Middle and high school students in the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) will return to four days a week of in-person learning on April 26.

They will join students in grades K-6 for four days in the classroom with Wednesdays remote through the end of the year.

The change comes after Vermont released new guidelines for school safety which reflect a March 19 change in Center for Disease Control (CDC) policy. That policy changed the required space for physical distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet for older students. CDC and state guidance for K-6 students already called for 3 feet of distance between students.


“After much careful study, the administration team concluded that the best way to end the school year well, in order to start the new school year strong, taking into consideration the needs of all students and staff, was to move to a 4-1 model on April 26, for all K-12 grades currently attending the hybrid model,” HUUSD Superintendent Brigid Nease wrote in an email to the community.

This means that all K-12 students will attend in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday while continuing to work remotely on Wednesdays. Students attending the Harwood. Union Remote Academy will remain remote for the rest of the school year.

“In order to provide both remote and in-person learning to all grade levels during this pandemic, we have significantly changed schedules and how the staff works. It is not possible to simply undo the current learning models and return to the prepandemic schedules. The decision to move HUUSD seventh through 12th grades to four days in-person learning and to maintain this schedule for our kindergarten through 6th grades is made after reviewing and evaluating the various options. All models, including moving to five days of in-person instruction, have been carefully considered and reviewed,” Nease explained.


Nease said that maintaining the routine of Wednesday for off-site classes had a variety of benefits.

“For many students, the more flexible schedule of Wednesdays is an opportunity to reset, supporting all of our students as they rebuild the sensory, social, emotional and physical regulation called for by in-person learning. Recognizing the array of needs within our student body, the measured step of returning to four days of in-person instruction is planned to support the greatest success for all,” she explained.

Nease said the idea of shifting younger students to five days a week in-person learning would add seven more days of classroom learning which was attractive, but also disruptive for students and staff.

Nease noted that from August 2020 through March 2021, HUUSD has had 27 total positive cases in students and staff, with 11 of them in school during their infectious period. The district has about 2,010 staff and students.