DESE Initial Fall Guidance for Return to School

June 25, 2020

DESE Initial Fall Guidance for Return to School

Good morning, Families and Staff,

Today, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall.  We applaud the level of thought and care that went into the development of this guidance, and share its goal of the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social and emotional needs.

As you know, an APS Return to School Team has already been established and held two meetings, with this group including parent, staff and administrator representatives; this team is being led by Superintendent-elect Handfield and Assistant Superintendent Chamberland.  This team will be reviewing the guidance together to better understand how it impacts what we can do in Auburn and will soon be surveying parents and staff to gather your vital feedback.  We also acknowledge that these initial guidelines do not address every topic and that there will be additional guidance coming throughout the summer.  The full document is included here, but some key components noted are:

  • Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school - with preventive measures in place - as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults;
  • Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, hand-washing and cleaning frequently touched surfaces;
  • Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below; and
  • Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established.

Districts will need to develop three separate plans - one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements; one for full remote learning; and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning.  Based upon the current medical situation, the expectation today is that students will return to full in-person instruction in September; however, that is subject to change based upon how the medical situation develops.  The APS Return to School Team, as promised, will be working on these plans and will also be providing regular updates to all of you, our partners in education.

We acknowledge that there are likely to be more questions than answers at this time, but know that Superintendent-elect Handfield and Assistant Superintendent Chamberland, on behalf of the APS Return to School Team, the Leadership Team and the Auburn School Committee will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks and months.   I have every confidence their plans will continue to keep student and staff safety as the top priority.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and please know how much your support has meant during my tenure here in Auburn….I will miss you all and wish you much health, happiness and continued success!

Yours in education,

Maryellen Brunelle, Ed.D.
Proud Superintendent of Schools