bts plan

Superintendent Jeff Pancione presented his back-to-school plan to the school board on Tuesday, and it was made public to the community yesterday evening.

The plan itself details 3 back-to-school options for Hampshire County: full-time in-person instruction, full-time remote (online) instruction and a hybrid model, where students would utilize in-person and remote instruction.

While 3 options are described, Hampshire County will only be utilizing 2: full-time in-person and full-time remote. With the in-person classes, there is one caveat: if an outbreak occurs and schools are shut down, everyone will have to go remote.

During the 1st week of classes, the return to school will be staggered among grade levels. While the 1st day of school is officially Sept. 8, only some grade levels will be starting that day:

Sept. 8: 2nd, 5th, 8th and 12th grades

Sept. 9: 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th and 11th grades

Sept. 10: Kindergarten and 3rd, 6th and 9th grades

Sept. 11: All students

Additionally, Hampshire High School administration has chosen to implement a 4x4 block schedule. Principal Mike Dufrene said he would be in communication with HHS students and parents to provide more information.

Also outlined in the plan are a handful of focus areas and the answer to the question students, parents and school staff have been asking since March: what will the 2020-21 school year look like?

Keeping students and staff safe

  • Masks are encouraged for students in grades 3-12 during bus transportation, transition times and at any point when social distancing isn’t possible
  • Implementation of more stringent cleaning and disinfecting regimes, wiping down frequently touched surfaces often and thoroughly
  • Screening checklists will be provided to students and families to minimize the presence of unwell students at school
  • Signage, social distance and one-way directional markers will be in place to guide students when moving around the school
  • Visitors will be limited and screened thoroughly with temperature checks

Child nutrition

  • Cafeteria capacity limited to 50 percent
  • Spaced seating and possible staggered meal delivery/longer meal periods
  • Utilize outdoor seating as much as possible
  • Foodservice employees to wear face masks
  • Eliminate self-service cafeteria elements
  • Single-use containers will be used when available


  • Utilization of reliable communication channels between schools and families (emails, robocalls, personal phone calls, texts, newsletters, etc.)
  • Timely updates about safety precautions, screening protocols and student requirements


  • 1:1 device program for students (school-provided devices)
    • Elementary students– iPad
    • Middle school students– ThinkPad or Chromebook
    • High school students– Chromebook
  • Internet access to be provided at school locations for students without reliable access at home


  • Daily bus sanitization
  • Masks to be worn by drivers during loading and unloading times
  • Students will be strongly encouraged to wear masks (grades 3-12)
  • Whenever possible, parents should consider driving students to school in their own vehicles

Special Education

  • Students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) will continue to be supported by a special education teacher, who will be in contact about the student’s instructional plan the week of Aug. 24.

Health and Wellness

  • Screening of school visitors and staff
  • Isolation of symptomatic individuals in a designated confidential area
  • If a person has had a negative COVID-19 test, they can return to school once there is no fever and they’ve felt well for 24 hours
  • If a person tests positive, they should stay home until they can answer “yes” to the following questions
    • Has it been at least 10 days since the individual first had symptoms?
    • Has it been at least 3 days since the individual had a fever?
    • Has it been at least 3 days since the individual’s symptoms have improved, including cough and shortness of breath?
  • Use clear communication, implement a school mental health resource team and establish partnerships with community agencies to provide mental health services to stay on top of the mental and emotional effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic

The plan also includes a copy of the new HHS bell schedule, block scheduling information, the 2020-21 school calendar, examples of screening questions and where to find information for the resumption of Career and Technical Education classes.

The complete comprehensive plan can be found on the Hampshire County Schools website:

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