District-Specific Plans to be Released Later This Summer
NORWOOD — Superintendent David Thomson wishes to share the initial state guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for the 2020-21 academic year, which will be modified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While prioritizing health and safety as well as getting as many students back in school as possible, districts across the state will now begin to develop three different plans: one for learning entirely in-person, one for a hybrid model that includes in-person and remote learning in the event in-person learning is not feasible due to space constraints and other concerns, and one for remote learning only should there be a second spike in COVID-19 cases regionally.
The district has begun surveying families, which will continue through the summer, to help understand which children will return to school in-person, the technology needs of students learning remotely and bus transportation needed to get to school.
“Norwood Public Schools is dedicated to providing the best possible environment for education and health,” said Superintendent Thomson. “In order to accomplish this, we will immediately begin developing our three different models for reopening following instruction from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience during this time.”
Norwood Public Schools acknowledges that these initial guidelines do not address every topic and that there will be additional guidance provided throughout the summer.
The initial guidelines, which can be read in full here, are also subject to change depending on how the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. The guidelines were developed by DESE’s Return-to-School Working Group, along with experts from the fields of infectious diseases and public health.
Key components of the document include:
- Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school – with preventive measures in place – as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults.
- Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, hand washing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
- Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in second grade and above, as well as for all adults. They are recommended for students first grade and below.
- Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established
Based upon the current medical situation, Norwood Public Schools is hopeful students will return to full in-person instruction in September. This is subject to change based on COVID-19 developments throughout the summer.
Additional guidelines, including those for busing, will be released in July.
The statewide closure of school buildings began in mid-March and was extended through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year as an unprecedented step in limiting the potential spread of COVID-19 and continuing the practice of social distancing as more positive cases and deaths are announced in the state each day.