- In-person learning with new health and safety requirements: Students return to school buildings, but schedules, classrooms and protocols are modified to meet health and safety requirements.
- Hybrid learning: Students learn both in-person and remotely.
- Remote learning: Learning takes place entirely remotely.
Wellesley Public Schools Supt. David Lussier issued a memo regarding the guidance:
Dear Members of the Wellesley Public Schools Community,
Earlier today, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released initial guidance (attached) for the reopening of schools in the fall. This guidance was developed through extensive input from the medical community, educators, and parents and reflects the clear goal of supporting the safe return of students and staff to our schools. While not a final blueprint, this document does underscore the many safety measures that will need to be in place to make this possible. This includes the combined benefit of wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, adhering to personal hygiene, and following strict cleaning protocols. The implications for our school operations are many.
The trajectory of the virus in Massachusetts has been moving in a positive direction, and yet the state is wisely wary of a resurgence that could result in a return to additional measures to help contain any new outbreaks. With this in mind, DESE is asking school districts to be prepared for multiple contingencies for the new year. More specifically, DESE is asking that each district submit three plans to the state for review later this summer: one that allows for a full opening with restrictions, a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, and a full remote-learning plan to be used in the event of a full closure.
The Wellesley Public Schools began its process of planning for these contingencies last month with the creation of an Advisory Committee on Reopening that includes student, staff, and parent representation, as well as smaller working groups focused on individual topics. In addition to the learning already captured from the experience of the past few months, we will be informed in our planning by additional survey work and focus groups over the summer.
We were also pleased to see that in addition to outlining the many prerequisite elements that need to be in place to reopen, the state is also planning to provide additional financial resources to help offset the many new expenses that communities will incur to proceed with this direction.
Today’s initial guidance provides an overview for reopening, but many questions still remain on a range of topics, including transportation and athletics. DESE anticipates addressing these and other areas of concern in the coming weeks. Needless to say, this will be a busy summer for our team as we continue to plan with many variables in mind. We will of course keep the community apprised of our planning efforts.
As daunting as all of this may seem, I believe I speak for our entire community when I say that we are excited at the prospect of returning to our schools in person once again. There is simply no substitute for the level of connectedness, social and emotional development, and academic progress that occur in our classrooms and schools. Our task now is to ensure that we can do this safely once again.
Dr. David Lussier
Superintendent of Schools