The start of school for all Tolland public schools will be almost a week later than originally planned to ensure that Birch Grove Primary School is ready for students who will be in modular classrooms after the school foundation was found to be crumbling.
Plans are to tear down Birch Grove and rebuild it after tests found a mineral linked to crumbling concrete in the foundation. Construction is expected to continue until 2021 and students will be in modular classrooms until work is done.
A Facebook post from the Tolland Public Schools superintendent says a meeting was held earlier this week about the readiness of the Birch Grove modular classrooms.
“Herculean efforts have been made on behalf of the staff of the district, the town, and the contractors to keep the project progressing on timeline. Due to our high expectations of our contractors, and our contractors hard work and dedication, this timeline has been largely adhered to and accomplished. Despite these efforts, however, after reviewing the situation thoroughly I made a request of the Board of Education in last night’s meeting to revise the school calendar and start date for students. I believe it is important for the district to have a consistent calendar therefore this request was for the calendar of all schools and not only Birch Grove Primary,” the message from Superintendent Walter Willett says.
Teachers will start as planned on Aug. 21, but the start date for students will now be Sept. 3.
“The later start date for students will allow for a short time of staff recovery and personal preparation and will allow for a proper and thorough cleaning of the school after the unpacking/move in process,” Willett wrote.
The school district is planning a staggered start schedule on Sept. 3 for Birch Grove so parents and guardians can bring their children in for a quick meet-and-greet open house of the school, then the students will remain there for the rest of the school day.
“I realize that such a change poses real challenges for families and I deeply regret it. I will do everything I can to help assist families in adjusting to this calendar and start date change,” Willett wrote.