Reopening 2020 Update 3
July 25, 2020
A Message from Superintendent Myers
Thursday, the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle reported that the School Committee, based on my recommendation, voted to remove the full in-person option from consideration as we plan to open school this fall. My recommendation was based on the fact that we cannot bring the entire student body back to our classrooms this fall while maintaining safe physical distancing. Our classrooms are not large enough to accommodate that much space between 20+ student desks, even with every other piece of furniture removed.
Considering this, I felt that continuing to develop a plan for full return would be wasted time and effort, especially considering the deadline that the Commissioner has set for School Committees to approve a reopening plan.
I know that Wednesday night’s decision also left some people with the sense that a specific reopening option has already been chosen. This is definitely not true. While the School Committee agreed to take full in-person out of consideration, they did not identify a preferred plan, nor do they have one.
We know what fully remote teaching and learning looks like based on our experiences this spring. While there is plenty more planning to be done with this option, we have the benefit of experience to guide our thinking. The hybrid model, on the other hand, presents a completely unfamiliar challenge for us, and planning for this model will require much more time and effort to complete. Now that we can discard plans for a full in-person return, we can focus all of our attention on the fully remote and hybrid models.
Reopening Committee Update
Hello staff and families,
Thank you very much for taking time to complete surveys regarding returning to school this fall. Your thoughtful responses have helped to guide our work and we have incorporated many of your concerns and suggestions into our initial planning. Please follow this link to view a snapshot of the survey results. We will be sending out a more specific family questionnaire to gather additional information about your needs for Before and After-School Care, Chromebook loans, and breakfast and lunch for your child(ren). Your responses to these surveys will be invaluable as we further refine our planning. Please be on the lookout for these.
At its meeting on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the School Committee unanimously agreed that a safe, full-time, in-person return to school this fall is not feasible and directed the District Leadership Team to focus exclusively on plans for a hybrid learning model. The hybrid learning model will provide PK-12 students and staff with a combination of in-person and remote teaching and learning experiences. This model will also reduce the number of students in school at any given time, which will allow for six feet of physical distancing in every classroom and prevent large groupings during passing times and in common areas. What does this mean for families? Students will not be returning to school in a fully in-person model. What does this mean for staff? No more than approximately 50% of your students will be physically present at a time. More information will be coming. A complete plan, including schedule, will be shared with the School Committee, staff, and families in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 7PM, the School Committee will hold a Public Forum focused on returning to school this fall. This will provide an opportunity to share thoughts and concerns about reopening our schools this fall. Please know the plan will not be shared until the August 5th meeting. So that we may prepare the appropriate space, please let us know if you plan to attend by completing this form. Additionally, pursuant to the Board of Health and CDC guidance, please be sure to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing in the building at all times. Upon arrival to the Public Forum, you will be required to sign-in. You will also need to sign-up to speak at the forum.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 7PM, the District’s Reopening Plan will be presented to the School Committee, who will carefully consider its safety protocols, feasibility, and impact on the school community, and will consider a vote to accept it. Should the Committee require additional time to review the plan and deliberate, we have scheduled additional “as needed” School Committee meetings on Thursday, August 6th and Friday, August 7th. These meetings will be open to the public. You may also view from home on Channel 24 and Channel 192 on Charter.
The District website will also be updated to include this information.
Please continue to forward any questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your continued support.
Rick Bedard, Reopening Committee - Operations Working Group Chair
Lizz Boutiette, Reopening Committee - Academic Programming Working Group Chair
Kate Ryan, Reopening Committee - Safety & Wellness Working Group Chair