School reopened for two days before a COVID case shut it down again
SOUTHWICK – Powder Mill School is closed for in-person learning again, just two days after welcoming students back for the first time since Nov. 7.
Students up to grade 4 returned to school buildings for fully in-person learning Dec. 13, along with Cohort C students in grades five and six. Cohort A and B students in grades five and six, as well as all students at Southwick Regional School, remained fully remote.
Woodland Elementary School remains open for in-person learning.
Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard told the School Committee Dec. 15 that she made the decision to go back to fully remote after a Cohort C Powder Mill student tested positive. Willard said it was the school’s first positive case in three weeks and while Southwick is still considered “red” on the COVID-19 map, “we are definitely going in the right direction.”
Willard said everyone agrees in-person learning cannot be replaced.
“To do this, it’s going to take all of us,” she said.
In a letter to families Tuesday, Willard said the student who tested positive had not returned to the building, however the switch to fully remote was required per the Memorandum of Agreement with the teacher’s union.
Powder Mill Principal Erin Carrier sent an email to parents Dec. 14, the first day back in school, imploring them to keep their children home “if there is even the slightest chance that someone in your house has COVID, do not risk the entire classroom by sending your child in.”
Carrier said several children were sent home Monday because either they or a member of the household was sick with COVID symptoms.
“I cannot stress enough do not send children to school if they are not feeling well,” Carrier stated, noting that the school staff is working hard and taking precautions to keep the building clean and safe.
“But we do not want another complication by introducing infection into the space.,” she said. “We all want in person learning to happen and it will only continue if we make the safety and wellbeing of the school community a priority.”
Willard said Dec. 18 is the last day of learning before the holiday break and she would communicate reopening plans with families before school is back in session Jan. 4, 2021.