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Hybrid Model and Revised Phased Presentations, Kindergarten Fee Announcement


Superintendent's Bulletin #11 - Hybrid Model and Revised Phased Presentations, Kindergarten Fee Announcement

Dear Belmont Community,

Principals from the elementary, middle, and high school presented the hybrid learning plans and schedules at the September 2, 2020 School Committee meeting. This meeting can be viewed on Belmont Media Center’s website. The schedules show the priorities of families and the district; increased contact with teachers, remote days involving “pen and paper” learning as well as live with a teacher, and the hope to keep cohorts intact from the remote start to school to the hybrid transition.

Also presented was an updated Return to Learning Fall 2020 to the School Committee which features an accelerated timeline to advance from phase to phase and a Bridge to Hybrid that allows for K-4 cohorts to come into the school once a week for in-person time with teachers and classmates.

The metrics we will use to move between phases was discussed, and the School Committee unanimously voted to accept DESE metrics and utilize support from the Belmont health department for decisions regarding movement within our Phased Plan. The School Committee also agreed to review the results of the air exchange audit as part of this process. We will have the report on our air exchange and classroom capacity in our buildings on or around September 11, which will then be presented to the School Committee when received.

We have received hundreds of questions from the community, which have helped inform our planning. In the event that the district moves to Phase 3 Hybrid, we sent an email to families yesterday seeking their decision on whether they would choose to move to full hybrid or a “remote only” pathway. In that email there is guidance on families who wish to switch models after starting the school year. We understand that the district will need to provide more information to families on this subject and will therefore be holding parent forums at each level (elementary, middle and high) to answer questions and provide more detail. The dates and times of the forums will be communicated to families by their school principals. We hope the ability for families to switch their preferences during the year helps in the decision making process. The remote plans and the hybrid plans can be viewed again in our webpage: COVID-19 School Opening Fall 2020.

Belmont SEPAC is holding a Parent Information Session on September 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to talk about school re-opening plans. Ken Kramer and Jonathan Libby from Belmont student services, Briana Wall from Belmont preschool, and Patric Barberi from the LABBB collaborative will be in attendance to listen to parent/guardian comments and answer questions. RSVP by September 8th is requested but not required, and the access information is also located there.

A good news story is the School Committee voted unanimously to eliminate the full day kindergarten fee beginning this school year, 2020-2021, and beyond. This is good news for our kindergarten families who no longer need to decide between paying this fee and whether they can access a full day of instruction. As part of this initiative to waive the fee the school department will see additional revenue from the state thus making this process a long term financial benefit for the Town.

Lastly, the next School Committee meeting is on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The main agenda item will be a vote on fall athletics given the recent guidance from DESE and the MIAA. This update is also in the Return to Learning Fall 2020 presentation, and more information will be given at the meeting. Please go to the School Committee page for the agenda and access, which will be posted by Monday, September 7.

Respectfully,

John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Town of Belmont






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