Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District announces reopening plan

Coronavirus Local Impact
Southwick Tolland school bus_690596

(WWLP) – The Southwick, Tolland, and Granville School District has announced a hybrid plan that offers two options for parents to choose from for the fall of 2020.

On August 5, STGRSD Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard presented a plan of two options that she felt best met the needs of the district and provided the best education during this difficult time.

According to Willard, the hybrid plan that was approved by the school committee outlines which grades will be returning to school for a full in-person model and which grades will be part of a hybrid model which is part in-person and part online. The two options are as follows:

  • Currently, grades PreK-4 will be in person five days a week, with Wednesdays being a half in-person learning day.
  • Grades 5-12 will utilize a hybrid plan broken up into two cohorts depending on the first letter of the last name and/or geographic location. These cohorts will attend a two-day-a-week in-person and a three-day-a-week online schedule.
  • There will also be a cohort of students in grades 5-12 who meet certain criteria, who will attend a five-day-a-week in-person plan with a half-day on Wednesdays. Parents will be notified if their child qualifies.

The school committee also approved a full remote online learning plan as an option for students. Parents who choose this model will have their children taught by STGRSD teachers and will follow the STGRSD curriculum.

Willard wants to reiterate that this model is not like what was provided at the end of the last school year.

“This model will be a full day of school for students and staff and students must participate daily as attendance will be recorded. In addition, this will not be a pass/fail model, but rather traditional grading will be given,” Willard said.

“We recognize that the circumstances of every family and staff member are different, and that no plan ultimately will satisfy everyone in our community. But rest assured we worked diligently to explore all options available to us, that we remain guided by the science to keep our students and staff safe and healthy, we listened to the feedback we received, and that we are prepared to make adjustments along the way if the public health conditions or other variables change over time,” Willard continued.

At the School Committee Meeting on Tuesday each building principals presented updates on their school’s reopening based on the enrollment selections made by families.

According to Willard, one of the key takeaways was that laptops ordered in May are now delayed.

In response to that, the Woodland School students who are returning in person will now phase-in over a shorter period of time. The updated phase-in is outlined in the Woodland School Plan updated by Kimberley Saso. Families are encouraged to review the presentation and reach out to Woodland School with questions.

View the full reopening plan here

STGRSD Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard’s full statement posted on the district’s website on August 15:

I hope this message finds you and your family well as we begin our reopening of schools. As promised, I am writing with an update on our plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year in the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District. 

I think we would all agree that under normal circumstances, students are best served in schools every day, interacting with their peers and engaged in live classroom learning. While our educators and families worked incredibly hard last spring to implement remote learning, we know that this approach presented challenges, did not reach all students, and is not an adequate substitute for in-person interaction with teachers. When not in school, our students also lack access to all of the academic, mental, and physical supports that help ensure their social-emotional well being. Therefore, we put together a plan that would help meet the needs of our most dependent learners while also educating all students in a way that prepares them for future success. 

In order to adhere to the school re-opening guidance provided by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Pediatric Association, we also do not believe we can safely meet physical distancing requirements with all students and staff in the buildings at the same time. However, we do believe we can make significant changes in our school schedules and operating procedures to make a partial return to in-person learning both safe and successful. This approach will require strategies to ensure physical distancing, as well as a series of other critical health and safety measures, including wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, cleaning and sanitizing facilities, screening regularly for symptoms of illness, and staying home when sick, among other precautions. Our planning process includes a comprehensive set of strategies and investments to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus. We are also fortunate to have a very low level of active COVID-19 cases in our three communities. 

On August 5, 2020, I presented a plan to the School Committee that I felt best met the needs of our District and would provide the best possible education during these complicated times. The School Committee supported my recommendations and the STGRSD will be moving forward with two options for parents to choose from for the fall of 2020. 

The hybrid plan that was approved by our School Committee outlines which grades will be returning to school for a full in-person model and which grades will be part of a hybrid model (part in-person and part online). Currently, grades preK-4 will be in person five (5) days a week, with Wednesdays being a half in-person learning day. Grades 5-12 will utilize a hybrid plan broken up into two cohorts depending on first letter of last name and/or geographic location. These cohorts will attend a two-day-a-week in-person and a three-day-a-week online schedule. We also have a cohort of students in grades 5-12 who meet certain criteria, who will attend a five (5) day-a-week in-person plan with a half day on Wednesdays. Parents will be notified if their child qualifies. Please see the attached plan for greater detail 

The School Committee also approved a full remote online learning plan as an option for our students. Parents who choose this model will have their children taught by STGRSD teachers and will follow the STGRSD curriculum. It needs to be reiterated that this model is not like what we provided at the end of last school year. This model will be a full day of school for students and staff and students MUST participate daily as attendance will be recorded. In addition, this will not be a pass/fail model, but rather traditional grading will be given. 

We recognize that the circumstances of every family and staff member are different, and that no plan ultimately will satisfy everyone in our community. But rest assured we worked diligently to explore all options available to us, that we remain guided by the science to keep our students and staff safe and healthy, we listened to feedback we received, and that we are prepared to make adjustments along the way if the public health conditions or other variables change over time. 

We will continue to keep you informed about our progress and I plan to present the outcome of our enrollment numbers and its impact on our two plans to School Committee on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. I am confident that together, we can provide our students with an exceptional education under the most challenging of times. 

Please be safe and enjoy these beautiful summer days; and as always, thank you for your continued patience and support. 

– STGRSD Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard’s

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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