Reopening Letter (Community) (8.13.2020)

Reopening Letter (Community) (8.13.2020)
Posted on 08/13/2020
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Dear Community,

Over the past month, we all have read opinion, theory, and philosophy on the Reopening of Schools. Much has been offered, speculated, and sadly over-politicized. The purpose of this letter is to announce the Reopening Phase for the district and provide a rationale for the community.    

Any decision made on reopening is going to have its detractors and naysayers. Those facts are understood in advance. However, the pandemic has never been easy when navigating all circumstances.  There is not a perfect model, a perfect answer; there is no 100% of anything.   As uncertainty remains in our world, we all must be fluid and accept change.  In summary, the phase in which we will reopen our schools is subject to change on 24-hours of notice.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an international public health crisis that has impacted every aspect of our lives. Despite that, the reopening of schools, at least in our state, has been turned over to the Superintendent of Schools. This is not like a snow day call.  For me, this is both a professional and personal decision because I too am a parent, an educator, and have long-term connections to this community, people I call colleagues and friends. This is the place I call home.

Since March and the initial closure, I have met with and solicited feedback from students, parents, staff, and community members on the reopening of schools. We formed a Reopening Committee before it was required, and then, requirements continued to change. This Committee has done great work, given endless late hours, read through countless plans, and researched studies (international and national) and they are among the most dedicated educators and community members I have ever met in my career. We all owe them endless gratitude for their work and contributions.  

Additionally, our facilities crew, and administration, has prepared, cleaned, and remodeled our facilities based on the data and guidance from DPH. The district has also dedicated significant resources to ensure the safety and education of our students and staff. (i.e.  plexiglass desk shields for offices, cleaning supplies for classrooms and work areas, creating outdoor learning space, signage).

The virus data trends positive in Connecticut and most importantly in Litchfield County.  The district is prepared and in compliance with all state and CSDE requirements as they stand today.  The district will be swift and nimble to address any new directives that come our way to continue to ensure the safety and well being of our students, staff, and community members. 

Therefore, today I announce, that after careful consideration, the District will officially reopen in PHASE 1 starting with Wednesday, August 26th.

With this announcement we all must acknowledge that it will be five and a half months since our last full day of in person school. Therefore, our reopening will have a transition period for our students and staff. There will be three half days (August 26th – 28th) that will allow specific grades to return to their buildings.

STAGGERED START OF SCHOOL (BY SCHOOL LOCATION) – August 26th through August 28th (HALF DAYS):

Goshen Center School, James Morris School and Warren School

August 26th  -  Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade Only

August 27th  - 3rd and 4th Grade Only

August 28th  - 5th and 6th Grade Only

Litchfield Center School

August 26th  - Kindergarten Only

August 27th  - 1st and 2nd Grade Only

August 28th  - 3rd Grade Only

Litchfield Intermediate School

August 26th  - 6th Grade Only

August 27th  - 5th Grade Only

August 28th  - 4th Grade Only

WAMOGO – LMS – LHS

August 26th  - 7th  and 8th Grade Only

August 27th  - 9th  and 10th Grade Only

August 28th  - 11th and 12th Grade Only

All students will return to school on Monday, August 31st for three half days:

Monday, August 31st  - - All Students (PK-12) – Half Day

Tuesday, September 1st  - All Students (PK-12) – Half Day

Wednesday, September 2nd - - All Students (PK-12) – Half Day

I apologize in advance and know that this change may cause some complications for day care but this does provide the best opportunity for our students and staff to adjust to new surroundings and new rules. More details will be forthcoming from your school on schedules and times. A copy of the revised district school calendar can be found here: 2020-2021 School Calendar

Reopening in any phase does not change the basic premise that we must all do our part to maintain public health and safety. Face coverings, social distancing, and washing hands are still essential. We must continue to monitor our behaviors, our work, our practice, and routinely make adjustments to improve.  

Tonight, I also share the updated Reopening Plan (Version 5.0) that includes guidance from DPH on criteria for phase reopening, along with information on what will happen in the event of a positive case. The updated plan also includes the most recent case data for Connecticut and Litchfield County.  To view, click here: Reopening of Schools (Version 5).

Next week information will be forthcoming on a daily self-wellness inventory required for all students and staff before entering a district facility.

We have come a long way on this journey that started in March.  I know that many are tired, we are nervous, even a bit scared, and those are all normal human emotions. I also know we are stronger for being prepared, for the work put forth, and as a community, we are ready for this next step.

Stay healthy. Stay strong. Keep living forward as our best days are yet to arrive.

Chris

 

 

 

 

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