PVCICS to begin school year with remote learning 

  • The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 08, 2020

HADLEY —Being a public charter school serving 39 communities throughout the region, including ones with high levels of COVID-19 cases and others that are currently deemed higher risk for infection, is causing the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School to begin the fall semester with remote instruction.

“We’re all remote for reopening,” Principal Kathleen Wang said this week.

Executive Director Richard Alcorn wrote a letter to families and members of the community explaining the health and safety protocols in place and new approaches to teaching and learning being used as the school anticipates the entire fall semester will be done remotely.

“We aim to be flexible as we monitor health indicators and adhere to evolving medical guidance, while continuing the education of our students,” Alcorn wrote.

In a document titled the “comprehensive reopening plan” for the 2020-2021 school year, school officials note that they had hoped to use a hybrid model, in which students would be in class and at home at alternating times. But information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health changed this.

“Although it was PVCICS’s intent to reopen with an alternating week hybrid model up until early August, given PVCICS’s region of service and DESE guidance on DPH metrics, PVCICS believes remote learning is the best option for reopening this fall,” the document reads.

The school had already determined there was insufficient space in the building for full in-person learning. The hybrid model, which surveys showed had appealed to parents, would have divided students into two cohorts to minimize those in the building. That educational plan, though, had the risk of needing to pivot to remote instruction before the semester ended if health metrics got worse in the communities the school serves.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.