With back to school right around the corner (just over a month away), there has been a lot of information from different news outlets and different people about what the return to school might look like this fall, so here is the article to answer everyone's questions.
Leading up to August 6th, many steps were taken to ensure that the school department made the right decision in regard to opening the schools. Committees were formed at the district level and for each school, plans for each possible return to school were developed and vetted by health professionals and administrators, the school committee had several workshops, and surveys were sent out to students, parents, and faculty.
On August 6th, the school committee met to vote on a final decision on which model Wareham Public Schools would follow going into the 2020-21 school year. Many people voiced their opinions, including students, parents, community members, and faculty. The committee also asked the superintendent and school principals many questions. The most important one, "What about busses? If a kid has not signed up yet, can they get to school?", to which Superintendent of Wareham Schools Kimberly Shaver-Hood said, "there are no more seats".
This means that the school department has unofficially announced that if you have not signed up for the bus yet, there is no guarantee that your child will have a spot on the bus to school. Better talk to your boss now and adjust those work schedules! It's looking like there is going to have to be a lot of parents taking their kids to school, and a lot of carpool.
Ultimately, at the August 6th meeting, the school committee voted to approve the hybrid learning approach. This means school will start fully online on September 16th, and transition into the school building starting on October 5th. Students will have the option to sign up for hybrid, full online, AND will have the ability to switch. For example, if you sign up for hybrid and want to switch to full remote you can do so, and vice-versa.
Just yesterday, on August 11th, the superintendent sent out a letter to all families, announcing that the link is now posted to sign up for either hybrid or online. She says, "As a parent/guardian, you have a decision to make. Wareham Public School is providing you two different options for academic instruction during this school year. The two models are: Hybrid Model: Students will spend two days a week (shortened days) in the classroom and the rest of the week, accessing academics remotely. Students will be divided into two (2) groups, cohort A and cohort B. Cohort A will attend school on Monday and Tuesday. Cohort B will attend school on Thursday and Friday. All learning will be remote on Wednesday. Remote Model: All academic instruction will be delivered online. Students will not attend school; rather, students will engage in online learning provided by Wareham Educators.".
Some other things worth knowing about back to school. The MIAA released a statement regarding fall sports. Sports are slated to start September 14th. While the statement was a little difficult to interpret, the meaning of it was to say that despite what type of return to school the school committee's of Massachusetts vote for, it does not reflect the MIAA's decision on the outcome of fall sports. For example, even if most schools decided to go full online in September, this does not mean that the MIAA will cancel the fall sports' season.
It can also be speculated that activities that normally occur in school, may not happen this year. This is included, but not limited to; no in-person clubs, heavily restricted sports, no dances, no pep-rallies, no spirit week, no lunches, no library, no extra-help after school, no advisory, no assemblies, and more. This begs the question for many students, is it even worth going back to school? Hopefully, it just means no more MCAS.
Still have questions about what back to school will look like? Refer to this list of Frequently Asked Questions the school department has put out.