By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
NORTHBOROUGH – Robert E. Melican Middle School Principal Michelle Karb has been working with her team to prepare the school and students to head back to full-time, in-person learning to begin on Monday, April 26.
Algonquin Regional High School will also start this model on the same day.
Karb said during the Northborough School Committee on April 7 that she is excited that 31 students who have been on the full remote program are ready to return to the new model, leaving only 84 students in the remote program for the remainder of the year. Student schedule changes were able to be minimized.
“Our biggest goal was to disrupt as few students as we possibly could,” she said.
Supporting student transition back is priority
Karb said teachers and teams have been busy preparing for how to support returning students.
“Some students are actually doing well this year because we are in a hybrid model,” said Karb. “They really like the smaller class sizes; they really like working from home a couple of days a week. We are trying to think about how we support those students where this [change] may be a struggle for them.”
While recognizing that transition plans are important for some students in all grades, Karb said a special orientation will be held for sixth-grade students who have not stepped inside the building yet this year.
In addition, she also said that students’ stamina will need to slowly be built up again as they shift to the new model. The initial plan is to have a slow roll in and not have homework assigned initially, for example.
Facility and space changes made to accommodate student return
New desks and dining tables have been ordered to help with social distancing. Outdoor learning spaces will be utilized, accommodating classes such as chorus rehearsals.
“We continue to be transparent on what we are doing,” said Karb. “I am confident that we will be [ready] by the time the kids return.”
More student and interscholastic sports will be welcomed back after the April vacation break, bringing more feelings of normalcy again.
“It’s always impressive how many logistics are involved with running a building this year,” said Northborough School Committee Chair Keith Lebel.