Decisions on graduation, senior events to be made soon
Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday afternoon said public and private school students will not be returning to their classrooms until the fall, in an effort to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The announcement means Abington students will continue with online learning through the end of the school year, which is currently scheduled for June 15.
In an email sent to parents, Abington Schools Superintendent Peter Schafer said Gov. Baker’s decision wasn’t “unexpected” but that it was “deeply disappointing.”
“One of the many things that our closure has reinforced is that schools are so much more than ‘reading, writing and arithmetic,'” Schafer wrote. “The most meaningful, impactful and formative collection of personal and educational experiences occur when we are sharing them in the same space at the same time. In their absence, we will do our best and continue with the remote connections and learning program.”
School committee Chairman Chris Coyle echoed Schafer’s comments.
“I understand the ‘why’ of it, it just does’t make the reality of it any easier,” he said.
School committee member Lisa Augusta is the parent of an Abington High School senior.
“This announcement was inevitable, but now that it is reality, it’s hard to fathom,” she said. “I feel terrible for our students, especially our high school seniors. It’s a difficult time for everyone.
Schafer said questions such as how graduation will be held this year, will be determined in the coming weeks.
School committee member Jackie Abrams encouraged parents to also focus on the emotional wellness of their children, some of whom may be having a tough time adjusting to the sudden end of in-person classes.
“They lost their school community, access to their friends, their hobbies and their sense of normalcy,” she said. “We need to be patient with what we ask of them and what we expect from our schools. If we just focus on taking really good care of each other, we will be alright.”
“I feel academically it will work out,” said School Committee member Wendy Happel. “Our teachers and school leaders know what to do and will quickly figure out how to fix any issues and overcome challenges as they arise from remote learning as well as when everyone gets back in the classroom. I think we will bounce back and be even stronger as a school system come September.”
Full text of Superintendent Peter Schafer’s April 21 email to parents.
I hope this communication finds you and your loved ones healthy and well. As you may be aware, Governor Baker announced today that all Massachusetts schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Although this is not unexpected, it is deeply disappointing.
One of the many things that our closure has reinforced is that schools are so much more than “reading, writing and arithmetic.” The most meaningful, impactful and formative collection of personal and educational experiences occur when we are sharing them in the same space at the same time. In their absence, we will do our best and continue with the remote connections and learning program.
The questions of what will occur with events, such as but not limited to, graduation and senior reception will need to be answered in the coming days and weeks. We are committed to the careful and creative consideration of recreating whatever is possible for all the students. More information will be forthcoming.
Have hope in a bright future. Remember the everyday heroes among us working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy. This unprecedented and unexpected time in our history will end and we will get back to a sense of normalcy in the next chapter. Until then, please stay safe and well.
Peter Schafer, Superintendent