coronavirus in schools

11/18: Several Schools Transition to Online Learning Amid COVID-19 Concerns

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Several schools and school districts have made the decision to transition to online learning as COVID cases continue to rise in many areas across the state.

Connecticut on Monday has a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 5.4% as hospitalizations jumped by nearly 100 over the weekend.

Simsbury High School

Simsbury High School will be fully remote on Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 20 after learning that a student tested positive for COVID-19.

School officials said they were advised that there was no need to conduct further contact tracing at the school. They also learned the exposure might have occurred at a social event outside the school setting held over this past weekend and the Farmington Valley Health District is conducting further contact tracing related to that event.

A statement from the superintendent and principal said, given the potential size of the event in question, the Farmington Valley Health District will need additional time beyond today to complete its contact tracing so Simsbury High School will be fully remote on Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday.

Staff will have the choice to teach from home or from the school, but no students are allowed to be on campus.

Wallingford Public Schools

The Wallingford Board of Education has voted unamimously to move the high schools and middle schools to all remote learning beginning Monday, Nov. 23rd, until Jan. 19. The elementary schools will stay in-person. 

The superintendent added that while the elementary schools will stay in-person, they will continue to monitor the pandemic with the possibility that they could go to distance learning.

The Wallingford Board of Education voted unamimously to move the high schools and middle schools to all remote learning beginning Monday, Nov. 23rd, until Jan. 19. The elementary schools will stay in-person.

Updates on any potential change to the elementary school's schedule can be found here.

Bristol Public Schools

All Bristol schools will transition to full distance learning starting Nov. 23.

The school district transitioned five of their schools to either full or partial remote learning for a set period of time that aligned with school-specific quarantine dates, they said.

The transition to online learning will conclude on Dec. 4, school officials said.

On Dec. 7, grades Pre-K through 5 will return to in-person classes, and grades 6 through 12 will resume hybrid learning.

All students in the school district are eligible for free breakfast and lunch. Pre-packed meals will be available for pickup at Bristol Eastern High School and Bristol Central High School.

Naugatuck High School

School officials said that the high school will transition to remote learning after someone tested positive for COVID-19.

The individual was in school on Monday. They have been notified to remain home and self-quarantine for 10 days.

Contact tracing is underway and anyone who is considered a close contact will be notified and provided with instructions on the appropriate steps to take.

Several other recent positive COVID-19 cases have been reported at the high school, school officials said.

The shift to online will be effective from Nov. 17 through 30. In-person classes will resume after Thanksgiving on Dec. 1, school officials said.

New Britain: Gaffney Elementary School

Gaffney Elementary School will transition to remote learning through Nov. 18 after two members of the school community tested positive for COVID-19.

Those who tested positive were told to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The individuals were last in school on Nov. 4 and Nov. 6, school officials said.

Students will be able to return to the school on Nov. 19. Additional cleaning protocols will be implemented.

Norwich Free Academy

The school said they hope to return to in-person classes this semester. School officials chose Dec. 7 as their potential return date.

School officials said five more people tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. This comes after seven people tested positive for the virus last week.

"I also learned today that an unknown number of Norwich Free Academy students attended a recent off-campus gathering where so far at least one area student has tested positive for COVID-19 and others report as symptomatic," Head of School Dr. Brian Kelly said in a statement.

All extracurricular activities will be put on hold while classes are online.

The town of Norwich remains under Red Alert status and nearby towns are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases.

For more, click here.

Stonington High and Middle School

Due to COVID-19 quarantine concerns, Stonington High School and Stonington Middle School is moving to all-virtual learning, effective Thursday, through December 4, district officials said Wednesday. Elementary schools will remain on a hybrid schedule, but move virtual for the week after Thanksgiving - November 30 through December 4.

Waterbury Public Schools

Waterbury public schools are transitioning to full remote learning effective immediately amid a rise in coronavirus transmission in the city, school officials said.

"We have done this out of an abundance of caution as we have seen COVID cases rise in the city," Superintendent Verna Ruffin said.

The transition will be effective from Tuesday, Nov. 17 until at least mid-January. From then, the hybrid learning model that was previously in place will continue.

A number of schools were already planning to transition to distance learning after Thanksgiving starting Nov. 30.

"Transmission is occurring as more and more people are becoming more lenient in their personal lives outside of school," Ruffin said. The superintendent said she believes the rise in cases is mainly occurring outside the school system but is nonetheless impacting the city's schools.

The school district said the date of return to the hybrid model will heavily depend on local health trends and guidance from the city's Department of Health.

Staff will continue to report to their respective buildings and will be available to support students as well as collaborate with colleagues.

For more information, click here.

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