I hope you and your families are well and settling into the school year. Thank you for all you have done to maintain a safe learning environment for our students, the school, and the community.
In August, we set today, September 25, as a deadline to review a possible full return to school on October 5.
Given continued concerns with maintaining appropriate social distancing in our classrooms, cafeterias, and common areas, we are not able to return full time on October 5. I want to be clear that the positive cases at Fairfield Ludlowe High School this week are not the reason for this decision. Those cases certainly emphasize the need for all members of our community to continue to follow mask and social distancing guidance. However, we looked at the larger picture of conditions across the district as we identified where we are, and what we need to do for a full return to school option.
Specifically we are pursuing the following steps that are necessary for a full return:
1. Safely reducing distancing to a 3 feet minimum in all instructional spaces and cafeterias (based on American Academy of Pediatrics guidance)
- Continuing mandatory face coverings
- Placing physical barriers on student desks and in between students in the cafeteria
- Identify additional spaces for eating lunch
2. Ensure staffing levels remain constant
3. Adding custodial staff to increase frequency of cleaning because of more students
- Replacement of all air filters
- Updated reports on air circulation
- State guidance on expectations in winter when we may need to reduce the intake of outside air
5. Allowing more families to choose remote learning, increase the ability to livestream from all classrooms
6. Determine budget adjustments needed to respond to the above items
7. Most importantly, provide intense, supportive professional learning for all staff to teach in different learning environments
We will be working with the Reopening Committee to review these concerns. Based on prioritizing education needs, we may identify a smaller group of students to bring back full time at first and then build upon that approach.
While we work on these issues, we will continue to monitor the state, county, and town health data. That information remains the most important piece in determining our ability to return to school full time.
For more information on our current status of preparation please check here for the information presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, September 22 Mitigation-Strategies-Handout.
Please continue to take care, be well, and I hope you can enjoy this weekend,