NEWBURYPORT — Though they are still waiting for further guidance from the state regarding the next academic year, school officials have already ordered personal protective equipment for the district and are in talks about summer programming.
"Students and staff are the ultimate priority," when it comes to discussing reopening strategies, Superintendent Sean Gallagher said during a virtual School Committee meeting Monday night.
"We really believe that if people are going to be wearing masks every day, then I'm sure the parents and adults will have their own masks," he said. "But if they don't, we will be able to supply masks."
The district has ordered personal protective equipment for the nursing staff, as well as masks in children and adult sizes to have on hand.
"We're anticipating that we are going to be wearing masks at school," he continued. "We don't really know if that's the case, but we want to be ready for that."
The district is anticipating that some of its offices will open in June, and personnel will test out Plexiglas and other barriers in office and classroom spaces, het said.
For example, the district is currently looking at how to redesign the nurse's offices. The superintendent said one part of the office will most likely be dedicated to basic needs like administering medication to students, while a separate part of the office will be for students or staff who are feeling ill.
"We are going to wait for the state and city officials before we bring students and staff back," Gallagher said, "and obviously, everyone will be well-informed of the plan. We are still waiting for guidance from the commissioner and the governor regarding the reopening of schools."
This past week, the district began offering time slots for families to pick up students' belongings at Edward G. Molin Upper Elementary School and Rupert A. Nock Middle School. Staff removed items from each student's locker and placed them in individual trash bags for curbside pickup.
Additionally, Assistant Superintendent Angela Bik said the district has been in conversations about how to hold summer programming. While much is still unknown, Bik is hopeful that there will be some curriculum enrichment opportunities for students.
Though most of it may still take place remotely, she said face-to-face activities are not yet out of the question. Bik said the summer could be a test run for what may take place in the fall with smaller groups of people and social distancing still intact.
"If we have the opportunity to do some summer programming in person, we were hoping to test out a little bit of the hybrid model over the summer," Bik said.