Full return for Weston’s younger students raises staffing issues


WESTON — Students are expected to fully return at the lower levels later this month, raising concerns for the school board about what that means for those still distance learning.

The Board of Education supported the lower schools switching to fully in-person and expanding the middle school’s hybrid learning to a full day beginning Oct. 26. But members raised concerns the plan the district’s administration presented Thursday could require additional staffing dedicated to distance learning. The high school would remain in its hybrid early-dismissal model.

“While in this document we are recommending hybrid full day, our energies are substantially on getting everybody back in,” Superintendent William McKersie said at a BOE meeting Thursday. “We want everybody back in — certainly K-5 we want them back in and that’s what the document is saying.”

The possibility of having to hire additional staff to designate teachers for the voluntary distance learning program caused concern for some Board of Education members.

“I don’t think hiring an added expense is just the quick easy answer,” BOE member Ruby Hedge said. “I think we need to get creative on all fronts.”

Hedge said the discussion on having a designated teacher for distance learning had been ongoing since the summer, and it had to be acknowledged a mistake may have been made that no moves were made.

“We have due diligence to do here on how we make the right decision, but still be financially responsible to this town,” she said.

Mckersie said the district was facing a critical pivot point. He said clarity on the distance learning program would be provided to the BOE in the coming days, including the proposed staffing arrangement and estimated cost.

“I can assure you if we aren’t looking at how to handle our voluntary distance learning students differently, the