With spike in COVID-19 quarantines, Danbury to remain on hybrid model for rest of school year | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

DANBURY — The public school district will remain on the hybrid model for the rest of the academic year but plans to fully reopen in the fall.

Citing concerns from the district’s medical advisers, school Superintendent Sal Pascarella said in a letter to families that the district could not safely fit all students in the classroom, even under updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say children may sit three, rather than six, feet apart.

“When any mitigation strategy is reduced, the result is an increased risk for COVID exposure and possible transmission,,” Pascarella wrote. “Danbury remains in the red zone with increasingly high community spread. This has resulted in school exposures requiring an increased number of quarantines in recent weeks.”

The district had 98 cases and 660 quarantines among students and staff in March, according to the schools’ COVID-19 dashboard, compared to 62 cases and 230 quarantines in February. In half of the March cases, no students nor staff were exposed.

Administrators have said the district has seen no evidence of in-school transmission of the virus.

The increase in school cases in March correlates with the rise in the number of city and state cases.

Danbury reported 312 cases in February, compared to 388 in March, although some data from March is still pending. The bulk of the March cases came in the last two weeks of the month.

Some students would have needed to switch teachers and some students on remote learning would need to stay home if the district did return to full time, administrators have said.

“We believe another change in our teaching model at this time would lead to disruptions in learning, numerous teacher changes, and increased medical concerns,” Pascarella wrote. “For these reasons, the current structure is the best course of action for our students for the remainder of the school year.”

He said he is “somewhat encouraged” that students ages 16 and over and staff may get vaccinated, although students ages 15 and under are not yet eligible.

“In light of this disparity, it is imperative that we have a model that can return every student to full in-person learning next year,” Pascarella wrote.

He intends to keep school open the week after April break, despite concerns that family travel could lead to spread of the virus. New Milford plans to switch to remote learning for a week following vacation.

“While we anticipate facing attendance and staffing challenges following the spring break holiday, your continued support in abiding by these safety precautions is imperative in keeping our schools open and maintaining the safety of our students and staff,” Pascarella wrote.

Source link