BOSTON (CBS) – Some students and parents in Massachusetts will have to wait longer to find out what their school districts plan to do this September.
Schools across Massachusetts were due to submit their final fall reopening plans to the state Monday. But that deadline has been extended to Friday, August 14.
Each district submitted three preliminary plans last month – one for all remote, one for all in-person and one hybrid model.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said 516 preliminary plans from superintendents, charter schools, special education schools, and collaboratives have already been reviewed.
Final plans must include an analysis of facilities that aims for six feet of physical social distancing with three feet being the minimum acceptable distance; changes to transportation including boarding, seat assignments and pick-up and drop-off protocols; and a clear remote learning plan for families who request their children stay home.
Schools must also have procedures to protect vulnerable students, including those with disabilities and those learning English.
Another challenge for administrators and teachers will be safety plans for lunch and recess, which do not count toward “structured learning time.
Authorities are encouraging all schools to build time into the beginning of the academic year to host family and student orientation, to answer questions, talk about expectations and provide training for remote learning.
Tom Scott, the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents that there is a feeling among superintendents that they “are being placed in a no win situation.”
“You really have a serious conflict going on here. You’ve got a sizable number of parents who either want their children to come back in some sort of in person or think they do,” said Scott.
Then there are parents, teachers and teachers unions who don’t want to return to class at all.
“We’re caught between knowing that remote learning has not provided everything we wanted it to in terms of relationship building between teachers and children on one hand and we have COVID and the issues related to that on the other,” he said.