Safe Return Plan

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and
Continuity of Services Plan:
 Maintaining Our In-Person Model

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH), and the Office of the Governor have determined that access to in-person learning is a priority. We have experienced first-hand that in-person instruction is the best approach for students to be educated, have equitable and effective access to educational opportunities, access good nutrition, and engage in activities that promote social and emotional wellness. We want families to feel comfortable and confident when sending all children back to in-person learning and we are prepared to keep our schools safe.

Norwich Public Schools plans to operate with full in-person schooling for 2021-22. The DPH and CSDE do not anticipate the need to mandate, due to public health necessity, that school districts provide a remote learning option for students and their families for the 2021-22 school year. Therefore, the remote learning option will no longer be in place after this school year. We will continue to make excellent use of technology for innovative learning including providing avenues for personalized learning and enrichment, supporting learning acceleration, and specialized instruction and interventions.

We will deploy layers of mitigation strategies (mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing) as required by the DPH as we return next year. Our experience this year showed us that in-school transmission was rare and that was likely due to the implementation of mitigation strategies. We encourage families to consider vaccinating their children when they are age-eligible.

The NPS Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan is summarized in the chart below. 

Health and Safety Strategies
  Stay home if you feel ill
Students and adults must stay home if they are feeling sick, have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (unless vaccinated).
  Morning health check/self-screening at home
In order to prevent transmission among the school population, check to ensure temperature is below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and observe for symptoms associated with COVID 19 outlined by public health officials.
  Face coverings or masks (if required by DPH)
Only if required by DPH, students and adults will wear face coverings or masks that completely cover the nose and mouth while inside the school and on the bus.
  • “Mask Breaks” will be provided.  Schools will develop procedures to address mask breaks throughout the day.
  • Students/staff will be allowed to remove masks while eating, drinking, during PE, or when outside effectively practicing social distancing.
  Social distancing (if required by DPH)
If required by DPH, students and adults will maintain social distancing between individuals to reduce the transmission of the virus per the public health guidelines. Students and adults are expected to practice social distancing when entering and exiting the building, in classrooms, and moving throughout the school.
  Frequent hand washing or hand sanitizing 
Students and adults will engage in frequent hand washing and/or hand-sanitizing upon arrival, before and after meals, after bathroom use, and after coughing or sneezing.
  Cohorting (if required by DPH)
Emphasize grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (into a cohort) so each group functions independently as much as possible.
  Cleaning and Maintaining Healthy Facilities
  • Return to a regular cleaning schedule with emphasis disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
  • Ensure that the school air handling systems continue to meet state guidelines.
  Contact Tracing
NPS follows the Interim Guidance for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios in Connecticut School Districts. Connecticut’s contact tracing program is run by the DPH and uses recommendations that are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  On-Site Testing
NPS may continue to provide Binax Testing (if available) for staff and students who develop COVID symptoms during the school day.
  Vaccinations
NPS will work with the local Health District and local providers to make staff and community aware of vaccination clinics and information available.
Continuity of Services
  Academics
  • Deliver high-quality in-person instruction aligned to priority standards
  • Maintain delivery of on-grade level instruction while remediating and recovering skill gaps and differentiate instruction based on student needs
  • Use diagnostic, benchmark, and screening assessments to identify strengths and next steps as well as students in need of intervention and enrichment
  • Review data systematically and adjust instruction as necessary
  • Support professional learning for educators
  Social Emotional Learning
  • Foster positive, safe, and supportive learning environment and school-communities
  • Promote supportive adult-student and student-to-student discourse relationships and a sense of belonging.
  • Implement Pre K-12 research-based social-emotional learning curricula.
  • Identify strategies to re-engage populations and specific students who may be disengaged.
 

Health and Food Services
NPS will continue to support school meals and increase food services access.