By DENNIS HACKETT
SOUTHWICK- In Superintendent Jennifer Willard’s first summer information session, she detailed the first steps in the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District’s reopening plan for the fall.
As part of the new guidelines, students and teachers will be required to wear masks for grades 2 through 12, maintain a distance of at least a minimum of three feet from other students and teachers, wash hands regularly and stay home if they are sick.
Superintendent Willard said that while some parents have expressed concerns about sending their children to school while wearing masks, it is a necessary precaution for the district if it wants to reopen with in-person learning.
“I’ve heard from a lot of our parents that they don’t to send their kids back to school with masks, and I understand that it is not ideal. But in order for us to have school in person this is one of the non-negotiables that the commissioner has told us that we need to have,” she said.
One way the district will be trying to mitigate the mask issue is by having mask breaks throughout the day. Superintendent Willard said, “A mask break will be going outside, being at least six feet apart and having the opportunity to take your mask off.”
Currently the district is required to create three different reopening plans including a full in person return, a hybrid model, and a full remote learning plan. She explained that each plan would correspond to a different level of the COVID virus, with remote learning being the plan if the virus is most severe.
While students spent the end of the 2019-2020 school year in a remote learning plan, she said the remote learning plans for the fall would be different, particularly when it comes to schoolwork and grading.
Superintendent Willard said, “This plan is going to be a little different than what we had this year. There’s going to be more active teaching, there’s not going to be an optional pass-fail, there will be full grading, and students will be expected to complete all the work that is assigned to them.”
Superintendent Willard added that in future informational sessions she will be discussing social emotional support, facilities and operations, individualized education plans, and academic plans for the upcoming school year as requested by the parents.
In the future she said she will also be detailing transportation and lunch, athletics and extracurriculars, and the academic calendar once the district receives more guidance from the Department of Secondary Education.
One of the most important things Superintendent Willard said the district needs is feedback from all stake holders in the community, including staff, teachers and students.
“Input from our stakeholders is vitally important for planning our hybrid and remote plans work. Just as important as everybody else we need to hear from our students as this is their education and we need to know what worked and what didn’t,” she said.
As part of generating feedback from the community, the district will host feedback forums for staff on July 9 at 6 p.m. for grades 7-12 and at 7 p.m. for preschool through grade 6. Then on July 13 there will be a session for parents at 7 p.m. followed by another one for students on July 14 at 7 p.m.
Residents interested in watching the full presentation can find it on the STGRSD YouTube channel.