The following is taken from Orange Town News. Read the full report here.
Orange Town News, in Connecticut, are reporting that students are to return to the classroom from 31st August in a potential 3 phase approach having spent nearly a year out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under what the district refers to as ‘key mitigation strategies,’ there will be mandatory face coverings, cleaning/hygiene protocols, cohorting, social distancing, a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system and families encouraged to drive students to school.
Vince Scarpetti, Superintendent, said; ‘The summer always passes by pretty fast, but by no surprise, this summer went by in a flash and a blink of an eye...Administrators, teachers and parents were very busy getting ready for the beginning of the school year.’
He said parents had a big decision to make, whether to send their kids back to school and that one of the biggest concerns from parents was around what remote learning will look like in the first phase. “Another question that’s come up is ‘am I able to change my mind?’ Absolutely, yes,” Scarpetti says. “This is a personal decision that families need to make based on what’s right for them. We support all of you throughout this process. The decision to change will take place on Monday of the following week.”
“I hope that we don’t enter Phase 2, which is hybrid, or Phase 3, which is total remote. Why do I hope that? Because that means the metrics have changed. But in case we do, we need to be prepared,” he says.
Evelyn Russo, curriculum director for the district says the plan, whether in school or not, focuses on social-emotional lessons with consideration of the well-being of all children. “We have to teach students about the new protocols and procedures. We will teach students how to work remotely if we do need to make that shift. We know that student achievement is based on staff development,” she says.
Staff has spent the summer learning new tools and resources that they’ll need to use in today’s changed world. “We are going to rely on MobileMind, which has learning paths and micro-courses that teach in minute-long videos and then a task which a teacher engages in and submits for feedback,” Russo explains. “They’re really internalizing the learning by actually doing it and then getting feedback. It will allow teachers to increase their knowledge at whatever level they are. We needed teachers to become familiar with all of our distance learning tools and digital resources.”
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