Mount Greylock Set to Return Fully In-Person

Mount+Greylock+Set+to+Return+Fully+In-Person

Lucy McWeeny, Features Editor

On Friday, April 9th, Mount Greylock Regional School Principal Jacob Schutz announced in an email to the entire school that middle school students would return to fully in-person school on April 28th, and high school students on May 3rd. 

Middle school students are required to be brought back fully in-person by the Massachusetts Board of Education on April 28th, but the board has not yet finalized any decisions for high school students. 

The school put much effort into developing this plan before announcing it to the school. Superintendent Jake McCandless said, “It’s been kind of a team effort and lots of communication and working together.” On April 8th, this plan was brought forward to the School Committee, and the next day the entire school was alerted. 

This return date of May 3rd is subject to change, however, said McCandless.  “If our data gets terrible that could change, or if the commissioner (of the Board of Education) comes back and says we want high school students on the same day as middle school students, it could change.”

Schutz said that “Mr. McCandless wants to bring the high school back as soon as possible. My one request was to try to do it as a staggered transition.” The middle school students will be in school for three days before all of the high school students are brought in. Schutz added, “That would give us three days with the entire middle school back, make any tweaks or adjustments that we would need to, and then receive everyone else back.”

Once all students are back fully in school, there is always the possibility of a switch back to remote or hybrid. However, McCandless said, “We’re not foreseeing a need or a plan to take an entire grade level or the entire school back to the remote point.” 

The situation is slightly different for the middle school. Because they are required to be brought back in-person by the Board of Education, to switch back to remote learning “we would need to prove that there was a reason to do so,” said McCandless.

With the plan to have both the middle and high school fully back, adjustments have been made to accommodate for the increase in numbers. Schutz said, “Some classrooms are going to be all folding chairs and TV trays.” Other classrooms will be a combination of those and the regular chairs and tables. He added, “It all depends on the size of the room and what the course load looks like.”

There will also be two lunch periods, opposed to the current one period for the whole school. The gym and cafeteria will continue to be used as lunch locations, and the “barn” where ski equipment is kept will also be transformed into an area for eating lunch. “The hope is that 80% of time, we’re outside anyway, but we can still facilitate people in [these places],” said Schutz. 

McCandless said, “You’ll see desks at three feet of distance rather than six feet of distance.” He added, “If people are using masks, washing their hands, using sanitizer, and using common sense, three feet in the school setting is appropriate.” The CDC has said that at least three feet is an adequate spacing in a school setting. 

“Our students have been just amazing and wonderful at actually doing the things that help keep everybody healthy, including themselves,” said McCandless. “You’re all a part of the team that made our communities safe.”