Worcester public schools work through ‘logistical puzzle' preparing for hybrid learning in November

Worcester public schools work through ‘logistical puzzle' preparing for hybrid learning in November

WORCESTER, Mass. — The Worcester School Committee met on Thursday night to discuss what members described as a somewhat aggressive plan to reopen Worcester Public Schools next month, in Quarter 2.

Some committee members defined it over Zoom as a “logistical puzzle,” referencing the constant moving of parts for the full plan to come together by November 16th.

The proposed plan aims to bring students who need the most assistance, back to the classroom first.

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Students entering the Quarter 2 hybrid model include:

  • Pre-K through Grade 12 students with Complex Significant Disabilities
  • Worcester Tech High 10, 11, 12th grade
  • Comprehensive High Schools Chapter 74 Program Students
  • Innovative Pathway Students
  • New Citizen Center Elementary, Secondary and Young Adult Students
  • Academic Center for Transition (ACT), Alternative Program at St. Casmirs, Challenge and Reach Academy, and Gerald Creamer Center, Day and Evening Programs and the Transitions Program

For details about the proposed plan for each school, and for more information about Q2 and Q3, click here.

The plan for Quarter 3 invites back a majority of students in the district, who will likely have the option to return to the classroom for one day a week at the end of January 2021.

In the meeting, school committee members also discussed the importance of the $15 million investment into providing new ventilation systems in school buildings and city offices.

There was discussion of setting the optimistic goal of having implementation completed by Quarter 3 in January.

When it came to transportation logistics, it was stated that 11,500 students take Worcester Public School Transportation daily, which is about 45 percent of the student population.

The average large bus carries 71 elementary school students. However, with social distancing measures in place, a bus would only be able to transport 24 students at a time, which is one-third of normal capacity.

Earlier in the day, city leaders, including Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and the city’s Medical Director Dr. Michael P. Hirsh, told Boston 25 that there has not been a decision about delaying Q2′s start date, and that it is something the school committee is revisiting on a week-to-week basis as new data becomes available.

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