Return to In-Person Learning Update
We are preparing for the return of students to in-person learning at the Middle School on April 26th and the High School on May 3rd. The Middle School Survey was completed on March 23rd. Families that did not respond to the survey were then contacted directly by the Middle School. Approximately 88% of Middle School Students have indicated they will return in-person on April 26.
The High School Survey was open for one week and closed yesterday, April 6th. The initial response rate was around 81%, which is 894 of 1110 total High School students. Of these 894 responses, approximately 69% have opted to return to in-person learning and 31% have chosen remote. The 216 students who did not respond to the survey will be contacted directly over the next week so we can have a complete accounting of the number of students we should expect in the building on May 3rd.
Operationally, we are in the middle of completing an over 40-item list of tasks in time for the in-person return of Middle School students on April 26th. This list includes: installing a tent adjacent to the field house; procuring an additional 400 student desks and deploying them to needed areas throughout the buildings; setting up Middle and High School classrooms at 3’ distancing; restocking cleaning supplies in classrooms, offices and bathrooms; and preparing our food services for the greater number of in-person students. Additionally, we’re updating our Staff and Student Protocol Documents, developing guidance for classroom teachers and creating new seating charts for school busses. Much of the work of physically setting up the buildings will take place over April Vacation week.
Changes to 2020-2021 School Calendar
In order to provide teachers with some additional time to prepare for a greater number of in-person students, we’re making some changes to our school calendar. Next Tuesday, April 13th, we will be administering the SAT to members of our Junior Class. Around 270 Juniors have signed up to take the exam, which will be held in the Field House. All other High School students will attend remotely that day. Middle School students in “Cohort A” will attend school in-person that day. Classes for both the Middle and High Schools will end at 12:30 on April 13th. We will be providing bus transportation and a “grab and go” lunch for the in-person Middle School students and juniors taking the SAT. Additionally, April 26th and May 3rd will be delayed opening days for all students. School will begin at 10:00 AM on these two Mondays. The Middle and High School administration will provide families with more information regarding the daily schedule for April 13th, April 26th and May 3rd.
On April 1, Commissioner Riley announced that he will be asking the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to waive the achievement of a passing score on the MCAS English Language Arts and Mathematics exams as a requirement for a diploma for the Class of 2022 (current juniors). If this recommendation is approved, 11th grade students will not need to take the MCAS. The Commissioner has also announced that there will be a remote administration of the MCAS for students in grades 7 and 8 who have opted to learn remotely for the remainder of the year. Finally, the window for completing the MCAS for our students in grades 7-10 has been extended to June 11th.
DESE Guidance on Student Groups and School Events
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has also released updated “Guidance on Student Groups and School Events for School Year 2020-2021.” This document supplements previous guidance on holding graduation ceremonies that was released on March 22nd. Some of the key points of the “Guidance on Student Groups and School Events for School Year 2020-2021” are:
- Non-athletic student group activities should be held virtually.
- Schools should not hold proms this year.
- Gatherings that include outside participants should be held online.
- Activities that require students to leave school grounds should be reconsidered.
Our Executive Leadership Team has reviewed both of these guidance documents and is using them to plan our end of year events.