The Return To Five Day In Person Learning

Including an Exclusive Interview With Superintendent Ganem

Lilli DiGrande and Abyssinia Haile

Minnechaug has begun the process of gathering data from students and families regarding the return to five days a week in person learning. On Monday, April 5th, Minnechaug sent out registration forms for families to choose either five-days of in person learning or full remote learning. The hybrid learning model will no longer be an option for students.

“The administration of the high school is going to gather that information [from the forms], and then we’ll be able to figure out how we’re going to fit everybody in.” Albert Ganem, the superintendent of the Hampden-Wilbraham school district, explains. The data collected from the registration form is essential for the administration and is needed to determine classroom and lunchroom capacities. 

The administration has not yet confirmed a start date for high school students to return to five days in person learning, but once the data is gathered they will begin to plan for the return. 

“The Commissioner [of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] mandated that all elementary schools are back to five day learning by April 5th.” Ganem said. “And that all middle schools are back by April 28th.” The Massachusetts Commissioner has not yet mandated a return date for high schools. 

What has been the response to this announcement? According to Ganem, the responses have been positive. “Families want their students to be back five days a week, and we’re hearing from students and they want to be back five days a week.” 

However, Ganem stated that he has three major concerns for the return of five days in school learning at Minnechaug – lunches, arrivals and dismissals. When asked about how the administration is handling lunches in the elementary school buildings, he explained that the capacity limits are all based on the individual building. 

“Some schools that are looking at having lunches in their classrooms as opposed to having lunch in the cafeteria.” Ganem added.  

In the March 30th parent letter written by Minnechaug principal Steve Hale, he included a long list of important things for students and parents to know about the five day in-school learning return.

“In the cafeteria, students will sign up for assigned seats and be sitting 6 feet apart.” Hale wrote.

It’s still unknown whether or not the cafeteria capacity limit will be exceeded, or how the administration will handle the possible in-school population increase but there will be more updates soon, and the parent letter is available via Plus Portals for all Minnechuag families.