PROVINCETOWN — The Provincetown Schools superintendent has penciled in the date of Oct. 5 for some students to return to school, but not inside the building.
“We’re not going to jump into the hybrid that you see in [schools with] overcrowded classrooms,” said Supt. Suzanne Scallion on Sept. 9. “We’re going to do outdoors in small groups.”
The school system started the year off remotely on Sept. 16. If Covid-19 infection rates stay low, a slow transition to in-person learning will go forward.
Though the outdoor plan is still “in Jell-O” and requires teacher input, Scallion told the school committee she envisioned remote learning in the morning with some students coming to the school for lessons outside, starting on Oct. 5. That would “morph” into an after-school recreation program.
The next step would be to invite all students back full-time — but still outdoors.
“We have tents, Motta Field, and enthusiasm,” Scallion said.
This outdoor phase could be called “hybrid/outdoor, or something,” she added.
Eva Enos, the school committee chair who has agreed with Scallion’s plans so far, asked Scallion how to explain to the public the unusual child-care offering at the school.
It allows for up to 25 students to be educated via computer in the gym. Adults would supervise them there, but their teachers would conduct the lessons from classrooms down the hall.
If the kids are already in the building, why not just allow them back to the classrooms? Enos asked.
“It’s not just child care,” Scallion said. “I like to think of it as in-person/remote learning.”
Provincetown’s classrooms are large enough for six-foot distancing already. But the gym is much larger, she said. With 8,000 square feet and 30-foot ceilings, each child will have 400 square feet of personal space.
“We’ll have blowers and fans on, and the doors open,” she said.—K.C. Myers