Glastonbury Public Schools
Fall 2020 DRAFT Plan
We will begin the 2020-2021 school year under Hybrid Plan B.
July 30, 2020
At this time we plan to reopen our schools under Hybrid Plan B. Please click here for a letter from Superintendent Bookman to parents. Later in August each school principal will share a Health and Safety Procedures, Fall 2020 booklet to accompany the usual school handbook. This will help students and parents to understand the many changes in their school's procedures at the beginning of this school year.
During the summer of 2020 we continue to develop health and safety protocols for the reopening of schools. Our plans remain a work in progress. They are in compliance with the CT State Reopening guidelines.
Plans A, B, and C
Plan A is for a full return to school buildings, with the option for parents to choose to keep their children home for eLearning. We are also developing two alternate plans: Plan B is a hybrid plan (mix of in-school and eLearning) and Plan C is for eLearning only.
Some of the information presented here may very well change before the start of the school year. We may decide on a different course of action for a variety of reasons, including learning more facts about the spread of COVID-19 in our community, our state, and our nation.
We have compiled two Question and Answer documents for parents. We hope you will find this information helpful. Each school also now has a Quick Reference Guide posted on the home page of their school website. Schools are also each developing a comprehensive Health, Safety, and Learning Plans Fall 2020 booklet for parents as well.
Plan A: In-School Instruction
Health Practices: The 3 W’s— Wear a face covering. Wash hands. Watch distancing.
Wear a face covering. Our schools, in compliance with the State of Connecticut School Reopening Plan, will require face coverings that cover the mouth and nose for all students and staff. Students will supply their own face coverings. They will be available for those who forget. Arrangements will be made for parents if this presents a financial hardship or if children have a medical condition (doctor’s note required) that prevents them from wearing a face covering. During outdoor activities/classes students will likely be able to remove their masks.
Wash hands. We will require frequent student and staff hand washing and sanitizing of hands. We will instruct students on proper hand washing techniques. We will position hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the schools.
Watch distancing. We will maintain social distancing of 6 feet OR to the maximum extent possible. We will position desks facing the same way, if possible, and as far apart as possible. We will need to know which students will be participating in eLearning so we can build class lists to maximize student distancing. The number of students returning to in-building learning will help determine classroom distancing. Where possible, we will use alternate school spaces to accommodate larger class sections.
Staff and students will receive instruction and training on the three Ws. Signage to remind staff and students of proper protocols will be placed throughout the school. Our teachers will work with our youngest students to help them adjust to the routines.
We will keep class groups (“cohorts”) together and self-contained as much as possible. To prevent virus spread, this is even more important than reducing the number of children in a classroom. Optional before and after-school activities will take place with all health and social distancing practices in place. Schools will not be open for evening activities in order to provide an opportunity for additional school cleaning and sanitation.
Elementary Classes. Elementary classes will stay together throughout the day. Specials teachers (art, music, library, foreign language) will come to the classroom. P.E. classes will be held outside (weather permitting). There will be no 4th/5th grade chorus, band, or orchestra ensembles. However, there will be band and orchestra lessons with students meeting only with students from their same cohort. Meals will be served in the cafeteria and gymnasium (and possibly library) to maximize spacing among cohorts. Students will stay in cohort groups during recess. Supply sharing will be as limited as possible.The movement of students and hallway traffic will be organized to maximize distancing when possible. There will be no locker use by students for this reason as well.
Gideon and Smith Middle School Classes. Gideon and Smith “teams” will stay together. A unified electives model will be offered to team cohorts—for example, at Smith Middle School the teams will rotate together through units where all students experience all the electives. P.E. classes will be held outside (weather permitting). Ensemble band and chorus classes will be scheduled by cohort and/or held outside or in alternate venues. Meals will be served by teams in the cafeteria and gymnasium (and possibly library) to maximize spacing. The movement of students and hallway traffic will be organized to maximize distancing when possible. There will be no locker use by students for this reason as well.
High School Classes. GHS plans to switch to a block schedule. Every school day would include four extended class periods plus an all-school universal lunch period. Essentially classes will meet every other day. This schedule will limit hallway transitions and the overall number of students in the school at a given time. It also allows students to maintain their current schedule with a full variety of classes.
P.E. classes will be held outside (weather permitting). Students will eat lunch during a common period in one of three lunch waves. Students will eat in the cafeteria, gymnasium, library, and other rooms deemed appropriate to maximize spacing. Several large areas of the building (cafeteria, gymnasium, library, auditorium lobby, etc.) will be available for students with free periods. Students with free periods at the beginning or end of the day will be encouraged to arrive late or leave early. The senior Current Issues class will likely be delivered via video lessons/lectures enabling seniors to arrive at school later on Period 1 A/B days. We are looking into improving technology access outside the high school so that some classes can meet outside. We are exploring options for choir and band classes (outdoors, virtually, small groups, etc.) The movement of students and hallway traffic will be organized to maximize distancing when possible. There will be no locker use by students for this reason as well.
Transportation, Drop-Off, Pick-Up, School Visitors
With the current COVID-19 virus conditions in our state, schools are not required to limit the number of students on the bus or vans as long as face coverings are worn by the driver and passengers. However, we are also unable to maintain any class “cohort” groups on buses/vans so we are concerned about the number of children riding on buses/vans. Therefore, we are asking all parents who are able to drive their children to and from school to please do so.
Buses will load from back to front with siblings seated together. Only students that register for bus transportation (form will be sent at a later date) will be transported. Any student not complying with wearing a mask on the bus will lose their bus privileges.
Parents should expect a change of traffic patterns and scheduling for parent drop offs and pick ups at each school. More information will come from your child’s school. At this time, in order to protect everyone’s health, visitors, including parents, will not be permitted to enter our school buildings unless absolutely necessary.
Cleaning, Sanitizing, Ventilation, and Staff Protective Equipment
Cleaning and Sanitizing. There will be enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of common high touch surfaces throughout school such as classrooms, bathrooms, etc. Drinking fountains will be closed. Students are asked to bring water bottles from home. Custodial schedules have been changed to increase routine sanitization during school hours. All products that will be used for cleaning and sanitizing are safe for students and staff and will eliminate COVID-19 on surfaces. These products have been reviewed and approved by our Director of Environmental Health and Safety.
Custodians will use “foggers” to sanitize large areas in a short period of time. The foggers use Neutral Electrolyzed Water (NEW). This is a “green” and safe technology that is all-natural, organic, non-toxic, non-irritant, and environmentally and ecologically safe. It is produced from the electrochemical reaction of water, salt, acetic acid (vinegar) and electricity. This process provides a disinfectant that is up to 100 times more powerful than bleach but is not harmful to people. The EPA has approved the use of (NEW) for on-site production and sanitization.
Ventilation. We will increase the circulation of fresh, outside air and air filtration as appropriate for each type/size of school space. We will use the highest filtration levels allowable within our air handlers. This includes the use of increased outside air and filtration for air conditioning in the fall and heating when the weather turns colder.
Protective Equipment. Protective equipment provided to teachers and staff include masks (clear masks, when available, will assist our special education and our youngest students). You can also expect that some teachers may choose to use face shields (along with masks). Polycarbonate dividers will be set up on teacher desks. In addition, staff will have access to gloves and hand sanitizer. Wipes will be available to help clean as well.
It is absolutely critical that students showing any signs of illness are kept home and not sent to school. This includes cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever, chills, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. There will be isolation areas for any students or staff who become ill while at school. Measures are also being considered to reduce the frequency of visits to the nurses office (for minor bumps and cuts, etc) and the ability to assess needs of students to mitigate any potential spread of illness.
We will work closely with local health officials to follow all state and CDC guidelines for class and school closure and return to school protocols for sick students and staff. Students who are ill at home can participate in eLearning.
While the school district is not directly responsible for contact tracing, we will work with health officials, and will have a plan in place for notifying staff and families, as appropriate. We will communicate these details as soon as they are available.
Plan A: eLearning at Home
(for students not returning to in-school learning)
Parents have the option to keep their children at home to participate in eLearning instead of learning in the school building.
Teachers will use video conferencing (via Zoom or Google Meet) so classes can be accessed by those students whose parents opt to keep them at home. For grades 6-12 we expect to use a synchronous model as much as possible. This means students eLearning at home will follow their class scheduling, logging in for each class at the proper time. Teachers will instruct students in the classroom and students eLearning on the computer at the same time.
At this time we plan to have elementary students who are eLearning at home being instructed in groups by grade level across the district by teachers who are also working from home. Your responses to our Return to Learning Parent Survey will help us in setting up these “remote classrooms.”
Plan B Hybrid (New)
Note: This is a new Hybrid Plan B plan, updated on July 24, 2020.
Pending Board of Education approval, we have updated the Plan B “Hybrid Plan” in response to parent feedback and to align with neighboring school districts plans. This Hybrid Plan B is a step between Plan A (which offers in-building learning on all days for everyone interested) and Plan C (which returns all students to eLearning from home). The Hybrid Plan B specifics are outlined below.
Our Hybrid Plan now involves students in grades 6-12 attending school in-building for 2 days per week and attending school via eLearning 3 days per week. Students in grades K-5 will still have the option of attending school in-building all 5 days of the week.
GHS, SMS and GWS Hybrid Plan B
Students in grades 6-12 with last names beginning with the letters A-K will attend school in-building on Monday and Thursday. Students in grades 6-12 with last names beginning with the letters L-Z will attend school in-building on Tuesday and Friday. All grade 6-12 students will participate in eLearning on Wednesdays. Parents may also keep their student home for eLearning all five days, just as they could in Plan A. Every student will be in class or at home eLearning all five days of the week.
Grades K-5 Hybrid Plan B
Elementary students can still attend school all days of the week. We expect elementary class sizes will decrease based on preliminary numbers of parents who will choose eLearning. That will allow us to increase social distancing in the elementary classroom.
Plan C eLearning for All
Plan C is a return to district-wide eLearning
In Plan C school buildings would once again be closed and students would engage in eLearning from home. In this case we expect that grades 6-12 will primarily follow a block schedule with synchronous learning (students logging in to each class at the proper time). Elementary classes would also move to more synchronous learning (logging in as a class together) as well.
The switch to eLearning last spring presented some unique challenges for the delivery of special education services. Our teachers and staff worked hard to overcome obstacles and we are grateful for their creativity and dedication.This year we will continue to provide special education services to the best of our ability while also following health and safety protocols to students learning at school and at home.
Adjustments to some student's IEP (Individualized Education Plans) may need to be made to accomodate health and safety guidelines and new school structures. For example, at elementary schools, special education services will be provided in the child's classroom (rather than relocating to a separate space) as much as possible in order to keep cohorts together and limit hallway traffic. Parents can expect that every child's IEP will be individually reviewed and adjusted as needed.
PPT (Planning and Placement Team) meetings will continue in a virtual format whenever possible
School meals with limited options will be available for students learning at school. There will also be grab and go meals provided from a designated school site for meal pick up for those learning at home (probably 2-3 times a week as well). More information will follow.
A Note About Curriculum and Instruction
Our goal is to keep students and staff healthy and safe as we educate students as best we can. We will always maintain high expectations for student learning. However, it is impossible to expect students will have the same experiences during the coming months that they would in a normal year. This is true whether students are learning at school or eLearning at home.
Assessments will be examined and prioritized so as to provide useful information without over-testing. It can be a delicate balance. Whether students are learning in class or home, teachers will prioritize essential lessons.
The limitations we face regarding curriculum and instruction at this time are many. But we know that the key to the success our schools and our students has always been our people—our teachers and staff. Thankfully, that will not be changing. We all remain dedicated to helping your children rise to their full potential.
We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and understanding with the present conditions, which are far from ideal.
For questions on any of these Reopening topics, please contact the Reopening Committee Chair.
Health and Safety: Matt Dunbar, Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Personnel
Teaching and Learning: Cheri Burke, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
Elementary Schools (Grades K-5): Kristine Garofalo, Nayaug Elementary School Principal
Smith Middle and Gideon Welles Schools (Grades 6-8): Jay Gregorski, Smith Middle School Principal
High Schools (Grades 9-12): Bobby Skarvelas, Glastonbury High School Assistant Principal