Waterbury Public Schools will have hybrid learning when students return in September, but parents will still have the option to do virtual learning only.
For parents everywhere, the upcoming school year is filled with uncertainty. Edward White’s 13-year-old son, Rian, sells lemonade every summer to raise money for shoes and other items for school. Rian says he really enjoyed online learning.
“I want to go back to school to see my friends, but I also want to do online learning,” Rian White said.
For students and parents in Waterbury, it’ll be their choice. At a Board of Education workshop Wednesday night, the superintendent said the district will start with a hybrid learning model, which includes in-person attendance for at least four hours with continued distance learning at home. Assuming the metrics remain good, the district would gradually increase in-person learning to a full day, possibly by October.
Staggered schedules will be considered for the first two weeks of school.
Parents can opt-in for virtual learning only. It’s something the district is asking that they commit to through the fall semester.
“You should expect that it’s going to be more on a schedule with a time, with a teacher, and face-to-face instruction,” said Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin.
For students and staff heading back in, the district will hire additional custodial staff, changes will be made to allow social distancing, and face coverings will be required, with exceptions.
Ruffin said based on feedback she believes about 40% of Waterbury families will return to schools in-person and about 60% will opt for the virtual option.
She believes 86% of staff will return in person and believes the remainder will want to teach in a virtual environment.
Each school will have an assigned nurse as well as an isolation room for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
The first day of school will be Sept. 8. The superintendent says she’s meeting with principals on Thursday to discuss the reopening plan. For parents who haven’t said if they want their kids to go virtual or in-person or have changed their mind, officials say those parents need to contact their school immediately.