Updated – Marlborough High School to switch to remote learning

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Change made after city’s cases go up; 45 percent of active cases are in High School through age 29

Marlborough – Following review of data from the City’s Board of Health regarding COVID-19 cases, Superintendent Mike Bergeron recommended and the School Committee unanimously approved Sept. 22, that the High School move from hybrid learning model to full-remote effective Thursday, September 24. The school will tentatively have a planned return to the hybrid model on Oct. 13, although Bergeron said he will look at the data from the Board of Health the week of Oct. 5 and assess whether or not the students can return safely.

Bergeron said there have been seven positive cases at the High School but emphasized that none of those students were ever in the building. All other schools in the District will remain hybrid with Grades 1 and 2, continuing to attend full-time. There has been one reported case at 1Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb School and one reported case at Sgt. Charles J. Jaworek School;  however, neither of those students had not been in school. There have been no reported cases at the Goodnow Brothers School, the Raymond C. Richer School, or the Preschool programs.

High School Principal Dan Riley sent a letter on Sept. 23 to all parents explaining the process for remote learning, the daily schedule and said all High School teachers will continue teaching remotely from their classrooms.

All High School sports games and practices will also stop until the school goes back to the hybrid model.

“Over the past four to five days we (the city) has seen increases in positive cases and 45 percent of those active cases are in High School age through age 29,” Bergeron told the Committee.

Several School Committee members acknowledged that everyone was concerned following the Labor Day holiday and the return to school on Sept. 21 could result in possible cases.

Mayor Arthur Vigeant said the numbers from the Sstate fluctuate but are based on a two-week report.  The most recent data indicates 48 new cases and 37 active cases in the entire city.  “These numbers are going to stay in this ballpark for a while until we see a vaccine,” he told the Committee.

High School students in the Pathways, Connections and Post-Grad programs will continue in the classroom.

Bergeron released this letter Sept. 23 to families regarding the change to remote learning.

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Good morning Parents and Guardians,

Last night at the School Committee meeting I made the recommendation to have Marlborough High School switch from hybrid in-person learning to remote learning on Thursday Sept. 24th 2020.  Over the past three school days, we have been reviewing the data on positive COVID-19 cases of MHS students.  I want to be clear that none of these students attended school who were positive for COVID-19, but our actions are grounded in strategy to get ahead of positive cases at the high school level and prevent further community spread at all the levels of our schools.  It is a difficult decision to make, but one I firmly believe is in the best interest of the entire school community.  The administration has not seen any trend of positive cases of COVID-19 at any other school in the district.

Mr. Riley is going to be communicating directly with MHS parents and students about our period of remote learning, and our dates for review of the public health data to return to school for hybrid in-person learning.

I cannot stress enough to everyone that our ability to keep our schools open for in-person learning depends on our entire community upholding the practices of maintaining a 6 foot distance when in public, washing and sanitizing your hands, and wearing a mask.  Further disruptions to our school plans are inevitable if we as a community cannot help to stop the spread of COVID-19.  I hope each family discusses this topic tonight and commits to following these habits.

I want our schools to remain open for in-person schooling, but I need your help.  Please talk to your children, and as a household make your own plan to help stop the spread.

 

Thank you,

Mike Bergeron

Superintendent of Schools