Update on School Reopening Plans and Comments to School Committee

Dear Gill-Montague Families, Staff & School Committee, 

Please review the following update on planning for the re-opening of school and how you can share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with School Committee. 

Update on Opening of School Planning: 

Our planning process continues to be guided by a vigilant monitoring of public health data in Massachusetts, and we are encouraged that indicators about the virus continue to move in the right direction, in Franklin County. However, this is not the case statewide. And nationally, many states across the country are at crisis points in their health care systems and are experiencing widespread transmission of COVID-19. To the extent that school and college activity resume in the fall, we anticipate increased possibility of transmission in our own region.  The Commonwealth’s careful and disciplined approach has enabled our state gradually to begin reopening, in part because of strong compliance with health and safety precautions. The question now on all of our minds is how and when we apply those lessons learned and if we can reopen our public schools safely for students, the community, and staff.   

The process of creating the district’s plans have been complex, with advisories, orders and directives changing almost daily. In Gill-Montague, we have benefited from exceptional input from parents, staff, community members, administrators and extensive collaboration between our nurses and Board of Health officials. We are deeply appreciative of the parents, School Committee members, teachers, nurses and member of the district and union leadership teams serving on the Pandemic Response Advisory Committee. This group of diverse stakeholders has done exceptional work in advising every aspect of our planning for the upcoming school year. We will continue to benefit from their consultation as we refine the draft plans and make decisions about next steps during the school year. 

Our School Committee and our unions have been and are working in partnership with our administrative team. Our union members and leaders have been actively assisting us to solve the challenges of safely bring our students back to campus. Their suggestions and recommendations have led to numerous solutions to problems of personal safety on campus. Teachers have helped us analyze feedback from the spring closure, when we were all thrust out of our school’s without any notice or time to make a plan. Through their contributions the district was able to purchase a variety of hardware and software improvements. These recommendations allowed the district to have already trained a group of teacher leaders on the updated modes of instructional delivery, resulting in vast improvements in our fall hybrid and remote learning models. There is still much work to do, as the plans shared with School Committee on Tuesday night will be “live drafts” and details will continue to change before and after the opening of school, as the status of the virus evolve. 

The district has submitted summaries of our preliminary learning plans that addresses the feasibility of three options for serving students at the start of the school year. Those options include a full return to daily, in-person attendance, a hybrid plan combining in-school learning with some remote learning, and finally, a 100% remote learning model.  It is important to note that we are not submitting a full-return to school model at this time, as our deliberations over the past 5-weeks have identified such an option as unsafe and unfeasible. Our district’s plans will be discussed at School Committee on August 11th and a final brief survey of parents will be sent out. The School Committee will hold an emergency meeting the week of August 17th to decide between the hybrid or fully remote learning model that will be used to open the school year for students.  

We recognize that the circumstances of every family and staff member are different, and that no plan ultimately will satisfy everyone in our community. But rest assured that we are working diligently to explore every option available to us, that we remain guided by the science to keep our students, staff, and community safe and healthy. We will be prepared to make adjustments along the way as the public health conditions and other variables change over time.   

Governor’s Travel Order as of August 1st:  As a reminder, all staff and student families must be aware of this order, and follow strict procedures for any out-of-state travel.  Please use the link below as a tool if you must travel. We must all do our part reduce the risk of transmission in our schools and community.  


Public Participation in August 11th School Committee Meeting: 

The next School Committee meeting will be held remotely on Tuesday August 11th at 6:30PM. As Secretary for the School Committee, Jennifer Lively will coordinate two types of communications by emailing her at jennifer.lively@gmrsd.org . Please indicate to Ms. Lively which of the following types of communication you wish to send to School Committee: 

  • Public Comment at School Committee meeting on Tuesday August 11th at 6:30PMI would like to be sent a link to make a brief public comment during the School Committee meeting. 
  • Sharing Comments with School Committee ONLY– I am sending my comments to School Committee only and do not want my comments to be shared publicly. This may be sent to Ms. Lively by email jennifer.lively@gmrsd.org or mailed to or dropped off at the district offices at Jennifer Lively, 35 Crocker Avenue, Turners Falls , MA 01376. 




Brian Beck
Superintendent of Schools
Gill-Montague Regional School District