to be considered for a switch to hybrid from virtual for Quarter 3, please be sure to connect directly with your respective school Principal (Principal Retzel at Lee Elementary - KLRETZEL@leepublicschools.net or Principal Brighenti at Lee Middle & High School - GBRIGHENTI@leepublicschools.net). 

Thank you for your time and attention to these matters.  While there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County, our collective approach to stemming the spread will pay dividends; wash your hands, wear your mask, and maintain social distance...these are the three keys to success!  Remember, together we can keep our schools open and keep our students and staff safe and healthy!