Woonsocket opts for mostly virtual school start

Woonsocket opts for mostly virtual school start

WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Education Department announced on Wednesday the district will follow a phased reopening model, with most of its students starting the school year with distance learning on Sept. 14.

Supt. Patrick McGee described the reopening plan in a virtual meeting with the School Committee on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 9. Full details of the plan are expected to be sent out to parents on Thursday.

Most of the district's students in grades one through 12 will begin the year under a distance learning model as phase one of the district's reopening plan. That phase will last until Sept. 25, when the district will begin phasing students into a hybrid learning model.

Pre-K and Kindergarten students are the exception to this plan and will return to class in person Monday through Friday during phase one.

Students in self-contained classrooms will also return in person five days per week during phase one.

Woonsocket High School's TransPro program for students ages 18 to 22 will begin the year under a hybrid model, with some students in school three days per week and some in school two days per week.

Phase two will begin on Sept. 29, when students in grades two, three, six and nine will begin a hybrid learning model. Those students will attend class in person two days per week and at home three days per week. Students in grade one will return for in-person learning five days per week.

Phase three will begin after Oct. 9, when grades four, five, seven, eight, 10, 11 and 12 will begin a hybrid learning model.

McGee said the decision was based on the health and safety of students and staff.

"It's not an easy decision, but it’s based on health and safety. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I want to do this slowly and I want to do it right. I want to bring back a small amount of students at a time," he said.

Parents still have the option to choose full distance learning for their children.

The School Committee voted 5-0 to approve the reopening plan.