FITCHBURG — Sizer School students will begin the academic year with full remote learning followed by a phased-in hybrid model, the school’s board of trustees voted last week.
“The Return to School Plan 2020 is the culmination of an incredible amount of Sizer team work,” Executive Director Michelle Paranto said. “We dedicated ourselves to gathering as much information as possible to make the best decisions for our students, staff, teachers and our community.”
Paranto said the plan aims to create a strong learning environment while meeting all health and safety guidelines.
Sizer School, a free public charter school, serves students from the area in seventh through 12th grade.
Students will begin the year on Sept. 14 with classes being entirely remote for at least seven weeks, using online such platforms as Google Meet or Zoom. Remote learning will run through at least Oct. 30.
During that phase, teachers will work in the building and design plans to best meet the needs of their students. Teaching will follow a regular school schedule within a structured remote model.
Principal Frederick Randall said the remote and hybrid models were designed to allow for the flexibility needed to maintain accessible, quality education for students.
“Sizer School remains committed to meeting all learning needs during both the remote and hybrid models,” he said. “The building will be accessible as needed by students and staff in accordance with all state safety guidelines.”
Then, on Nov. 2, students will begin returning to the school by grade level under the hybrid model over the next three weeks. Seventh-graders will be the first group to set foot in the building.
By Nov. 16, all students are scheduled to be engaged in the hybrid model.
Paranto said the school opted to phase in the hybrid model for several reasons.
“We wanted to establish a robust remote-learning foundation upon which to build our hybrid model and to have in place if we should need to return to a remote-only learning model at any time throughout the year,” she said.
The phased-in approach also gives teachers and students additional time to establish a “new normal” for returning to school, Paranto said.
Sizer will continue the hybrid model throughout the rest of the school year unless data indicates it’s safe to return to full-time in-person learning. If needed, the school would shift to a fully remote learning model.
“Our Return to School Plan 2020 is a dynamic plan that will adapt and change as the school year progresses and the pandemic continues to evolve,” Paranto said. “We are very much looking forward to the start of the school year and believe our plan provides the guidance needed for Sizer to do school well.”
Sizer is accepting applications for the seventh grade for the 2020-2021 school year.Apply online at sizer.schoolmint.net.