Fairfield Delays Return to Full-Time Elementary School

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Fairfield public schools are delaying a return to full-time elementary school as cases of COVID-19 increase.

The school district planned to begin full-time elementary school on Nov. 9. However, the coronavirus positivity rate has gone from 1.8 percent on Oct. 4 to 4.1 percent by the end of the week of Oct. 19. Then there was a spoke in cases on Oct. 22, according to school officials.

“With an uptick in community spread, we need to understand that changing social distancing and bringing more students into the buildings will have an impact,” Supt. Mike Cummings wrote in a letter to families of students in the Fairfield Public Schools system.

He added that recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on close contact now being based on a cumulative 15 minutes over 24 hours “has real impacts on a full day return.”

Principals are working with teachers to track how much time they spend working one-on-one or in small groups with students.

“This is not work that can happen effectively 6 feet apart. Providing this level of instruction becomes more difficult in a full day and with the 24 hour window it raises further concerns,” Cummings wrote.

The number of staff members to request leave has also increased since the announcement of a plan for a full return.

“It is clear we are going to be stretched more thinly than before. We do not have substitutes. We are struggling to find elementary teachers. And we are not alone in this,” he wrote.

Cummings wrote that the school department is not stopping planning for a full return for kindergarten through fifth grade and plans for the 6-12 reboot of remote learning should be out by the end of the week.

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