Norris School on path for hybrid learning beginning Jan. 4

  • William E. Norris School in Southampton GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/1/2021 9:48:28 AM
Modified: 1/1/2021 9:48:16 AM

SOUTHAMPTON — William E. Norris School will continue with its plan to phase all students into the building for hybrid learning beginning next week, the Southampton School Committee affirmed on Wednesday night.

The committee’s plan originally called for all students to be phased in by the end of December, but hit a pause due to several COVID-19 cases among the school community, prompting officials to return to remote learning while affected members underwent testing and quarantine. Now, all students will return on at least a hybrid basis beginning Jan. 4.

No additional members of the school community have since tested positive for the virus since it last reported cases, said School Committee Chairman Jon Lumbra, who said that one student had previously tested positive among those who were infected. In an email sent to the school community on Dec. 10, Principal Aliza M. Pluta said that at least four positive cases had been recorded among the Norris community.

While some area schools have scaled back their reopenings or reverted to remote learning due to surging COVID-19 cases locally and across the state, Lumbra said that data within the school community does not indicate a need to scale back the reopening model.

“We’ve been adamant that we need to take all the precautions, and the kids need to be in school,” Lumbra said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

In October, the Southampton School Committee voted 3-2 to bring students in kindergarten and first grade back for in-person learning four days a week, along with preschoolers, while grades two through six will be divided into two cohorts that rotate through two days of in-person and two days of virtual learning. 

The approved plan originally called for a full return for all students, though the building could not accommodate six feet of distance between students at this capacity. The School Committee later shifted to hybrid learning for grades two through six to allow for the recommended six feet between students.

The committee will continue to meet on a weekly basis to assess the safety of in-person and hybrid learning, Lumbra said.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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