Community Update (8.30.2020)

Community Update (8.30.2020)
Posted on 08/30/2020
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Dear Community,

 

I try to stay away from Sunday emails but during this time, nothing is predictable. 

 

I want to extend a thank you to students, staff, parents, and community, for the start of the year. Across two districts we phased in grades K-12 and tomorrow will begin the next step. There are too many thanks we need to deliver but we all must appreciate how this work takes everyone, time, and patience. Each day we are truly doing something new and we must find the good and seek continuous improvement. 

 

Our journey continues now from reopening to staying open. The following are three important updates based on numerous emails, feedback, and questions.

 

Face Coverings and Gaiters

The great news from the opening is that our students were extremely compliant with respect to face coverings and social distancing guidelines. As several students told me, being in school was far better than the spring experience.

 

As we reopened, the district provided a gaiter to each student and staff. It was the good intention to promote district spirit. Never was the intention to enter the debate on gaiters, their effectiveness, or their thickness. 

 

Adding to the discussion the CDC revised its public guidance on Thursday:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

 

In the release, the CDC cautions against gaiters and that more research is needed. Therefore, based on this guidance, I ask everyone to set aside their "L" or "W" gaiter until a future date. Please do not wear the district gaiter at this time until research is clearer. Our primary goal is to keep everyone safe, healthy, and school in session based on all guidance. 

 

As one who tries to find the good in an ever-changing world, I am now able to put aside my gaiter, and stop switching “L” and “W” depending on location. I can also try several new masks and return to wearing neckties. 

 

Technology

We continue to face sliding delivery dates on technology devices. Despite orders dating back to June, this is not unique as the supply chain is held in many locations. 

 

We expect an initial delivery this Tuesday, but that is hardly complete. We will endure a shortage of devices for parts of September. To get through this period and adjustment we must work together. 

 

It is essential that if you have a device to return, or can return, that it is turned back to your school. If you have a technology need, I would ask that you directly contact your school and also use the help ticket found on the website. 

 

Requests will be prioritized and processed as quickly as possible. The technology department is working tirelessly. We are all thankful for their attention to detail and our students during an unprecedented time. 

 

Sports (High School and Middle School)

It is well publicized that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and Department of Public Health (DPH) continue to hold a media-centered back and forth on fall high school sports. Right now, high school sports are resuming training and the season is slated to begin with games in October. 

 

One of the main concerns of the community is the desire to watch games. Everyone knows I am a sports fan and often attend games. I am also a dad and a local coach who understands the frustration. For example, the rules for local youth sports don't match the CIAC. 

 

Currently, CIAC does not recommend fans at games but leaves that decision up to the district. Like much guidance during this time, that has changed often, the CIAC has placed all risk and liability on districts. At the same time that another state acronym punts on responsibility, I personally wonder if we will even get to play contests with community case data all over the place. Therefore, with time on our side, we will continue to monitor the situation between CIAC, DPH, and follow future recommendations accordingly. There is over a month until October and this is subject to, and probably will change countless times. Stay patient, stay positive, and I know that is not easy. 

 

More information will be forthcoming soon from the Athletic Departments on Middle School sports. With much uncertainty around high school sports, there will be a natural pause before Middle School programs can begin. 

 

I thank everyone for reading my long update (at least I hope you are still reading). I continue to believe that our best days are still in the future. The work in education is harder and more complex than ever but we continue the journey.

 

Stay healthy. Stay strong. Keep living forward. 

 

Chris  

 

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