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Important Information on Procedures, Hybrid and Remote Learning, and Snow Days


Important Information on Procedures, Hybrid and Remote Learning, and Snow Days - Superintendent's Bulletin #21

Dear Families,

I hope you and your family are well during this complicated time leading up to our winter recess.

Now that all of our schools are open in their hybrid models we wanted to share with you some operational expectations.

The goal of this communication is to clarify some of the questions that have been posed to the district over the past week or so.

COVID Metrics and Decisions to Transition to Remote-Only

  • If you would like more information about the state metrics and the process that the district will use to make decisions, please review the presentation shared at the November 24 School Committee meeting and/or view the video of the meeting at the Belmont Media Center website. (The presentation begins at minute 32 of the meeting.)
  • As in many other parts of the state and country, Belmont has seen an increase in COVID cases in the last 10 days. Although some of these cases involve members of the Belmont Public Schools community, we do not currently see evidence of in-school transmission and therefore feel it is appropriate to continue in the hybrid model.
  • We do not plan to proactively switch to remote after the December vacation.  However, we recommend that all staff and students take their belongings with them before the vacation in case changing metrics result in a shift to the remote model.
  • If the metrics in Belmont change and require us to transition to the remote model, all schools will follow their remote schedules.

Attendance Procedures

  • Hybrid students who are sick (COVID or non-COVID) or quarantining can temporarily switch to remote.
  • Students who are attending school as remote-only students can continue to participate unless they do not feel well enough to do so. Please follow normal attendance procedures to notify school personnel.
  • If the hybrid student is absent on an in-person day for any other reason, they cannot switch to remote.
  • Teachers work very hard to plan their lessons based on the combination of in-person and remote/virtual participation students that are expected on that day. It adds an extra layer of challenge when students/families make changes, and this impacts the instruction for all students in the class.
  • These expectations are designed to provide as much stability as possible in an environment that is already very challenging.

Switching from Hybrid to Remote

  • Families may choose to switch from hybrid to remote at any time.
  • To make a switch, please contact your principal and school secretary.

Switching from Remote to Hybrid

  • There are designated windows when a student can switch from remote to hybrid. If you would like to switch, contact the principal and school secretary.
    • Elementary Schools: Requests received by 2nd Monday of the month are implemented on the first Monday of the next month.
    • Middle School: Requests received by January 29 will be implemented at the beginning of Term 3, which is February 8.
    • High School: Requests received by January 25 will be implemented at the beginning of Term 3, which is February 1.
  • In some schools, the switch may require a change of cohort or class(es) due to space requirements in classrooms. At the present time, this challenge is mainly at the middle school.

Residency Expectations

  • Students attending the Belmont Public Schools are expected to actually reside in Belmont as outlined in MGL 76 section 5.
  • If a family chooses to travel and they are remote only students, they may not exceed 15 consecutive school days outside of Belmont. Students who will be away from their residence in Belmont for longer than 15 school days will be unenrolled and will need to re-enroll upon their return to Belmont.
  • Families need to enroll their student in their current place of residence or they can choose to submit a home school to the Superintendent for approval. Please contact Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias (jdarias@belmont.k12.ma.us) to obtain the requirements for home schooling in Belmont.

Snow Days

  •  If the district is in remote learning and the buildings are closed for inclement weather, the district will not have to declare a snow day if remote learning can continue.
  • If the district is in hybrid learning and the buildings are closed for inclement weather, all classes (hybrid and remote only) will be cancelled.
  • Per state law, up to 5 days will be made up at the end of the school year.
  • Notifications of snow days will be made by the Superintendent following the typical protocol of emails, robo-calls, and notices on the website.
  • If we cancel hybrid days in January, our hope is that the pandemic will be less challenging in June allowing for more productive (and  maybe even in-person) days.

Respectfully,

John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Town of Belmont






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