Town of Hamden Starts School Today After Delaying Twice Due to Staffing Concerns

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Students in Hamden are starting school today after the town had to delay the start date twice due to staffing concerns amid the pandemic.

The schools in Hamden are gradually reopening with the goal of returning to full days.

Kindergarten through sixth grade students are attending four days a week for five-and-a-half hours per day and one day of at-home independent learning.

Half of the students in seventh through twelfth grade will be in school each day, attending two days one week and three days the next week. Each day will also be for five-and-a-half hours.

From Waterbury to Glastonbury to East Lyme and other communities big and small across the state, educators are sharing their personal thoughts on returning to school in NBC Connecticut’s Teacher’s Journal.

Each school has different plans for social distancing.

At Bear Path Elementary School, students are going to their class through a door that leads directly into their room. At Hamden High School, the students are split into two groups of 600 students that will rotate days to help with social distancing.

Their first day of school was pushed back twice to make sure they had enough teachers in place after some applied for accommodations through the Family and Medical Leave Act or Americans With Disabilities Act.

Hamden schools will open on Tuesday, a delay from their original date after teachers raised concerns that needed to be addressed.

Hamden Public Schools Superintendent Jody Goeler said this week was focused on working with teachers. The Human Resources Department was able to meet individually with any teachers who were concerned about returning.

The town said it has a plan to respond to any COVID-19 cases, just like nearly a dozen schools across the state have already had to do.

Cases of COVID-19 are popping up among students and staff members across the state, which is forcing some schools to close their doors and switch to remote learning.

Goeler said they'll be working with the health district.

"If we have to close a cohort or a classroom or a grade or a school, we'll do that in collaboration with our district and we'll determine based on the case," Goeler said.

As students across Connecticut head back to school, some school districts are seeing cases of COVID-19, which is forcing them to close. Dr. Thomas Murray, associate medical director of infection prevention at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, discusses challenges schools face.

Principals said they're ready if they do have any COVID-19 cases.

"We have an isolation room that's going to be staffed by a medical professional. It's space that's separate from the classrooms, you know, and we're hoping we don't have to use it at all. That would be the most ideal situation of all, but we do have protocols in place," said Bear Path School Principal Erin Baily.

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