Dracut school superintendent seeking input from parents

Dracut school superintendent Steven Stone, right, Dracut High principal Rich Manley, center, and vice principal Kathy Downing, show physical distancing will work in the cafeteria and classrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manley indicates where plexiglass will be installed across the middle of round tables, which will then seat two. Without plexiglass, only one seat will be allowed. (SUN/Julia Malakie)
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DRACUT – Schools Superintendent Steven Stone is asking parents for help in planning for the school year ahead by informing the School Department whether “they will send their children back to school” this fall.

In a recently mailed letter to parents and other stakeholders in the public schools, Stone asked that parents who do not intend to send their children back to school inform the principal of the appropriate school.

“We need to begin the process of finalizing class lists and schedules. I also know that the principals can provide the most relevant, building-specific, and personal perspective on our planning,” the superintendent said.

Parents who intend to use school buses to transport their children should purchase a bus pass as soon as they can, Stone said.

The School Department needs to coordinate with the Dracut Police Department to minimize traffic congestion and needs “hard data to make decisions,” Stone stated.

“Any future adjustments/credits (for the bus passes) would be processed by the Business Office in a timely manner,” Stone wrote.

This Friday the School Department will submit a status report to the Department of Elementary Education (DESE) and on Aug. 10 will submit a formal plan. Stone will share the plan with the School Committee before sending it to the state.

The superintendent’s goal is to have the schools fully open “consistent with  the direction and guidance from the governor, DESE, and the medical experts.”

But, he advises, “that will only occur in Dracut if schools are in compliance with all health and safety guidelines put forth by DESE and the local Board of Health, with whom we have a close and productive relationship. I will not open any school that does not conform to these expectations.”

In addition to the goal of fully open schools, the department is also working on fully remote learning and hybrid models for the coming school year.