School Officials and Parents Wait For Guidance on Fall Reopening

Falmouth Public Schools Superintendent Lori Duerr

FALMOUTH – Both school officials and parents of students are frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding the school year starting in September. 

“I know families are frustrated right now. I not only acknowledge that, I respect it and I appreciate it. I’m frustrated, too,” said Falmouth Public Schools Superintendent Lori Duerr. 

“My team is frustrated. These are just really uncertain times. The environment in which we live, it’s very hard to figure out what exactly it’s going to look like come September.”

Duerr said that school officials are waiting on input from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other data from the state before making decisions on how to conduct the upcoming school year. 

“I don’t know the timeline. When that’s going to come out for certain,” said Duerr. 

“We’re reading all the guidance as it’s coming out. We’re staying on top of any states that have already put out guidance to learn about what those possibilities are. We’re already preparing schedules for hybrid learning environments, where students will spend some time in school and some time in a remote environment.”

Duerr said that hybrid plans may include half of the students being on the premise some days while others are learning remotely, and switching the two groups on a fixed schedule.

The district is also looking at one-way hallways and eating lunches in classrooms as possible options to help maintain CDC guidelines for social distancing in the limited space.

Duerr said that some parents have voiced their desire for a 100 percent remote learning environment for their children.

“We are planning for that option. We’re planning for a hybrid, we’re planning for the day we can all be in there together, and we’re planning for a complete remote for those parents who would select that.”

Duerr said that the district will survey parents after they assemble more concrete plans to ensure that the coming year makes use of all information available.

Nurses with the school will also be assembling learning modules for students on sanitization and social distancing, so that they are informed as well as teachers.

Duerr also said that they are increasing supplies of disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and masks so that they are on hand for faculty and students.

“Before we put a plan out, we do need to see what the guidance from the state is going to be. It is frustrating. The timeline, I know, is not what parents want to hear. But the fact is we are working around many of these issues so that when we do have a plan from the state, we’ll be able to hit the ground running. And knowing what we will and won’t be able to do,” said Duerr.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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