ASHLAND – Ashland High School will go fully remote effective immediately, said Superintendent of Schools Jim Adams in an email to parent today, December 1.
“Over the past several weeks, the community has repeatedly been asked to wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and refrain from travelling over the Thanksgiving holiday to avoid us having to move to a fully remote model. The School Committee also adopted a policy, which has been shared on multiple occasions, that requires students/families who travel to high-risk areas to disclose their travel while following specific guidelines before returning to school. After following up on many positive tests from before the holiday (which were reported over the weekend), learning of multiple reports of high school students gathering in private parties (some with parental knowledge) and multiple students revealing that they violated the State’s Travel Order and our School Committee policy by coming to school this week even though they travelled last week, it is clear that a small, but significant segment of the community is risking our ability to safely continue hybrid instruction at AHS. I have spoken with our local public health officials regarding these incidents. Based on their input, I have determined that it is necessary to move AHS to a fully remote model, effective immediately,” wrote Adams.
The Sueprintendent said he recognized the “decision is unfair to the majority of students and families who are following the state, local, and our district
guidelines. Unfortunately, this step is necessary to protect all students and staff while we complete contact tracing, receive test results from close contacts, and hopefully, extinguish the cluster. If your child is exhibiting symptoms or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive, please cooperate with the contact tracing process and have your child tested. Your cooperation and honesty are critical to our ability to safely return to a hybrid model.”
“I also strongly recommend you have a frank conversation with your children about their social behavior, including attending indoor gatherings, and socializing without following required safety measures such as mask-wearing,” said Adams.
“I am hoping to be able to return to hybrid instruction on Monday, December 14th, but that depends on the outcome of our contact tracing efforts and the pending COVID-19 test results. Further, based on the School Committee’s prior vote, no athletic activities may take place while we are fully remote,” said Adams.
“I want to acknowledge that I appreciate the degree of COVID-fatigue we all have and the challenge it presents for following required safety protocols. I really believe that if we have the support of the community in being careful, we can stay in a hybrid model until we get to the other side of this spike and hopefully start bringing kids back to school more often early in the second semester,” said Adams.