reopening schools

Hamden School Board Meeting Will Review Start Date, Grading Policy

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A teacher dropping off classroom supplies to Hamden Middle School means schools will start soon. But how soon?

“In the past several weeks our HR department has gotten over 100 requests for accommodations for staff so that they can be successful this coming school year,” said Hamden Board of Education member Walter Morton IV.  

The board will vote Tuesday on whether to move the start date again from September 8 for two reasons: more time to meet the legally protected personnel requests, and to finalize plans for students with Individualized Education Programs.

“We gave parents the option in our reopening to do full distance or the hybrid model and that requires a lot of work to be done around IEPs,” said Morton.  

Jessica Savik is a Hamden parent and she said she understands how complex COVID-planning can be, which is why she’s critical of another start date.

“I don’t want us to get in this habit of continually pushing down the start date when there are other options available that I think are worthy of exploring,” said Savik. “If the school board needs to buy some additional time it makes sense to start remote because there’s a lot to figure out and a lot to work through.”

She’s opting to keep her kids home to start the year, and suggests the district-wide full remote start so final details can be worked out. She said it will also help everyone be better prepared for a rise in cases this fall, noting cases in Danbury, New Haven and at local universities.   

“If we’re starting to see neighboring towns and states that have an uptick, we’re going to eventually feel that,” said Savik.

The board will also discuss new grading guidelines for the year. In the spring, student board member Darius Cummings pushed for a revised policy to account for the sudden switch to online learning.

“I genuinely hope our grading policy reflects the sort of flexibility that we got towards the end of the year last year,” said Cummings.  

As a senior, he’s also hoping for more clarity on how they’ll work with guidance counselors for college applications.

“I feel like they’re not going to have as much time for each individual person when there’s two days a week, shortened periods shortened school day in general, it’s going to be messy.”

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