K-1 to Attend School In-Person Four Days a Week
ANDOVER — Superintendent Claudia Bach is pleased to announce the Andover Public School welcomed back nearly 500 kindergarten and first grade students on Monday, marking the return to in-person learning four days a week for these students.
As of Monday, March 8, the students will learn in-person on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday will remain a remote learning day. Prior to this, students followed a hybrid learning model, attending school in-person twice a week.
“What a difference a year makes,” High Plain Elementary School Principal Pam Lathrop said. “Last year at this time we were talking about shutting down and today we welcomed all kindergarten and first grade students for in-person learning.”
To mark the return to the classroom, students participated in various activities meant to help strengthen the bond between their peers and their teachers.
Safety measures will remain in place during in-person learning to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the schools. This includes practicing social distancing, spacing desks three feet apart, wearing face masks or coverings, and frequently sanitizing and washing hands.
“It’s nice to be back,” Henry C. Sanborn Principal Jason DiCarlo said. “We are glad to keep it real, simple and calm.”
Students are excited to spend more time in the classroom and connect with their classmates.
“I got a new backpack and water bottle for today,” Gemma Quach, a first grader at High Plain Elementary School, said. “I am so excited to come to school for four days.”
The Remote Academy remains available for families who wish to have their students participate in that program. Students enrolled in that program will continue to follow their normal schedules.
This change marks the beginning of the transition to fully in-person learning for all elementary school students, which was in the works prior to the state’s announcement last week regarding in-person learning across the state.
“We are thrilled to welcome some of our youngest students back into the classroom this week,” Superintendent Bach said. “We are incredibly grateful for the understanding and flexibility of students, staff and their families over the last year as we’ve navigated through these challenging times. Having students be able to safely learn in-person is a goal that we’ve been looking forward to and planning for since the start of the school year.”
On Friday, March 5, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley met with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to discuss his plans to require a phased-in return to fully in-person learning, beginning with elementary school students returning to classrooms in April. “Subsequent determinations” will be made for the transition of middle and high school students to fully in-person learning, he wrote in a memo to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
During that meeting, Commissioner Riley was authorized by the Board to require districts to transition to fully in-person learning by no longer allowing hybrid and remote learning models to count toward the required number of student learning time hours for the school year.
To read the memo in full and learn more about Friday’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, click here.
The district is continuing to finalize plans to bring back the remaining elementary school students and will share information with families when it becomes available. Information about these changes will be posted on the district’s website.