June 10, 2020
To members of the Westport school community,
Many of you may have heard about the preliminary guidance released earlier this month from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regarding the proposed safety requirements for the potential reopening of schools this summer and fall.
This guidance includes possible operating conditions for summer school, special education programs and the potential start of the fall semester. The requirements that are outlined include a range of protective equipment students and staff would need to have to attend school, along with other health and safety protocols such as a possible mix of remote and in-person lessons, class sizes and student-teacher ratios.
I want to make clear that these are not the finalized state requirements for opening schools. The information released thus far is basic guidance which offers preliminary planning guidelines for districts based on today’s public health data. Public health data continues to change, but we already know that the 2020-2021 school year will look very different than school years in the past and we will be working within new health and safety parameters.
I expect to receive more comprehensive guidance on special education programs, finalized plans for summer school requirements and additional guidance for a possible fall reopening in the coming days and weeks. To that end, we are establishing a district re-entry planning committee to help inform how the guidance from the state will be implemented in Westport. This committee will begin to meet next week. I recognize that there is much anxiety around the uncertainty of what schooling will look like in the fall – we will continue to communicate with you through the summer as guidelines are put forth by the state and as the Westport plan is developed.
Gary S, Reese, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools