Greenwich Schools Chief: Distance Learning May Need to Stay in Place

On Thursday Greenwich Schools superintendent Dr. Toni Jones reached out to families with an update on topics including food service, standardized testing, reporting absences, report cards, deep cleaning of district buildings, and the length of school closure.

Food service staff are riding yellow school buses handing out lunches. Custodial staff cleaning every inch of district buildings.  Technical staff have been busy configuring internet hotspots and fixing broken devices.

“Teachers, service providers, leaders, and more are rallying to get through this challenging time and demonstrating the level of care that our schools have for our community and children,” she wrote, going on to thank everyone for their patience in embracing distance learning. “I am in awe of what I am seeing on a daily basis across our school system and the Town of Greenwich.”

Jones said families are asking for an estimate about the length of school closure. She said the current order from the Governor is that all public schools remain closed through March 31, but she said it would be good to mentally prepare for the closure to extend into April because the most recent information indicated the virus trend is just starting in Connecticut and it is likely that social distancing will need to remain in place.

Jones said there has been a problem with households flushing disinfectant wipes. She said as a result sewer systems are getting jammed up and causing disruptions. Wipes should be put in the trash.

Report cards for elementary schools will be emailed home on March 30 and 31. There will be no hard copy paper versions as the Greenwich Schools Print Shop is not in operation.

The District has a breakfast and lunch service available to ALL students 18 years or younger.

“We hope you take advantage of this service if you are interested in receiving free breakfast and/or lunch,” she wrote. “Please encourage your student to bring a reusable bag or backpack with them to pick-up lunch should they need to bring home additional bagged lunches for their siblings.”

Dr. Toni Jones Twitter photo of cleaning in Greenwich Schools facilities.

Jones said the district’s Facilities Team are currently deep cleaning buildings using an electromagnetic spray that disinfects all hard surfaces with an EPA-approved disinfectant which rids the surfaces of the Coronavirus should it be present.

Jones said the district’s counselors, psychologists, and staff are ready to provide resources for children finding this time in their life stressful.

“If our children do not feel safe and secure, it makes learning that much more difficult,” she wrote. “Please reach out to the mental health teams at your respective schools, they are here to help.”

Jones said the graduation date will not be set until there is more information about the calendar status.

“Right now, much of our calendar is out of our District’s control given the Emergency Executive Order,” Jones wrote. “Originally, finalizing the date of graduation was to be on the Board of Education agenda next week, but we must now wait a little longer.”

As of Thursday Jones said the CT Dept of Education has submitted a waiver to the federal government to cancel state mandated testing for 2019-2020, which includes Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Assessment, and SAT School Day.

Advanced Placement testing is not state mandated, so it would not fall into this category. AP testing is governed by the College Board, and they have assured school districts that they will be flexible with dates and will provide more guidance once school districts have a better understanding of the school year timeline.

The Food Service Buses delivering breakfast and lunch are also carrying pencils and paper for students who need them. There is also scrap paper that students can utilize for working out math problems.

Lastly parents were asked to take a two-minute survey about how their family’s experiences with distance learning.

See also:

Finding Student Voices in the Tumult of COVID-19 and Greenwich School Closures

Greenwich Schools Chief Announces District Closure

Coronavirus Update: Greenwich Schools Plan for Possible Extended Closure