This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi about how curriculum is developed in the New Canaan school district.
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The town’s highest elected official said Tuesday that the town should consider paving an access road through the woods behind New Canaan High School to South Avenue. Doing so could “improve the traffic flow around the high school” and help buses “getting out of the property more than one way,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
“We had a rather interesting discussion with [Town Councilmen] John Engel and Steve Karl the other day … as to whether or not—and I talked about this to the superintendent last week—whether we ought to be building this road as another access out of the high school to South Avenue anyway, regardless of whether we did a police station there,” Moynihan told members of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure during their regular meeting, held via videoconference.
The comments came during a discussion of proposals to either renovate the existing police station at 174 South Ave. or build a new one somewhere else (a Saxe Middle School baseball field near the YMCA rose to “the top of the heap” among options for the latter, according to an architect hired by the town to study options). The wooded parcel between NCHS and Saxe—sometimes referred to as Waveny’s “panhandle,” as it includes walking trails that connect to the park—runs along South Avenue from the corner of Farm Road.
Identified in the past by some as a good location for development—a proposal that faced strong opposition and was scuttled—the parcel is one of a handful that a team assembled by Moynihan had evaluated as a possible future police station site. Though Moynihan’s team said it prefers the Saxe ball field site, town officials have called for more details about the prospect of building a new NCPD on the parcel, along with the Locust Avenue Lot, Lumberyard Lot and mulch pile off of Lapham Road.
Moynihan noted during the meeting that another access road that runs south of the high school, past the water tower and toward the Orchard Field in Waveny, has “helped the traffic situation at the high school.”
Referring to the possibility of building a police station between NCHS and Saxe, Committee member Amy Murphy Carroll said the new access road “could be a project regardless of whether we place something there.”
Moynihan said, “That’s what I just said.”
The existing access road between the high school and Waveny, dubbed “Tiger Trail” for the town’s Public Works director, is gated and its use is limited.
Enrollment in New Canaan Public Schools as of last week stood at 4,134 district-wide compared to 4,222 students on Oct. 1 of 2020, officials said. The overall 88-student difference pre-K through 12th grade likely will change again once all move-ins are accounted for in figures that administrators present in November, Director of Human Resources Darlene Pianka told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting, held Aug. 23 in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. As of Aug.
Unlike 2020-21, eligibility for temporary remote learning in the academic year that opens next week will be limited to those who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 virus, district officials said Monday. While fully vaccinated students are not required to quarantine if they remain symptom-free, when unvaccinated people return from travel, guidance from state and federal officials dictates that they”self-quarantine for a minimum of seven days with a negative test on or after the third day,” according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi. “So that poses challenges,” he told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School and streamed via the district’s YouTube channel. “Certainly as we start the school year here, coming in from the summer break, we’ve got a four-day break around Labor Day this year and then we’ve got families who travel for various reasons,” Luizzi said. “So the CDC and their guidance is still strongly urging unvaccinated people not to travel.
District officials said Monday night that they intend to bring all students K-12 back for in-person learning at New Canaan Public Schools when the 2021-22 academic year starts in two weeks. In addition, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting, revised social distancing guidance on what constitutes “close contact” likely will decrease the number of students and teachers who must quarantine in the event of a positive COVID-19 case. Specifically, a close contact has changed from someone within six feet of a known positive case for at least 15 continuous minutes to three feet for the same amount of time. “That is a pretty significant change,” he said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We do anticipate that that’s going to help bring the down numbers in quarantine,” Luizzi said.