July 28, 2021 Update

July 28, 2021 Update
Posted on 07/28/2021

July 28, 2021

Dear East Granby Staff and Families,

I certainly hope you are enjoying the days of summer, especially now that the daily rain and thunderstorms have stopped!  I know there are many questions regarding what school will look like when we return.  Trust me, administrators are asking the same questions and adjusting building protocols accordingly.  We have SOME answers, but are awaiting others.  With infection back on the rise, and all indicators trending upwards, August will be a month of fine-tuning our plans. 

As a reminder, the requirement that school districts provide temporary remote learning opportunities will no longer be in place for this school year. We will be happy to see all of our students in school five days a week.  

Regarding the current status of the virus, the following is from the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD) for the week ending July 17th:  While new cases remained stable for weeks ending July 10 and July 17 with 19 cases each, we are experiencing a doubling of new cases when we begin to look at our data for week ending July 24, currently at 45 cases.  Many of our new cases are household clusters and travel related. 

Community transmission rates across the country are shifting to substantial and are high in most of the country.  The northeast is categorized as moderate community transmission at this time.

Vaccination rates continue to creep up slowly in the Farmington Valley.  While we have seen some vaccine breakthrough cases, none have been hospitalized and most have had mild symptoms.  Vaccinations are still the most important strategy in preventing COVID infections, serious illness, death and disease spread. 

We continue to vaccinate the homebound and are continuing outreach to those in service industries that may not have been vaccinated yet.  We will have a vaccination booth at the Hartland Fair on July 30th.

The FVHD data shows that over the past 3 months (April - June 2021), the percentage of confirmed cases in children and young adults (age 0-19) increased nearly 10% from the previous 3 months (January - March 2021). The FVHD is hosting a vaccination clinic for ages 12+ at the Hartland Carnival on Friday, July 30th from 6-8 PM. Contact Stephanie at 860.352.2333 or at [email protected] with any questions regarding the clinic. More information and resources can be found on the FVHD website: https://fvhd.org/covid-19-information/

School districts also received “Interim Recommendations for COVID-19 Prevention in Connecticut’s PreK-12 Schools” on 7/25/2021 from the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).  Additional guidance is expected for several areas. I have highlighted information below:

Vaccination

  • EGPS and the Farmington Valley School districts will continue to work with the FVHD regarding vaccination clinics and assist / support in any way we can.
  • Districts have been asked to highlight the advantages of being fully vaccinated for the upcoming school year.  This means fully vaccinated individuals who are considered a close contact will NOT have to quarantine, unless symptomatic. 

Mask Use

  • Federal Order (CDC) requires mask use on public transportation, including school buses.
  • Updates to mask guidance for the Fall 2021 school year will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Distancing and Cohorting

  • When feasible, maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance in classrooms; consider potential alternative spaces for instruction, if available.
  • Implement distancing to the extent practical as part of a layered mitigation strategy in all areas of the school.

Cleaning, Disinfection, Hygiene

  • Clean (detergent-based) occupied areas of schools and buses on a daily basis.
  • Clean and disinfect restrooms at least once daily.
  • Continuous spot disinfection of high touch surfaces is no longer necessary.

Isolation, Quarantine, Contacts

  • Students seated 3 feet or more from another student diagnosed with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine, as long as they remain asymptomatic and masks were worn in the classroom.  This exception to the contact definition applies to exposures between students only. 
  • Supporting guidance will be updated accordingly.

Sports and Other Extracurriculars

  • All Fall athletics should plan to begin on time this year and plan for full seasons.
  • Fully vaccinated students/staff do not have to quarantine from sports or other activities, provided they remain asymptomatic after close contact with a known COVID-19 case.
  • Recommend weekly testing for unvaccinated athletes/coaches.
  • The higher the vaccination rate on a team, the more likely they are to keep practicing, maintain their current schedule, and complete their season.

Recess and Physical Education

  • No change from Spring 2021 guidance: Masks not needed for outdoor recess/PE, encourage distancing, promote hand hygiene before/after outdoor activities.

Arts Instruction and Performance

  • Recommendations are largely unchanged for Fall 2021.
  • Move activities outdoors when/where practical.
  • Extended distancing (6 feet or more) is recommended where increased respiration is likely (e.g., wind instruments, singing, high-exertion dance, etc.).
  • Droplet control measures should be implemented during activities with increased respiration (e.g., bell covers for wind instruments, etc.).

Cafeterias and Meal Periods

  • Schools should assess available physical distance in cafeterias and consider whether or not it makes sense to displace instructional activities (e.g., phys. ed. instruction) for additional dining space.

Ventilation

  • Make appropriate adjustments/repairs to existing central systems, considering full occupancy.
  • Make smart, cost-effective, and manageable improvements to central systems where

possible, ensuring resources will be available for maintenance as well.

School Buses

  • Current Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Order requires masking on public transportation, including school buses.
  • Opening bus windows (even slightly) can greatly improve ventilation.
  • Assigned seating, controlled loading/unloading are still good ideas.

Visitor Policies

  • All visitors should be aware of, and comply with, mitigation strategies in use inside the school building.
  • Recommend non-essential visitors/meetings with outside individuals occur after the school day ends.

Please remember you may contact the administrative team via email:  [email protected].

Additionally, we are still looking to hire team members!   How about a part-time position such as a lunch distributor or lunch monitor?  With the federal food program continuing through the 2021-2022 school year, we are in need of filling these lunch positions.  Interested in either of the lunchtime roles, but want to job share the week?  I can consider that!  We are doing everything we can to support the free food program; we just need a few more fabulous people!   How about becoming a full-time paraprofessional?  We are also hiring a daily substitute for each of our elementary schools, as well as increasing the pool of district substitutes for day to day assignments, as needed.   Contact me at [email protected] with questions or to find out more information. 

Best,

Missy Bavaro-Grande

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