MIDDLETON (CBS) - In a 4-1 vote last week, the Middleton School Committee voted to send its kids back to school full time this fall. The decision breaks from much of Massachusetts, and from Topsfield and Boxford, the two other schools in the Tri-Town School District with Middleton.
According to the state's ever-changing COVID-19 risk map, Middleton is currently in the "yellow zone."
Students at the town's two elementary schools will have to wear masks all day with occasional breaks, and be seated three feet apart.
"I'm for it," Also Cassano said as he watched his daughter Ariana ride her bicycle outside the Howe Manning School. "I think it's time that kids go back to school. A lot of parents disagree but we have to get somewhat back to the norm...we work, and trying to work and teach, balancing all that, it's not easy."
Parents were sent a survey, and had to decide if they planned to send their kids to school or take a fully remote option - which is required by the state in the pandemic - by Monday morning.
"I felt like it's a science experiment that personally I'm not willing to send my kids into," said Matt Alexander, a father of an incoming first and second grader at the Fuller Meadow School. He and his wife Koryn opted to keep their kids home, and are disappointed there was no hybrid option.
"There's still people working from home, and here we are willing to send our kids — all kids — full blown, that's just scary to me," Koryn Alexander said. "I want my kids back in school. Believe me, I want them in school more than anything. But I want them back safely."
The Alexanders say they're disappointed not only in the decision, but the division it has caused in their town. "It's pretty sad," Koryn said. "It breaks my heart to see the negativity on social media."
The plan was submitted to the Department of Education along with those of the rest of the state, and won't become final until it's approved.
Some parents are organizing a protest in Middleton's downtown Wednesday afternoon in support of teachers who don't feel safe going back to school.
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