Dunphy School to return on hybrid plan

  • Ann T Dunphy school play ground in Williamsburg Saturday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/6/2020 7:01:06 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — Students will be returning in-person to the Anne T. Dunphy School this fall. 

The School Committee voted 4 to 1 Wednesday evening to start the school year with a hybrid plan — meaning some instruction will be remote and some in-person — according to Principal Stacey Jenkins.

“We have a facility that’s fairly new and we have space to spread,” Jenkins said. “We have a modern HVAC system with strong filtration already in it. They felt that was the right choice for our school. I supported that.”

Desks will be at least 6 feet apart and all students must wear masks, except during “mask breaks.” A total of 137 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade were enrolled in the school last year. Students will be broken into two groups that will rotate between going to school in person and doing remote work, according to a draft of the school’s plans. School supplies will not be shared between students and hand washing or sanitizing will be done multiple times each day. 

The plan will be rolled out in phases, starting with teachers and school staff preparing for students, according to the approved motion. Then, staff will meet with students and families, either remotely or in-person, to talk about the school year before instruction begins. After six weeks of instruction, the School Committee will re-evaluate and vote whether to use a different model.

The school will be ready to move to fully remote learning and have a metric in place that would trigger school closure.

“If Hampshire County’s seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population reaches 10 or higher,” reads the approved motion, “the School shall immediately move to full-remote instruction.”

Most parents wanted some form of in-person learning, Jenkin said, pointing to a survey that she said more than 70% of school families filled out. When asked what model they preferred, 26% of respondents said fully remote, 39% said fully in-person and 22% said hybrid, according to Jenkins. 

There will be an option for families who want to opt out of any in-person learning, Jenkins said.

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