With Governor Ned Lamont recently placing the decision on how to proceed with the school year in the hands of each district throughout the state, North Haven Public Schools has adjusted the model that it submitted to the Connecticut State Department of Education in July. All students will begin the school year with remote synchronous learning on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Middle school and high school students will be taught from 7:30 a.m. to noon and the elementary schedule is 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Superintendent of Schools Patrick Stirk announced the district’s updated plan in an email to families on Aug. 5.
In mid-September, the district will transition to a hybrid model with students split into two cohorts based on last name (considerations will be made so all children in the same household are on the same schedule). Classroom teacher assignments, cohort assignments, and student schedules are being finalized and will be communicated to families as soon as possible.
Cohort #1 will attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays and Cohort #2 will attend school on Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, schools will undergo a deep cleaning. Students will continue with remote learning on days when they are not in school.
“The hybrid model is the safest for our students and staff,” Stirk stated. “We can accomplish six-feet distancing in classrooms and can lessen the population density within this model. This separation is vital when considering students will be in classrooms, with masks off, eating lunch. In addition to smaller class sizes, bus capacity will be greatly decreased as well as the amount of students in hallways at the middle and high schools.”
Middle school and high school students will shift to the hybrid program the week of Sept. 14, while the elementary schools will begin the hybrid program the week of Sept. 21 due to the hot temperatures in the elementary schools.
Families can also choose the opt-out learning program, which will primarily occur in an asynchronous structure, but will include live-video instruction at all grade levels as well. This program will be completed digitally, on district-provided Chromebooks.
NHPS noted that it is “essential” that every student has a school-assigned Chromebook as the educational applications used work best on those devices.
The elementary school schedule will include 120 minutes of English Language Arts instruction, 60 minutes of math instruction, as well as 30 minutes for greeting, social and emotional learning, and calendar, and 30 minutes of specials. The middle school and high school will operate on a block schedule. Students are expected sign on for online learning times and complete and submit assignments through the Google Classroom platform.
The plan for school reopening is based on the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH) threshold metrics. The DPH will release weekly evaluations of the infection risk. North Haven’s risk level is currently low.
“If this low risk level continues, the district will examine whether transitioning to a full-time/in-person model is warranted by the week of Oct. 12,” Stirk stated. “This transition will be dictated by COVID-19 infection levels and in conjunction with Quinnipiack Valley Health District [QVHD]. We will be in contact with QVHD each week to prepare for this potential transition.”
Information, resources, and all district and school communications will be posted to the www.northhavenschools.org website under the COVID-19 Information Hub.