Region 14 Reopening Plans - 8/10/2020

 

 

August 10, 2020

Dear Region 14 Community:

Even before we completed last school year, Region 14 was hard at work thinking about the upcoming school year.  Along with our Board of Education and administration meetings, we continue to regularly meet with both the Pomperaug Health District, the Torrington Health District, and the town leaders from Bethlehem and Woodbury.  We receive up to date information from the Connecticut Department of Education and Governor Lamont. We do all this so that we can be up to date with the latest news to safeguard our children, faculty and staff.  Every decision we make is made through an abundance of caution for the safety of every person in our schools.

On August 3rd, the Region 14 Board of Education approved policies that align with the State of Connecticut expectations on health, safety and masks.  A revised school calendar was also approved. All this information is attached to this email and on the Region 14 website.

The first day of school will be September 8, 2020.  We will be starting the school year in our Hybrid Plan B.  Students will start their in person school days on a one hour delay schedule (to allow teachers time to upload lessons for remote learners). All in-person learners in grades PreK- 6 will attend school in accordance with the school schedule on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Grades 7-12 will follow an AA BB schedule that is explained below.  All students will be remote learning on Wednesdays.

This plan will be reviewed by administration on October 2, 2020 to re-evaluate its effectiveness and to determine if changes are needed.  Please keep in mind that this is a very fluid situation.  We are continuing to monitor all the latest trends in the spread of COVID and will continue to update and change our procedures as/if needed.

From the teaching and learning perspective, Plan B can be summarized as follows:

District-wide:

  • All schools will open on a one-hour delay schedule to allow for teacher preparation for those students opting-out of in-person learning (Remote Only Learners).
  • Remote Only Learners will follow the same school schedule as the in-person learners by connecting through Google Meet. More details are provided below.
  • Region 14 has upgraded our streaming capabilities with the hope of being able to offer synchronous (live) learning for those students who are learning from home in the hybrid model as well as those who have chosen remote-only learning. Should this upgrade not allow us to successfully reach our students, we will need to modify the schedule to provide asynchronous (not live) learning to those students who are learning remotely.
  • Wednesdays will be remote-learning days for all students to include office hours, teacher planning time, and professional learning. During office hours, teachers are expected to arrange meetings with students, including those doing Remote-Only Learning. Students will continue to work independently on class assignments this day.
  • Attendance for all students is required and will be taken daily in elementary school and by period at the secondary level.
  • Students will earn traditional grades and be expected to complete all assignments.
  • We understand that for our students and families of our students with special needs, the possible inconsistencies in the coming year may result in questions or concerns about the services provided through the IEP.  Federal disability law allows for flexibility in determining how to meet the individualized needs of students receiving special education services. In the event that a student would be better served in a manner other than designated in a student's plan, a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting will be called to discuss an appropriate accommodation to the written plan.

Elementary:

  • All in-person learners in grades PreK- 6 will attend school in accordance with the school schedule on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • Students with IEP's in grades PreK-6:
    • Students with IEP's will attend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Secondary:

  • 6th graders participating in in-person learning will attend school as stated above in the elementary plan.
  • Students in grades 7-12 will attend on an AA/BB Hybrid model to improve social distancing:
    • Cohort A, those whose last names begin with the letter A through K, will learn in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays and remotely on Thursdays and Fridays
    • Cohort B, those whose last names begin with the letter L through Z, will learn in-person Thursdays and Fridays and remotely on Mondays and Tuesdays.
    • On the days students are not learning in-person, they will participate in remote learning by joining their classes through Google Meet at the scheduled times.
    • The first week of school will be slightly different in order to ensure students are aware of the new safety and hygiene protocols. 
      • Tues, Sept. 8th & Wed, Sept. 9th:
        •  Cohort A will come into school for in-person learning.
        •  Cohort B will join remotely for a brief introduction and attendance.
      • Thurs, Sept. 10th & Fri, Sept. 11th:
        • Cohort B will come into school for in person learning.
        • Cohort A will join remotely for a brief introduction and attendance.
  • Students with IEP's in grades 7-12:
    • In grades 7 and 8, students with IEP's will attend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
    • In grades 9-12, we may request that some students with IEP's attend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday in order to access the services identified in their IEP.
  • Participation in high school sports will follow the CIAC guidelines.  At this time the district will hold sports but fans will not be permitted to attend the events.  Additional guidance is expected later this week.

Remote-only learners:

As set forth in Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-184, Connecticut law requires children to engage in public school education unless they receive equivalent instruction elsewhere. Region # 14 will provide a structured, Remote Only Learning Program that will allow interested students to have access to our curricula and their teachers during the school day.

It is the expectation of the State Department of Education that, in collaboration with the school district, parents who decide to opt into voluntary Remote Only Learning will also be expected to supervise and engage their children to fully and effectively access the remote learning programming that is offered through the public school district.

Please complete the Remote Learning Request Form if you choose this option.

  • Access - Students who have registered for Remote Only Learning must access our remote learning program through a district-loaned device. Please report any questions or issues with this district-loaned device to the school secretary who will direct you to the proper personnel. Remote Only Learning students will not be eligible to participate in any in-person classes, in-person school-sponsored events, extracurricular activities or sports.
  • Attendance - Students are required to use their district-loaned device to attend remotely all classes in their schedule at the time indicated. Synchronous (live stream into classroom) or asynchronous (content accessed through Google Classroom) participation will be communicated to students by their teachers. Students who do not attend will be reported by their teacher as absent and will be contacted by the Main Office. Absences will be handled according to our attendance policy as stated in the Student Handbook.
  • Content-Area-Specific Experiences - Labs/Electives - The curriculum and instructional practices are unique to each class and some methods will be able to be delivered in remote, virtual settings. However, the degree of availability of these experiences may not be possible from a health and safety and planning perspective.
  • Grading And Expectations For Academic Integrity - All work submitted by Remote Only Learning students will be evaluated by their teachers and recorded in PowerSchool using the same criteria and levels of expectation as their in-person classroom peers. As indicated by the signatures on this form, students assure that all work submitted through Remote Only Learning is their own. A verified instance of submitted work that is not authentic to the student will result in the opportunity for a student to resubmit work or to accept a “0” for the work. Subsequent instances will result in a “0” assigned for the work.
  • Standardized Assessments - SmarterBalanced, NGSS, PSAT, SAT, AP - Remote Only Learning students will be expected to access statewide assessments in-person, unless the assessments are available remotely. School counselors will work collaboratively with students and families to ensure proper registration.
  • Special Education - The Connecticut State Department of Education will be providing further guidance regarding special education students who voluntarily opt into Remote Only Learning. For specific information, please contact Director of Student Services, Donna Marcinek (dmarcinek@ctreg14.org). Note that in order for a district to provide a student with a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) and implement the student’s individualized education program (IEP) as designed, special education and related services are typically programmed for in-person access. This method of instructional delivery generally affords the student with the most equitable educational experience in the least restrictive environment (LRE). State and federal laws, and the associated guidance, do not address the provision of special education services via remote only learning as a matter of choice, which constitutes a different circumstance than a state or local public health mandate, individual medical necessity, or a determination made by a planning and placement team (PPT).

Food Services: 

  • BES & MES   2 meal choices per day (1 hot, 1 cold)

            Lunches will be individually packaged in covered styrofoam containers

            Social distancing maintained

 

  • WMS   2 meal choices per day (1 hot, 1 cold)

            Each lunch served per student by café employee wearing mask and gloves

            Individually packaged snack items will be offered

            Social distancing maintained

           

  • NHS    Breakfast - 1 choice of a Grab'n Go

                        Lunch - 4 meal choices per day (1 cold, 3 hot)

                        Each lunch served per student by café employee wearing mask and gloves

                        Individually packaged snack items will be offered

                        Social distancing maintained

Facility Preparations:

  • New signage has been installed throughout all buildings reminding everyone about wearing masks and 6ft. social distancing. 
  • All students’ desks will be 6ft apart and when that is not possible there will be new Desk Shield’s 20x20 Triple Window Barriers used.
  • Hand sanitizing stations have been mounted throughout all buildings.
  • Lines have been placed on all hallways and stairwells guiding all traffic flow throughout the schools.
  • All ventilation systems are set on exhaust and all new filters have been installed.
  • Plexiglas has been installed at all receptionist, secretary, and cashier stations.
  • New equipment has been purchased for all schools; the Victory Electrostatic Backpack Sprayers.  We are using the same Green Clean product the district has been using, (NCL #17 Earth Sense).
  • Frequent disinfecting will be completed throughout the day in common areas (disinfecting tables, door handles, and frequently used equipment after each use throughout the day).

Transportation: 

Please fill out the Transportation Request Form.  By submitting this to your students' school we will be better able to plan our transportation routes for the fall.

  • Bus routes will be structured to transport at no more than 70% capacity
  • Bus drivers will wear a mask and gloves
  • Students are required to wear masks
  • Masks for students will be provided for students forgetting their masks
  • All students will have assigned seats
  • Family members may sit together
  • Buses will be sanitized before each Tier 1 morning run (High school/Middle School)
  • Drivers will sanitize each bus following Tier 1 run prior to Elementary pick up (Tier 2)
  • Buses will be sanitized before each Tier 1 afternoon run (High school/Middle School)
  • Drivers will sanitize each bus following Tier 1 afternoon run prior to Elementary pick up (Tier 2)

As you all know, the information we have been getting has changed thousands of times and what is in this letter still may be subject to further change as the COVID situation continues to evolve.  As your Superintendent and the head of a truly dedicated group of educators, I want you all to know that we are doing everything in our power to exceed safety expectations, meet our curricular goals while always assuring that your child’s safety is paramount. We care deeply about your children and welcome you to contact us with any questions.

Please remember to take a moment to fill out and submit to your students school the Transportation Request Form (for all students) and the Remote Learning Request Form (if applicable).  These documents are attached to this letter and are also available on the Region 14 website under Fall Reopening.

Sincerely,

Dr. Joseph Olzacki
Region 14 Superintendent of Schools

 

Remote Learning Request Form

Transportation Request Form