At an emergency Revere School Committee meeting called last Friday, Revere Public School Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly said RPS and the Revere Teachers Association (RTA) have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to safely restart the school year.
The MOA, that was unanimously adopted by the School Committee, addresses some the concerns RTA members had over Revere’s school reopening plan.
While the School Committee voted earlier this month to start with a ‘remote’ learning model instead of a ‘hybrid’ learning model due to an increase in COVID positive test rates, RTA members still had concerns over the safety of the plan.
Major concerns from the RTA included the fact that teachers would have to teach remotely from their classrooms and high-risk students like ELA and special education students would be coming to Revere’s school buildings for in-person learning despite the remote phase.
Under the MOA adopted by the School Committee teachers will provide remote learning three days a week from classrooms and two days a week from home. During shortened four day holiday weeks teachers will do two days from their classroom and two days from their home. Dr, Kelly said all teachers have the option to teach from their classroom five days a week if they so choose.
Staff that are at a higher risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19 will have special medical accommodations based on their needs. RPS are still working with those staff members to determine the proper accommodations.
Like the rest of the school population high-risk students like ELA and special education students will also start the year remotely and will no longer be educated in-person within school buildings when the school year begins. Once Revere switches to the hybrid model these students will join their fellow students for in-person learning. The hybrid model plan calls for students to be split into groups. While one group is learning in-person the other group in learning remotely and vice versa.
The RPS and RTA also agreed that they will adhere to the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidelines on stitching from a remote to a hybrid model.
“In order to go from remote to hybrid the positive infection rate has to be 5 percent or less and fewer that 8 COVID cases per 100,000 residents,” said Kelly.
Kelly added that if the State and City of Revere returns to Phase II of the COVID reopening plan the hybrid model would go back to the remote model. Teachers would have the option at that time to work from home or in their classrooms if things are scaled back. However, if the state and city go back to Phase I then all school buildings would be closed like they were in March and all teachers would work from home and all students would do remote learning.
RPS is also working on a testing program for staff and students in order to isolate asymptomatic carriers and prevent spread of the disease. Students that consent would be tested one week prior to the hybrid model kicking off and every week there after.
“I do feel like what we have agreed on will enable us to better serve our students without than if we went forward without an agreement,” said Kelly.