Reading, MA — In a Pathways blog post released yesterday, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty confirmed that students in the Reading Public Schools system would be returning to a hybrid learning format this week. This announcement comes after all schools went remote for the week of January 4th to 8th after a jump in positive COVID cases reported across all the schools in the district.
“We are pleased to announce that hybrid learning resumes tomorrow at our schools. Cohort B, Kindergarten, Preschool, and High Needs students will be in person tomorrow. High School Athletics and Extra-curricular resumed last Friday. We want to thank our parents for their flexibility last week and for our teachers, administrators, and staff for the work that they did to make the switch from in-person to remote last week,” stated Doherty in the blog post.
Doherty also stated that, since the last update on January 3rd, there have been 27 positive cases within RPS: 12 RMHS students (including three in-season athletes), nine middle school students (seven at Parker, two at Coolidge), two elementary school students, and four staff members.
Doherty also called for a new commitment to safety in the new year and reiterated an updated list of associated symptoms associated with COVID-19.
“Covid-19 has been a part of our lives for almost a year. The restrictions are difficult. None of us are in this alone, but only by working together can we create change. To that end, let’s begin 2021 with a renewed focus on the Reading School Community’s commitment to health so we can get back to the way life was before March of 2020,” stated Doherty.
Doherty closed the blog post out by providing other updates about RPS, including the possibility of a new testing program. Doherty stated that school officials have been working with the town of Reading Incident Command Team and the Board of Health on providing testing for staff and students in the district. Doherty also stated that The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is currently working on creating a pooled COVID-19 testing program for staff and students in the state.
“We will be investigating this opportunity to determine the feasibility of it, and we will be reporting back to the community when we have more information,” stated Doherty on the matter.
The Food Distribution program is also in operation this week. Families with children between the ages of 0-22 can pick up seven breakfasts and seven lunches per child through this USDA funded program. The food can be picked up at the RMHS bridge on Wednesday from 2:30-3:30 pm and Friday from 11 am to noon.
“You can come each week, whether your child is in person or remote,” stated Doherty.
The School Committee will have a meeting on January 14th, focusing on the meeting being the FY22 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget, with a special focus on the Regular Day and Special Education Costs Centers.
The blog post also celebrated Linda Engelson’s career, the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent for the Reading Public Schools, whose last day was Friday.
“Linda has been a central office employee for over 20 years, the last 14 as the Executive Assistant. We will miss her, and we want to thank her for her dedication and years of service to our school district,” stated Doherty.