Many Lincoln students back to school full time

Many Lincoln students back to school full time

LINCOLN – As of last week, Lincoln High School seniors and 6th-grade students at Lincoln Middle School were given the option to return to school full time.

The Lincoln School District has also moved to drop virtual Mondays for elementary school students, bringing students back to school in-person five days a week.

The district will continue to maintain a virtual learning option for all grades, so students will not be forced to transition back to school full-time across the board, say school officials.

Back in September, Supt. Larry Filippelli said his goal was to have all students back in school by January of this year. “Of course, COVID and spread rates across the state had other plans in mind for us leading up to the new year. So, I had to push back that goal,” he told The Breeze last week.

On Jan. 21, Lincoln held a district re-entry task force meeting to discuss the potential for some students to return to full in-person, five days a week learning, beginning on Feb. 22, as well as dropping virtual Mondays at the elementary level.

The senior class in particular, he said, has lost out on so much since the start of the pandemic. “Senior year is a life milestone, and we owe it to our seniors and their parents to try and give them the most normal piece of senior year we could,” he said.

The district consulted with the Rhode Island Department of Health about the decision, and at the time of planning, Filippelli said the data suggested the spread rate should be down by last week, when students were able to return full time.

“We continue to have low COVID case numbers across the district, and we will continue to monitor our data points as well as determine how the transition of getting our students back works out before we make a decision about bringing more students back to in-person learning,” he said.

The superintendent said Lincoln’s approach has been to put safety first since the start of the pandemic nearly one year ago.

“This said, students need to get back to a more normal learning environment as soon as possible. My goal is to try and accomplish that task with my team of administrators and teachers before the year is out,” he said.

Filippelli added that Lincoln school leaders are hopeful that the new state administration will move educational professionals up in the vaccine line, “so that a full return to school will become more of a reality for everyone.”