The School Committee voted Monday night to move the first day of school to Sept. 22, 2020, but teachers and staff will return to work before Labor Day.
The time before classes start will be used for training and preparation for teaching during COVID-19. This includes starting with virtual learning for almost all students. This model will continue until students can return to school in smaller numbers than a typical school year. This will be done using the hybrid model.
The deadline for parents to choose whether they want their child or children to attend hybrid (when the schools reopen) or virtually was due on Monday, Aug. 24. Parents will be receiving a form to express preferences for siblings and cohorts this week. The cohorts will be used during the hybrid phase. Students at Cunniff, Lowell and Hosmer elementary schools and the middle school will be split into two groups. Cohort A attending school in-person on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Cohort B will be in-person on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays, and the non in-person days, students will be learning remotely.
Also this week, the WPS administration will hold a leadership retreat to finalize plans for the three weeks of preparation for the start of school.
The Watertown 2020-21 School Calendar starts with new teacher orientation on Aug. 31, followed by three “opening days” for all staff, which will include training, a keynote speaker and room setup. Meanwhile, students registration opens during the first week of September.
The second and third weeks of September will be time when teachers and staff focus on preparing for the school year to begin. The first week will focus on safety and wellbeing, as well as how to stay connected and to provide equity for all students.
During the third week of September, teachers will focus on teaching, learning and the curriculum in the COVID-19 environment. It will also be the week for staff-student-family connection. This will include meet-and-greets, distribution of technology and student supplies
School begins Tuesday, Sept. 22. It will be remote except for highest needs students, including some special education, English Language Learners and others who greatly struggle to learn remotely.
During the first week of school, Weekly Learning Plans will be sent to students and their families. There will be community building exercises for classes and students will be introduced to the learning platforms.
Watertown school officials will host three virtual community forums on the reopening over the coming weeks:
Find out more about the Watertown School Reopening Plan on the Watertown Public Schools website by clicking here.