Weston rolls out school re-opening plans

Photo of Amanda Cuda

WESTON — Weston Public Schools are slowly making the move back to in-person learning, with some schools already back and others set to return over the next few weeks.

Beginning Feb. 8, the town’s elementary schools extended an “ALL IN” option to those in second and third grade, meaning they could move to full-day, in-school learning five days a week. On Feb. 16, those in fourth and fifth grades also moved to an all in option.

Those in Pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade already shifted to full in-person in January.

Superintendent of Schools William McKersie didn’t comment directly on the return to learning, but instead referred to multiple memos and letters he and other officials had issued on the subject.

In a letter dated Feb. 3, McKersie stated that the phase-in approach to in-person learning was needed “to ensure we can run lunch, hallways, recess and other times with students in larger groups as safely as possible. A critical issue to manage is that social distancing will be sub-three feet in many situations, and at lunch students will be by necessity not wearing masks.”

As their younger counterparts were welcomed back into their physical buildings, those in higher grades remained on a hybrid model. But that is about to change.

According to a letter sent by Weston High School principal Lisa Wolak last month, the school will allow all students to attend school in person every day starting March 15. Classes will run from 7:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., with an extended learning hour offered from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., which students can “attend” either in person or remotely.

“We will not be serving lunch as a clear majority of our students expressed concern with eating lunch at school,” Wolak said on Wednesday.

She said they hope to return to the full schedule, with classes from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and lunch, after April break since there many outdoor spaces, including three courtyards, where students can eat.

“Our goal is to provide more in-person learning,” the letter said. “The schedule we chose for March- April allows all students to learn in-person every day, thus reducing screen time. It also provides more in-person learning than a hybrid full day schedule.”

Weston Middle School, meanwhile, is still on a full-day hybrid model. In an email, middle school principal Daniel Doak said that the school has “announced plans to be fully open for all students who wish to attend daily. We will transition to that plan when we return from April break.”