Superintendent: Board of Ed to Discuss COVID Regulations Tuesday — What the Plan Says

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The Board of Education, at its meeting Tuesday night, will discuss a proposed plan for COVID-19 regulations in Darien schools when they reopen for the upcoming school year, and members of the public can tell the board what they think about the plan.

In a message to parents on Friday, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley described highlights of the district’s plan, called the “Safe Return Plan” or “SRP.”

The plan follows mandates and guidelines already sent out by the state government, along with recommendations from the federal government, Addley said. Those mandates and guidelines often change, he said, especially now in response to the Delta variant.

“Preparations are well underway to welcome all of our students back to school in the fall,” the superintendent said. Remote learning will only take place with students in quarantine, he said.

Addley said the plan includes a rule that students, staff and teachers wear masks indoors, as mandated by Gov. Ned Lamont, but that mandate expires at the end of September, he added.

“We anticipate receiving additional direction on this issue over the next few weeks” the superintendent said. That would likely be before the start of school. “Masks do not need to be worn outside.”

For more highlights of the Safe Return Plan, see the superintendent’s full message below. For the entire plan, see this Web page on the school district website.

Full Text of the Superintendent’s Message to Parents

Aug. 6, 2021
Dear Families:

I hope this finds you in good health and enjoying the summer with your family and friends.

As we enter August, we resume weekly communications to assist your family in making preparations for the return to school in the fall. Additional information will be provided each week as issues arise and new information becomes available.

Recommendations from the CDC, DPH & CSDE [federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state Department of Public Health and the Connecticut State Department of Education] evolve regularly and rapidly in response to changing metrics and the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.

The administration continues to work closely with our state and local health officials in preparing for Darien’s safe reopening. Preparations are well underway to welcome all of our students back to school in the fall. This includes, if necessary,
the ability to quickly transition between in-person, hybrid and remote modes of learning.

The design of the District’s Safe Return Plan (SRP) is to return to school in as normal a way as possible.

Decisions about reopening school continue to be made in consultation with State and local health officials with the priority of ensuring the health and safety of students and staff and the continuity of learning.

The District has very high vaccination rates for students and staff. To ensure continuity of in-person learning, we encourage all eligible students and staff to receive the COVID vaccine as soon as possible.

The current version of the District’s SRP can be accessed through the District’s website. Here are some selected highlights from the plan consistent with current state and local guidelines:

● Executive Order 12A currently requires the wearing of masks for all students and staff inside the school. The executive order expires Sept. 30. We anticipate receiving additional direction on this issue over the next few weeks. Masks do not need to be worn outside.
● CDC requires students to wear masks on school buses. There is no assigned seating on buses.
● Students will be distanced three feet apart when feasible.
● Vaccinated students and staff will not need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact during contact tracing.
● Regular school lunches will resume in the cafeteria.
● School visitors will be permitted given appropriate adherence to health and safety protocols.
● Athletics is scheduled to fully resume as are extracurricular activities and field trips.
● Remote learning will only be available for students required to quarantine.
● Cleaning of classrooms and buses will take place daily with higher frequency in restrooms.
● Half day Fridays are discontinued. The start and end of the school day will resume to their normal times.
● When appropriate, some events and activities will be held outdoors (ex: PE, recognition ceremonies).

The agenda for the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Aug.t 10, includes an opportunity for public discussion on topics and plans related to the reopening of school. The community may participate remotely. Due to social distancing, in person participation is limited. Please refer to the directions on the BOE agenda for participation details.

As we await additional information on the wearing of masks in schools, the good news is that all of our students will be returning to in-person learning in the fall. As proven last year, working collaboratively together in these challenging times, I am confident in our ability to continue providing exceptional in person learning experiences for all of our students.

Until next week, enjoy the August sunshine!

Alan Addley, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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