June 25, 2020


Dear Needham Public Schools Families:

This afternoon, Governor Baker and Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Jeff Riley released their initial
guidance about reopening schools this fall.  I very much appreciate the time and thought that went into the development of this guidance, especially with its focus on prioritizing student and staff health and safety.

The overall goal is the return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. I encourage you to read the Commissioner’s full report at Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance.

Needham Public Schools administrators and staff, guided by the COVID-19 Advisory Committee, will immediately review the guidelines and continue our planning for a safe reopening of school in the fall.  We understand that these initial guidelines do not address every topic or concern and that there will be additional guidance forthcoming from DESE later in July.

Following are key components of the guidance we received today:

- Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school - with preventive measures in place - as infection and transmission
rates are lower for children than adults.

- Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, hand washing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

- Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults.

- Schools should maximize physical distance wherever possible, however, based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventative measures, three feet is the minimum distance required.

The guidance directs school districts to develop three separate plans - one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning, and one for full remote learning.

Based upon the current medical situation and the trajectory of the disease in Massachusetts, the expectation today is that students will return to full in-person instruction in September; however, that is subject to change based upon how the medical situation develops.  Furthermore, we will need to analyze and consider how our schools and classrooms can be organized to facilitate the health and safety measures outlined; this will be challenging work and likely result in tradeoffs to programs and the traditional school day.


I acknowledge that there are more questions than answers at this time; rest assured we will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for your partnership and support as we work together during these challenging times.


Dan Gutekanst
Superintendent of Schools

Welcome to the website of the Needham Public Schools! I hope you will find the information you need to learn about the people, programs, and activities that make our school system a dynamic learning experience for all students.

​The Needham Public Schools has developed a framework for educational excellence, innovation, and equity - a Portrait of A Needham Graduate - that will inform the district's work going forward. Needham Public Schools will support all our students in becoming creative thinkers and problem solvers, communicators and collaborators, socially and culturally responsive contributors, responsible and resilient individuals, and empowered learners. Our students' collective and individual success depends on developing these Portrait competencies in preparation for the future that awaits them. I encourage you to review the Needham Public Schools 2019 Performance Report for examples of current teaching practices aligned with this Portrait vision, along with ideas and challenges for boosting student learning around each of the district priorities.

​Through this website, the Needham Public Schools commits itself to share timely information with students, parents, staff, and community members who depend on updated and helpful information and assistance. I invite you to join the superintendent’s listserve to receive periodic emails about various school programs and events. Please join now!

​Additionally, the Needham School Committee wishes to hear from members of the community about issues and concerns critical to the schools and its many programs. You may contact them at schoolcommittee@needham.k12.ma.us and ask a question or make a comment.

​We are proud of our school district and are happy to share information about the Needham Public Schools with you.


Daniel E. Gutekanst, Ed.D.
Needham Public Schools
                   Portrait picture     


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