Smithfield, Scituate students to return full-time after April vacation

Smithfield, Scituate students to return full-time after April vacation

SMITHFIELD – Smithfield students in grades 7–11 will return to school full-time after April vacation, a result of lighter restrictions on the number of students allowed on busses, according to Supt. Judy Paolucci.

Paolucci told School Committee members during a meeting on Monday that the district is working on bus routes. She said the schools have “a lot of work” to be do before students can return, including bringing in additional seating and determining lunch schedules and safety measures.

“We’re able to have all students in five days a week,” Paolucci said.

Students currently attend school in a hybrid model, alternating days when different groups of students are in school. Students in grades K–6 and 12 have already returned to in-person learning five days per week.

“I think it’s a good thing for students, a really good thing for students that are going along pretty well,” Paolucci said.

Paolucci added that many Smithfield teachers are vaccinated, though positive COVID-19 case numbers have run “kind of flat” for the past several weeks. Last week, she said, there were six new positive cases of coronavirus, and nine new cases the week before. As of Monday, Paolucci said, she was aware of four or five new cases reported in the district.

“We’d love to see them go down further,” she said, adding the threat of the virus could prevent students from returning completely.

Parents may opt out of sending their students back to school full-time, and must respond to the district by the end of next week.

Paolucci said there are currently 300 students learning from home in the district, and she is not sure if the number will go up or down.

In Scituate, the district also announced this week that it is going back to full-time instruction, though will still offer distance learning for students who opt in. Students have until this Friday to opt out of in-person instruction and will be returning to school after April vacation.

Scituate High School is among the schools that will return to in-person instruction full-time following April vacation, according to Principal Michael Hassell.

Hassell, reflecting on the past year of social distancing and quarantine, said he is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.