Hybrid start for Bishop Stang, new spaces at Friends Academy

Aug 31, 2020

As Dartmouth’s public schools move to reopen with online-only instruction, many private schools are pressing ahead with plans to bring students back to classrooms. 

At Bishop Stang, students will start their academic year with hybrid learning — at least for the month of September. 

According to an initial plan released on Aug. 28, the Catholic high school will see reduced class sizes, spaced out desks, and study halls held in the cafeteria and library, among other new social distancing protocols. 

“To be sure, life on campus will look and feel very different to start the year,” school President and Principal Peter Shaughnessy wrote.

Students will first report to school the week of Sept. 8 to go over new health and safety guidelines, with each grade reporting in on a different day.

Beginning Sept. 14, students will be split into two groups alphabetically to attend school on alternate days, with those not in school learning remotely. 

Based on coronavirus case levels, Bishop Stang staff will assess at the end of September whether to transition to full in-person learning in October.

According to the plan, students scheduled for remote learning will still be able to come to school if necessary to receive online instruction in study hall. 

Accommodations will also be made for students who are not comfortable returning for in-person learning. 

“It will be a delicate balance,” Shaughnessy said. “But one that we believe we can find if we are disciplined and focused on the goal of providing an education worthy of our young people.” 

For the full plan, visit www.bishopstang.org/about-us/spartan-village-reopening-plan

Meanwhile, Friends Academy — which will reopen for full in-person learning on Sept. 8 —  has seen some new additions to its campus. This past week, three outdoor spaces have been built to create a socially distanced learning environment.

According to school spokesperson Alicia Porter, each grade will have its own designated outdoor classroom where they can take their masks off when they are seated at least 10 feet apart.

She added that staff and volunteers built 40 weather-resistant standing teachers’ desks and chalkboards for each outdoor classroom.

“We're very fortunate to have so much space to bring learning outside this year,” Porter said.