Town to bring young students back

Madeline Hughes, Andover Townsman, Mass.
·2 min read

Feb. 18—Kindergartners and first graders in Andover will be going back to school four days a week starting March 8, Superintendent Claudia Bach wrote in an email to parents Friday.

Bach announced the district is working on a plan to bring back all of the students currently enrolled in the remote model and will present the plan to the public at the Feb. 25 School Committee meeting.

"The health and safety of staff and students remain the most important piece of any in-person learning plan," said Shannon Scully, School Committee chair. "We look forward to a presentation of how teachers, principals, and other administrators worked together to solve the complicated logistics of more in-person learning while maintaining compliance with (the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) regulations."

This comes as the school district has been receiving public pressure to get students back into school full-time. District officials had said the district is prioritizing bringing back its youngest learners first.

The school district currently has students back two days a week in its current hybrid model where one cohort go to school Monday and Tuesday while half of the class video conferencing into class. Then the groups switch Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday everyone is remote.

Kindergarteners and first graders will still be remote on Wednesdays with the rest of the district to allow school nurses to work at the town's vaccination sites on Wednesdays, Bach wrote. She previously has mentioned that Wednesdays are used for professional development and deep-cleaning in the schools as well.

The announcement also comes the same day that the CDC provided guidance for reopening schools that explicitly stated younger students in elementary school are less susceptible to transmitting the virus.

Because of the less frequent virus transmission between elementary students and their social needs, the CDC recommended they be prioritized for going back to school even in places that had higher transmission.

Details of the district's plan remain unclear. Bach did not immediately return calls asking about the plan.