School Update: Website launched, Webinar posted, and more

Above: NSBORO has a website dedicated to the extensive details around how schools will operate in September. (images cropped from website)

Since late last week, there has been a flurry of communication around the Northborough and Southborough Schools’ Reopening Plans.

As promised, the school posted a dedicated website. A Q&A webinar was overwhelmed with many parents unable to login. Parents and students have been receiving school specific emails with more details. And parents have been communicating through social media about lobbying for changed start dates, coordinating on “pods”, and other related issues.

Here are some highlights.

Q&A Webinar

Those of you who were unable to join a webinar held by the administration will be glad to hear it is available online. (Apparently, there were more people interested in viewing it than the license allowed for.) You can click here for all of the district’s Reopening webinars. Yesterday’s is the one titled “Webinar_Hybrid Remote”.

The video begins with an overview of the Stand Alone Remote Program (for families who opt out of having kids attend school in person). At about 1 hour and 10 minutes in, the focus switches to the Hybrid Program (for having students alternating attending school two days per week, with remote learning the other three days). At about 1 hour and 40 minutes in, the administrators addressed questions related to both models.

Reopening Website

On Saturday, the district issued an update that included a link to a website dedicated to information on the school reopenings. It includes many links to help parents jump to the details they are concerned about. 

Main menus and featured links cover:

  • Planning Principles and Priorities
  • School Reopening Overview
  • Health, Safety & Well-being
  • Learning and Teaching Models
  • Student Support Services
  • English Language Development
  • Technology Information
  • Facilities
  • Transportation
  • Arrival & Dismissal
  • Food Services
  • School Photos
  • School-Based Reopening Plans
  • HVAC System Readiness Reports
  • Health & Safety Protocols;
  • Classroom Set-ups and Bus Seating;
  • Schedules related to IEP Services;
  • FAQs: District Reopening Plan
  • Extended Day Programs and Recreation

Other updates – Cohorts and Survey Data, etc.

The district’s Saturday email included news to look for the Cohort assignments to be issued next week. 
The message also includes links to the parent responses to a recent survey. Results are broken down by K-5, Gr 6-8, and Algonquin. You can also drill down by grade. For K-8, you can even drill down by town. Overall trends show significantly more parents wanted some version of in school learning. There was also a significant percentage of parents willing to send kids to attend the Hybrid model who wouldn’t send kids to 100% in person learning. Still, across all grades there were many who will only consider Remote learning this fall.

School principals have been emailing school specific Reopening Plans to parents. For Algonquin, that included news on tentative orientation plans. The news is still vague but will include both in person and remote options scheduled for September 9th. The parent orientation is slated as a virtual event on the evening of September 10th.

Parents grappling

On social media parents are asking questions and venting frustrations. That includes many grappling with how they will handle kids during remote learning days. Some are looking to team up. Also shared, info on two local programs promoting options. Both are for a fee:

  • SkyRise Theater in Westborough – As I previously shared, the company is promoting options for the remote learning days. Tutors will supervise children all day, half day and/or “extended day”.
  • ForeKicks in Marlborough – The athletic facility is also pitching a full day program to supervise students during their learning time, including some recreation breaks.

If anyone is aware of another local option, please post a comment below.

As I previously wrote, the Hybrid will have students entering schools on a phased schedule with the youngest first. Some parents are lobbying the school to eliminate or speed up that phased approach. A letter that parents in both towns have signed on to support focuses on the worry that a window for kids to get in person learning will be missed or shortened by the delay. (Because I discovered the letter via a private Facebook group, I’m not providing a link.)

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