Hatfield goes to all-remote learning with COVID increase

  • Mosaic Planters are seen outside of Smith Academy school in Hatfield in August 2016. Gazette FILE PHOTO/Andrew Whitaker

Staff Writer
Published: 11/12/2020 8:10:34 PM
Modified: 11/12/2020 8:10:06 PM

HATFIELD — An increase in COVID-19 cases in Hatfield is prompting an emergency move to entirely remote learning for public school students.

The decision for Hatfield Elementary School and Smith Academy to go to remote instruction on Thursday and Friday was announced in emails and robocalls to families from Superintendent Martin McEvoy on Wednesday.

“In an abundance of caution, all students and staff should remain at home and engage in distance learning for the next two days,” McEvoy wrote.

The suspension of in-person learning, using a hybrid model in which students have been at the buildings two days a week, came at the recommendation of Kerry Flaherty, the town’s COVID coordinator, and was prompted by multiple COVID-19 cases and the need to do contact tracing, McEvoy wrote.

McEvoy said Thursday that the multiple cases are in town and not in the public schools. According to the town’s automated alert system, there were two new cases in town as of Monday, bringing total cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 24. Nine residents are reported to be in quarantine.

Still, the School Committee was scheduled to meet with Flaherty Thursday evening to discuss whether extending the remote learning will be necessary.

Since the end of September, a hybrid model in which students are grouped in cohorts has been used in Hatfield. Known as AARBB, the model has students in the first grouping, Cohort A, attend school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, with all students remote on Wednesdays, and students in the second grouping, or Cohort B, attending school in person on Thursdays and Fridays.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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