From Professor Darel Paul:

From iBerkshires:

Two months of input and advice from Mount Greylock’s working groups looking at the reopening of school were undone in four hours of discussion by the School Committee on Thursday night.
On a 6-1 vote, the committee directed interim superintendent Robert Putnam to submit to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education a radically different plan for the start of the year that moves more children into the school building more quickly than the administration was recommending.

Subject to approval by DESE and, not insignificantly, collective bargaining with the district’s unions, there will be no two-week period of fully remote learning as Putnam was proposing.

Putnam went into Thursday’s meeting with plans based on input from groups established in the spring and summer by him and his predecessor with the goal of getting the School Committee’s blessing for the plan he has to submit to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Friday.

Putnam laid out a plan largely like the one he presented in a virtual town hall on Tuesday evening and told the School Committee he was looking for guidance.

He got it.

[Williams Professor and School Board member] Steven Miller immediately concurred.

“I agree strongly with Regina,” Miller said. “One possibility is, can we have classrooms take staggered breaks so they’re not sitting in the room all the time. … This is a creative community where we can come up with answers. Can we eat lunch outside the classroom, especially in September on good days.

“There are a lot of families which were really hurt with how things happened [when schools closed in March], and whose family situation is not going to work with two days a week or not going to work with half days. There are a lot of families that need full day. I think at a bare minimum, we should be looking at how to get K through 4, if not K through 6, back to full days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. And see, from that, what do we need to make it happen. What resources do you need? What are the obstacles that are preventing us from doing this?”

Eventually, Miller made a motion that Putnam submit plans to DESE that call for the district’s K-6 pupils to be in school all day, four days per week and for the students at Mount Greylock to be in school two days a week with half in the building on Mondays and Thursdays and the other half on Tuesdays and Fridays — all starting on Sept. 16, the first day of the school year. And at the middle/high school, the School Committee voted, “the plan will be to go to full four-day instruction for any student who wants it … starting Oct. 1.”

That was the plan the School Committee endorsed, 6-1.

How will the union reply? I don’t know nearly as much about local Williamstown politics as I should.

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