'As much normalcy as possible': Westport offers guidelines for new school year

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Westport Superintendent Thomas Scarice at a school board meeting on Monday. Taken Oct. 5, 2020.

Westport Superintendent Thomas Scarice at a school board meeting on Monday. Taken Oct. 5, 2020.

DJ Simmons / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

WESTPORT — Students in the town’s public schools are scheduled to return to class Aug. 31 and there has been some concern about what the new year will look like.

On Aug. 20, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice sent a letter to families announcing some of the latest guidelines for the return to school.

“Although the outlook with regards to the pandemic is not as positive as it was in June, we will continue to work toward providing as much normalcy as possible for your child as they return to school,” the letter read. “Like last year, we will approach matters in four-to-six-week increments, while thoughtfully considering layers of mitigating measures.”

One of the measures that will be in place is mandatory indoor masking — at least until Sept. 30, per the statewide executive order of Gov. Ned Lamont. Masks aren’t required for recess or other outdoor activities, which was also the case at the end of last school year. Social distancing has been reduced from six feet to three feet and pre-pandemic school lunch services will resume.

Visitors in the buildings will be limited to educational or school business needs and visitors will need to be approved by the building’s administration.

“Given the Governor's mandatory vaccination announcement (last week), it is possible that visitors will be required to be vaccinated,” the letter read.

The letter also outlines the educational supports that will be available to students who need to quarantine or isolate as a result of COVID-19.

For elementary students these supports will consist of access to essential assignments through Google Classroom, twice weekly scheduled contact with the classroom teacher, and twice weekly contact with support staff to assist in work completion.

Secondary school students who have to quarantine at home will have access to posted assignments and communication with teachers via email as needed and, for quarantine periods extending beyond five school days, scheduled time with staff to support students during and after quarantine.

The latest version of the return to school plan has been posted to the Westport Public Schools web site.