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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Ashland Schools Follow Hybrid Model for Fall Opening

Aug 27, 2020 09:19AM ● By Cynthia Whitty

Ashland School Superintendent Jim Adams submitted a reopening plan to the state on August 10 and shared the plan with the community that day through his newsletter. The plan can be read online,

Adams wrote to parents, guardians, faculty and staff, “. . . the Ashland School Committee approved my recommendation to start the 2020 School Year in a hybrid model. This plan has been submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for their approval.”

“The plan was voted by the School Committee on August 6,” Laurie Tosti, School Committee chair, said. “We will be returning with a hybrid model, which includes two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning. Nobody will attend in person on Wednesdays, when a deep cleaning of each building will occur.”

“The plan was determined by a number of factors: DESE guidance, space, budget, surveys of parents and staff, input from local boards (tour of buildings with School Committee members, the Board of Health and the Select Board). All input was considered. The final decision made by the School Committee with the superintendent recommendation and the factors listed above,” Tosti said.

“Administrators from every building had input into crafting the plan, and parts of plan will look different in each building depending on what is age/curriculum appropriate. The same safety measures will be implemented across the district. Each building will have a top to bottom cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing performed each Wednesday.”

The switch to remote learning in the spring was abrupt but officials expect the fall opening to be smoother.

“With no training or preparation for the initial remote learning experience, it was not as robust as we expect it to be moving forward. Ten additional days of professional development have been added at the beginning of the year to properly prepare,” Tosti said. “[I’m] not sure that there are any challenges unique to Ashland that aren’t being experienced everywhere. Clearly we all believe that in-person/all-day learning is best and that the physical and emotional wellbeing of many children is enhanced by being in school. However, the challenges related to physical distancing and safety during this pandemic require the necessary modifications.”