Barnstable Schools to Submit Reopening Plan on Friday

BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable School District will submit their draft reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year to State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley on Friday.

“My understanding is that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will review all plans to make sure that all required elements for reopening are in the plan,” said Superintendent of Barnstable Public Schools Meg Mayo-Brown.

“Our next step is a survey that is going out on Monday in order to understand, with some degree of certainty, the number of students who will opt into remote.”

The reopening plan will prioritize in-person learning for Enoch Cobb Early Learning Center, Barnstable’s pre-school, and for the town’s kindergarten through grade 3 schools which include Hyannis West Elementary, Centerville Elementary, West Villages Elementary, Barnstable Community Innovation School, and Barnstable West Barnstable Elementary.

This in-person model will see students attend school in-person on Monday’s, Tuesday’s, Thursday’s, and Friday’s.

The return to in-person learning will come with health safety precautions such as appropriate physical distancing and health checks.

Face coverings are also required for all students’ grades 2 and up.

Barnstable United Elementary, Barnstable Intermediate School, and Barnstable High School will prioritize a hybrid learning model.

“Due to the size of enrollment at each of those schools and the physical distancing requirements, we cannot bring back all students to in-person at once,” said Mayo-Brown.

“We have to implement a hybrid model at those three schools.”

The hybrid model consists of both in-person learning and remote learning.

To accomplish this, students at the three schools will be placed into cohorts.

“Cohort A across the three schools would attend in-person learning Monday and Tuesday and learn remotely Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,” said Mayo-Brown.

“Cohort B would be the opposite, cohort B students would attend in-person learning on Thursday and Friday and would be remote learning Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.”   

All public schools in the town will be closed on Wednesday’s for a deep cleaning and students at all schools will learn remotely.

“Just to summarize, all K through 12 schools will be closed to students on Wednesdays for cleaning,” said Mayo-Brown.  

“That break mid-week for us on Wednesdays where all students are remote allows for some deep cleaning of our buildings. It also allows for our teachers and staff to engage in additional training, professional development and it gives us an opportunity to visit our proctors in place to make sure that those protocols are indeed creating health classrooms and health schools.”   

If parents and guardians of students at any Barnstable Public Schools wish to do so, they can choose to have their child or children put on a remote learning only plan.   

If parents or guardians select this plan but then wish to change their decision they will also be able to do so but they are asked to do so at the end of a grading period.  

There will also be a cohort C and a cohort D for the hybrid-model schools.

Cohort C will consist of students that will need to attend in-person learning four to five times a week, such as those whose parents work at a Barnstable Public School.

Cohort D will consist of students who are on the remote learning only plan.

Parents and guardians will be able to request a different cohort if they assigned cohort does not fit their family’s specific needs.

“If we’ve assigned you cohort A and that is not working for you or for your family, we want to create a process where you can request cohort B,” said Mayo-Brown.  

The state commissioner of education revised the school year calendar at the state level to allow for additional staff days.

In a regular year school year, students would need to attend for 180 days, however the commissioner has reduced that to 170 days to allow for an additional ten days prior to the school year so that schools can prepare for the return of students to in person learning.

Initially the draft plan called for a phased-in opening beginning for students on September 14 however due to the changes made by the commissioner of education, the phased in opening will now begin on September 16.   

The phased-in opening will see all K through 12 students begin remote learning on September 16 and last for two weeks.

“What that means for Barnstable Public Schools is that are students will begin the remote learning phase on September 16,” said Mayo-Brown.

“This is a change, the last calendar that you would have seen from us indicated that students were beginning their remote learning on September 14. Again remote learning will begin on September 16.”

After that, the schools will enter a phase of reduced days for two weeks beginning on September 28.

The reduced days phase will see students return to school for in-person or hybrid learning for four hours a day.

Finally, on October 13, students will return to school for in-person or hybrid learning for an entire day.

Mayo-Brown noted that the phased-in return is contingent on health safety precautions.

She said that officials will be monitoring COVID-19 cases through the region and that a spike in cases on Cape Cod could alter the plans.

Any changes to the plan or the calendar are subject to a vote from the Barnstable School Committee.

To view the Barnstable school’s reopening plan, click here.  

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the CapeCod.com News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.



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