School Committee Updated on Status of Back to School Plans

Following Executive Session, School Committee Chair Stacey Raffi reconvened the remote open meeting of the Committee to order at 8:21 PM.  Dr. Susan Kustka reviewed and explained updates to the School Reopening Plan.

Interim Superintendent, Dr. Susan Kustka

Dr.Kustka said that bargaining with the unions is progressing on schedule and that she is optimistic for a conclusion to the bargaining as soon as Monday (9.14.20) evening.  However, in order to be able to fully implement the K-3 in-person option five days a week and the grade 4-12 hybrid model with its in-person component, Kustka shared a challenge: the increased staffing for the health and safety positions and substitutes is yet incomplete.  Some applicants have refused the job following their acceptance; the District has lost candidates to higher paying positions elsewhere; there have been late resignations and leaves of absence.

To assuage the recent decrease in the number of health and safety monitors and substitute positions, Dr. Kustka reported:

  1. All administrators have been asked to support “all hands on deck” such that administrators will assume duties where needed with a staggered opening in mind;
  2. Dr. Kustka sent an email to school parents with a plea to broadcast the need for college students not presently returning to school and other interested people to fill one of the open positions or to consider filling an open position themselves, five days a week for a period of at least one month.
  3. Dr. Kustka proposed a staggered opening of the in-person and hybrid learning models to allow more time:
    1. because of the concern that the school will have sufficient staff to open buildings safely, especially considering COVID 19 related coverage and safety needs;
    2. to provide time to fill the open positions; and
    3. to account for unexpected or unresolved leaves, and to utilize building substitutes and health and safety monitors in buildings that are open

Full In-Person Learning Schedules (Grades Preschool – 3)

Wednesday, September 16th:  In-person Learning Schedule

  • Grade 2 and Montessori, Ages 6-8 will begin in-person instruction at Placentino
  • Grade 3 will begin in-person instruction at Miller.

Thursday, September 17th: In person Learning Schedule

  • Grade 2 and Montessori, ages 6-8 will continue with in-person learning
  • Grade 3 will continue in-person instruction at Miller
  • Grade 1 will begin in-person learning.

Friday, September 18th: In person Learning Schedule

  • Grade 2 and Montessori, ages 6-8 will continue with in-person learning
  • Grade 1 will continue with in-person learning
  • Grade 3 will continue in-person instruction at Miler
  • Kindergarten will begin in-person learning
  • Preschool will ontinue to meet with their teachers remotely

Monday, September 21st

  • Preschool will begin in-person learning (joining grades K-2)

Hybrid 4-12 Learning Schedule (Miller, Adams, Holliston High School)

Wednesday, September 16 – Friday, September 18

  • Grades 4-12 would all begin hybrid remotely for the first 3 days.

Option A

  • One of the three schools (Miller, Adams or HHS) would start in-person portion of the hybrid model on Monday, September 21; the other schools would continue remotely
  • Another of the 3 schools (Miller, Adams or HHS) would start in-person portion of the hybrid model on Tuesday, September 29, the remaining school would continue remotely
  • The third school (Miller, Adams or HHS) would begin the in-person portion of the hybrid model on October 5.

Option B

Monday, September 21: 2 of the 3 schools will start in-person learning, the other school would remain remote for the week.

Tuesday, September 29: the 3rd of the 3 schools begins the in-person portion

Option C

Monday, September 21: All 3 schools begin in-person learning portion of hybrid model.

Of the three Options, Dr. Kustka recommended Option A, saying that it was the most feasible.  She said, “There is no perfect solution. 

During comments about the School Opening, Cynthia Listewnik, SC member, spoke about available child-care options: “My Learning Space,” (formerly an extended day program), My Village, and the Metro West YMCA operating in space at the Christ the King Church in Holliston.  Andy Morton said, “Our challenges are not unique.  Please understand that all this can change in an instant.”

In other business, the Committee approved content of its newsletter, prepared by Lisa Kocian.  Chair Raffi reported having paid school bills for $242,903.81 (of which $25,174.33 is under the CARES Act), and $172,135.72 ($29,986.93 under the CARES Act).

The Committee also approved a Resolution created by member Dawn Naborsky to be sent to the State Governor, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chair, and the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, requesting that the Commonwealth:

  1. Allocate funding for regular proactive testing for teachers, staff and students in HPS;
  2. Support the identification and procurement of appropriate testing strategies and supplies,
  3. Mandate that the MA Department of Public Health and local public health departments provide real-time data for decision-making including daily updates on the number and rates of new COVID-19 cases.

The meeting adjourned at 9:18 PM.  The next meeting of the School Committee is next Monday, September 14, at 6:30 PM.

Yvette Cain

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