December 2, 2020 Update

December 2, 2020 Update
Posted on 12/02/2020

Hello East Granby Parents and Guardians,

At the Board of Education Meeting on Monday, November 23rd, I made the decision to go to a full remote day on Wednesdays. The day would mirror the Wednesday we have in both our hybrid and full remote instructional models. When we began with all in-person learning on Tuesday, October 13th, we had very good attendance and at the time, were not experiencing COVID-19 positive cases. As we are all aware, our community COVID-19 cases have increased, requiring students and staff to isolate and quarantine. Additionally, students remain out of school for a variety of reasons that go beyond a typical day of absence. Students might be in quarantine as a close contact from an infected individual at school, in their household, or from an outside organization (sports team) or recreational event (playdate). Students are also remaining home as parents monitor their symptoms or await test results. Our staff have done their absolute best to be flexible with instructing the number of students moving from in-person to remote learning during these periods of extended absence. I do feel it is warranted that we "pivot" to a full remote day on Wednesdays. The purpose is twofold: The AM Wednesday student contact time will allow teachers and staff to have flexibility with their day, allowing for small group work, whole group work, social and emotional lessons, 1:1 conferencing, sessions with full distance learners or those learning remotely on a temporary basis, and parental outreach. The second reason is to allow for an in-person break mid-week, which will assist with contact tracing because there will be one day each week that students will not be in the building. The administration and community recognizes the efforts and successes to date with our in-person learning model. Our teachers and staff have balanced the daily oversight and enforcement of social distancing, hand washing, and mask monitoring, while simultaneously teaching students both in the classroom and remotely.

Each principal will communicate the Wednesday morning schedule/expectations with parents and guardians so that students and families know what to expect during the student contact time, as it will look different between elementary and secondary levels. Wednesday will remain "early release" for students, allowing staff the afternoon for planning and collaboration with colleagues.

December 16th is the first Wednesday that will be full remote; I want to give you, particularly elementary families, an opportunity to plan for supervision. The following Wednesday, December 23, is already a scheduled early release day for students. I do not know how long we will remain with this schedule. When the number of positive cases decreases and continues to trend downward over a sustained period of time; we will reassess. As always the possibility, we might need to pivot in the other direction should cases impact our schools from a health or administrative position (ie: not enough staff in the building).

I recognize that a remote day is not favorable for everyone. Like all decisions COVID-19 related, there are valid pros and cons and differing perspectives, opinions, and experiences. One challenge is supervision for working families. The school district and East Granby Parks and Recreation are exploring a way to support our families who might need assistance on Wednesdays for our K-5 students. If the interest and resources are available, we would plan to implement a program after the return from December break. A forthcoming communication will provide more detail on this partnership.

Best to you,

Missy Bavaro-Grande

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