District Reopening Plan for September 14

Dear Gill-Montague Families, 

District Reopening Plan for September 14th- Student Return to Learning: 

At the School Committee meeting on Tuesday August 18th, the district voted to start student learning on September 14th, with all students learning remotely. We all understand that none of the options sitting before school districts this fall will be ideal and each causes stress for students, families and staff alike. The primary objective is always the safety of students, staff, families and the community. The committee based its decision upon the following: 

  • Survey data that indicated that 54.8% of families preferred to start in remote learning and 44.3% preferred to open with hybrid learning. 
  • Case count data provided by the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, indicating a low presence of cases in most neighboring and regional communities. 
  • Review of written communications from families, staff and members of the school community provided to the entire committee, by School Committee Secretary Jennifer Lively. 
  • Superintendent’s recommendation that starting remote would provide necessary time to re-evaluate and complete recommended improvements to air quality, and install remaining protective equipment throughout all district buildings. 
  • Public comments shared by parents and staff during the committee meeting. 

Remote Learning Improvements for the Fall: 

During the spring closure, all school districts were challenged by the sudden need to shift and then stay in a remote setting. The improvements that we have made to technology, internet access and the delivery of instruction have been informed by the experiences of our students, teachers and families. To implement remote learning in the fall, the District has prepared a 1:1 Chromebook program for all our students; and a fully licensed Google Apps for Education, integrated with PlusPortals as our Learning Management Software (LMS). We will address internet access needs with TMobile Hotspots, with unlimited and filtered internet access. This school year, remote learning will also include increased expectations for content, attendance, grading, time on learning, and communication that follows the normal school-day schedule. And students will now be engaged in learning activities, and live virtual meetings at multiple points during the day as opposed to only once a week. Principals will be communicating school-specific information about the return to learning, prior to September 14th

 School Committee Deliberations and Public Participation: 

Tuesday night’s school committee meeting was a model of dignified public dialogue, about a topic that elicits many emotions in all members of the community. All those who contributed their remarks did so with great respect for each person’s opinion. The members of the Gill-Montague School Committee deliberated the opening of schools with exceptional civility. Disagreement and dissent is the most important part of public discourse in our civic institutions. The adherence by the committee and the public to maintain a truly respectful and civil environment for those deliberations should be a source of pride for all members of the school community. 

Public Participation in School Committee Meetings: 

The next School Committee meeting will be held remotely on Tuesday August 25th at 6:30PM. The draft plans will be a standing agenda item for discussion at all School Committee meetings. However, the next time the committee will review plans for a potential vote to change learning models will be on September 8th. 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 25th at 6:30PM- I would like to be sent a link to make a brief public comment during the School Committee meeting. 
  • Sharing Comments with School Committee ONLYI 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. 

Draft Plans: 

The district’s draft plans are posted on the District website and can be viewed at the following link: 


Please be aware that this is an active draft. This means that the content of the document will evolve. We will send out communications that highlight specific changes, when they are not minor details and might impact family planning or staff assignments. 


Brian Beck 

Superintendent of Schools