The schools are open! New Canaan is now a major step closer to normal, COVID-19 be damned.
In a few weeks, barring a significant increase in community transmission, all 4,100-plus students will be able to attend school in-person, five days a week. If there is an increase, the schools have effective plans for that, too. This “no matter what” capability has required an unprecedented effort by all school leaders, by teachers and all other staff members, by the Board of Education, by other government officials, by parent-volunteers, and by many others. A thousand thanks are in order.
When asked about this fall’s reopening—temporarily in “hybrid” mode—parents’ eyes light up and their praise is effusive. It has been “something to behold,” one said. Others remarked that the reopening has been “astounding,” “amazing,” “joyful,” and “it shows the hard work and professionalism of the teachers and staff.”
Parents remember the district’s quick pivot to remote learning in March, which meant New Canaan students had several weeks more of quality instruction than in most other school districts. The second pivot—fall reopening—took a summer of innovation and dogged preparation. It requires teachers to master multiple new layers of technology and to reinvent the way they communicate with students.
The payoff is that children are eager and engaged (both on in-person days and remote days), teachers are energetic and confident, and parents are comfortable with the elaborate mitigation measures meant to keep their children safe.
No matter what problems the future may bring, the New Canaan Public Schools have shown that they always respond with world-class solutions.
A thousand thanks for that.
Tom Butterworth is a Town Councilman but writes on his own behalf.