Late afternoon on Friday, September 11, the Amherst Pelham Education Association (APEA) and Amherst Regional Public School District (ARPS) jointly announced areas of tentative agreement as a result of ongoing negotiations.
The eagerly-awaited announcement included a phasing schedule for in-person start dates as well as health and safety metrics that will need to be met before in-person school can begin.
Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, and Special Populations are scheduled to begin in-person instruction on October 1st, 5 days per week. Elementary populations would begin at 9:50am and secondary students at 9:00am. (A distance learning schedule shared this week had the day beginning at 8:45am.)
Second and third graders would begin October 19th while all other students would start November 16th. Grades 4-6 would be either 2 days per week or 5 days per week depending on transportation and space. Grades 7-12 would attend in-person one day per week, expanded to two days in February.
The public health and safety metrics that would have to be met in order for in-person school to being are:
a. fewer than 28 new cases per week per 100,000 (using a 7-day rolling average) in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties, with a weighting of .8 for Hampshire County, .1 for Franklin County, and .1 for Hampden County,
b. and the positive test rate (using a 14-day rolling average) in Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden, with a weighting of .8 for Hampshire County, .1 for Franklin County, and .1 for Hampden County, is less than 2.5%
Additionally, the reopening of school will be tied to the facilities meeting or exceeding guidance set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
“We are grateful for the mutual dedication of all individuals involved in ensuring an equitable and safe return to learning for our community and are excited to work with our families and students to ensure the best school year possible,” the statement said.