Next expansion to Burrillville classroom learning planned for April

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BURRILLVILLE – Expanded in-classroom learning for Burrillville’s older students won’t take place until early April at the soonest, according to Supt. Michael Sollitto during a status update for members of the School Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Students at the middle school and high school currently have the option of attending two days a week, under an expansion that just recently took place with a new, alpha-based system.

“Thus far, feedback has been really positive,” Sollitto said of alphabetic split, which helps to keep class sizes smaller. “That’s a benefit – and mixed grades. Kids are able to see their peers – their friends that are in other grades as well.”

The superintendent said he’s hoping to allow students at both schools to return for four days a week at the beginning of the fourth quarter in early April. The format would mirror Burrillville’s elementary schools, where students already have the option to attend Tuesday through Friday.

“We’re hoping to expand as things move on,” Sollitto said. “We’re being very cautious with our return.”

Winter athletics have also begun, and the boys basketball team is currently undefeated, with a 5-0 record going into a game against Wheeler, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10.

“All of our teams are playing well,” Sollitto said.

There are currently no spectators allowed at the basketball games due to the small size of the gymnasium, but Sollitto said he’s hopeful the games will be open to parents by the end of the winter season.

Games are now streaming online through the NHFS network for a small monthly fee.

“Hockey has been pretty well attended,” the school leader said.

Sollitto, who serves as a member of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s Principal Committee on Athletics, also had some good news for athletes. RIIL, he said, is planning to offer an extra season during the school year, as students have missed out on several sports due to the pandemic.

“We’re hoping that we’re able to participate in football, cheerleading and girls volleyball,” he said.

The extra season will take place between the normal dates for winter and spring athletics, running from March through the end of April.

“All of the typical spring sports will be offered as well,” Sollitto said, noting that there may be a ten day overlap during time usually reserved for practices and conditioning. “We want these kids to at least have an opportunity to participate in these sports that they love.”

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