Agreement Reached Between School District And Union For Reopening Schedule

Photo: arps.org

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.

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1 thought on “Agreement Reached Between School District And Union For Reopening Schedule

  1. “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). ”

    Let’s see how that works out…

    As pointed out last week, those guidelines may no longer be adequate in the era of an airborne viral pandemic. Should staff and teachers bring fire-axes and sledge-hammers to improve the ventilation? Should they fear for their lives and their long-term health, especially the many over 60 or with “pre-existing health conditions”?

    One COVID-19 fatality (or serious morbidity) plausibly linked to a school exposure would bankrupt the system (both fiscally and morally) – and it would be cynical if “sovereign immunity” (a la Mitch McConnell’s dream of holding businesses harmless for similar COVID-19 fatalities or serious morbidities) were enabled and invoked…).

    Why not be responsible and wait for an effective vaccine?

    At least the young Isaac Newton was “aware” enough to isolate on a farm for several years during the 17th century plague epidemics….

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