COVID’s Unexpected Influence on School Committee Meetings


With the ability to participate in school committee meetings from their homes, hundreds of residents are attending

David Stanley, Staff Writer

The last in-person Scituate School Committee meeting was held on Friday, March 6th, 2020, to discuss and ultimately cancel out-of-state field trips. Scituate Public Schools shut down abruptly the following week on Thursday, March 12th. Consequently, members of the school community had to act fast and find a way to hold public meetings safely. Thankfully, today’s technology made it possible: Using Zoom, the first virtual Scituate School Committee meeting was conducted on Wednesday, April 1st, and all subsequent meetings have been held using this platform. 

“It is clear to me that by having school committee meetings via Zoom you allow for more public participation,” stated Superintendent William Burkhead, who joined SPS on July 1st, 2020. “We’ve had multiple meetings with close to 300, 400, and even 500 participants.” Burkhead added, “Many community members and families have reported that they appreciate the opportunity to attend meetings virtually from the comfort of their own home.”  

With COVID guidelines changing, questions have been raised about maintaining a virtual option for public meetings in Scituate. “As the governor moves to open up the state, you will see more public meetings going back to full in-person,” Burkhead stated. Because of the large number of people attending these virtual meetings, Burkhead says he envisions “a large screen in the room with public members having the ability to Zoom into the meeting as well.” Burkhead added, “The ultimate goal is to have more voices involved.” However, a decision has not yet been made about when school committee meetings will return to in-person. 

School Committee meetings are open to the public; therefore, the minutes for the meetings are available online. Recordings of the meetings are also uploaded to the Scituate Community TV YouTube channel. 

School Committee Meetings are held every other Monday and aired on Channel 22.