Old Colony devises preliminary schedule for time away from school

Mar 28, 2020

ROCHESTER — After weeks of working on materials and a format for online learning during school coronavirus shutdowns, Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High school sent out a letter to community members on March 28, outlining some of the structure and content of its classes until May 4. 

Governor Charlie Baker has ordered that schools stay closed until early May. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has also told schools that they cannot teach new material in that time, since it might disadvantage students who lack access to wifi.

Old Colony’s strategy in response to those directives involves assignments on Monday, virtual office hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and feedback on assignments on Fridays. The schedule also incorporates morning meetings, meditation, and creative time for students.

“We understand it is unrealistic to replicate the educational experience our students benefit from during normal school operation,” wrote Superintendent-Director Aaron Polansky in the letter. 

Work will be posted every Monday using the schedule that Old Colony usually uses for grades 9 and 11 and 10 and 12. On the vocational side, students are asked to create a “how to” video of themselves teaching a technical skill every Sunday.

Old Colony has also devised a daily “schedule of regularity,” which starts students at 7:45 each morning and releases them at noon for outside time.

The school also provided resources for students who may face significant financial changes in their family, if one or both of their parents have filed for unemployment.

It recommended students use Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline for free food assistance, or the Department of Transitional Assistance, which assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency.

The school will continue to work with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and modify if needed based on guidance from the state organization.