Glastonbury Public Schools
Change in GWS, SMS and GHS School Operations
March 8, 2021 Updated April 16, 2021
Students in grades 6–12 may return to full-time in-building learning 5 days a week at Gideon Welles, Smith Middle and Glastonbury High School starting immediately after Spring Recess on Monday, April 19, 2021. Parents will have the option to commit to either in-building learning or all eLearning (Plan A) for their grade 6–12 children. There will no longer be a 2-day in-building option. Parents will commit for the remainder of the school year. There will be no switching between in-building and eLearning for the remainder of the year, unless the Superintendent decides to allow for changes due to virus spread in our state, community or schools. Elementary schools will continue operating under Plan A as they have been all school year.
The return to in-building learning is contingent on a continued low rate of infection in our state, town, and schools. We will continue to watch if the new strains of COVID-19 cause an uptick in infections. If necessary, we will change these plans.
The Glastonbury Public Schools health and safety protocols developed for the opening of schools 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. Plan B is a hybrid plan (mix of in-school and eLearning) and Plan C is for eLearning only.
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 are currently operating under Plan B Hybrid
ContentsThe 3 W's: Wear a Mask. Wash Hands. Watch Distancing.Class Groups/SchedulesTransportation, Drop-Off, Pick-Up, School VisitorsCleaning, Sanitizing, Ventilation, and Staff Protective Equipment Illness Protocols, Testing, and QuarantineGrades 6-12Elementary GHS, SMS and GWSGrades K-5A Note about Curriculum and InstructionSpecial EducationSchool Meals
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. 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 is using a block schedule. Every school day would include four extended class periods plus a lunch period. This schedule limits hallway transitions. 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 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 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.
Click here for Student Art/CTE/Science/STEM COVID-19 Safety Protocols.
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 his/her 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.
Illness Protocols, Testing, and Quarantines
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. Parents should use the Daily Student Assessment Tool every morning to ensure their children are healthy and ready for learning in school.
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. Please click here for the detailed guidance the State of Connecticut Department of Education and Department of Public Health provided regarding protocols for responding to specific COVID-19 scenarios. This document addresses issues and action steps for when a student or staff person has or develops possible signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or is exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
Our head nurse and human resources manager will individually review specific procedures for anyone who needs to test, isolate, or quarantine. Important notes are below. In addition, these two resources, based on guidance from the State Department of Public Health, outline the process we routinely follow for students:
Testing Quick Guide
If any student, staff member, or one of their family members receives a positive COVID-19 test, please notify the school principal immediately (for students) or the human resources manager (for staff).
Any student or staff member who takes a COVID-19 test may NOT be in school until he/she has received a negative test result or has completed isolation following a positive test result.
Any student who has a family member awaiting COVID-19 test results should also stay home until the family member has received a negative test result or the student has completed quarantine following a family member's positive test result.
Quarantine Quick Guide for Parents
Quarantines are put in place to help protect our staff and students so our schools can remain open.
Our district will notify parents and provide them with details if their child needs to quarantine.
Students quarantining may not attend school in our buildings or in-person school activities. In compliance with State Department of Health guidelines, people in quarantine should remain home in the household and NOT participate in any activities outside the home (including sports, parties, etc.) during the quarantine period.
Quarantining students should be monitored for symptoms, including regular temperature checks.
Only the child in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 is to quarantine. Their siblings or family members do not need to quarantine.
However, if a quarantining child develops symptoms or tests positive, then his/her siblings would also need to quarantine and the school should be notified.
Keep Children Home with ANY signs of Illness
Uncontrolled new cough
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
Loss of taste or smell
Muscle/body aches, fatigue
Sore throat, headache
Congestion, runny nose, cough
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Please be sure your children follow proper health and safety protocols during all activities outside of school including social gatherings and youth sports. Mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing are the best tools we have at this time. We must all work together to keep our children and our community safe and thereby keep our schools open.
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older (with very few medical exceptions) get the annual flu vaccine by the end of October. Flu vaccines do not prevent COVID-19, but they will "reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19."
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.
Elementary students who are eLearning at home will be instructed in groups by grade level across the district by teachers who are also working from home.
Plan B Hybrid
Note: This Hybrid Plan B plan was updated on July 24, 2020.
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 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. As of November 4, all Wednesdays are half days to provide teachers time to collaborate and plan.
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 5 days of the week or they may choose full-time eLearning from home. 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. As of November 4, all Wednesdays are half days to provide teachers time to collaborate and plan.
Plan C eLearning for All
Plan C is districtwide eLearning
In Plan C school buildings would be closed and all 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.
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 of 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.
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.
Effective through June 30, 2021, subject to USDA funding.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended approval for Glastonbury Schools to continue providing FREE meals to all children 18 years or younger through June 30, 2021.
We offer these meals in all schools for in-school learners and at the grab-and-go meal sites for remote learners and any other children 18 years or younger.
More information is available on our Foods Services website.
Questions and Answers
We have compiled two Question and Answer documents for parents. We also include links to August Board meeting videos were reopening questions were answered. We hope you will find this information helpful. Each school also now has a Quick Reference Guide as well as a Health, Safety, and Learning Plans Booklet posted on the home page of their school website.