Regional district remains learning remotely during contract re-negotiation

Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard (THE WESTFIELD NEWS  PHOTO)

SOUTHWICK – Students in the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District remain learning remotely while negotiations for a new contract with the teacher’s union continue.

Superintendent Jennifer Willard Nov. 17 apologized forlack of warning of the situation during the Regional School Committee meeting.

“I apologize to the community that I didn’t give you enough metrics,” she said about the switch to remote learning.

Willard said when the decision was made to go fully remote Nov. 9, she had said the previous week that the Hampden County COVID positive numbers were rising and mentioned that the contract states that if those numbers went above 3% it was an automatic switch to remote classrooms.

Willard said Tuesday that the contract was based on metrics being used by the state over the summer. By the time new metrics were being used on Aug. 12, the contract was written and the district had plans to reopen in place. She said at that time, the trends and patterns were different and she said she should have made everyone aware of the potential switch sooner.

“I should have told everybody the metric earlier,” she said.

Willard said, however, that she was proud that the district and teacher’s union worked together to bring students back to their classrooms sooner than most districts. They continue to work together now to bring them back.

“We are working very closely with the teacher’s union and paraprofessional’s union,” Willard said, noting that they are “keeping the safety and health of students and staff at the forefront.”

Current metrics for the district communities are being used for the amended contract. Students will remain learning remotely at least until Nov. 30.

“We are eager to get back in school,” Willard said. “There is no replacement for what teachers can do on a daily basis in-person.”

As of Tuesday night there was one positive COVID case at Woodland Elementary School, six at Powder Mill and eight at Southwick Regional School, as well as one person who tested positive who is not assigned to a particular school. The district’s testing numbers are posted on the site weekly.

Willard encouraged everyone to continue to diligently wash their hands, cover their faces, socially distance and avoid large gatherings


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