School Year 2020-2021

Frequently
Asked Questions

We understand that there are many questions about the start of school this fall. While most, if not all, are answered somewhere on this website, this list of Frequently Asked Questions may help you find the answers you’re looking for quickly.

If I think my child may just have a cold, what do I do?

So if your child wakes up with a runny nose, cough, congestion, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain – whether or not they have a fever, and even if your gut tells you it’s just a common cold or allergies – please start by keeping them home from school or day care.

Then call your child’s primary care pediatrician.

They’ll help you decide what to do next, depending on your child’s symptoms and health information. They may recommend a COVID-19 test, especially if cases rise in the community. Or they may simply recommend that you keep your child home until symptoms go away, and do your best to quarantine them from other members of the household.

You can also call our 24-hour Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline at 833.226.2362 to speak to one of our clinicians. We’re available to help, any day, any time.

For more detailed information, see the link below:

Ask a Pediatrician: What Should I Do When My Child Has a Common Cold During COVID-19?

How are East Windsor schools conducting contact tracing?

We are following CSDE guidelines with regards to contact tracing, which are being updated regularly as more information becomes available. That said, we will always consider the local circumstances in East Windsor alongside guidelines from the state to make sure we make the best decisions for our schools, students, and families.

The CSDE’s guideliness for contact tracing can be found here: Contact Tracing Scenarios in Schools

What does instruction look like?

As of today (you’ll see this phrase a lot), the plan is for teachers generally to deliver “typical” instruction to students Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We say typical because obviously it’s not the exact same instruction each day.

Teachers will deliver new lessons on those 4 days—the lessons won’t be repeated for each group. When group A is in person, group B will access the class remotely. They will log on for the primary instruction — lecture, model, mini-lesson, read aloud, etc. Whether teachers require students to stay on for the whole class period will depend on what the lesson involves.

Some of this information will be part of the ongoing updates once we get into the professional development days and teachers can do more specific work on their planning.

The students who opt out or miss class will be expected to watch the recording of critical parts of the instruction if they are not able to log in live. We do not anticipate entire class periods being recorded daily.

The role of online resources will be shared in more detail — however, we are looking at continuing to use SeeSaw at the elementary school. The middle school and high schools will continue to use the Portal as one resource.

All of this will require some patience from all of the staff and families, as well as quite bit of trial and error. No one has re-entered school after a multiple month closure in a worldwide pandemic and tried to learn or teach in a hybrid model so this is a new world for staff and families alike.

When will students attend school?

At the beginning of the school year, we used a hybrid model based on cohorts. That model looked like the below description.

Students whose last names begin with letters A –K will attend in person classes on Monday and Tuesday.

Students whose last names begin with letter L—Z will attend school in person on Thursday and Friday.

Students will be expected to check their email, watch recorded lessons, complete online assignments and even log into virtual meetings with their teachers when they are learning from home. The days students are not physically in class will “count” and their learning will be important.

First Days of School
• Students in grades 1-12 with last names A-K will be Sept 8.
• Students in grades 1-12 with last names L—Z will be Sept 3.
• Students in PK will be Sept 10
• Students in K with last names A –K will be Sept 14
• Students in K with last names L—Z will be Sept 10

Our Preschool students will attend school four days per week for half days. No students will attend school on Wednesdays.

Over time, we have adjusted the format somewhat to better serve our students and families. Please check the Fall 2020 Hybrid Approach to Instruction page for the latest model of instruction.

 

What is the "alphabet"?

We’re getting closer to what the actual “alphabet” will look like. Below is the schedule we are working with right now. Once we get the majority of families to answer the opt-out question, we will look at the in-school and remote enrollments to help us further define what the “alphabet” is.

  • Students whose last names begin with letters A –K will attend in person classes on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Students whose last names begin with letter L—Z will attend school in person on Thursday and Friday.
  • Students will be expected to check their email, watch recorded lessons, complete online assignments and even log into virtual meetings with their teachers when they are learning from home.
  • The days students are not physically in class will “count” and their learning will be important.

We are not splitting each class—we are using the alphabet district wide so we can keep families together and also reduce numbers in the classrooms. Some of your child’s classes may be of different sizes, especially at the high school level, but they will all be smaller using the hybrid model.

 

Keep in mind, we are assuming that ALL of our students will be in person at some point, so we’re using one dividing point across the district as we start school.

What grades are required to wear masks?

All grades, including Pre-K, are required to wear masks.

What about child care?

We realize that the hybrid model of school is causing challenges for some families for childcare. 

We were investigating whether the FRC program would be able to provide school aged child care during the day for students not scheduled to attend in person classes. Unfortunately, FRC has recently had staff resignations and despite advertising the positions, has not been able to fill the jobs. At this time, we do not have the staff needed to provide additional care for students not attending in person classes.

Please access  www.211childcare.org for help in accessing resources if you need care for your children.

How long will the hybrid model of instruction last?

We will be watching the health indices for our state and immediate area, and we will remain in consultation with the North Central Health District. After a few weeks of using our hybrid model successfully, we will begin to consider moving to in-person instruction on a more traditional schedule, keeping the health and safety of
staff and students as the primary focus.

Our schools’ individual data will be the primary driver of when (or if) we are able to change models. Any need for closure would be done in conjunction with the health district and Department of Education should that need arise.

Does my child get a laptop for home use? What if we don't need one?

We will assign every child K—12 a laptop for in school use and will assume they will also take it home on days of remotely learning . If you do NOT want your child to take the school laptop home, you need to identify that on the form. If we do not hear back from you, we will send your child home with the laptop.

If your child is in PreK and you opted out of in-person instruction, please contact your child’s school and we will provide a laptop for you. However, since PK students are in school 4 days, we are not sending laptops home to all PK students as we do not expect a substantial amount of online work. Again, contact Broad Brook if you find you require one for your PK student who will be attending in person.

How will we know what bus our students will be on?

Families will be provided the bus runs before school starts on our website and in the Journal Inquirer.

How will teachers and staff be prepared for the start of school?

Teachers and staff are preparing to help your students transition into school this fall. They will be receiving training on many topics. Some of those subjects include, but are not limited to:

  • Signs and symptoms of illness
  • New procedures for taking students to lunch, rest room breaks, masks breaks etc…
  • Hand washing and sanitizing expectations
  • How to support students with the social emotional challenges of returning to school
  • Ways to address the lost instructional time and curriculum changes
Can we still use Child Find?

Yes! Child Find screenings are available for students ages 3-5 by appointment only. The EWPS also conducts child find activities for students ages 5-21 if they are suspected of having a disability. Anyone can make a referral on behalf of a child.

Please contact the Special Education office at 860-623-3347 if you have any questions or you would like to schedule a screening.

Will my child receive meals during out-of-school learning?

Any East Windsor student can receive free breakfast and lunch on days they are not physically in school —this includes students who opted out. We are asking families to choose what they generally plan to do.

If you choose yes, you don’t have to come every day and if you choose no, you could come periodically but having everyone’s general choice will help us plan and not waste food.

Will my child receive meals during in school learning?

Again, all students physically in school on their identified days are able to receive free breakfast and lunch. We are asking families to identify their general choice so we can better plan for meals.

What if my child has been traveling? Can they come back to school?

Families that are traveling out of state or internationally should review guidance from the CDC and State regarding self-quarantine.

CT Travel Advisory

CDC Travel Recommendations

If students travel to a identified high risk area and are recommended to quarantine, they cannot attend school in-person until the 14 day period has elapsed.

Can my student borrow books and other materials from the library?

Our libraries are open for reservation of materials with curbside pickup. You can find details here: https://reopening.eastwindsork12.org/library/

What should we do if we are traveling during the holidays?

The East Windsor schools are requiring any student or staff who travels to a state identified on Gov. Lamont’s travel advisory to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to school.  We are following the advice of our health district to require the 14 days rather than allowing folks to provide a negative test.  We are making this decision erring on the side of safety for our students and staff.  Thank you for your understanding, especially in light of the increasing positive test rate in CT. .

How will snow days and other inclement weather be addressed this year?

As of October, the Department of Education has given superintendents the authority to decide if we will have remote learning days rather than traditional snow days for this school year.  East Windsor Public Schools intends to use that option and we will be reminding students to take home laptops when poor weather is in the forecast.  Please encourage your children to remember their laptops as well.

If we have remote learning days, rather than traditional snow days, we will not have to extend the school year in June.