Adapting, Advancing and Achieving in Region One:
REGION ONE PRIORITIES
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
GUIDELINES AND EXPECTATIONS
from ADAPT, ADVANCE, ACHIEVE: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together
Region One staff, board and community members have created a plan for full reopening in the fall with the understanding that health developments may influence decisions to transition to a different instructional model. Thus, we have balanced our planning with contingency plans to provide robust blended learning or remote blended learning for all grades in the event that a school, district, or the Region has to cancel or limit in-person classes due to health precautions. Region One educators have made use of the guidance on standards for quality blended learning that has been made available on the CSDE website. We have adhered to the State’s guiding principles from a Regional perspective to ensure the level of consistency expected by the Connecticut Department of Education; however we have used our discretion to address the specific needs of each of the schools in the Region.
Schools should plan to have all students in all districts return to the schoolhouses for full-time instruction at the beginning of 2020-2021 so long as public health data continues to support this model. This model will be supported with more intensive mitigation strategies and specific monitoring, containment, and class cancellation plans.
Consistent with the guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Education, as Region One schools plan to reopen, the guidance and considerations outlined in this document are grounded in six guiding principles:
Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
Allowing all students the opportunity to return to school full time starting in the fall;
Monitoring the school, students, and staff and, when necessary, potentially canceling classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities that are emerging from this historic disruption;
Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators, and staff; and
Considering the challenges to the physical safety, social-emotional well-being, and the mental health needs of our students when they are not in school.
Main Operational Considerations
Keeping Our Schools Open
Keeping our schools open is everyone’s responsibility!
Region One Schools will rely on the cooperation of families, students, and staff members to reopen and stay open on a traditional schedule.
The expectation for the fall of 2020 is to safely bring back students to in-person school settings and to maximize learning and address our students’ social and emotional needs. This document details our plans for a fall return that outlines multiple possibilities, with a focus, first and foremost, on getting our students back into our school buildings.
There is a clear consensus from both education and medical groups that we must keep in mind not only the risks associated with COVID-19 for in-person school programs but also the known challenges and consequences of keeping students out of school. While distance learning has provided the best possible alternative during school closures, there is no substitute for in-person instruction when it comes to the quality of students’ academic learning. In-person school plays an equally important role in our ability to support students’ social-emotional needs, including their mental and physical health, and in mitigating the impacts of trauma. We also recognize how disruptive the school closures have been to families trying to maintain regular work schedules and manage household needs, including childcare, while also facilitating remote learning.
Families play a critical role in supporting the new culture of health and safety that each of our schools will establish. Most importantly, families can help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in our schools by checking their children daily for any COVID-19 symptoms and keeping them home from school when they are sick or have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Families can also contribute by supporting the use of face coverings or masks in school and on the bus, communicating concerns with teachers and school leaders, and continuing to follow state guidance on health and safety outside of school.
With adherence to the State of Connecticut’s comprehensive set of critical health and safety requirements along with Region One Schools’ commitment to a safe and appropriate education, we can bring our students, staff, and families safely back to school- and keep them in school!
Region One Schools are committed to In-Person Learning, meaning a full reopening, following all guidelines and expectations of the State, and maintaining health standards in accordance with the Torrington Area Health District.
However, if there is a surge of COVID-19, an increase of local cases, or the occurrence of in-school cases, the learning models may need to be adjusted as a result. Learning models that include Hybrid Learning and/or Distance Learning will only be implemented by Region One Schools if required by the State of Connecticut or the Torrington Area Health District.
When our students return to school with our In-Person Learning Model, Region One Schools will do everything possible to make the school experience similar to what it has been in the past. While some aspects of the school will fundamentally look different when students and staff first return this fall, our goal will be to achieve a sense of normalcy over the course of the school year as the situation allows and if/when safety concerns are alleviated. Throughout the year, we will be prepared to adjust plans based on health indicators and guidance from state and local health officials (see chart below).