The Hawk: August 13, 2021

August 12, 2021 6:48 pm


August 13, 2021

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Dear IACS Community,

As a follow up to my letter in last week’s Hawk, I’m providing an outline for my recommendation which I will present to our Board of Trustees on August 23rd that IACS adopt a school reopening policy which includes masking for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, when indoors. The guiding principles for this recommendation are as follows:

1) The growing calls in the medical and public health community to implement masking at indoor locations, especially where COVID transmission levels are rated as "substantial" or "high", as measured by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As of today’s letter, Middlesex County’s transmission rates fall into the "substantial" rating.

2) While our students and staff experienced some initial awkwardness of mask wearing in school last year, by all accounts they adapted well. And as I referenced last week, our top priority is to keep everyone as safe as possible, so that we can reduce any disruptions to in-person learning. Current transmission rates as well as uncertain vaccination levels of students support the need to implement masking as an additional mitigation measure.

3) Implementing a masking policy guided by individual vaccination status (as articulated in DESE’s July 30th memo) feels fraught with unintended consequences. Redirecting individual students on mask wearing based on student’s vaccination status would likely create negative tension between adults and students, and has the potential to generate divisions within our student body of the "masked" and "unmasked". Applying a uniform expectation to start the school year will allow our school community to forge a united commitment to keep each other as safe as possible.

I fully recognize that this news may be comforting to some and disappointing to others. Like you, I want our daily school experience to get back to a greater sense of normalcy when masks, and other mitigating strategies, are not necessary. To that end, we will continue to monitor for scientifically-endorsed metrics which would allow us to possibly revise this policy, such as vaccination rates of students and staff, availability of vaccinations for our youngest students, and public health data in the communities IACS serves.

Below you’ll find more information on frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions not on this FAQ list, as well as concerns or feedback, please feel free to submit them by clicking on this link.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School


  1. Will there be physical distancing standards in classrooms? Not at this time. DESE has informed schools that they will be releasing additional protocols regarding issues ranging from physical distancing, definition of close contacts, expectations around contact tracing, etc.

  2. Will students be "cohorted" in the classrooms? No. Students will travel to different classrooms for their classes as they did before the pandemic.

  3. What kind of lunch protocols will be in place? Because students will be unmasked while eating, we will utilize additional areas (auditorium, outdoor tents, etc.) aside from the cafeteria during lunch to allow for greater spacing between students.

  4. Will masks be required outside? No, masks will not be required outside, nor will formal restrictions on physical distancing. Classes, at the teacher discretion, may take opportunities to take students outside for student learning, however we will not be scheduling formal mask breaks into the day.

  5. Other than masks, what kinds of mitigation strategies will IACS be implementing? IACS will continue to encourage increased handwashing/sanitizing, perform additional cleaning to high touch areas, and operate HEPA air purifiers in every classroom and office space.

  6. What kind of testing protocols will be implemented by IACS? We will participate in the state-sponsored COVID-19 testing program. This program includes "rapid tests" (BinaxNOW) for students who become symptomatic at school. This tool will also be used for "test and stay" practices which would allow close contacts to stay in school with 5 consecutive daily negative tests results. We will also implement routine COVID pooled testing on a weekly basis. Both of these tests will require parental consent in order to participate.

  7. Will IACS still use the "MyMedBot" app for families to complete screening questions before school each day? No, not at this time. We are choosing to focus on the mitigation strategies already described.

  8. Will any students be exempted from the masking policy? IACS will work with families who have students with a physician-verified medical conditions, disabilities, or other health and safety factors. Please communicate directly (ask questions, submit letters, etc.) directly with our health office by 4 pm, Thursday, August 26th.

  9. Will IACS consider setting up a mobile vaccination site on campus? Yes, we are currently working with a provider to set up a free vaccination clinic before the start of school. We will update the community if/when plans are confirmed. In the meantime, families can use the following state website, "VaxFinder", to find the closest location(s) to find a vaccine.

Important Dates

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IACA, our parent volunteer group, is excited to be part of the Ice Cream Social again this year!

We are in need of volunteers to scoop ice cream, help set up and break down.

Don’t worry, volunteers will still have time to meet teachers and staff at the event. If you would like to volunteer, please email Faby Kelley at your earliest convenience at so that we can secure a spot for you.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Athletics News

We are excited to open registration for the fall 2021 athletics season. Please read on for information about high school and middle school fall sports here are Innovation.

High School Fall Sports

We offer the following fall sports to high school students. All sports are open to athletes in grades 9-12:

  • Girls Soccer
  • Boys Soccer
  • Girls Cross Country
  • Boys Cross Country
  • Girls Volleyball*
  • Tryouts and practices for all high school fall sports begin Monday, August 23rd.

    Please click here for further details and instructions on how to register.

    All high school athletics registrations are due by Friday, August 20th.

    Middle School Fall Sports

    We offer the following fall sports to middle school students:

  • Girls Soccer
  • Boys Soccer
  • HS JV Girls Soccer (open to athletes in 7th and 8th grade)
  • HS JV Boys Soccer (open to athletes in 7th and 8th grade)
  • Girls Cross Country
  • Boys Cross Country
  • Coed Volleyball
  • All sports, except for HS JV soccer, are open to athletes in grades 5-8. We have a no-cut policy at the middle school level and encourage students to try new sports.

    Please click here for further details and instructions on how to register.

    All middle school athletics registrations are due by Friday, August 27th.

    Please contact the Athletic Department ( with any questions or concerns.

    *Boys volleyball is offered as a spring sport for high school students

    Theatre News

    We are looking forward to our production of ROMEO AND JULIET this November!

    Would you like to take part but missed auditions?

    Please email: for details!

    Keep cool if you can!