Elementary School Students to Return to Full In-Person Learning April 5

Reading, MA — In his most recent Pathways blog post, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty announced that elementary school students would be returning to full in-person schooling starting April 5. Middle and high school students would return starting April 26. 

As RPS faculty and students prepare to head back into brick and mortar schooling full time for the first time since last March, Doherty asked all students and staff to participate in the pooled-testing program. 

“As we transition to full in-person learning, we are asking all staff and students to participate in the pool testing program.  This is an additional mitigation step that is critical to maintain a safe and healthy classroom environment,” stated Doherty. 

Chart of Students and Staff Participating in RPS’ Pooled Testing Program. Courtesy of Superintendent of School Dr. John Doherty. 

Currently, there are 2089 students and 448 staff participating in RPS’s pooled testing program. On average, around 57% of every school’s student population is currently participating in the program, while 70.1% of staff participate in the program. 

Doherty also reported that 21..6% of RPS have fully received the COVID-19 vaccine, while 88.9% of staff are at some stage of getting their vaccines, whether that means having received one-shot or in the process of booking a vaccine appointment. 

Graph Illustrating What Stage of the Vaccine Process RPS staff are in. Courtesy of Superintendent of School Dr. John Doherty. 

This previous week, there were 15 reported cases of COVID-19 affecting students and staff in Reading Public Schools, leading to 55 students being asked to quarantine. Below is Doherty’s breakdown of the cases:

  • Two positive RMHS remote, no close contacts or students quarantined
  • One positive RMHS in person from the girls swim team, resulting in 13 students on the team quarantined.
  • Two positive Coolidge students from pooled testing, both in person, 22 students quarantined.
  • Three positive cases at Parker, two remote, one in-person (sports contact of Coolidge cases)
  • Four positive Killam students, two in-person and two remote, resulting in 20 students quarantined.  This was an in-school transmission.
  • 3 Birch students remote, no close contacts.

Doherty ended the blog post by putting out a request for new food service employees, citing a need to grow the department due to students’ return to full-time in-person learning. 

“As we transition back to in-person, our food service department is in need of foodservice employees to serve and prepare lunches for our students.  If you are interested, please contact Director of School Nutrition Danielle Collins at Danielle.Collins@reading.k12.ma.us,” stated Doherty. 

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