School Officials Continue Discussion On Synchronous Learning

By: Greg Lane, Hingham Current Staff, September 12, 2020, Updated September 14 at 4:45 pm  
Foster Elementary School Garden [Hingham Current News File Photo / Greg Lane]

Most school districts have already put out their schedules for the school year that’s just days away. Those schedules include the the amount of hours required class time, but Hingham school officials and the teachers' union are still talking about what it’ll require.

It’s called synchronous learning —it’s how much the students are required to receive instruction online and in real time. 
Public school students will be taught in a variety of methods during the 2020-2021 school year, according to the Hingham Public School district’s reopening plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The district’s back to school plan calls for a significant amount of synchronous learning during the hybrid phase of school. It’s also what was approved by the School Committee on August 6th and parents expect. 

On Wednesday night, Superintendent Paul Austin explained to more than five hundred parents during a School Committee meeting that the plan put forth by school administrators provides the big picture and an agreement with the teachers union will determine the amount of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  

“It (the plan) was a thirty thousand foot view,” said the Superintendent. “The Memorandum of Agreement will provide the nuts and bolts and expectations for the district and its teachers,” Austin continued.  

As the school committee and teachers’ union continue to negotiation on the details, many parents are concerned that they do not understand what will happen during virtual time. They are asking for school officials to be more transparent and forthcoming.

Parents also shared their frustrations with Hingham Middle School Principal Derek Smith during a Zoom call this week. 

“Obviously this is an extremely challenging time for both educators and families, but it’s extremely disappointing from the standpoint of families and students,” said a parent during the HMS Parent Information Evening Zoom.

Mr. Smith explained to parents that negotiations with the teachers union is on going and that he remains hopeful and confident that they will come to an agreement on some of the most important aspects of the plan in the very near future.

The School Committee negotiations with the teachers' union scheduled for Friday, September 11th was rescheduled for Tuesday, September 15th at 2:30 PM.