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RSD #17 Superintendent Responds to COVID-19

The Regional School District #17 website now has a link on the front page to COVID-19 Information, which will be updated as necessary. Superintendent of Schools, Holly Hageman, responds to COVID-19 threat with this letter to parents and staff:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 7:30 p.m.

Dear Staff and Families,

We have made the difficult decision to postpone or cancel all RSD17 March and April extra-curricular activities that involve large groups of over 100 people. This action is in line with the recommendation made by the Governor and the Connecticut State Department of Education. Activities include (but are not limited to) concerts, school plays, and any other events that involve a large gathering of people. It is possible that some of these activities may be rescheduled in the future. School website calendars will be updated with these changes. Additionally, we have adjusted the community use of school facilities between now and the end of April precluding use for groups of 100 or more.

All field trips and events that would expose students to large crowds have been cancelled or postponed. The 8th grade Washington, D.C. field trip has been postponed to June 3, 4 & 5.

If cases of coronavirus affect our community, or if the state required it, we would close our schools for an extended period. We have started to see an increase in the number of CT school districts that have closed. This decision could come with very little notice. Please begin to prepare alternative accommodations for your child in the event that a closure is warranted.

Should there be a need to close schools, the closure would likely be for a two-week duration. Although we are in excellent shape to provide learning through digital platforms, we are not sure that a waiver application to the state would be approved for a two-week or less duration to count such learning as school days. Therefore, should the district need to close, the days missed will likely need to be made up in June. Our school district calendar indicates that school days lost due to cancellations can be made up through June 30​th​. If we do need to close, we would likely be shut down except for essential operations employees and we are seeking clarification from the state on who we are permitted to have working, which will likely depend on our local circumstances. School closure does not have to mean a total loss learning. Our teachers are currently planning for continuity of learning opportunities that could be employed in the event of a school closure due to COVID-19. These opportunities will be digitally based and/or print-based (e.g., structured printed learning materials sent home in advance). These are considered as optional learning activities during an extended school closure period.

If state assessment administration in a district is hampered due to unavoidable school closures resulting from a COVID-19 outbreak, the state department of education will explore solutions that will enable the district to complete administration of the mandated assessment(s).

In an effort to limit the exposure to COVID-19 for high risk individuals, elderly or immunocompromised individuals are discouraged from coming to our campuses.  We also are imploring everyone to follow the procedures below. It is expected that all of us ensure our students understand the necessity of proper hygiene to avoid illness.  Therefore, please share this information with your student(s). We will continue to reinforce these practices during the school day.

Illness prevention is the first line of defense. The following are recommended measures that can lower the risk of any illness including COVID-19:

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is recommended.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Clean frequently-touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant product.
  • Avoid sharing drinking cups, food, and other personal items.
  • Stay at home if you are ill to minimize the transmission of illness and disease.

It is important that parents communicate with their child’s teacher if they are out with illness.

Students and staff should not attend school with the following symptoms of common illness or disease:

  • Temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater. Individuals should be fever-free without use of a fever-reducing medication for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea. Individuals should remain at home until they have stopped vomiting for at least 24 hours and are able to tolerate fluids and solid foods.
  • Sore throat that is accompanied by fatigue, body aches, and fever.
  • A persistent/disruptive cough lasting for more than a few days or with fever.
  • Eye discomfort with itching, redness, pain, and drainage.
  • Skin rash suggestive of a communicable disease. We ask that any blisters or open sores be healed before returning to school

We request a note if a student has seen a physician and been absent due to a communicable disease. We also request that any cases of confirmed coronavirus or exposure to persons with confirmed cases be reported to the school district immediately.

Sincerely,
Holly Hageman
Superintendent

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