A top-rated Massachusetts high school abruptly dropped plans to bring students back to classrooms on Monday after police broke up a large party that dozens attended over the weekend.
In a letter to parents, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School principal and superintendent Bella Wong said that the crowded Friday night gathering took place both indoors and outdoors, and “involved alcohol and complete lack of safety precautions.” After police were called to the scene, roughly 15 students ran into the woods and disappeared, she said. The officers collected names from another 32 students, but later discovered that 13 of those names were made up.
As a result, more than two dozen students who were at the party “are unaccounted for” and cannot be isolated, monitored and tested, Wong wrote. Local health officials then decided that all classes should take place remotely when the semester begins on Monday, and continue to take place online for the next two weeks. After the quarantine period is over, the Boston-area school district plans to switch to a hybrid model that will involve in-person classes.
Based on the assumption that most people at the party were juniors or seniors, Wong said that she asked if just ninth and tenth graders could begin in-person classes on Monday. “The answer is no, because we don’t know that no younger students were involved or that students involved were not siblings of younger students,” she wrote, adding that she agreed that delaying the return of all students was “the most prudent course of action.”
“If one person assumes risky behavior upon themselves it is not fair or safe to bring that risk upon others in a shared community,” she said.