The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School committee voted unanimously in favor of letting the Island’s winter homeless shelter return to school-owned property at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Monday, after public safety concerns prompted the committee to put the shelter’s approval on pause earlier this month.

With final approval from Oak Bluffs health and safety officials expected this week, the shelter could be open within days of its previously-announced Nov. 27 start.

In a 5-4 vote earlier this month, the committee initially approved the request from MVCS to host the shelter in the former early childhood building, known as Building A, from late November through March.

A week later, citing concerns about campus safety, the committee voted 7-2 to rescind the approval after learning that Oak Bluffs had responded to eight calls for emergency service during the two and a half months the shelter was open at MVCS early this year.

Two of the eight calls did not come from shelter staff, said Oak Bluffs police chief Jonathan Searle, during more than an hour of testimony and debate at Monday’s meeting.

“These were issues where people called 911 on their own and the shelter was unaware of it,” said Chief Searle, who joined the hybrid meeting in person at the high school library.

The other six calls involved alcohol intoxication, mental illness and medical problems, the chief said.

Chief Searle spoke at the request of Oak Bluffs select board chair Ryan Ruley, who took part in the meeting via Zoom along with town administrator Deborah Potter, some school committee members and other Islanders.

MVCS chief executive Beth Folcarelli provided details about the other six calls for service early this year, after the high school committee granted permission in mid-January for the shelter to move into Building A to accommodate Covid distancing needs. Four of the calls were related to medical issues, while the two others came on separate occasions in which intoxicated people arrived after the shelter closed its doors for the night at 7 p.m.

Shelter manager Lisa Belcastro said the shelter’s registered guests have not been violent or disruptive. Ms. Belcastro has worked with the winter shelter since its inception as a church-based volunteer network nearly 10 years ago.

“We’re in a housing crisis, so there might be people in need and that’s our job … to serve those people that need a place to sleep,” she said.

Shelter guests must be off the MVCS campus by 8 a.m., Ms. Belcastro said, and don’t interact with the agency’s day users.

While drop-off time for the early childhood program begins around 7:30 a.m., Ms. Folcarelli said it’s very unlikely that departing shelter guests would cross paths with arriving children.

“Drop-off for early childhood is clear on the other side of campus,” she said, adding that children are never unattended regardless of the time of day.

Emma Green-Beach of Ryan’s Way, whose child was in the MVCS pre-kindergarten program last year, told the committee that while she and other parents knew the shelter existed in the old building, they saw no evidence of it.

“We never felt our kids were at risk whatsoever,” said Ms. Green-Beach, a member of the Oak Bluffs select board who told the committee she was speaking on her own behalf as a high school neighbor in support of the shelter.

“If the shelter is not here … it will still be in someone else’s back yard,” she said.

“I feel safer knowing that it’s here, because Chief Searle and [all of] you are watching this campus so diligently,” added Ms. Green-Beach. “We do know that Oak Bluffs is the center for so many regional services. I live next door and for me it’s also a gift,” she said.

The committee agreed to let the homeless shelter resume operations, with a revised agreement expected to be signed by late Tuesday.

Among the stipulations: Harbor Homes must report all emergency calls and other incidents to superintendent of schools Dr. Richard (Richie) Smith, who may order the shelter closed on the spot if he believes a danger exists.

The school committee would then have five days to convene in public and review the closure, under the new agreement, which also limits occupancy to 20 people per night including the two paid staffers from Harbor Homes who work each shift.

Along with Oak Bluffs residents and officials, Monday’s meeting at the library drew more than a half-dozen Harbor Homes staffers and volunteers, along with other homeless allies including local clergy. About two dozen more people joined online.