School Reopening Update: Potential delay to start, FAQs, and updated Plans

Tonight, the Combined School Committees for Northborough and Southborough Public Schools will discuss a potential delay in reopening district schools. 

This morning, Superintendent Gregory Martineau emailed parents an update on Reopening Plans. The latest message links to new FAQs along with where parents can view the recent Community Forums.

Some of the answers given during the fourm and in FAQs  make clear the district still has a lot of details to work through for the new learning models.

In Monday’s forums, Martineau referred to a new allowance by the state to potentially replace up to 10 days of school at the start of the year for increased preparation time including more professional development.* The Superintendent said the Combined School Committees would be presented that option at tonight’s meeting.

The current school calendar has a start date of Wednesday, September 2nd. The new DESE rules could delay that to September 16th (or possibly the 17th with a waiver, since Labor Day falls within those two weeks). Under the revised guidelines, that wouldn’t extend the end of the school year.*

As for the newly posted Frequently Asked Questions, some have tailored answers, while other responses point parents to the section of the updated Reopening Plans where they can find the answers.

Here is Martineau’s message: 

I have several District reopening updates that I want to share with the community:

  • On Monday, August 3, 2020, the District held three District Reopening Community Forums. I’ve included a link to the forums’ recordings for parents who could not attend. The forums were well attended, and across the three sessions, there were approximately 1000 attendees.

Link to District Reopening Forums

  • The District has developed a DRAFT District Reopening Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document for families. The FAQ comprises questions asked at last week’s Combined School Committee Meeting, the Reopening Community Forums, and inquiries submitted to the District via emails. The FAQ will be incorporated into a District Reopening Website, which will be launched shortly.

I will provide additional District reopening information this Friday, August 7, 2020. In the meantime, please reach out if you have any questions.

Tonight, in addition to discussing the school calendar, the Combined School Committees are expected to vote on the Reopening Plans. That vote won’t select which learning model to begin the year under. It is about the details of the plan and each model. A vote on the model is expected next week.

*You can read WBUR’s coverage of DESE’s agreement with the Massachusetts Teachers Association here. Below are the details posted by the MTA on their website:

1. DESE agrees that school districts will have 10 additional days at the start of the 2020-2021 school year before instruction of students begins, to work with educators to prepare for the new school year.

“2. The Commissioner will reduce the 180-day and student learning time requirements for the 2020-2021 school year to 170 days and 850 hours (for elementary schools) and 935 hours (for secondary schools) so long as districts begin providing instruction to students no later than September 16, 2020. If a district is unable to meet the September 16, 2020 requirement, it may apply for a waiver.”

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