A Message from the Superintendent of Schools:
We have been actively working with our administrators and staff to develop a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and plan for the continuity of education should there be a need to close our schools. As you know, we are monitoring daily updates from the CDC and following recommendations from our local and state health departments. Yesterday, school districts received recommendations from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) regarding upcoming school events and possible school closures. Below is a summary of the recommendations that directly impact the operations of our district.
School Closures and Distance Learning:
The decision to close schools will be made at the district level in consultation with and at the recommendations of local health officials. If short term closures (up to two weeks) are necessary, the CSDE’s recommendation is that school districts “close school outright to avoid inequities, staff contractual issues, special education access, etc.” Districts will be expected to make up days by extending the school year. In order to provide teachers with time to plan and gather materials and resources that will allow students and families the opportunity to remain actively engaged in learning should we close, I am postponing afternoon and evening conferences on 3/11 and 3/24. Students will have the opportunity to access many of the materials electronically and schools will make hard copies available to families who need them. In order to best prepare for this plan, I am requesting that you complete a technology access survey. Please complete one submission for each student you have in the district. The survey will help us to ensure that devices will be available for families that need them.
Postponement or Cancellation of Events:
Earlier this week, the Governor provided guidance to State Agencies regarding community events. Based on this guidance, the CSDE recommends postponing large events where there would be 100 or more people in attendance. The CIAC has already canceled all remaining CIAC winter tournament games, and I am working closely with building administrators to make decisions about upcoming concerts, plays, etc. Additionally, we are currently evaluating each of the upcoming field trips. Parents will be notified if a trip for your child is going to be canceled or modified.
When it comes to your child’s health, we urge you to take necessary precautions. If you or your child is feeling sick please keep them home, especially if they have a fever or respiratory distress. Please remind your child to engage in everyday preventative actions to help stop the spread of germs:
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
As you can imagine, students may be concerned about COVID-19 and how it may impact them. For guidance on how to talk to your child about this issue, please review this resource from the National Association of School Psychologists. As the number of cases increases and comes closer and closer to our area, I ask for your sensitivity to those in our community who may have a connection to this or any illness. We want to ensure we are acting out of fact and not fear.
COVID-19 is a very fluid situation and our district receives multiple updates throughout the day. Over the next several days, our plans may change as circumstances may dictate. Please know that I take the responsibility of keeping our students and staff safe very seriously, and I will continue to keep you informed as new developments unfold.