With the need to potentially spread out students as much as possible in September, Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced this week he will offer the Everett Public Schools the use of the former Pope John High School for the coming school year.
The offer coincides with the School Department sending out a parent/student survey last Friday, which has already gotten 500 responses. The survey includes what parents and students would be comfortable with in the coming school year. The choices include all remote schooling, a hybrid of remote/in person school, or all in-person schooling. Districts across the area are sending out similar surveys to parents and students, and Everett is expected to have full results from that in the coming weeks.
“The mayor has told the superintendent that if need be and based on the survey results we hear back on from the parents by the end of the month, he will allow for one school year the use of Pope John,” said spokesperson Deanna Deveney. “That does not mean his plan for it to have affordable housing is out. The long-term plan is to develop the property for affordable housing.”
The idea of spreading students out will be very important in the fall if students return to the classroom, which is still up in the air. With schools in Everett already bursting at the seams in many cases, having an expansion space like Pope John could help lighten the burden.
Deveney said it will all come down to the survey.
“We don’t know if it’s going to be utilized because we don’t know what they survey says,” she said. “If the survey says parents want to keep the kids at home, we wouldn’t need Pope John.”
The City purchased the Pope John site from the Archdiocese of Boston earlier this year, and intends to develop significant senior citizen and veterans affordable housing there. That plan is still in the works, but based on the results of the parent/student survey, it could be delayed.