On the eve of high school and middle school students returning to 5 day a week in person learning this Monday, virus levels in the Plymouth school system have remained steady over the past four weeks, according to data released by the school department today.
A total of 27 students have active cases, two students reported acquiring the virus from “in school” transmission. Two employees have active cases, both from outside school exposure.
Elementary students started back five days a week on March 29th.
Virus levels for students and employees in Plymouth public schools remain steady again for the third straight week after bumping up in the middle of March. One employee reported acquiring the virus from “in school” transmission, a total of 5 employees have active cases, with 26 student active cases.
Savery added, “the sooner the better…let’s just get going.”
Unlike two weeks ago, Superintendent Christopher Campbell did not make a specific recommendation for a particular return date, but presented three possible return dates of April 12, April 26 or May 3rd.
A return to 5 day a week, in person instruction on April 12th, the beginning of the term, would provide 45 in person days for high school students, with 30 days for seniors.
Committee Member Dr. James Sorensen, who voted in favor of 5 day return two weeks ago noted, “you can find data to support any position.. the science is dynamic.”
“Why don’t we bring them back at the most advantageous date…we should do it our way and do it right?” asked Committee Member Robert Morgan.
Previously the committee approved sending elementary and middle school students 5 days a week in person instruction. Elementary students returned today, middle school opens to five days a week on April 12th.
Savery, Morgan, Sorensen and Burgess voted yes. Badger, Lacombe-Heywood and Pizano voted no.
“It’s one thing to fall behind in Algebra. It’s another to contract a serious illness that will follow you for the rest of your life,” said Committee Member Michelle Badger who voted no.
“By the 26th, we can assume teachers will be fully vaccinated…the risk of life weighs heavily,” said Committee Member Vedna Lacombe-Heywood who also voted no.
Virus levels in the Plymouth public schools remained relatively level week over week with 27 students and 5 staff reporting new cases. Unlike last week, none of the student or staff cases were “due to school exposure.” 74 students are reported quarantined due to exposure (almost all non-school related) and 4 employees quarantined.
Elementary students are scheduled to return to 5 day week in person class on Monday and middle school April 12th. The school committee will also meet on Monday to once again consider sending high school students to in person class 5 days a week. The committee defeated a similar motion earlier this month.
For the first time since the beginning of the school year the Plymouth school department is reporting two student virus cases due to “in school exposure”. The total number of student virus cases is up to 28 from 13 the week before, the weekly peak was 47, for the week ending January 22 (including exposure outside of school).
The number of students quarantined fell week over week down to 65, last week 95 students were quarantined with the virus. Only one student is currently quarantined due to in school exposure, last week 16 students.
Elementary students are scheduled to return to 5 day week in person class on March 29th and middle school April 12th. The school committee will meet on March 29th to once again consider sending high school students to in person class 5 days a week. The committee defeated a similar motion Monday.
Middle school students will return to 5-day a week in person learning on April 12th, but the school committee defeated a separate motion by a 4-3 vote to authorize high school students to return the same day. Elementary students were previously approved to return March 29th.
The committee’s action went against Superintendent Christopher Campbell’s recommendation to return both middle and high school students on April 12th, the beginning of fourth term.
Campbell noted some students were performing well under the hybrid model, with more A grades earned, but also more F grades being issued. “The question is weather not we’re going to able to support those students not doing well in the hybrid model…I think what this pandemic has demonstrated to us, is the power of the classroom teacher…at high school our students have one physical contact day, on any given week.”
School committee member Michelle Badger moved to split the middle and high school decisions as two separate motions, one for middle school and a different motion for high school return.
The middle school vote passed by a 6-1 vote, with only member, James Sorensen voting no.
The motion to return high school students full time in person was favored by members Morgan, Burgess, and Sorensen. Members Pizano (recently appointed to fill vacancy), Lacombe-Heywood, Badger and Savery voted no.
Committee member Vedna Lacombe-Heywood said she was trying to “understand the rush” given the state education Commissioner Riley has not provided a mandatory date for a middle and high school return.
Conversely, committee member Robert Morgan said “we should take a leadership decision” before the state makes the decision for the committee. The committee might be forced to authorize a return of high school students if Riley orders it.
Some school committee members expressed concern about returning just prior to April vacation, but Superintendent Campbell noted there was no spike after February vacation.