Plans to be Released Later This Summer
CANTON — Superintendent Jill Rossetti and School Committee Chair Thomas Polito, Jr. wish to inform community members of several updates regarding the school reopening plans for the 2020-21 academic year, which will be modified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the guidance of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released on Thursday, June 25, the district began the process of creating three different plans to get students back into school while prioritizing their health and safety.
The three different plans will focus on: 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.
These plans remain fluid, and will be adjusted as necessary.
As of Wednesday, July 29, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also released specific guidance for career/vocational-technical education schools for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year.
Included in Wednesday’s guidance were specific health and safety guidelines for the culinary arts, early education and care, cosmetology, automotive technology and automotive collision, and graphic communications and marketing programs for the initial months of the academic year. These guidelines include limiting interaction with the public, setting up disinfecting stations, providing appointment-based services only and utilizing online payment methods.
Additionally, the guidance stated that as of now, co-op placement and internships will be limited to seniors only. Clinical co-op sites for health careers will not be placing students at this time due to the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. It is expected that students will not be able to work at these clinical sites for at least the first two months of the school year.
At this time, it is the district’s goal to bring students back into school for in-person instruction in smaller, socially distanced groups on a rotating basis, combined with a robust remote learning program on the days students are not scheduled to be physically in school.
This approach will require strategies to ensure physical distancing, as well as a series of other critical health and safety measures, including wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, cleaning and sanitizing facilities, screening regularly for symptoms of illness and staying home from school when sick, among others. The district’s planning process includes a comprehensive set of strategies and investments to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.
The district’s comprehensive plans will be presented at the next School Committee meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Community members can visit the school website to obtain further information about the meeting under the District School Committee page found under the About tab.
Additionally, the district encourages community members to share their questions, comments and ideas to help inform and strengthen the district’s plans by contacting [email protected].
All three learning plans are expected to be finalized by Aug. 10 and submitted to DESE.
“We recognize that the circumstances of every family and staff member within our district are different,” said Superintendent Rossetti. “With that said, we are working diligently to explore every option available to us as we remain guided by science to keep our students and staff safe and healthy. We are confident that we can prioritize both safety and learning as we prepare for the start of a successful school year.”