Andover HS educators voice concern about overcrowding as students prepare to return

ANDOVER, MASS. (WHDH) - With students expected to return to in-person learning soon, Andover High School educators say they are worried there is not enough room for everyone.

The school district told the state they cannot fully reopen the high school because they don’t have enough space to seat everyone. Now, the school committee is asking for a waiver because it will be too difficult to place desks three feet apart and keep maskless students six feet apart at lunch.

“The town of Andover is working really hard to provide accommodations for all the kids, but especially when it comes to eating, you have to have masked off,” parent Mimi Lebrun said.

“I’m not afraid of it but the capacity in school is limited, and I feel like that could just increase the numbers again,” said parent Beth Jordan.

A date has not been set yet for when high schools in Massachusetts must go fully in-person.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be touring the high school later this month to see these issues in person and try to figure out solutions.

In a statement, School Committee Chair Shannon Scully said, “We are eager to see all Andover students back in-person full time and grateful for the extraordinary time and resources that have gone into solving these space challenges at Andover High.”

The high school building can fit 1,400 students with social distancing. The district has 1,700 students enrolled.

No other building in the district has this problem.

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