The Natick Public Schools (NPS), in collaboration with the Natick Board of Health, in response to community members’ questions about when schools will reopen for full-time in-person learning has issued an update about likely next steps, along with an update of COVID cases in the schools.
The NPS currently are running on a hybrid learning model.
Although COVID cases continue to climb across the state, schools have been getting the message from Gov. Charlie Baker that they should move toward reopening full-time for in-person instruction.
In a letter to the community, Superintendent Anna Nolin said, “Certainly, bringing all students back would improve instruction, but that was not feasible in June and it is still not feasible at this point. Positive COVID cases in Massachusetts have risen to well over 1,000 daily. To return the students would mean to relax the standard of six feet of social distancing.”
Nolan says to undo safety protocols at a time when the Center for Disease Control continues to recommend six feet of social distancing would be premature.
Additional challenges the district faces are staffing classrooms when teachers are out as they await everything from COVID-19 testing results, to taking care of more garden-variety illnesses such as the common cold, to caring for their own children when they get sick. And finding substitute teachers? Forget about it. We saw one Facebook post for an out-of-state district in which the superintendent explained that the high school would be closed for the day because there would not be enough adults in the building to staff the place.
Meanwhile, everything from testing to hand sanitizer going forward will be on the school district as the last of the CARES money is allocated.
“Please know that we recognize the immeasurable value in having all students in our schools, and it is truly our goal to see their return as soon as it is feasible and safe,” Nolan continues. “However, given the challenges that we are presently facing, I hope this letter helps to explain the reasons that are preventing a full and immediate return to school at this time. I know that this perhaps renders disappointment for those who want a full-time return, and perhaps brings relief for those who wish to carry on with remote instruction.”
COVID-19 updates for NPS
Note: the State and the Governor have made changes to the leveling and metrics system for the state and to that end, the complete data that for NPS is not yet complete.
The COVID dashboard is updated weekly in conjunction with the Natick Board of Health.
The next School Committee meeting is Nov. 30. You can email the School Committee with any questions, concerns, or comments: firstname.lastname@example.org