Back of School: Plymouth students returning to class under hybrid model, superintendent says goal is not only open, but stay open

Published on Tuesday, 1 September 2020 14:20


PLYMOUTH – Students will return to school Sept. 3 utilizing a “hybrid model,” which will have their weeks split between in person learning on some days and virtual learning on others.

The school district will be starting with a half-day Sept. 3. Superintendent of Schools Martin Semmel, who is leaving the district to become superintendent in Trumbull Sept. 14, will first see local schools through reopening this year.

Semmel said Plymouth Public Schools are “committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff.”

“The pandemic has caused significant harm to our society,” he said. “Our schools play a vital role in supporting our students and parents. The opportunities we provide for academic growth are essential. However, the opportunities for social and emotional growth are equally important at this time. That is why we will do our best to open schools and keep them open.”

Semmel said the decision to open under a hybrid model was based on guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).

“Given the current metrics from the DPH, the Plymouth Public Schools will reopen under Plan B, Hybrid Model,” he said. “Parents may also choose the remote learning option. The metrics, in conjunction with our medical team, will continue to drive our weekly decisions on our Learning Plan.”

Under the hybrid model, only 50% of students will attend school at any one time.

“Students at home will engage in more independent work, while students on-site will engage in more teacher-facilitated work,” Semmel said. “Additional online resources will be used to support students working from home.”

The schools are being broken up into Cohort 1 and Cohort 2. Cohort 1 will attend school in person on Monday and Tuesday and do distance learning for the rest of the week. Cohort 2 will be in school on Thursday and Friday and do their distance learning on the other days.

“The cohorts were created to ensure that younger siblings with older siblings would be at home on the same days,” Semmel said. “We reserve the right to make changes to these cohorts in order to maximize social distancing. Instruction and assignments will continue to be accessed primarily through Google Classroom. Work will be posted on a weekly basis, with students receiving direct instruction from their teachers when they are in school and utilizing their home days to access additional instructional resources and complete assignments, similar to the distance-learning model.”

At Terryville High School, homeroom is being added as an 8th period and treated as a structured study hall where students would have a guaranteed opportunity to work on their asynchronous work.

At Eli Terry Jr. Middle School, the schedule will include all students remaining in their cohort and engaging in five core classes and two Unified Art Classes. Classes will be 50 minutes. When students are receiving their education at home, they will access content and assignments through teacher videos and resources on Google Classroom. Students in school will attend a 7 period schedule for the two days they are in session.

Students at the elementary schools will meet with their teachers on Wednesdays in small groups, as assigned by the teacher, and teachers will have time to develop and post videos.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Plymouth, Terryville on Tuesday, 1 September 2020 14:20. Updated: Tuesday, 1 September 2020 14:22.