Dear Essex North Shore Caregivers:
I am writing to update you on our school reopening planning process for Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School. This morning, the ENSATS District Committee unanimously approved a Hybrid Learning Model for Essex North Shore to follow when school reopens. The Hybrid Learning Model means that ENSATS students will alternate between being on campus and at home every other day. This will allow students to be taught in person by their teachers and then the following day, students will work remotely from home but again with their teacher live through a virtual classroom where attendance will be required. The preliminary ENSATS Return-to-School Plan can be found here.
In order to adhere to the school reopening guidance provided by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE), consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Pediatric Association, we also do not believe we can safely meet physical distancing requirements with all students and staff in the buildings at the same time. However, we do believe as a learning community that we can make significant changes in our school schedules and operating procedures to make a partial or hybrid approach to some in-person learning both safe and successful.
This approach will require strategies to ensure physical distancing, as well as a series of other critical health and safety measures, including wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, regularly cleaning and sanitizing our facilities, screening for symptoms of illness, and staying home from school when sick, to name a few of the measures we will be taking to keep learning as safe as possible. Please be assured that our planning process includes a comprehensive set of strategies and investments to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
We are scheduled to have school begin for students on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. This later start date was negotiated in July between the MA DESE and representatives from the three Massachusetts teachers unions, Massachusetts public school reopening for students follows a mandatory 10-day school reentry period for staff beginning on August 31, 2020.
We recognize that the circumstances of every family and staff member may be different, and that no plan ultimately will satisfy everyone in our community. Please know that the Hybrid Learning Model that we have adopted allows us consistency and flexibility to keep all students engaged and on task every day as we begin this new school year.
We will continue to use guidance from the state and post updates on our website and social media. As guidance changes, we will make adjustments accordingly. We are confident that the ENSATS learning community will prioritize both safety and learning as we prepare for the start of another successful school year. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation in these difficult times.
Heidi T. Riccio, Ed.D. Superintendent-Director