Lincoln aims to eliminate virtual learning Mondays at upper levels

Lincoln aims to eliminate virtual learning Mondays at upper levels

LINCOLN – School leaders in Lincoln are hoping to drop virtual learning Mondays at the middle and high school.

Providing a re-entry update to the School Committee on Monday, Supt. Larry Filippelli said the impetus for the potential change was wanting to provide more face-to-face instruction for students after a better-than-anticipated return to school last month.

“I was completely wrong with what I thought would happen with regard to the spread of the virus. I thought at this time multiple schools would be shut down and that we would have serious numbers of positive COVID cases,” Filippelli said. Instead, “we’re seeing some numbers creep up in various parts of the state, but not really in schools.”

Lincoln had two positive cases at the high school that forced some students and teachers to quarantine, but Filippelli said there have otherwise been more COVID cases among distance learning students than students who opted to attend school in person.

Filippelli said the district’s re-entry task force met last week to discuss the possibility of eliminating virtual Mondays at Lincoln Middle and High School, as well as potentially bringing 6th-graders back on a full-time basis.

“We had a really robust discussion about the pros and cons of doing this,” he said. “The conversation was centered on getting kids the most possible face-to-face instruction by adding Mondays for some.”

He said the change makes more sense when you consider the number of days off next month. There are some concerns with the number of overall cases on the rise statewide, but the superintendent said the R.I. Department of Health is pleased that the return to school has been largely a success.

The hope is to start the transition back to school on alternating Mondays at the middle and high school based on the alphabet. Filippelli said they aren’t currently planning to bring back elementary students on Mondays.

“There’s definitely a balance we have to try to strike, but I feel that the way this needs to be structured is that the kids need to get back in there on Mondays, especially at the middle and high school level,” he said.

The goal, he said, is to start transitioning every Lincoln student back to school in-person by January. By cutting out virtual Mondays for some students, he said the hope is that students will “get used to being in school on a more regular basis.”

As of Monday, he said the district was looking to drop virtual Mondays by Oct. 26 at the high school, with the middle school following suit on Nov. 2.

All schedule changes have been communicated to parents directly.