WAKEFIELD, MA — Northeast Metro Tech's School Committee voted Thursday night to transition the district to its hybrid learning model in December, Superintendent David DiBarri said.
Students will transition to hybrid learning starting Wednesday, Dec. 2. Northeast Metro Tech started school remotely this fall due to a high number of COVID-19 cases in Revere, where it gets the majority of its students.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Baker-Polito administration have said schools can open for in-person learning as long as proper health and safety protocols are implemented and being followed. The DESE is urging districts to continue fully remote learning models only as a last resort.
State guidelines say districts and schools in communities that, under the updated COVID-19 risk assessment metrics, are designated as "gray," "green," or "yellow," should hold fully in-person learning if possible. Districts in communities designated as "red" or high risk areas for COVID-19 are expected to follow hybrid models and provide in-person learning opportunities as much as possible for students with high-needs.
Students at Northeast Metro Tech and their families who wish to continue fully remote may do so.
"With DESE's new guidance and scientific data that illustrates schools can operate safely with the proper precautions in place, our District will be transitioning to hybrid learning," DiBarri said in a statement. "In-person learning is invaluable. Students, especially those pursuing career and technical careers, benefit tremendously from being able to work on hands-on projects alongside their instructors. The social emotional benefits of seeing their friends in-person also cannot be replicated."
Students will be divided into two cohorts, which will allow for approximately 50 percent of students to be in the building at any given time on an alternating schedule. Students will be grouped into cohorts for their academic courses, and will resume their career and technical education through their shops.
"We've been preparing for this for several months now, and are ready to return to in-person learning through a hybrid model," Principal Carla Scuzzarella said. "Students and staff will be expected to wear their masks, practice social distancing and practice regular hand washing and hand sanitizing. Our facilities will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily, and high touch areas will be re-cleaned throughout the school day. We're excited to welcome everyone back to our facility in the coming weeks."
The district will email students and families with their hybrid learning schedules later this month. Students and staff will be expected to follow several precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
Masks will be mandatory for students, faculty and staff at all times during in-person learning. All personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, face shields, sanitizer, gloves, thermal thermometers, safety glasses, and nurses supplies, have been secured and stored.
Six feet of physical distancing will be required in the building, including in classrooms.
Portable walls have been placed in the cafeteria to create extra classroom space to support social distancing.
Shops have been expanded by removing the walls to adjacent classrooms to facilitate social distancing.
Students and teachers have been provided with their own Chromebook laptops.
At each teacher and secretary desk, a plexiglass shield has been installed.
Hand washing and sanitizing stations are available throughout the school’s facility.
Nano septic touch pads have been installed throughout the building to kill viruses on commonly used surfaces, such as handrails.
An outdoor mobile nurse’s station has been set up.
Professional disinfectant sprayers and equipment, and UV-C high power disinfection system have been purchased to be used for thorough, daily classroom cleaning. Air purifiers with UV lights have been placed in every classroom as well.
An airflow consultant has evaluated all of the district's shops and classrooms.
Upgrades to the HVAC system in the basement of the school have been made to improve airflow.
A staggered start and end time to the school day will be implemented to facilitate the transportation requirements outlined by DESE.
For the latest updates, visit the District's website by clicking here.