August 6 2020

Shawsheen Tech School Committee to Vote on Fall Reopening Plan on Friday

By: Rich Hosford

Shawsheen Valley Technical High School’s School Committee will have a special meeting at noon on Friday, August 7 to discuss the school’s reopening plans. There will also be a vote on updating the calendar for the upcoming school year. 

As reported, every school district had been directed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to come up with three plans - a full in-person model, a full remote model and a plan that is a hybrid of the two. These plans are due on Monday, August 10. 

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Bradford L. Jackson said he would like to see students back in the building if it can be done safely. 

“As an educator, I see the Remote Open as the least desirable option both from a curriculum/instruction and social/emotional lens,” he wrote. “However, this decision must be, and will be, made based on student and staff safety, which has been informing all of the guidelines issued by DESE since mid-June. The directive from DESE is clear: ‘our goal is the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings, to maximize learning and address our students’ holistic needs.’  Accordingly, we are focusing our efforts on returning ‘as many students as possible to in-person school settings’ and are viewing the 100 percent remote learning model as an option only if there are significant changes in the progress of the virus here in Massachusetts.”

Fully opening, while desirably, also poses difficulties, Jackson said. Space for social distancing being an obstacle. 

“The Full Open option achieves that objective and we have focused much of our efforts during the month of July on that option,” he wrote. “However, at this point in our analysis of the Full Open option, we have identified several key challenges to meeting the DESE physical distancing minimums for which we have not yet been able to identify solutions. In addition, the recently announced DESE guidelines on physical distancing on school buses reduces the number of students who can safely ride a school bus by 2/3rds. While we have not abandoned our efforts to resolve these issues, at this moment, we do not yet have any working theories to resolve those issues, meaning Full Open is not a likely option unless and until the progress of the virus here in Massachusetts allows DESE to change the physical distancing requirements.”

Click here for a link to the full letter. 

Click here for a link to stream the meeting on Friday. 


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