Westport Community Schools Shares Update Regarding School Reopening Plans

District Gauging Parent/Guardian Feedback Through Community Surveys

WESTPORT — Superintendent Gary Reese wishes to inform community members of several updates regarding school reopening plans for the 2020-21 academic year, which will be modified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the guidance of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released on Thursday, June 25, the district began the process of creating three different plans to get students back into school while prioritizing their health and safety.

The three different plans will focus on: one for learning entirely in-person, one for a hybrid model that includes in-person and remote learning in the event in-person learning is not feasible due to space constraints and other concerns, and one for remote learning only should there be a second spike in COVID-19 cases regionally.

These plans remain fluid, and will be adjusted as necessary.

The district began sending out initial surveys back in June to gather feedback regarding parent/guardian willingness to send their students back to school and their willingness to have their students ride the school bus. Further surveys will be sent out to gauge parent/guardian opinions and feelings regarding the ongoing impact COVID-19 will have on the 2020-21 academic year.

Westport Community Schools has also formed a reentry committee of almost 60 individuals, made up of students, parents, school committee members, educators and administrators. The committee will be tasked with developing Westport’s plans, and includes a variety of subcommittees established to examine specific topics of concern.

Subcommittees including the following:

  • Curriculum and instruction (for full reentry, remote learning and a hybrid approach)
  • Facilities (building sanitation and cleaning)
  • Professional development/staff needs
  • Specialized student support services
  • Staff/student health and safety
  • Technology
  • Mobility planning/transportation/food services
  • Social emotional needs
  • Extended day programming/child care

“We recognize that this can be frustrating, as everyone would like to have an established solution, but we also believe that the dialogue with our students, families and staff members is critical to the development of a more thoughtful, well-developed implementation plan,” Superintendent Reese said. “While there is no better model for student learning than the opportunity to be face-to-face and in-person with a teacher and alongside fellow classmates, we must realize that there continues to be safety concerns for both families and staff members. We are committed to working closely with everyone to better understand individual needs and to establish a plan that provides for the greatest levels of both physical and social/emotional safety.”

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