Superintendent: District Officials ‘Optimistic’ for NCHS Class of ’21 Graduation Ceremony at Dunning with Students and Parents

District officials said this week that they’re hopeful New Canaan High School’s class of 2021 will be able to have a graduation ceremony at Dunning Field with at least parents in attendance and possibly others. The state issued guidance on end-of-year events and it includes many of the strategies long in place at New Canaan Public Schools, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday night. Those strategies include wearing masks, social distancing, limiting the number of people in attendance, keeping track of who’s there, providing hand sanitizer and prohibiting anyone showing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 virus from attending, he said. Graduation ceremonies, specifically, are to be held outdoors, Luizzi said during the meeting, held via videoconference. Luizzi said he met with NCHS Principal Bill Egan and Athletic Director Jay Egan to figure out “how can we safely hold a graduation for our families that at least gets the students and their parents in and maybe does a little bit more.”

“We’ve got to work within the limitations of the facility, but we do have the great fortune of having Dunning to use for graduation.

‘That’s the Reality of the World We Are In’: Superintendent Updates Board of Ed As K-12 Nears Full In-Person Learning

Transitioning all New Canaan Public Schools students back into full in-person learning from 50% to 75% and, this week, 100%, has been helpful in getting students, families and staff accustomed to strategies designed to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 virus, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said Monday night. So far this week, officials have received very good reports on the return of New Canaan High School seniors to 100% in-person learning “and we anticipate the same for our juniors and then our ninth- and tenth-graders on Wednesday,” according to Luizzi. 

“It does mean when there are positive cases there are likely to be more quarantines, because of the balance between running at full capacity and maintaining that social distance of six feet, people understand that,” he said during a regular meeting of the Board of Education, held via videoconference. 

“When I sent out the announcements about bringing back the seniors and phasing everybody back in, that same day we had a positive case at Saxe and a positive case at one of our elementaries, and we had to quarantine a classroom at the elementary and a team at Saxe for a period of time. That’s the reality of the world we are in. So we have the great news about bringing those kids back. But we also just have to be grounded in the reality that when a positive case arises, we are still using those mitigation strategies.”

The comments came during Luizzi’s regular update on COVID-19 and the schools, whose buildings had been closed almost exactly one year earlier as the pandemic set in.