Return To Full In-Person At Westford Schools 'Not Feasible' Yet

Jenna Fisher
·2 min read

WESTFORD, MA — It's going to be a while before students return to full time in-person learning, thanks to the pandemic, said Superintendent Bill Olsen at the last school committee meeting.

“If we are going to continue to provide safe conditions for both students and staff," said Olsen. "We need to continue, for right now, with the model we have.”

Olsen said the district wants to bring students back to school for full time learning as soon as possible, said Olsen. But it depends on whether it's feasible, said Olsen during a school committee meeting Nov. 9.

Health experts say major causes of transmission include close contact —defined as fewer than 6 feet from someone for 15 minutes over a day— and airborne transmission. Distancing and proper ventilation, which are both in play across the district, are critical to reducing transmission, Olsen reiterated.

But part of deciding whether it's feasible depends on the number of cases of students who have tested positive, which has seen an increase recently, as well as the number of staff members who have tested positive.

There are a number of teachers approaching and in the high risk category, Olsen said, adding he was both concerned for their health and safety and acutely aware that substitute teachers are difficult to find right now.

"We're all hoping that at the earliest possible time that it's safe, we can bring students back full time," he said, "But if you read the governor's comment carefully they put a qualifier in there."

The key phrase he said, was "if feasible."

The hybrid model in place makes it feasible to follow safety guidelines right now, Olsen said.

This article originally appeared on the Westford Patch