Beginning March 8, all Hull High School freshmen will be returning to classes four days a week despite the concerns of the Hull Teachers Association and a student leader about the safety of doing so while the coronavirus pandemic persists.
HHS Principal Nicole Nosek explained that freshmen were chosen to return to the high school first because “the ninth grade is the most self-contained grade in the building.” She also noted that many ninth-graders have been struggling academically, and, as she said, “a student is more likely to finish high school if they pass all of their classes is ninth grade.”
In deciding which grade of students to bring back first, Nosek said the decision was between freshmen and seniors. “It’s such a hard, hard, decision, and these things we do not take lightly,” she said.
The seniors were initially polled on whether they wished to go back four days a week, but no such survey was done with freshmen.
The announcement about the freshmen was made by email on Feb. 18 and again at a Feb. 22 School Committee meeting where the plan for bringing back students was explained.
Two classes, Freshman Transition and Wellness 9, will be eliminated to create more sections of larger classes such as Introduction to Physics and English. Any empty spaces in a student’s schedule will be filled with an elective.
A teachers’ union representative spoke on the call, saying that “obviously we would love to see all of our students back. … Things feel like they’ve changed a lot, but we’re not out of the woods yet.” Many teachers are worried about the safety of bringing back students, the union rep added.
Ruby Schultz, the HHS freshman class president, said she wanted to encourage all involved in the decision-making process to “make sure they take the time to consider everything, consider all the possibilities. … This decision was kind of rushed.”
Victoria Dolan is school correspondent for The Hull Times.