The superintendent of Worcester County Public Schools announced a phased-in reopening plan outside the Worcester County Board of Education building Thursday.
There are four stages in total.
Superintendent Louis Taylor says the school district has spent weeks trying to come up with the best way to reopen – and they’ve decided on a phased in approach that starts with a virtual format. “Worcester County public schools will begin the school year in stage one on September 8th with all students engaging in distance-learning,” said Superintendent Taylor.
The distance learning in stage one will be done virtually. Worcester County Board of Education president Eric Cropper says every two weeks the district will decide whether or not they’re ready to move onto the next stage. “Every two weeks will reevaluate where we are. It’s all about the safety of the kids, the teachers, the administrators, support staff,” said Cropper.
Stage two allows small, targeted groups of students to return back to school. Superintendent Taylor says the groups of students include those who might have problems connecting to the internet – and those whose parents feel should be around their peers. “We have students who have some concerns with their learning process. We have some concerns with the emotional well-being of our young people,” said Superintendent Taylor.
Stage three implements “A days” and “B days” – which is a hybrid model between distance learning and in person instruction. Lastly stage four allows all students back into the schools – if their parents choose to allow them to do so. “It’s a tight-knit community and everybody is respectful of everyone’s opinions. Me personally – I’ve got three kids in the school system. So for me it’s more than just a board member making decisions,” said Cropper.
Cropper says that the board and superintendent’s office have been working closely to get community input on how to reopen. “Safety of the kids and teachers and support staff – making sure that everybody has a voice. As an elected board member I’m out in the community – and I hear both sides of the conversation,” said Cropper.
Superintendent Taylor also said that the plan was modeled after the approach taken with summer school academies. He says it’s been successful for summer school – and is confident that it’s the right idea for the regular school year.