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Dear Parents / Guardians / Staff / Community Members,
It is not uncommon that when a question is asked, others are wondering the same. The following topics were sent in question form to the dedicated COVID-19 email. Hopefully by providing the following responses, we are able to address the concerns and questions of many. You are certainly welcome to send a follow up if the response does not answer your question. All personal or situation specific questions are responded to privately.
For your reference, the following CSDE document provides the requirements and guidelines for reopening.
Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together
Bob McGrath - District COVID-19 Liaison
CDC: Center for Disease Control
DPH: Connecticut Department of Public Health
FVHD: Farmington Valley Health District
CSDE: Connecticut State Department of Education
EGPS: East Granby Public Schools
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
Question Topic: Allgrove School : heat/lack of ac/air quality and wearing masks
Response: It is recommended that use of water fountains be suspended for the time being. Students will be encouraged to bring water to school and bottled water will be available.
The Allgrove principal and staff will schedule regular mask breaks and closely monitor the conditions in the building and with individuals in order to determine when additional breaks are needed.
The district is exploring temporary options to cool the classrooms. We are also seeking additional guidance regarding the use of fans (as of 7/28/2020).
Question Topic: voluntary opt-in to remote learning
Response: District administration is making progress with more detail of the remote learning plan. There will be a combination of synchronous (occuring at the same time) and asynchronous learning. From the State’s reopening document, “This voluntary family choice is not intended to be the same as the opportunities provided when classes are cancelled for a broader population, should public health data require it.”
○ EGPS remains committed to provide access to educational opportunities to all of its students, regardless of the mode of instruction. The remote option will present some limitations, as well as expectations.
○ Remote learning program will not result in matching instructional hours 1:1 with an in-person learning model;
○ course offerings will be limited;
○ There will be an expectation for parents to support student attendance and engagement during remote learning;
○ In accordance with CSDE guidance, the Board reserves the right to limit extracurricular activities to students attending school in-person who have not have opted into remote learning programming;
○ As stated by the CSDE, the remote learning programming is temporary, and it may not be available for the full year;
○ Should public health data support a changed approach and/or additional guidance is provided by the Connecticut State Department of Education, EGPS reserves the right to adjust the learning model options accordingly.
Question Topic: Learning options - can we make a change?
Response: A parent/ guardian can change preferences at any point and the transition will be made within 3-5 days. Families are expected to choose one model (for example: if the in-person model is selected, student may not decide to come to school for 2 days and learn remotely for 3 days)
Question Topic: tablets / chromebooks
Response: EGPS will provide a chromebook for any student / family who requests one. We also have iPads for our youngest students (grades 1 and kindergarten).
Question Topic: Attendance for remote learning
Response: From the Commissioner of Education:
All districts will be expected to track attendance on a daily basis for students who opt in to remote learning. This tracking should be consistent with the State Board of Education’s definition for attendance which states that “A student is considered to be ‘in attendance’ if present at their assigned school, or an activity sponsored by the school (e.g., field trip), for at least half of the regular school day.”
Attendance can be accounted for through synchronous online classes, virtual meetings, time documented in electronic systems, and extent of daily work completed.
Question Topic: grading for remote learning
Response: The details are still being worked out. Attendance and work completion are full expectations for students opting into remote learning. Grading will be typical of in-person learning. Students will be expected to fulfill requirements set forth through the remote learning plan. Progress notes will be given.
Question Topic: mask breaks
Response: There is no set number of mask breaks that are recommended. We understand that even for students who have been wearing masks throughout the summer, they probably have not needed to wear them for the length of a school day. The principals and staff will schedule regular mask breaks and closely monitor the conditions in the buildings and with individuals in order to determine when additional breaks are needed.
Question Topic: elementary mask breaks
Response: Administrators and teachers will work together to implement regularly scheduled outdoor mask breaks and recess for their classroom cohorts. Teachers will also have the discretion to take unscheduled breaks if they determine it to be in the interest of their students safety or comfort. Students will be instructed in the importance of and how to maintain proper hygiene, such as hand washing before and after recess, and social distancing during recess and outdoor breaks and teachers and staff will monitor this process. We are in the process of purchasing outdoor tents to allow for breaks during inclement weather. Classes will be assigned an area of the playground (playscape, blacktop and field) on which to play. These areas will be rotated on a regular basis.
Question Topic: mask exemptions
Response: Mask exemptions will be honored for those students who have a medical note. Administration will work with families of any student who has difficulty wearing a mask or keeping a mask on. If there continues to be an issue with wearing a mask, the student may need to learn remotely while the mask mandate is still in effect.
Question Topic: Social Distancing
Response: From the CSDE Adapt, Advance, Achieve Document:
• In conjunction with the considerations concerning classroom and hallway social distancing rules, assist staff and students to maintain social distancing between individuals to reduce the transmission of the virus per the public health guidelines at that time.
• Be prepared to adjust the approach to social distancing if guidance from the CDC or DPH changes due to shifting public health data or evolving understanding of COVID-19 disease, including transmission.
• Maintain the recommended social distancing to the maximum extent possible.
• Prepare in advance for times when social distancing may be particularly difficult, including but not limited to: − Accommodating students with special health care needs or disabilities whose learning (e.g., direct instruction) or other needs (e.g., assisting with toileting or ambulation) may require closer proximity and/or direct contact. − Conducting health assessments or screenings when there is a suspicion that symptoms exist or there was exposure (e.g., the school nurse listening to lung sounds).
Question Topic: Cleaning frequency
Response: Our cleaning protocols are in alignment with the recommendations of the CDC and FVHD
Here is the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health notice that addresses cleaning:
Question Topic: Cleaning and ventilation
Response: School custodians will be trained in accordance with the CDC guidelines. Here is the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health notice that addresses ventilation:
Question Topic: Temperature Screening
Response: Temperature screening for school entry is not recommended by the FVHD or the CSDE given the large variety of symptoms beyond fever and that the process would itself cause a number of challenges for social distancing protocols and school entry. The district has purchased digital thermometers and can do a temperature check upon request or during a health assessment. Additionally, we are not able to require temperature checks for those students who have a medical reason for not wearing a mask.
Question Topic: Students/Staff displaying symptoms
Response: The district has purchased personal protection equipment (PPE) for teachers and staff that follows the recommendation of the CDC and Farmington Valley Health Department. The district will also be able to supply any student who comes to school without a mask, or might need an additional one during the course of the day.
Question Topic: isolation / quarantining / return to school
Response: EGPS is working very closely with the FVHD and will follow their protocols and direction as it relates to symptoms, assessments, contact tracing, isolation, quarantining, and return to school. The FVHD will be training our nurses and providing resources to be shared with families and staff before the start of school.
Question Topic: travel from any area on the travel advisory
Response: Anyone who travels to CT from any of the areas on the travel advisory must quarantine for 14 days. A negative COVID test is not sufficient to return prior to the 14 days.
Question Topic: School dismissal for illness
Response: The FVHD is developing protocols for how our school nurses will assess students/staff who are symptomatic. Many COVID symptoms are similar to other ailments such as allergies, upset stomach, and the flu. The nurses will be trained by the FVHD regarding next steps for anyone exhibiting symptoms.
Question Topic: faculty and staff who might be considered “at risk”
Response: Faculty and staff have been notified of all possible leave options available to them through the district, as well as the Families First Coronavirus Leave
Additionally, appropriate PPE will be available for all staff (page 61) https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/COVID-19/CTReopeningSchools.pdf
Question Topic: technology pickup/dropoff location
Response: Pickup/dropoff will occur at the Board of Education Office entryway at specific times, which are still to be determined. Approach the doorway to the Board of Education using the southeast exterior door at 33 Turkey Hills Road, East Granby (Carl Allgrove School). Once there, press the intercom button and state your purpose. The door will be released by personnel. Your device should be picked up or left just inside the doorway. For the safety of others, please bring a sanitizing wipe and sanitize all touch points upon your departure.