AUBURN — The school district is developing a plan to bring “high-support” students in kindergarten through grade 12 back to school five days a week.

High-support students are defined as those who are struggling to engage remotely or who are failing classes.

The number of students who return to in-person instruction five days a week will depend on the availability of space in each classroom, Assistant Superintendent Michelle McClellan told the School Committee on Wednesday.

McClellan chairs the district’s school re-entry steering committee.

She said those tasked with identifying struggling students would consider “comparability on all levels and consistency on all levels.”

Whether a student returns to class full time would be decided by parents and would not be a mandate.

The district’s re-entry plan approved by the School Committee in August mandates that students must be 6 feet apart in classrooms and on buses. That state guideline is at least 3 feet of distance between students but 6 feet during meals.

The district’s guideline for distancing would not change under the new proposal, McClellan said.

She said the students who need more support would be added to existing “cohorts,” groups that attend in person two or three days a week and get remote instruction two or three days.

The details of how that would work were still being worked out by the steering committee, McClellan said.

She said the committee also is working on determining when the new schedules would begin. The School Committee is expected to vote on the plan March 17.

Chairwoman Karen Mathieu sought to clarify the plan.

“We are not opening schools and bringing back all students five days a week,” she said. “That is not the path the steering committee is going down now.”

McClellan said that would not be possible under state guidelines for social distancing.

Committee member Pam Hart said she was worried about further stigmatizing students who are already stigmatized because they are struggling.

She also said she had an issue with the “equity of this plan. How will you pick one kid and not another? I’m worried this might cause more chaos.”

McClellan said the committee would address questions and she would get back to the board before March 17.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: