Waterbury Public Schools Preparing for the First Day of School

Sprague Elementary School in Waterbury
NBC Connecticut

Waterbury Public Schools has been preparing for the first day of school since last March.

There is a variety of safety measures now in place to protect both students and staff inside schools.

The district established a laptop distribution schedule for families, cleaning hallways and bathrooms. The school district stocked up on disinfecting wipes, masks, and other personal protective equipment.

Waterbury Public Schools has implemented a hybrid model and has set up a cohort system for pre-K through fifth grade students. Students will be grouped together with their teachers during the course of the day.

Students will have half days to begin the school year to allow them to get adjusted to the safety measures. The second part of their day will consist of virtually learning from home.

"We're deciding to keep them at home," said Marissa Alves, a mother of two Waterbury students. "It just seems like it's too new."

Alves says it's better to play it safe than risk sending them back to school.

"My kids have been socially distancing for the past six months," said Alves. "The idea of bringing them back into a pool of 800 kids all at once is too much, too fast."

Jazmin Alves is a rising fifth grader and is excited for the new school year, even though it'll start off virtually.

"It's not the first time we did this because we did it for the last part of our school year, last year," said Jazmin. "I think it's going to be better this year than last year."

Face coverings are required and must be worn over a student's mouth and nose while in school and on the bus. Any student who needs a mask will be provided with one.

The district is rearranging desks by at least 6 feet and hand sanitizing stations are set up throughout schools.

For more information about Waterbury's reopening strategy, click here.

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