Gloucester High School will be required to fully reopen by May 17th.
The commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley announced on Tuesday, that all high school districts in the Commonwealth must return to full in person learning by that date.
The Commissioner has taken a phased approach with fully reopening all schools. Starting back in April 5th elementary schools and April 28th middle schools began fully in-person. The department of Elementary and Secondary Education highly recommends schools to make every effort for high schools to have students in-person prior to the deadline.
Education Secretary James Peyser said “By bringing high school students back now, we will be in a stronger position to start school in the fall.”
While no official plans have been released for full return at GHS, Principal James Cook said he has planned for this possibility.
“During March and April, we looked at a lot of possibilities for what learning could look like in May and June. We came up with a plan and shared it with families and students before vacation,” Cook said.
He also made plans for what it might look like if DESE required high school students to return full time.
“Now we’re focusing on taking next steps with those plans to see what we can do, and how we can make it work,” Cook said. “As ever, our goal will be to keep everyone safe while also maximizing learning opportunities for students.”
Gloucester has been using a hybrid learning structure for the school year, but now all hybrid learning will not be accepted as an official school day. The DESE has allowed schools to apply for a waiver to continue their hybrid learning. Any district that does not receive a waiver will be required to make up any of the missed full in-person time.
Pooled COVID-19 testing has been offered to students and staff throughout the year and will be continuing on for the remainder of the school year.
Students who have selected fully remote learning are still allowed to continue with the remote academy. Parents and guardians may continue to choose the remote academy for the rest of the school year. Gloucester will also be required to provide daily “live check-in” for remote students.
With some students and staff now eligible for the vaccine, they are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccine to make the full return to school safer for everyone.