Superintendent Letter: Learning Plan Update

District

 

Dear Families,

The week of February 22nd: 
  • All NPS students K-8 in-person instruction 4 days  (Wednesday is remote).
  • Bishop and Case Street Pre-School, NTA and Adult Education in-person 5 days.
  • Fully remote learners still being honored.
The week of March 1st:
  • All students K-8 in-person 4 or 5 days (a final decision will be made on February 26).
  • Fully remote learners still being honored.

Remote Learners

Next week will be the last week in the school year that fully remote learners will participate in live instruction. It will be the last week that fully remote learners will participate in instruction with their classroom teacher and classmates. It is simply not possible to sustain the previous remote learning model with more students now coming to school in-person.

As of March 1st, all fully remote learners will be assigned to the school’s remote learning teacher who will monitor their online assignments, take attendance and grade students in accordance with the remote learning requirements of the CT Department of Education.

  • Parents can contact NPS registration at any time to disenroll their child from full remote learning and enroll in classroom in-person instruction.
    • Please note, that process may take up to 5 days (to assign a teacher and transportation).
    • Teacher (and school assignment) shall be on a space available basis as noted when you enrolled your child in remote learning.
    • We have put classroom caps in place so as to ensure that there is maximum learning space available in between student work stations for heightened safety. We will not over-enroll a classroom based on teacher or school preference.
Clarification of “in-person” vs “fully remote”:

Parents may choose for their children to be “in-person” (for the remainder of the school year we expect the model to be 4 or 5 days a week) OR parents can choose for their children to be “fully remote.” There is no hybrid 2 or 3 day in-person option any longer.

If a child is instructed “in-person”
  • They come to school in-person each day (4 or 5 days-by learning model). 
  • When they are absent then they are traditionally absent (no individual virtual instruction is available).  But, if a child were to be absent for a significant illness or injury that will span several weeks the parent should contact the principal to arrange for support.
  • If there is a virtual snow day, the student will “go live” for some portion of the day with their classmates and teacher and also complete online instruction.
  • If during the week of March 1st we are still remote on Wednesdays, the classroom teacher will provide whole class virtual instruction to only their assigned “in-person” learners on Wednesday.
  • The classroom teacher will grade, take attendance, and have responsibility only for in-person learners.
If a child is “fully remote” 
  • They will no longer be participating in live sessions and will no longer be assigned to a classroom teacher.
  • They will be assigned to the remote teacher in their school. The remote teacher will monitor their online learning assignments, take attendance and grade the remote learners.
  • In the event of a virtual snow day the instructional model (and teacher) will not change.

Safety Assurances:

  • As we shift our learning model to more in-person instruction we will not be “doubling” the amount of students in a class. Many students have already been attending 4 days in-person and fully remote learning is still a parental option. If you have specific questions about your child’s classroom and the amount of students that were in-person last week vs. next week please reach out to your principal. In most cases, with this shift, we are only adding 3-5 students per classroom.
  • Principals have staged classrooms to ensure maximum spacing and have re-assigned classrooms to non traditional larger spaces when needed (library, gym, extra large classroom or other room location). Those efforts have been done on a case by case basis between teacher and principal when either the classroom is physically small or the class size is on the larger end of the cap.
  • At this time, we are still cohorting, limiting overall footprint in the building, holding lunch, recess and special classes (PE, library, music, art, etc.) outdoors (weather permitting) or in the classroom so as to preserve the cohort model.
  • We are still maintaining all other mitigation strategies (not permitting visitors in the building, staying home when feeling ill, quarantining/testing (with permission) students and staff who become symptomatic at school, mask wearing, distancing, shields/plexiglass/hand sanitizer/masks readily available and frequent hand washing.

Health Metrics:

Here are the weekly positivity rates for the City of Norwich. As a reminder, this is one of the metrics considered when determining the learning model. DPH and SDE are relying less and less on the positivity rates as they learn more about COVID-19.

  • During the week of October 19, the city positivity rate was 40.7 per 100,000
  • During the week of October 26, the positivity rate was 30.8
  • During the week of November 2, the positivity rate was 22.4
  • During the week of November 9, the positivity rate was 18.1
  • During the week of November 16, the positivity rate was 33.4
  • During the week of November 23, the positivity rate was 43.3
  • During the week of November 30, the positivity rate was 40.9
  • During the week of December 7, the positivity rate was 38.1
  • During the week of December 14, the positivity rate was 61.5
  • During the week of December 21, the positivity rate was 70.3
  • During the week of December 28, the positivity rate was 65
  • During the week of January 4, the positivity rate was 82.3
  • During the week of January 12, the positivity rate was 111
  • During the week of January 19, the positivity rate was 110.6
  • During the week of February 1, the positivity rate was 69.9
  • During the week of February 8, the positivity rate was 49.3
  • During the week of February 15, the positivity rate was 30.1

Positivity rates are still very high in the City of Norwich. A variety of metrics are analyzed in a holistic manner weekly (under the leadership of Uncas Health) to determine the school learning model, including:

  • Transmission rate within schools (currently 1%);
  • Number of COVID positives in the school department and in each school.
  • Number of COVID positives in 1 household vs. spread among several
  • Number of close contacts made to quarantine because of a COVID positive.
  • Percent of remote learners (currently 31%)
  • Fidelity of mitigation strategies
  • Number of COVID positive staff that are Norwich residents vs. non-residents
  • Schools are the source of food, warmth, safety, and mental health support for many students

Schools are very well controlled environments where multiple mitigation strategies are intentionally managed (frequent hand washing, mask use, monitoring symptoms, monitoring close contacts, cohorting, distancing, maximizing outdoor time, cleaning and disinfecting, etc.)

Learning Model Plan (subject to change)

Sept 8-11 Hybrid in half days
Sept 14-Oct 1 Hybrid in full 2 days & High Need Students 4 days
Oct 2-16 Generally Remote (High Need Students in person)
Oct 19-23 Generally Remote add high-need students. Adult Education and pre-school in person.
Oct 26-Nov 13 Hybrid model
Nov 16-Dec 18 Hybrid model 2 days, All IEP & ESL students invited 4 days
Dec 21-Dec 23 Remote due to staffing
Jan 4-15 Hybrid model 2 days, All IEP & ESL students invited 4 days
Jan 20-29 Remote due to staffing
Feb 1-19 Hybrid model 2 days, All IEP & ESL students invited 4 days
Feb 22-26 All students invited 4 days a week (Wednesday is remote)

 

Remote learning numbers by school as of today:
Huntington Mahan Moriarty Stanton Uncas  Vets Wequonnoc Kelly Global
23.53% 30.61% 24.77% 35.15% 28.69% 30.9% 28.367% 40.69% 38.48%

 

I hope you are all safe and well. 

Sincerely,
Kristen E. Stringfellow Ed.D.

Mark Your Calendar

NPS Calendar 2020-21

First page of the PDF file: nps-calendar_2020-21