July 17, 2020 Update

July 17, 2020 Update
Posted on 07/17/2020

Dear East Granby Families and Staff,

I hope this communication finds you well and enjoying hot summer days and peaceful evenings. On Monday night, July 20, 2020, the East Granby Public School Administrative Team will present the Return to School Plan 2020. Please understand that the plan will continue to evolve as we receive additional guidance and protocols from the Governor, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD). The Return to School Plan is not "done", but many hours have been dedicated to the various components and we are required to submit our document to the State Department of Education by Friday, July 24th.
We have received great input from families, staff, and community members ~ thank you all!

The survey recently sent to families about return to school intentions provides us with good preliminary data. We had just over 82% of families respond, so thank you! The data shows that of those who replied, 60.5% responded "yes" to in-person learning, 10.5% responded "no" to in-person learning, and 28.9% are currently "unsure". We will determine a date that all families will need to decide"yes" or "no" so that we can appropriately plan for arrangements in school and for distance learning. Hopefully after the presentation Monday night, there will
be more clarity to many of the questions and concerns raised and that possibly led to a response of "unsure".

The survey results also show that 65% of respondents can transport their child(ren). Understanding that both transportation and the choice of in-person learning can shift as family preferences change, this is still very helpful starting information.

I would like to address a few items that came up multiple times in the survey responses and through other communications. There were repeated comments that we should start school with a hybrid model and that masks should not be required. Although I appreciate and respect individual views, both of those decisions are not up to our discretion. We are directed by the Connecticut State Department of Education to open school five days a week for all students and, except for medical reasons, masks are a requirement to attend school in person. Monday night, we will share more information about health and safety protocols such as social distancing, cohorts, and enhanced cleaning measures.

Representatives from FVHD will discuss protocols and expectations related to isolation, quarantining, and return to school. Every situation is multilayered and we will continue to work closely with our FVHD partners, following their guidance. We greatly appreciate their time and willingness to always answer our questions, regardless of the day or time.

Finally, as a district we are required to submit to the CSDE, three models of learning: full in person, hybrid, and distance learning. As you are aware, parents can choose for their child to "opt in" for distance learning rather than come into the school building. Distance Learning as an "opt in" will look very different than if we were all home and engaged in distance learning as a district. We will not be completely sure what distance learning will look like as an "opt in" until we know exactly which students (grade and/or courses) we are planning for. I understand this may not a favorable response and I apologize for that but please remember that all of our staff will be in school teaching for the full day and the makeup of classes, both in person and through distance learning, could possibly change from day to day as families shift their preferences from distance learning to in school and vice versa. The logistics are extremely complex. Once we know who exactly will not be returning in person, we will be all hands on deck and as creative as
possible with our resources.

Above all, let's be sure to keep perspective. We continue to live through stressful times and the impact is different for everyone. There are a lot of decisions being made and we will most likely never all agree to what is "best". In my opinion, what is best is that we get through this pandemic and are healthy as individuals, as families, and as a community. If we are not able to do that, then none of this will be important. Our goal right now is to open schools in a safe manner, following the health guidance of the FVHD and the CDC, and provide the best education and emotional support to our students as we possibly can. I assure you that your children have remained on the minds of all of us who work in the schools.

We have received phenomenal support from our staff, families, East Granby officials and Board members, town departments, first responders, and various other community members as we worked through planning sessions. The kind words and messages of confidence help to keep us going and serve as a reminder of our wonderful community.

Best,
Missy Bavaro-Grande

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