Today, Governor Baker’s Office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released (DESE Press Release) their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall. We share its goal of safely returning as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.
We will immediately start reviewing this guidance and collaborating with key stakeholders to begin to understand how we can best implement it. We also acknowledge that these initial guidelines do not address every topic and that there will be additional guidance coming from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education throughout the summer. The full version of the initial guidance is attached to this email correspondence. Here are some key components from the initial guidance to review:
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, handwashing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces
Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below
Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established
Our schools will need to develop three separate plans – one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning. Based upon the current medical situation, the expectation today is that students will return to full in-person instruction in September; however, that is subject to change based upon how the medical situation develops.
We acknowledge that there are likely to be more questions than answers at this time, and we will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks and months. We also encourage you to read the full document to best understand this Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance.
Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding.
Michael S. Nelson, Superintendent-Elect
Old Rochester & MA Sup. Union #55