All-Island school committee members remain torn — and the committee itself remains stalled — over a phased plan that would eventually have all students back in classrooms by Oct. 27, as state deadlines fast approach and committee members still feel they have far more questions than answers regarding the fall.

At an all-Island committee meeting Monday, board members spent more than two hours picking apart the details of the plan proposed by administrators last week, raising issues with the far-off date for in-person learning and the safety of the hybrid model, lamenting the lack of adequate metrics and testing for Island children — and expressing concerns that neither the in-person nor remote learning models had been fully fleshed out.

Testimony from Dr. Jeffrey Zack, an Island emergency room physician who has been an advisor on school reopening plans — also hinted that a comprehensive coronavirus testing proposal for school kids was in the works but had not been completed.

A vote on the plan — already delayed from last Thursday to Monday — was delayed again until this Thursday, August 14. Thursday is also the state deadline for receiving each school district’s preferred plan.

“I just want to make sure we understand the gravity of us coming together and agreeing on a solution. Because I don’t think we are that close right now,” committee member Alex Salop said at the meeting Monday. “What are the ramifications of us not agreeing on Thursday?”

“I think we just ask the commissioner for an extension,” superintendent Matt D’Andrea replied.

“I don’t think we should use that as an excuse for letting this languish,” Mr. Salop said. “I’m just so concerned right now, that this is what, our third meeting on this? And maybe we’re a little further down the line. But there are some grave concerns here we don’t have answers to.”

The plan proposed by school officials last week would start the school year with remote learning for all students on Sept. 17. By Sept. 29, younger kids would phase into a hybrid model of remote and in-person learning that would have kids in classrooms for two out of the five days of the school week. Gradually, more grade levels would get phased into hybrid learning, with the middle school and high school starting on Oct. 27.

School officials were required to submit three different learning models — remote, in-person and a hybrid model — to the state two weeks ago.

But committee members said Monday that they could not vote on the preferred plan knowing so little about what the remote learning model would look like. They also expressed concerns about the hybrid model, arguing that having kids in school for two days and out of school for five days posed its own sort of health risks.

“If the staff is saying that it is not safe to go back, I don’t understand how a hybrid model is answering that concern,” committee member Amy Houghton said. “Why not get kids in place now, so they can be oriented with their teachers?”

Committee member Kate Devane felt similarly.

“The most important thing to me is not how many days people are in school, but what people are doing when they are not in school,” Ms. Devane said, expressing concerns about travel and out-of-state visitors to the Island. “Nailing down Martha’s Vineyard is like nailing jello to a tree,” she said.

Committee member Robert Lionette said he didn’t understand how slowly phasing in all age groups to a hybrid model would be any safer than simply phasing in specific age groups for all in-person learning.

“I’m confused,” he said. “What are the impediments, what are the barriers, to a K through one, K-two, K-three in-person rollout on Sept. 17?”

Mr. D’Andrea said that it was “certainly” possible to bring back all kindergarten through fourth graders for in-person learning on Sept. 17, but that the health and wellness task force he appointed has said that it would be best to phase in kids slowly and feared bringing large groups into the building at once.

“We are concerned, bringing all of those kids in the building at the same time, that we may have some sort of outbreak,” Mr. D’Andrea said. “And then you’re going to have to put the brakes on it, have them all remote, and it’s going to be a start-stop, start-stop situation . . . That’s the impediment. We want to do that in a way that is cautious.”

Despite the superintendent’s words of caution, other committee members were more aggressive in their concerns about starting in-person learning as late as suggested — especially considering the state and Island infection numbers. Mr. Salop cited numbers showing the Vineyard with infection rates at nearly 1/16th the national average and 1/7th of the state average.

He advocated for a plan that would have kids in classrooms by the end of September.

“I can’t support any plan that begins onsite learning as late as Oct. 31,” Mr. Salop said. “Martha’s Vineyard is not Georgia. It’s not Texas . . . from a testing perspective, Martha’s Vineyard is not even Massachusetts.”

He added:

“People have argued against opening schools because it is unsafe. And it has gone horribly wrong in other states. But it is a false equivalence. I think our original plan is very conservative.”

Discussion also centered on issues with bus transportation, and specific issues regarding the high school, like whether curricula should change, and whether students could be required to get tested before coming back for in-person learning. Mr. D’Andrea said the district could require testing, but that students who refused tests would still have to participate in remote education.

Dr. Zack, a clinician who works at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, said he couldn’t make a recommendation to the committee about reopening because questions remained regarding a plan for testing students. He hoped a more comprehensive plan would be available in 48 hours, and said that he planned to present one to committee members at the meeting Thursday.

In the meantime, he advocated caution, and explained why it was prudent to take the reopening process slowly, especially considering his experience at the hospital as it transformed in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.

“If you push everything all at once, there is going to be a lot of anxiety and frustration when it is pushed quickly,” Dr. Zack said. “We’re going to screw it up. It’s important that we set up that expectation early.”

He said regardless of what the committee ultimately decided, there would be bumps along the road and that the science concerning the virus changes daily, meaning the committee would have to be adaptable.

“There’s no right answer here, no matter how we do it,” Dr. Zack said. “I think it’s about making a choice, and feeling like you feel pretty good about it. Even if it’s an 85 per cent, I’m okay with it, sort of choice. I think that’s a win.”