Old Rochester Regional District releases in-person plan

Nov 2, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — The Old Rochester Regional School District released a plan on Oct. 30 further clarifying its plan to return to full in-person learning, following demands from concerned parents at school committee meetings. 

In a letter introducing the document, Superintendent Michael Nelson wrote that unless mandated by Governor Charlie Baker, the decision to go either full in-person or full remote will be up to the school committees. 

“It will continue to be vital for our school community to be ready to pivot to the most appropriate learning model based on data trends and key indicators,” Nelson wrote.

School committees will evaluate the feasibility of an in-person return, as well as the potential necessity for a shift to remote learning.

Decisions will be based on state and county data as well as recommendations from Boards of Health and Superintendent Nelson. 

In the plan, Nelson gave a recommendation that full-in person learning resume within two weeks of the beginning of phase four of the state’s reopening plan. 

According to the state, phase four won’t begin until a covid vaccine is released. 

School committees will notify parents of the transition to in-person learning around two weeks before the in-person model goes into effect. 

Schools will shift to a remote learning model if local communities or the state experience “severe” covid conditions, according to the plan. 

The plan states that the district is evaluating ongoing priorities like equal access to learning opportunities, stability, family scheduling and learning spaces as it considers a shift from the hybrid learning model that it is currently using.

The plan also details data on the feasibility for an in-person return for each school in the district.

For the district’s elementary schools, feasibility data was released for in-person learning for all grades, as well as for Kindergarten through second grade specifically. 

The return to in-person schooling for younger elementary students has been at the center of an ongoing tension between concerned parents and the district. 

In October, parents in Mattapoisett drafted a petition to return the town’s Kindergarten through third graders to full-in person learning, based on a low covid rate and similar returns taking place in nearby communities like Fairhaven.

Since the release of the petition, Mattapoisett spent a week designated as a “red,” or high-risk community by the state, and returned to “yellow,” or medium-risk status when new state data was released on Oct. 29.

The district’s in-person learning plan addendum, including feasibility data for each of the district’s schools, can be found here.