With Delta Variant in Mind, Greenwich Schools 2021-2022 School Year Begins to Take Shape

On Friday Greenwich Schools Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones emailed families about the challenges the Covid Delta variant is posing and what school will look like in the fast approaching 20221-2022 school year.

Jones said Greenwich Schools is closely following developments and that the district plans to conduct a staff virtual Town Hall meeting, on a date to be announced this week, as it relates to the opening of school and Covid.

Families are invited to submit questions here.

“It is difficult to know exactly what September will bring as each week the Ct Dept of Health, Connecticut State Department of Education, and the Governor’s Executive Orders can update and change,” Jones wrote.

The superintendent shared several updates on the guidance, rules, and regulations as of the first week of August. She noted the information was a “snapshot,” and that district receives frequent updates.

Full time remote school options will not be allowed for the 2021-2022 school year. The district plans to have doors open for pre K through grade 12 every day.

Jones said the Connecticut State Department of Education made it clear on Friday that school days will not count unless they are in person.

“However,” she said. “As a reminder, the Governor could provide a new Executive Order which could update this at any time. As always, the district will work with families who need homebound or unique instruction for significant medical challenges.”

Physical distancing of three ft, if possible remains the guidance from the CT Dept of Health and the CDC. The district anticipates continuing their mitigation strategy of 3 ft.

By law the mask mandate for CT schools remains in place through Sept 30 per the Governor’s Executive Order #13.

Jones cited an announced from Governor Lamont on Thursday saying that everyone must wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status in certain settings, including schools

“We are aware of the many opinions on this issue, and we will continue to monitor information from all viewpoints,” Jones wrote.

Students, staff and families will once gain be asked to complete the Covid symptom self checklist daily before attending school.

Cohorting will remain in place for pre-K through grade 8, but in a less restrictive environment. one said the district wants to operate as closely to normal with students having more flexibility to move around the buildings for participation in art, music, world language and other activities. At the high school, the building will honor social distancing to the greatest extent possible.

Quarantine protocols have been updated adn will continue to evolve, Jones said. As of Friday, students seated three feet or more from another student who tests positive will not quarantine if they remain asymptomatic and a mas was in use.

The CT Dept of Health has stated that more guidance will be issued, and the focus is more on the identification of close contacts as opposed to an entire classroom when a case is identified.

Greenwich schools will work with local health officials to continue to refine this process.

The district utilized a 10-day quarantine process (cut to seven days after a negative test result on the fifth/sixth day) for summer school students and expects to do the same in the fall.

Fall sports are anticipated to egin on time this year and the plan is for full seasons. Fully vaccinated students and staff will not need to quarantine from sports or activities provided they remain asymptomatic after close contact. Jones noted this information was provided by the CT Dept of Health.

Cleaning of schools will remain at a high level. Equipment for the district was already in use pre-Covid to assist with combating flu season. Jones said this reflected a long-term commitment to healthy and clean schools.

Voluntary testing is being prioritized by the Dept of Public Health and the CT State Dept of Education for public school students in grades K-6 and unvaccinated staff. More information will be provided on this issue on coming weeks.

Music will continue the use of special bell covers, distancing and other mitigation strategies.

Buses are still recommended to run with social distancing in place. Currently the CDC order requires masks be worn on pubic transportation, per the CT Dept of Public Health document, including school buses.