School Year 2020-2021

Reopening
News

Parent Update, 10/30/2020

Parent Update, 10/30/2020

Good afternoon,

I have a few quick updates to share with all of our East Windsor school community.

In- person learning: First, a reminder that grades K, 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 and 12 will begin attending school 4- days per week beginning Monday Nov 2. This only applies if your child is attending in-person classes.  If you have decided that your child will do full remote learning, they do not need to come in to attend classes.  If you would like to change the model of instruction your child has (in person or full remote) we need you to contact your child’s school; this is especially true if your child will change to in-person learning – we need to hear from families prior to their return so we can appropriately plan for them to be with us.

Travel for Thanksgiving – 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. .

Weather – I had not planned on having to address the issue of inclement weather in October but Mother Nature had other ideas.  The Department of Education has given Superintendent’s the ability to decide if we will have remote learning days rather than traditional snow days for this school year.  I intend 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.

I would like to remind families that resources related to COVID 19 can be found on the Reopening Information page of the website.

Thank you and enjoy the weekend

Christine

Parent Update, 10/22/2020

Parent Update, 10/22/2020

RAMPING UP STUDENT IN-PERSON LEARNING

We were very pleased to welcome our first group of students to 4 days per week, in-person learning on Oct 19.

We have decided on the following schedule for increasing students to 4 days of in-person learning.

This plan is subject to change based on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the area, town or schools or based on guidance from the Department of Education or Governor. Families should make sure that childcare is available if our learning model needs to change back to hybrid or full remote for periods of time.

November 2 : students in grades K, 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 and 12 are scheduled to return.

We have elected to bring grade 12 back first for several reasons. Students are not participating in remote learning at a higher rate than other grade levels and this is putting their ability to meet graduation requirements at risk. Grade 12 is also our smallest class and combining that with grade 9 will allow us to balance the numbers of students re-entering the high school a bit better.

Nov. 16: students in grades 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 and 11 are scheduled to return.

After your child’s grade is scheduled to return, they must attend 4 days or you must sign them up for full remote learning; we will no longer use a hybrid model unless I make a change due to issues with COVID-19.

More on Ramping Up In-Person Learning

A few reminders for parents as we increase the number of students in our buildings:

  • We will move to a 4 day a week schedule, with Wednesdays remaining remote learning days. These days will primarily be independent learning activities. They are still school days and students are expected to log in or complete assigned work.
  • We will have reduced space between students in classrooms as students return
  • All other mitigation strategies, such as mask wearing, hand hygiene, ensuring adequate ventilation and staying home when sick will continue to be in place as they are now
  • We will continue to have 6 ft between students for mask breaks or when they are eating
  • Our cleaning and disinfecting protocols are following DPH guidelines and will continue as we have been
  • Students will have assigned seats on the buses to help with contact tracing if needed—please help your children understand the reasons for assigned seats as we need everyone’s cooperation with this
  • As grade levels are scheduled to return, we will no longer have a hybrid option
  • Students must wear a mask on the bus for the entire bus ride.

We also need to be aware that the number of close contacts from one case would likely be higher with increased numbers of students—the result would be a higher number of students or staff requiring quarantine for 14 days. Families need to identify a plan in case your child has to quarantine or be part of a whole class that must be home for a period of time.

Bus Times

Please be aware that bus pick up and drop off times may vary slightly as we add more students to the bus runs. Please allow yourself some flexibility in the times you get to the bus stop for morning pick ups or afternoon drop offs.

Thank you for your understanding.

Mask Hygiene

Please remind students daily that masks they have already worn need to be washed or thrown out if they are disposable masks. We have disposable masks for students who require them but please check in to ensure children have clean masks daily when they leave for school. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Please ensure that the East Windsor Public Schools has accurate phone numbers for parents or guardians of our students. This is critical if we need to communicate with you regarding any type of illness or if you child is identified as a close contact of someone with a positive COVID 19 test.

CONTACT TRACING AND CLOSE CONTACTS

Anyone who is within 6 ft for a period of approximately 15 minutes of someone who tests positive for COVID 19 is considered a close contact. If your child is a close contact, you will receive a phone call from either one of our school nurses or staff from the local health district. It is critical that you return these phone calls as soon as possible.

While it is likely going to be a call from an unfamiliar number, please check for voice mails. Our ability to communicate with families is critical at that point in the contact tracing.

TESTING AND RETURN TO SCHOOL

Any student who is tested for COVID 19 must remain home until the test results of a PCR test are received. The PCR test is different from an antigen test.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

 

Parent Update, 10/22/2020

Parent Update, 10/09/2020

As we move into mid-October, I am very pleased to share that we have been able to remain in school so far. Staff and students continue to follow our protocols and the nursing staff has been doing an amazing job supporting our students and staff who present with any medically related needs. The custodial staff continues to provide us with a clean environment, following Department of Public Health guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

Please join me in sending a huge THANK YOU! To our nursing and custodial staff for all they are doing in this challenging set of circumstances.

I do need to remind all families that students are not to be sent to school if they are experiencing any signs of illness.

Students who are not feeling well including those with fever, vomiting, diarrhea or any other new symptoms must be kept home and we ask you to contact the school nurse.

If students are sent to school and are found to have any symptoms of illness, families will be required to pick them up within 30 minutes and may be asked to keep them home following DPH guidelines.

Thank you for understanding and helping to keep the East Windsor school community as safe and healthy as possible!

Returning to “Normal”

A form was sent out to all families on Monday asking you to identify whether your child(ren) will remain with their current school attendance plan or if parents are making a change — such as moving from in person to fully remote or fully remote to in person — as we plan to increase student instructional days for in-person learning. It is important that you complete this form so we may more accurately identify class sizes and adjust process and procedure within our buildings. We also want to keep the bus company informed of how many students will be on the East Windsor bus runs.

As I shared last week in the Parent Update, as we look to increase the number of students in our buildings each day and consider what our schedule will look like going forward, our class sizes will increase. With increased class size, our ability to maintain social distancing will be reduced. The Department of Public Health has reminded us that as one mitigation factor becomes more challenging, the others become that much more important. Hand washing and mask wearing will be critical strategies for us as the distance between school community members decreases. It will also be critically important for all families to keep students with signs of any illness home.

We also need to be aware that the number of close contacts from one case would likely be higher with increased numbers of students — the result would be a higher number of students or staff requiring quarantine for 14 days. Families need to identify a plan in case your child has to quarantine or be part of a whole class that must be home for a period of time.

I have shared at BOE meetings that our high-needs students will be scheduled to increase in-person learning first. Those are students who may have additional educational services or those with no Internet service at all. The template for our “ramping up” will be shared with the BOE on Oct 14 and then additional information will be shared with families. A hybrid model will not be available for students once their grade or school have moved to a 4 day, in-person schedule.

The administrative team is taking care to consider all the factors related to our students, staff and logistics as we share our plan.

Thank you in advance for your help and understanding.

Public on School Grounds

Please be reminded that members of the public are not allowed on school grounds while school activities are continuing or students are in session. This includes during athletic practices or the presence of FRC on site.

This is for the safety of all of our students. Thank you so much.

Free Thermometers

If a family would like a free digital thermometer please email or call your school nurse and we will send them home with their child!

Mary Jo Lamas, RN
East Windsor High School – 860-627-0169
Mlamas@ewct.org

Mary Ann Stroiney, RN, BSN
East Windsor Middle School – 860-654-0094
mstroiney@ewct.org

Christie Michaud, RN, BSN / Mystica Davis, LPN
Broad Brook Elementary School – 860-627-4986
cmichaud@ewct.org or mdavis@ewct.org

How to Contact I.T.

EMail: Distancetech@ewct.org

A reminder, our IT staff will exhaust all remote options to assist with technical difficulties before assisting in person—this is to maintain our social distancing and to reduce having many hands touching a device.

This can include support for accessing Portals or Teams. There are also video tutorials and links for parents in the technology section of this site: https://reopening.eastwindsork12.org/laptops-and-technology/

SeeSaw Help

Broad Brook families—there is a very helpful video about how to use SeeSaw on the Broad Brook page of the East Windsor Public Schools website. Please check it out!

 

Parent Update, 10/22/2020

Parent Update, 10/2/2020

We have completed the first month of school so far and thank everyone for continuing to support the school community with mask wearing, hand washing and following our COVID 19 related school protocols.

We are seeing some students come to school with vented masks. Please be reminded about appropriate face coverings. This is from a previous update and can be found on this site in the Masks Required section:

All staff and students (including Pre-K students) are required to wear face coverings in school buses and in school buildings —except for specific exemptions.

  • Face coverings must cover nose and mouth completely and be closed under the chin
  • Vented masks are not allowed
  • Neck gaiters require a student to fold the material over so it is doubled
  • Bandanas must be secured under the chin, like a mask
  • Bandanas that are open under the chin will not be allowed
  • Students who do not have masks will be provided them on the bus or in the school

Below is guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Education regarding masks and face coverings:

Interim Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings in Schools during COVID-19

RETURNING TO “NORMAL”

As we look to increase the number of students in our buildings each day and consider what our schedule will look like going forward, our class sizes will increase. With increased class size, our ability to maintain social distancing will be reduced. The Department of Public Health has reminded us that as one mitigation factor becomes more challenging, the others become that much more important. Hand washing and mask wearing will be critical strategies for us as the distance between school community members decreases.

We also need to be aware that the number of close contacts from one case would likely be higher with increased numbers of students—the result would be a higher number of students or staff requiring quarantine for 14 days. Families would need to identify a plan in case your child has to quarantine or be part of a whole class that must be home for a period of time.

A two question survey will be sent home next week asking families to identify if their children will attend in person when we have students in the buildings for more days. We realize the factors associated with increased numbers may result in some families students at home now and others choosing to “opt out” when they have attended in the hybrid model. Your response to the survey will help us plan more effectively.

Thank you in advance for your help.

OPEN HOUSE

Please check the parent newsletters that will be going out from each school for more information about Open House. A reminder that Open House will be virtual this year!

Information was included in last week’s Parent Update and can be found on this site in a previous post.

FREE THERMOMETERS!

If a family would like a free digital thermometer please email or call your school nurse and we will send them home with their child!!

Mary Jo Lamas RN
East Windsor High School – 860-627-0169
Mlamas@ewct.org

Mary Ann Stroiney RN BSN
East Windsor Middle School – 860-654-0094
mstroiney@ewct.org

Christie Michaud RN BSN/ Mystica Davis, LPN
Broad Brook Elementary School – 860-627-4986
cmichaud@ewct.org or mdavis@ewct.org

If you have concerns

We realize that this is a very stressful time for families. We also know that all of the pieces of schooling—whether your child attends in person or has opted out– do not always work perfectly or create frustration.

We encourage parents to share concerns with their child’s teacher or the building administrator. We want to thank all the parents who have called or emailed expressing concerns. This helps us to review and improve our supports to our students.

Right now, all families and school staff are working very hard to make things as positive as possible and your ongoing understanding and continued respectful communication is greatly appreciated. All staff want to maintain collaborative relationships with families so making a call or sending an email will help us continue to problem solve with you.

Thank you so much for your continued support of the East Windsor staff!

Parent Update, 10/22/2020

Parent Update 09/25/2020

We have completed three weeks of school so far and thank everyone for continuing to support the school community with mask wearing, hand washing and following our COVID 19 related school protocols.

I know that some parents are anxious to have students return to school on a more traditional schedule. Other parents may be just as anxious at the prospect of having students return. The Department of Public Health and our local health district have shared some suggestions for districts to consider when we discuss increasing our daily student population.

Some of these considerations include our ability to maintain social distancing at different levels between people in the buildings and in various locations—such as the cafeteria, hallways and classrooms. We also need to consider our ability to maintain the cleaning and disinfecting protocols we have in place following state guidance. In addition, the ability to cohort is also important as that impacts the numbers of staff or students who may be involved when we have a positive case and conduct contact tracing in conjunction with the health district.

The administrative team is working on the plan to increase student numbers following the timeline I had shared at the beginning of school—that we would reevaluate the situation in October and make determinations from there.

We all agree that in person learning is the best way for our students to be “in school” but we are also trying to balance health and safety at this time.

A FEW REMINDERS:

  • If your child is sick, they need to stay home and we ask you to contact their school nurse.
  • The Connecticut State Department of Education requires the district to monitor and report attendance for all students, including those learning remotely or have opted out. Please continue to follow the procedures for each school. If you have questions, please contact the school office.

OPEN HOUSE

We are pleased to share our dates for Open House!

  • East Windsor High School Tuesday October 6 from 6 pm—7:30 pm
  • East Windsor Middle School Wednesday October 7 from 6 pm—7:30 pm
  • Broad Brook Elementary School Thursday October 8 from 6 pm—7:00 pm

Each teacher will post a brief, introductory video for their class on the Parent Portal by the morning of October 6. There are three ways to access Open House during scheduled hours:

  1. Each teacher will have a link on the Portal to a Microsoft Team meeting. Parents will click into each class through the Portal to access the individual classes—much
    like walking from one classroom to another.
  2. Parents can use their child’s school issued computer to access Microsoft Teams and log in using your child’s log in information
  3. Go to www.Eastwindsork12.org then the Student page, click Office 365 and enter your child’s log in information.
  4. The most important part to access the Open House is that parents must log in using their child’s log in credentials.

Broad Brook staff will be available for parents to log in at any time during the Open House hours and Middle School and High School families will receive a schedule to
follow, much like in previous years.

More information will be provided by each school prior to Open House dates.

CHC and COVID-19 TESTING

The School Based Health Center (SBHC) will be offering Covid 19 testing for students who have Covid 19 symptoms. The test is a rapid antigen test. It done by the student or the parent of the student who would place a swab in the nose. Families would receive results in approximately 15 minutes by phone. If a student does test negative the recommendation would be that the student still
go for a PCR nasal swab. This test typically takes 2 days for the results to return. In order for a student to be tested for Covid 19 through the School Based Health Center, students must be enrolled in the SBHC. Here is the link for enrollment www.sbhc1.com.

All students in the district can be tested if enrolled. Middle School students would go to go to Broad Brook School for testing.

If you have any questions you can call the SBHC at East Windsor High School (860)623-3361 (Ext:7246) or at Broad Brook School (860) 623-2433 (ext:5172)

We realize that this is a very stressful time for families. We also know that all of the pieces of schooling—whether your child attends in person or has opted out– do not always work perfectly or
create frustration.

We encourage parents to share concerns with their child’s teacher or the building administrator. We want to thank all the parents who have called or emailed expressing concerns. This helps us to review and improve our supports to our students.

Right now, all families and school staff are working very hard to make things as positive as possible and your ongoing understanding and continued respectful communication is greatly appreciated. All staff want to maintain collaborative relationships with families so making a call or sending an email will help us continue to problem solve with you.

Thank you so much for your continued support of the East Windsor staff!

Parent Update 09/18/2020

Parent Update 09/18/2020

I hope everyone is enjoying the early, fall-like weather. Given our mask requirements, it is certainly easier to deal with these temperatures rather than extreme heat.

All of our students continue to do a great job following our new protocols, especially those about masks. We realize it’s challenging for all of us to keep them on but appreciate how compliant everyone has been following these critical mitigation strategies. We ask that you continue to ensure your students wear appropriate face coverings to school — including on the bus — every day. Masks with vents are not allowed. Please see the Masks page of our website for more information about appropriate face coverings as provided by the Department of Public Health.

Thank you to all of our students and families for their continued patience as we work through the challenges of a new instructional model and increased load on our technology. We appreciate your sharing any issues you may encounter and thank you for understanding that we may need a few days to get things addressed.

Also, check for updates on this site, especially related to our health and meals! All students in the East Windsor Public Schools are now eligible for free breakfast and lunch. There is nothing for families to do—just have your enrolled students come in for meals when they are in person or see Food Services for how you can get free breakfast and lunch on days you are remote — this includes our students who have opted out!

Travel Advisory

Travel Advisory

We need to send an important reminder on travel guidance.

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

At this time, families who travel to any of the areas included on the advisory will
be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to re-entering school.

School Opening Update (8/30/2020)

School Opening Update (8/30/2020)

I encourage all families to explore this website under for Reopening Information. This site is updated weekly or more often and includes all of the information sent out in the Parent Updates.

I encourage families to reach out with questions but you may find answers more quickly by using the search function on the Reopening Information page. We have updated the site to include supply list suggestions, arrival and dismissal procedures for all three schools, athletics updates, and additional information about food services and mask wearing. Please continue to keep checking back as we go through the first weeks of school for updates.

Please remember: we have resources on this Reopening website to help you address your child’s questions and anxiety about COVID 19. We also have hints about getting your child used to wearing face coverings, which are required for all students at school and on the bus. Please contact your child’s school if you have any questions or need assistance in helping your child transition back to school.

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful questions and feedback regarding our plan. I know there are more and more questions, so please keep sending them!

I wish you all a healthy and happy week ahead.

Christine

School Opening Update (8/21/2020)

School Opening Update (8/21/2020)

As we get closer to the start of school, processes and protocols are changing and being finalized. Updates from Connecticut State Department of Education and our health district continue to guide our planning.

I also encourage you to continue sharing your questions with the building administrators or myself. We want to make sure we provide you with all of the information you need.

PHONE AND EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION NEEDED

We still have approximately 175 families who have not responded to the form sent through the Parent Portal to update your contact information and emergency contacts. It is critical that this is reviewed and corrected. Please log into the Portal or email frodriguez@ewct.org if you have not completed that form.

More than ever, school staff must be able to contact a parent or emergency contact when a child is sick or needs to leave school. If a student is ill, parents or emergency contacts must be able to pick up the child in 30 minutes of being called. This is critically important for the health and safety of all students and staff.

DAY CARE UPDATE

At the last BOE meeting, I shared that 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 211 Child Care for help in accessing resources if you still need care for your children.

CHILD FIND

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.

SCHOOL CALENDAR UPDATE

The EWPS Calendar has been updated. The Board of Education voted to support the change in start date to Sept 3 for grades 1-12 (see front page) and Sept 10 for grades PK and K.

In addition, we have eliminated the first Friday of each month as no school for PK. Our PK students will attend half days on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The new school calendar is available on our website at www.eastwindsork12.org.

UPDATES TO THIS SITE

We’ve added information as it’s come available about the following areas:

Update about starting school (8/13/2020)

Update about starting school (8/13/2020)

Thank all of you for the great questions this week! I will continue to provide more specifics in the weekly newsletter and on this site.

This entire process is moving rapidly. We continue to receive updates from Connecticut State Department of Education and our health district and the plan is continuing to develop.

I also encourage you to continue sharing your questions with the building administrators or myself. That is the only way we know what you are worried about and can provide
you with accurate information.

UPDATED SCHOOL CALENDAR

The updated school calendar was voted on at the BOE meeting. The first day with students will be Sept 3 for grades 1-12 and Sept 10 for grades PK and K. The new calendar will be added to the EWPS website.

Students at the end of the alphabet (Group B) will start Sept 3 and 4 and students at the beginning of the alphabet (Group A) will start Sept 8. (What is the alphabet? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for the a detailed description)

STUDENT INFORMATION UPDATE NEEDED

In response to the question about sending children for in-person instruction, we have had responses from approximately 45% of our students and of those who responded, 39% are not planning to come into school physically. Of the 455 parents who have responded so far, 177 of those students will be “opting out” of in person instruction: 84 from BBES, 57 from EWMS, and 37 from EWHS.

We need more responses to properly plan for the school year! It is critical – especially this year – for all families to complete the online form which asks which format you will choose for the start of school.

We also need for families to update their phone number and email address in case we need to contact them, as well as emergency contacts in case they are unavailable. It is especially important this year.

If you are having difficulties filling out this form, please let us know!

HEALTH INFORMATION

We received some information from the Connecticut Department of Public Health regarding processes when a staff or student is sick which I have attached to this update.

However, the update from DPH does not provide the information most of us are waiting for—which is when we might be required to close classrooms or even the whole school. I have reached out to see if we can get additional information from the state; otherwise we will continue working with our medical advisor and health district to further develop those guidelines. They will be shared with you when they are available.

UPDATES TO THIS SITE

We’ve added information as it’s come available about the following areas: