Middleton votes to return to in-person learning for pair of elementary schools

MIDDLETON, Mass. — Three towns making up a school union are divided as some kids will be returning to the classroom full-time. In Middleton, school buses will be rolling next month. Nearly 700 elementary students will able to go back to the classroom full-time.

"I was satisfied," said James Campbell a Middleton parent.

"I was thrilled. I thought it's great they're offering both options," said Jennifer Pavenski, another Middleton parent.

Reopening teams for Fuller Meadow School and Howe-Manning Elementary School voted 4-1 to return to school in-person.

Dr. Scott Morrison, the superintendent of Tri-Town School Union who oversees Middleton elementary schools told Boston 25 News the following:

"Across every city and town in Massachusetts, regardless of the model selected for the opening of school, there will be a diversity of opinion. The same could be said for Middleton."

Out of the schools that make up Tri-Town School Union, Middleton is the only one returning in person. Boxford voted 3-2 to start remotely with a phased-in hybrid return. Topsfield voted 5-0 for a phased return to school, which means students will begin remotely and move to a hybrid.

Related: Back to school: Districts release plans for reopening schools

Both will allow for high-need students to take part in "in-person" instruction.

Meanwhile, parents are preparing and explaining to their children about the changes they'll see since the last time they were in school earlier this year.

"They've been going out with me to stores and things, so they're used to wearing their masks," Pavenski explained.

"All in all, when you look at the evidence and the data and the medical expert guidelines and opinions, we feel very strongly about the benefits of going back to class versus remote learning for our children," Campbell said.

Students and teachers will see a difference. On school buses and in the classrooms, social distancing and masks will be required. There will be staggered recesses, lunches, as well as drop-offs and pick-ups. Mask breaks will be built in.

"Middleton teachers are also in favor of a return to in-person learning that is guided by educational best practice and the health and safety of our students and educators," said Dr. Morrison, the superintendent of Tri-Town School Union.

For Middleton families who do not want their children back in the classroom, remote learning will be an option. School is slated to start September 16.

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