Out of precaution, Frontier returns to remote learning plan

  • Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/10/2020 10:16:22 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School is moving from a hybrid education model to fully remote learning as a result of increased COVID-19 cases in Franklin County.

Darius Modestow, superintendent of Frontier and Union 38 regional school districts, took to Frontier’s Facebook page Thursday evening to announce the change, noting there has been no outbreak in the school community.

“I want to assure you that we have not seen any indication of transmission within our school(s),” Modestow wrote in the post. “Given the surge in our greater community, this plan will help to minimize the risk to families and staff as we move into the winter break and will increase the likelihood that we can move back into the hybrid model in early January.”

He told the Greenfield Recorder that the school administration will re-examine Franklin County data at the end of the month to determine if it is safe to resume a hybrid model when the holiday break ends on Jan. 4. The final day of school before break is Dec. 22. Modestow advised that families should expect more information the week of Dec. 28.

On Friday, he said there had been 200 confirmed coronavirus cases in the county over the past 14 days. He mentioned an uptick in the school districts’ four towns — Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately and Conway — but the five schools pull students and staff members from across the county.

Modestow, in his third year as superintendent, said a series of metrics were created at the start of the academic year that help the district weigh when it is safe to continue with hybrid instruction. About half the student body opted for the hybrid model over remote, with students being in school four days a week.

“We passed some metrics in the past couple of weeks, but were able to stay open,” he said. “However, this week all the metrics were surpassed, which was part of the agreement to open. The next step is, hopefully these numbers will plateau or come down.”

Modestow said he has heard feedback from parents and guardians. Some people, he said, are relieved by the news of returning to remote learning, while others are frustrated due to child care issues and the benefits of in-person learning.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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