With just three weeks until opening day for public schools and one week until teachers return for training, the all-Island school committee voted Thursday to approve a newly revised reopening plan for elementary schools that will put younger students back in the classroom earlier than expected.

The new plan won the backing of the all-Island school committee and down-Island schools, but saw strong pushback from teachers, who said they have been left out of the decision-making process. And in yet another postponement in an ever-lengthening re-opening process, members of the up-Island committee opted to delay their vote until Tuesday.

A reopening plan passed by the all-Island committee on July 30 called for K-8 students to begin the year remotely, slowly returning to the classroom for in-person instruction later in the fall, on a twice-weekly basis. The regional high school has decided to keep all learning remote until November.

But in a last-minute twist Thursday evening, assistant superintendent of schools Richard Smith presented the committee with a modified plan for K-8 students that would double the number of in-person days for younger students.

Under the new plan, students in grades K-4 would return to school four days a week, with one day of remote learning. Students in grades 5-8 would receive in-person instruction one day a week, relying on synchronous, or live remote learning for the other four days. In Chilmark and West Tisbury, students in grade 5 would also return four times a week, due to the mixed classroom format of the Chilmark School.

The new plan follows the same timetable as the previous model, with students gradually phasing back into in-person learning by age group, beginning on Sept. 17 with pre-K and high-need students, followed by K-1 on Sept. 29, and 2-3 on Oct. 13. All students who opt in will be back in the classroom by Oct. 27.

The revised plan was guided by feedback from the Island community, superintendent Matthew D’Andrea said Thursday. The changes aim to address key concerns voiced over the drawbacks of remote learning and the gap in available child care services left by a half-in-half-out school schedule.

School business administrator Mark Friedman said the pandemic-related costs of the new plan would be covered by grant monies the public schools have received, though each district operates on an individual budget. The total sum of contingency and grant monies available Islandwide is just under $1.87 million, he said.

The new proposal was well received by many committee members, who praised the plan for its thoroughness and thanked the school for adapting to meet community needs.

“I think it’s an extremely clever plan because you take a kid who might really not be able to work independently and they can get everything they need, and then you take a kid who might thrive working independently and they can get what they need,” said committee member Kate DeVane.

But others, including chairman of the up-Island district school committee Alex Salop, said the plan does not take into account the needs of older students. “I have some grave concerns about the way this plan is being implemented,” Mr. Salop said. He also took issue with the abridged school days proposed for the first stages of reopening, noting the strain of shorter school days on working parents.

“I appreciate all the work that’s going into it, but I see this plan as sorely in need of improvement,” Mr. Salop added.

Meanwhile, an assembly of teachers present at the meeting expressed open dismay at not being made aware of the details before Thursday evening.

“We really have had minimal, minimal, minimal communication,” said Jennifer Fournier, a second grade teacher at the Edgartown School. “It sounds really, really good on paper and I think we just have to remember the reality of what we’re asking teachers to do is huge.”

Ms. Fournier, and many of her colleagues, pointed specifically to the impact of the plan on teachers’ classroom spaces. Under the plan, with K-4 students spaced out across each building, 5-8 teachers, and others, will lose access to their classrooms and personal teaching spaces, she said.

A union representative from the Martha’s Vineyard Educators Association also voiced concerns over the exclusion of teachers from decision making. Further discussion of staff needs was tabled for upcoming negotiating subcommittee meetings.

At the close of the meeting, each school district committee convened individually to vote on the proposal. Of the committees present, the Edgartown and Tisbury school committees voted unanimously to approve the plan. The Oak Bluffs school committee rescheduled the vote, lacking a quorum of members present.

But members of the up-Island committee said they would delay their vote until Tuesday, citing inadequate time to review the plan with their principals.

The up-Island committee also voted inconclusively to hire a full-time nurse for the Chilmark School. The committee entertained a motion to use $30,641 in contingency monies to pay for the position, but the motion failed, receiving support from only Mr. Salop and committee member Robert Lionette. Committee members Roxanne Ackerman and Skipper Manter suggested funds should be raised separately, possibly with the help of the Chilmark selectmen.

Both the nursing issue and the plan approval will be taken up at Tuesday’s up-Island district meeting. The Zoom meeting begins at 6:15 p.m.