SOUTHWICK – Families of Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School district students have until March 14 to decide if their student will be fully remote or fully in-person starting next month.
Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard sent a letter to families asking them to complete an online enrollment survey on the district site, stgrsd.org, for each student.
“Massachusetts Commissioner of Education [Jeffrey Riley] stated that schools will be required to shift their hybrid learning models to in-person instruction five days per week, beginning in April, when hybrid instruction will no longer count toward structured time on learning,” wrote Willard. “The Commissioner also stated that parents and guardians who wish for their children to learn in a fully remote learning mode will still have that option.
“As a result of this new requirement, STGRSD plans to phase out the hybrid learning model for ALL students, K-12, in the coming weeks. During this time, the hybrid learning model will be replaced by five day in-person learning. Families will still have the option to choose fully remote learning for the remainder of the 20/21 school year.”
On Wednesday, Riley released initial guidance to districts related to the change. A copy of that guidance is available on the state website at https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html .
Willard noted that the dates in the guidance are for implementation and STGRSD has not set its implementation dates yet but suggested it could be sooner than recommended.
“The STGRSD timeline will be established after the data is received from families via the STGRSD Return to In-person Learning: Enrollment Selection,” stated Willard. “All families must complete the Enrollment Selection so the district can finalize plans. Any student who does not have a completed enrollment selection will be placed in their current learning mode. This means that hybrid students will automatically transition to five day in-person learning and fully remote students will remain in the fully remote cohort until the end of the 20/21 school year.”
Riley set an April 5 return for elementary students, which are typically up to grade five.
When Riley first announced his intent to return students to five-day, in-person learning, Willard said the district had a plan in place and had surveyed families late in 2020 to gauge interest in returning to school buildings. She said in fifth and sixth grades, which are included in the STGRSD elementary return plans, roughly 1/3 of student families indicated they would return fully when possible. Students up to grade four are already in school five days each week unless families chose fully remote learning.
“In order to accomplish in-person learning for all students K-12 we need definitive commitment from parents about their child’s learning mode for the remainder of the school year so we can plan for class size, transportation, etc.,” Willard wrote.
The email stated that the schools will open five days in-person under the following conditions:
The STGRSD Hybrid Learning Continuum will be replaced by a return to in-person learning five days per week. The hybrid option will no longer be available;
Social distancing requirements will match DESE recommended (3 feet minimum);
Masks will still be required;
DESE recommended cleaning protocols will continue.
New DESE Transportation Guidelines will be followed. These new guidelines lift capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for students on school buses.
Willard’s letter noted that the transition back to in-person learning may result in scheduling adjustments which could mean changes in teachers and teaching assignments.