The decisions on whether districts will operate in a full in-person model, a fully remote model, or a hybrid model should be based on indicators of the spread or prevalence of COVID-19 in the community. Schools are not considered by many experts to be the source of community spread. Recent Center for Disease Control guidelines, while more restrictive than previous guidance, still call upon the effectiveness of implementing mitigation controls at the school level in determining learning models. Community prevalence is assessed through regular review of State of Connecticut data, local data, and county data. Medical professionals including school nurses, area physicians, and the school medical advisor are consulted along with the Torrington Area Health District. Currently, local data is trending with decreased COVID-19 cases and a similar infection rate as the State of Connecticut at 2%. With data solidly trending in the right direction, we feel it is time to repopulate The Gilbert School.
Currently, The Gilbert School has effectively implemented the following mitigation measures:
• 6 feet spread of desks in classrooms;
• Block scheduling;
• Synchronous learning for ALL students;
• Anyone entering the building MUST wear a mask;
• Food distribution;
• Cafeteria restructuring- additional lunch waves;
• Additional PPE for Faculty, Staff, and Students;
• Additional PPE and planning for Music and P.E. students/faculty;
• Staff/Parent/PPT and guidance meetings are now virtual to reduce community exposure;
• Reducing of hallway traffic and promoting one-way traffic in congested areas;
• Early arrival/dismissal of any student that has a study hall first period or last period of the day;
• An independent contractor assesses our ventilation system and addresses any concern immediately;
• Cleaning protocols have been established and custodial staff trained.
To transition from a hybrid learning model to having ALL students safely learning in the building together, the following changes in mitigation efforts may occur:
• Maintaining a 6-foot distance during lunches when masks are off;
• Maintaining six feet between desk in classrooms;
• More students riding the bus;
• We will no longer be able to split the gym for P.E. classes and use small gym for Music classes;
• Music classes in general will have to be reconfigured and possibly reconsidered;
• Hallways will be more crowded;
• Social distancing of six feet or more will not be able to be achieved at all times and will be reduced;
• Cohorting may not occur in the same fashion as the past six months.