By Susan Gonsalves, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Spacing and pacing will play roles in daily life at Westborough High School after students return to a five day, in-person model on Monday, April 26 after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns and hybrid learning.
High school administrators gave a presentation to the Westborough School Committee on March 24 that included talk about how they are intensifying “synchronous,” learning for kids at home prior to April vacation in order to prepare them for a full-time, more regulated school schedule.
“Like most schools, the buzz is [never] any greater than when the teachers and kids are together,” Principal Brian Callaghan said. “…That is what we are looking forward to.”
Assistant Principal Matthew Lefebvre explained that the high school has more than 500 sections of classes. Of those, about 200 have 18 or more students in them. That number that can still comfortably fit students and adhere to state guidelines for spacing.
“One hundred fifty-ish” sections, though, have 20 or more students per class. That’s when things get more complicated, Lefebvre said.
Like other grade levels have done, WHS will use outdoor space, tents, large areas like the gym and split classrooms in order to maintain three-feet of spacing between desks.
Regardless, for all those challenges, administrators say this is worth it.
Assistant Principal Jessica Barrett spoke about how having students and teachers together “brings curriculum to life” via opportunities for collaboration through labs and conversations with more participants.
She said teachers will be able to more effectively assess where students need extra support in-person. As such, they’ll be able to move forward at an appropriate pace.
“Having all students together is going to be a breath of fresh air,” Lefebvre said. “We’ll have to settle in and find our stride as we finish out the year.”
Callaghan added that having office hours during the pandemic where students could ask questions of administrators had been a success. It was such a hit, he said, that the office hours will be extended to parents in the run up to April 26. More details will be available next week.