FRAMINGHAM – The Keefe Regional Technical School Committee voted last night, August 6, to approve the proposed hybrid opening plan for the 2020-21 school year. The Committee also voted to approve a new 2020-21 school calendar, last night.
Keefe will proceed with a hybrid model that will allow the school to bring about 50 percent of the students back into the building on any given day.
The goal is to have 4 to 15 students per classroom, maintain 6 feet of social distancing, and students will be in school 2 days a week.
The hybrid approach will involve students to be divided into two different cohorts, named Blue and Orange. The students will be split alphabetically by last names. One group is split between the letters of A-L and the other group is split between the letters of M-Z.
Keefe is planning to continue their standard alternating A and B week cycles in place with these same cohorts.
With the inclusion of the cohorts, the plan would be that on the days the Blue Cohort goes to school, the Orange Cohort would stay home. On the days that the Orange Cohort goes to school, the Blue Cohort would stay home.
Keefe Principal Shannon Snow said that splitting students up by grade levels for the cohorts, rather than being split by alphabetical order, would not reduce the number of students in classrooms and programs.
The Blue Cohort will attend school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The Orange Cohort will attend school in person on Thursdays and Fridays.
Wednesdays will be an at-home learning day for all students.
Snow emphasized that students would be engaging in pre-recorded lectures and activities to allow teachers to participate in virtual professional development and work on developing lesson plans.
Wednesday would allow for an additional day of deep cleaning for the building that includes high contact surface areas, classrooms, and CTE program materials.
The Commonwealth also required that school districts create stand-alone remote programs for families to support children who do not wish or do not want to come into school.
As of the passing of the plan last night, the details for these programs have not been fully developed yet by the administration.
The plan, as been approved, requires the refinement of several other areas. These areas include the structure of Keefe Tech’s Stand Alone Remote Learning Program, additional transportation details, the final date and agenda for Freshman Step-Up Day(s), and ongoing decisions on athletic competition that are decided by the MIAA.
In additon to the passage of the operating plan, the Keefe School Committee also passed the 2020-21 School Calendar.
According to the calendar, the first day of school will be on September 16.
Snow also discussed the need for freshman orientation and the necessary dividing of the students. The tentative dates, according to Snow, will be on September 14th and 15th. But, those dates were not part of the calendar voted upon by the School Committee.
June 5th, 2021 is the planned date for graduation. They are currently not sure if the guidelines will allow for a similar plan to this year for graduation or allow the standard plan to host graduation in person.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has announced that schools are only required to have 170 days for this academic school year. As such, the 170th day for Keefe Tech students would be June 16, 2021.
When asked about snow days from a member of the audience, both Snow and Keefe Superintendent Jonathan Evans responded that snow day plans haven’t been formally created, but are being worked on at the moment.
Keefe School Committee Member and Holliston resident Sarah Commerford said that “of the many plans that she has looked at as part of her job, this is one of the most comprehensive that I have seen.”