This is William Cameron, Superintendent of the Lenox Public Schools. In addition to this voice message, you will receive a written copy by e-mail. The text of this message will also appear on the Lenox Public Schools’ website, as well as on the Morris and LMMHS websites.
Last night the School Committee approved a final plan for resuming instruction in our schools. The plan now has been submitted to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education as required by the Commissioner. The plan can be viewed in full on the Lenox Public Schools’ and the individual schools’ websites.
Under the Committee’s plan instruction resumes on Monday, September 14. That instruction will be remote at the outset. For over two weeks prior to the resumption of instruction Lenox educators will receive professional development in providing effective remote instruction. We will also offer information and training to students and interested parents on using the remote learning platform, called Canvas, that the district has acquired.
We also plan to offer parents and guardians an opportunity to meet virtually with school and district administrators to answer your questions as best we can. These meetings will take place in the near future. As soon as the dates and times for the meetings are set we will notify you.
The Lenox Education Association, our teachers’ union, has accepted September 14 as the date on which remote instruction will start. But other changes required by COVID-19, including when in-person instruction will begin, remains to be negotiated. Other aspects of the plan submitted today to DESE also must to be negotiated. In a word, a plan for reopening school and all that entails must still be negotiated with the LEA. Negotiations have been underway since July 31 and will continue until there is an agreement.
Finally, I’ve heard that some parents are discussing home schooling as an alternative to their children’s returning to school at Morris or LMMHS. Home schooling is assuredly a legal right that parents have. But for families whose child is attending school in Lenox under school choice, switching to home schooling for your child terminates the student’s school choice relationship with Lenox. This is not a retaliatory step, but a fact under the school choice law. I mention it only so that families have accurate information in making decisions in these unsettling times.
Please do all you can to stay safe. Masks, social distancing, and avoiding large groups of people will go a long way toward suppressing the spread of the virus.