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Westwood Heights Schools among districts to return to in-person learning on March 1

In preparation for students’ return on March 1, Westwood Heights Schools is preparing the district to ensure they keep students and staff safe and healthy as they return to the school buildings. On February 17, the Westwood Heights Board of Education approved the Return to Learn Plan for Hamady Middle/High School, McMonagle Elementary, Academy West Alternative High School and Academy West Adult Education Program.

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of our students working from home, we are now prepared to allow students back into our buildings, says Pete Toal, Westwood Heights Schools superintendent.

“Our staff has had the opportunity to receive the COVID Vaccine, and the number of new cases in the county is falling rapidly,” Toal adeded. “We will allow those families who are not comfortable returning to in-person learning to continue their virtual classes. The district has ensured that every safeguard will be utilized to keep our staff and students safe as they return, including social distancing, masks and enhanced sanitizing in the buildings. We have had success with our online learning efforts during the past year, and the return of our students will allow the staff to determine if learning gaps exist and develop interventions to help close them.”

Parents who have already chosen to return their children to in-person instruction will be able to do so starting on March 1. Parents that requested for their children to stay virtual full-time will be able to let their children’s learning remain virtual during this transition. For families that have chosen to remain virtual, they will be able to revisit this decision to allow their students to return on April 5.

Safety provisions include arrows on the floor to control traffic flow and ensure proper social distancing, temperature check kiosks located at all of the main entrances, plexiglass barriers, personal protective equipment and on-the-hour sanitation in populated areas. On-site COVID-19 tests will also be offered for staff.

Westwood Heights Schools will also implement a new bell schedule on March 1. The bell schedule change will apply to both in-person instructions and students who are participating in full-time virtual education. Students will attend school Monday-Thursday according to an adjusted school day schedule. Fridays will be virtual for all students, allowing the staff to help students recover lessons, participate in professional development and develop blended lessons.

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