New Haven schools plan to require masks to be worn in classrooms this fall

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NEW HAVEN – When school districts across the state drew up back-to-school plans halfway through a pandemic last summer, the city’s school board reversed a trend that was putting students back in the wards class at least part of the time by voting for a learning experience.

What started as the first 10 weeks of school has grown into the entire fall of the 2020-21 school year. Students in the city didn’t start returning to class on a hybrid schedule until January, with parents having the option of continuing distance learning for their children.

Yet about 50 percent of the district’s 20,000 students completed the school year learning at home, according to school officials.


This option is no longer on the table when the 2021-22 academic year begins on August 30.

It will be in person, five days a week for all students who, from now on, will be required to wear masks, officials said.

“We’re back in person when we start the new school year,” School Superintendent Ilene Tracey said in an email.

As school districts across the state begin to reverse the monumental changes forced by the pandemic, a new standard set for New Haven public schools is subject to change, officials warn.

Like last year, there are state directives, which are also evolving.

These guidelines no longer require districts to offer the option of staying at home.

“The main takeaway from our interim distance learning guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year is that at present, the Connecticut Department of Health and the Department of Education State of Connecticut did not anticipate the need for a warrant, due to a public health need, as districts offer families the option to opt for distance learning in 2021-2022, as they have been required to propose this school year, ”said Peter Yazbak, spokesperson for the state education ministry.

A more definitive state guide is in preparation with input from teachers‘ unions, superintendents, the health department and others.

All districts in the state, as a requirement to receive the latest round of federal stimulus, were required to submit a draft of their plan to reopen in the fall and post it on their websites by June 23.

Yet the classrooms that students return to will be different.

Masks inside and on school buses remain a state requirement, at least for now.

New Haven’s plan is to continue frequent mask breaks. The practice of grouping students into classes that do not frequently interact with other classes will be continued. Occupancy of the bathroom will be limited.

Students will always be asked to wash their hands frequently.

Visitors to school buildings will continue to be restricted. When possible, parents and guardians will organize meetings with teachers by videoconference. If in-person visits are required, parents will need to wear masks in school buildings, regardless of immunization status.

Schools will still be cleaned and disinfected, but there will be no midweek days off for deep cleaning. It will happen after school.

Contract research will continue when positive COVID cases occur and the district hopes to expand a COVID testing program, now in place in 12 schools, to all schools in the district in the fall.

As part of a pilot program, test results are available within 24 hours for parents and the health service.

On school buses, children will continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart while waiting at bus stops. Buses should be cleaned twice a day with the windows open if the weather permits.

On the teaching front, to compensate for 15 months of learning disruption, New Haven plans to use a portion of its federal funding to offer “intervention / enrichment blocks” to provide targeted instruction. in literacy and mathematics.

Additional teachers are hired in grades 1 to 3 to reduce class sizes and provide students with additional academic and social / emotional support. Funds were also allocated to purchase additional literacy and math materials.

At the secondary level, some resources will be dedicated to an alternative “Twilight School” program for high school students, as well as industry-recognized accreditation programs and college credit programs.

The district is also considering extended day academies that would be offered after school or on weekends.


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