Masconomet Reopening Plan Update

Dear Masconomet Community:

I am writing with an update on our planning process for the start of the new school year at the Masconomet Regional School District. The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education has granted all school districts in Massachusetts ten additional days for staff training at the beginning of the year.  With these ten additional days factored in to our calendar, we are scheduled to resume student learning on Monday, September 21st, pending approval by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Our planning process for what education will look like on September 21st continues to be guided by a vigilant monitoring of public health data in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth’s careful and disciplined approach has enabled our state gradually to begin reopening, in part because of strong compliance with health and safety precautions. The question now on all of our minds is how and when we apply those lessons learned to begin safely reopening our public schools.

As you have heard, the Massachusetts Department of Education has directed districts to submit on July 31, 2020 a preliminary plan that addresses the feasibility of three options for serving students at the start of the school year. Those options include a full return to daily, in-person attendance, a hybrid plan combining in-school learning with remote learning, and finally, a 100% remote learning program.  Last week, a group of 40 stakeholders from the District, including teachers, nurses, department heads, building leadership and district administration met to review the guidance documents provided by DESE and to draft plans for each of the three options.  These drafts formed the basis for our July 31st submission to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  An outline of the main components of these three plans, in-person, hybrid and remote, follows this letter. 

Our district’s final plan, once it is approved by the School Committee on August 12th, will be submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on August 13th.  This submission will indicate which option the School Committee has selected for our students to begin the school year.  At this time, it is clear that we cannot implement an in-person model given the current health and safety requirements.  This leaves our hybrid and remote plans as the remaining two viable options.  Given the significant changes these plans will require in the way schools operate, we also must negotiate our proposal with all employee unions impacted: teachers, administrators, support staff, maintenance staff and paraprofessionals.  We are on a very tight timeline to meet the August 13th DESE deadline for submitting final fall plans.

We recognize that the circumstances and needs of every family and staff member are different, and that no plan will satisfy everyone in our community. But rest assured we are working diligently to explore every option available to us, we remain guided by the data and science to keep our students and staff safe and healthy, and we will be prepared to make adjustments along the way if and when the public health conditions or other variables change. 

We will keep you informed of our progress in developing a final plan, selecting the option for starting the school year, and in our negotiations with our unions.  If you have questions regarding our plan, our School Committee has developed a survey for you to send us your questions.  The survey can be found at this link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/u/2/d/e/1FAIpQLSeLRrYZzmQgkuYt1AKn_AXUCACrTIn5tAAoc1h_Lol5wehNiQ/viewform?usp=sf_link  Your questions will be used to help us develop future communications around our plan.

I am confident that we can prioritize both safety and learning as we prepare for the start of a successful school year.  Thank you for your patience and cooperation in these difficult times.

Sincerely

Michael M. Harvey, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Summary of Masconomet Reopening Plan

All In-Person Learning

The goal of this plan is to return 100% of students to in-person learning in school environments that have been appropriately modified to address health and safety requirements issued by DESE.

  • All students and staff will be required to wear a mask.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing stations will be available throughout the buildings.
  • Ensuring mandated three-foot minimum spacing in classrooms would require extensive furniture purchases and storage solutions.
  • Unable to provide minimum required spacing in many courses (Arts, Music, Physical Education, Science Labs).
  • Unable to transport all students using the maximum capacity of 25-students on busses.
  • Unable to feed all students using the 6-foot minimum social distancing during lunch.
  • Our feasibility study has led us to conclude we cannot implement an in-person model given the current health and safety requirements.

Hybrid Learning

Students alternate between in-person learning with safety requirements and remote learning.

  • While in-person, all students and staff will be required to wear a mask.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing stations will be available throughout the buildings.
  • Approximately 50% of students will be in-school on a given day.  Students will attend in-person on an alternating basis (Either every other day or two consecutive days in school per week).
  • Students who are not in school will follow their daily schedule remotely.
  • 6-foot physical distancing will be the standard in all spaces in the building, including classrooms.
  • Students will eat lunch in the field house with 6-foot minimum physical distancing.  Prepackaged lunches will be available for students.
  • Reduced student numbers will make it possible to transport students using the current DESE guidelines.
  • All students will follow a seven-period day, regardless of whether they are attending in-person or remotely.
  • Special Education Cohorts as identified in DESE guidance will attend school full-time.
  • Grading Periods, (Quarters and Semesters in the HS and Trimesters in the MS) will remain the same regardless of the teaching and learning environment.
  • As during in-person learning, students may be assigned homework to be done outside of scheduled remote class instruction.
  • Attendance will be taken in PowerSchool for every class.
  • Teachers will maintain current instructions, assignments and learning materials in Blackboard and will provide clear learning objectives and expectations.
  • Instruction in the curriculum will be done in coordination with Department Chairs.  Courses will follow the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Documents.
  • Students will receive alphanumeric grades.  Standard Masconomet Grading policies will apply for grading periods.
  • Parents will have the option to choose an all-remote learning plan for their children. 

Remote Learning

In this model, remote learning is the default model of instruction for all students, though some High Needs students may still be served in-person.

  • DESE “Time in Learning” Requirements will apply to the Remote Schedules.
  • Students will follow a five-day, eight period schedule.
  • Students’ seven courses will each meet three times per week.
  • All seven courses will meet on Monday.
  • W.I.N. Block is added as a “What I need” period for students to access guidance counselors, coordinators, teachers, advisors, etc. as needed.
  • As during in-person learning, students may be assigned homework to be done outside of scheduled remote class instruction.
  • Students and teachers are expected to have a live, video presence during instructional time.
  • Attendance will be taken in PowerSchool for every class.
  • Teachers will maintain current instructions, assignments and learning materials in Blackboard and will provide clear learning objectives and expectations.
  • Instruction in the curriculum will be done in coordination with Department Chairs.  Courses will follow the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Documents.
  • Students will receive alphanumeric grades.  Standard Masconomet Grading policies will apply for grading periods.
  • Grading Periods, (Quarters and Semesters in the HS and Trimesters in the MS) will remain the same regardless of the teaching and learning environment.

Masconomet Reopening Plan Planning Committee

The following group of teachers, administrators, parents and community members met at Masconomet on July 28-July 30 to develop the In-Person, Hybrid and Remote Learning Plans for the Masconomet Regional School District

UrsinaAmslerMiddle School Teacher, MTA Vice President
DougBatchelderDirector of Facilities
MarieBridgesSpecial Education Team Chair
PattyBullardAsst. Superintendent for Student Services
SteveBurtDirector of Safety and Security
MarcButterworthParent
JohnDaileanesDirector of Athletics and Phys Ed.
CathieDalyHS Secretary — Support Staff Association Co-President
PeteDelaniHS Principal
KristenDeMarcoSEPAC Chair
BradDentonAsst. Director of Special Education
KatieDiNardoHS Asst. Principal
IreneDurosGuidance and Counseling Department Head
TammyFayScience, Technology & Engineering Dept. Head
MeaganHildebrandEnglish Department Head
BenHodgesBusiness and Comp. Sci. Department Head
MarshallHookParent
KathyHostetterHS Nurse
RyanKingTechnology Integration Specialist
GwenLemireMS Nurse
KendellLongoBoxford Director of Public Health
StacyMannheimArt Department Head
PhilMcManusMS Principal
GavinMonagleMS Asst. Principal
CarrieMurphyDirector of Food Services
LisaNovackParent
JeanneO’HearnForeign Language Department Head
RandyO’KeefeMusic Department Head
VinRuoccoDirector of Information Technology
JeffSandsAsst. Superintendent for Operations and Finance
AlyssaSchatzelHS Asst. Principal
SusanSooaarParaprofessionals’ Association President
MelissaStanleyHigh School Teacher, MTA Professional Improvement Committee Chair
JillStorySocial Studies Department Head
DeniseTenantyMath Department Head
KarenTrevenenHS Nurse

Published by mascosuper

Superintendent of the Masconomet Regional School District

9 thoughts on “Masconomet Reopening Plan Update

  1. I think it is ridiculous to open schools until we have a real vaccine available to all. I truly understand that the students need to get back into the classroom, but at this time it is too costly. Please, please look at the big picture. Look at what’s happening to school districts that are opening now. They are getting sick. And our children “will” get sick. You have had five months to perfect online learning. That is the only way to operate safely. And you shouldn’t even consider any after school activities such as sports and clubs. We all know what needs to be done. Just do it. And with any luck at all, a vaccine will be available by next spring. There is no totally safe way to open the schools in September, so don’t do it. And if you really think you have to open schools, why don’t you try cutting the student body in half. One way to do that is to have half the students attend class in the morning, then the other half in the afternoon. For example. At the HS the juniors and seniors go to class in the morning, and freshman and sophomores go in the afternoon. The students would have no elective courses and no after school activities. This would only be temporary, and with any luck things could get back to normal in the fall of 2021. DO THE RIGHT THING.

    Like

    1. Christopher’s 1/2 day proposal is sort of met with the District’s ” Hybrid Learning” plan:

      “Students alternate between in-person learning with safety requirements and remote learning.

      While in-person, all students and staff will be required to wear a mask.
      Hand washing/sanitizing stations will be available throughout the buildings.
      Approximately 50% of students will be in-school on a given day. Students will attend in-person on an alternating basis (Either every other day or two consecutive days in school per week).”

      My preference is “All in person learning” but that is ruled out above.

      My Q is about sports; ARE THERE SPORTS ?

      Like

    2. What school districts are opening now and are “getting sick?” I would appreciate this information since I am unfamiliar with this. As I understand it, the risk to children from COVID-19 is 1 in a million. What is the risk of students staying home? What is the risk from depression and anxiety, from social isolation? I do not know the numbers or studies to quote; however, I would appreciate this information being weighed against the “actual” risk and numbers of children suffering from COVID. I completely support an in person education because I have not seen the risk to students that you quote above. Cases have risen which goes along with increased testing. It’s the hospitalizations and deaths that tell the story. To be sure, any death is unwelcome and tragic, regardless of the cause. But what does the data actually say about students and the demographic of our teachers and staff? I have not seen the data broken down in this way. I have not seen the data that breaks out the tragedies that occurred in nursing homes, or breaks out the disease by age. Everyone has to consider their individual risk tolerance. There will always be risks to our health. COVID is another thing for individuals to consider and to take the actions they feel necessary for themselves. Of note, vaccines also pose risks. When it comes time, I will weigh the risk of the vaccine vs the risk of COVID for my children. Today with the data I have seen I would not chose to vaccinate my children, I believe the risk to them from the vaccine outweighs the risk from this horrible virus.

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  2. Has a 3 week cycle been considered?

    Classes are cut into thirds, and attends class for full week in-person, the 2 weeks remote learning with their class by video?

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  3. Thank you for all the hard work diligence applied in the process of making a plan for safe and effective learning in our community!!! We appreciate all you are doing!! I trust you will come up with a solid plan to start the year and we will work through this together.

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  4. I agree with Christopher, it’s too soon to return students to an in-person learning environment even a hybrid plan still exposes students and staff to the virus. There is not enough evidence to prove that children are at lower risk of contracting and spreading the virus. There are schools in the southern states that have reopened and some of the students have already tested positive for Covid-19, putting the teachers and the families they go home to at risk. It’s great to be so confident that your children are healthy enough to withstand the risk of getting this novel virus, however, I have a high risk child who would most certainly become very ill if exposed. I am not willing to gamble with her health. Thank you for giving parents the option to choose a remote learning plan.

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    1. If the Schools open in class, families can make their own decisions on what they feel best for them.

      Schools offer a hybrid if in-class doesn’t work.

      Self regulating…..

      Elementary schools have closed to “clean” before, in the past, before Covid.

      Even Charlie Baker said today in his noon briefing that all the news stations covered:

      Baker:
      Cases in young children;

      For the most part cases among kids, especially young kids, remain extremely rare……..

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  5. High school aged kids are not young children. I get that some parents want their kids back in school but this is a novel virus. Also in the news it was reported that when schools in MI and SC reopened they had many cases of Covid that effected students and staff, so they had to shut down or quarantine dozens of students and staff. So I feel like even if Masco had 5 days in-person class instruction they’d be back to remote pretty quickly if students and staff started testing positive.

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