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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi on Thursday outlined an updated re-entry plan for seventh- through twelfth-graders that will see all New Canaan Public Schools students back to full-time in-person learning within two weeks. Under the revised phased plan, grade 7 will switch from the hybrid in-person and remote learning schedule they’ve been in since school started to a full in-person learning option Oct. 12, followed by grades 12 (Oct. 13), 8 (Oct. 15), 11 (Oct.
As has been done successfully at the elementary level, district officials said Wednesday that they plan to bring Saxe Middle School students back to full in-person learning in phases starting next week. Under a plan discussed at a meeting of the Board of Education Reopen Committee and backed by its members, all fifth-graders would return to Saxe on Tuesday, with the sixth grade starting full in-person learning the following Monday, Oct. 5. The approach will help faculty and staff “work through some complexity of that with the arrival, with dismissal, with lunches, with outdoors spaces, with all of what it takes, and even furniture arrangements, things like that,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said the meeting, held via videoconference.
“And our custodial crew has to work even harder when all the students are back in, because there’s more students in the space, more things to clean and disinfect each night and all of that. So look at fifth grade on Tuesday and then following Monday bring back in the sixth grade.
New Canaan High School’s athletic director is working with counterparts through the FCIAC to develop a 7-on-7 football league that’s in line with state health recommendations, the superintendent of schools said Monday night. The non-contact intramural league could include “linemen’s challenge type activities and even linemen 7-on-7 kinds of things,” Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS and broadcast on YouTube. “That is aligned with DPH recommendations, because the 7-on-7 that is non-contact brings it from a ‘high risk’ activity to a ‘moderate risk’ activity,” he said. “Which is the same as some of the other sports we are playing now, with the mitigation strategies—like volleyball with the masks, for instance. So the league would use our district coaches, have teams of approximately 15 players and they would play against each other in the beginning, and even against other schools.
District officials said Monday that a second positive case of COVID-19 virus has been identified at New Canaan High School. Close contacts already are undergoing quarantine and the district is now doing full contact tracing for the affected individual, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi. As with the first case disclosed Sunday, it wasn’t clear from an email Luizzi sent to public schools families whether the affected person is a member of the staff, faculty or student body. He or she is part of the “Y cohort,” Luizzi said—a reference to one of two divisions the district has used for the student body as it phases in at the start of this academic year. This week, that cohort is not scheduled to attend school in-person until Thursday, so “we have time today to identify and notify any close contacts in need of quarantine prior to their return to school on Thursday,” he said in the email.
New Canaan’s elementary schoolchildren have been using outdoor spaces for independent learning, though a lack of WiFi has pre-empted the ability to live-stream classes, district officials say. The kids are going outside for “mask breaks’ and “the teacher might have given directions to the classroom saying, ‘Screens down, we’re going to go outside and do our independent reading and we would like you guys to finish your independent reading at home,’ ” Dr. Jill Correnty, the New Canaan Public Schools assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment, told members of a Board of Education committee last week. “And then they have been using timers on the smart board for the young kids, so that the timer actually goes off and that’s the 20 minutes, and that’s the signal for coming back together as a class,” Correnty told the school board’s Reopen Committee during a Sept. 15 meeting, held via videoconference. “And so I have seen a lot of those countdowns happening in the classrooms. And they are using beyond the courtyards.