The following is a message from Cheshire Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan:
The pandemic has changed so many things for each of us and has made us very conscious of the things we often take for granted. Education is one such endeavor. While many districts closed at various times last year, our families, staff, administrators, health providers and, of course, teachers worked together to make our schools accessible almost every day. Our goal for the upcoming year is to continue to provide a safe, full-day, in-person learning experience every day for all of our students.
To best ensure that we meet this goal, we have spent hours planning to ensure the safety of our students and staff. We have added tents for additional spacing and fresh air. We will also continue to limit bus capacities and engage in intraday cleaning. We will continue to follow Connecticut’s mask mandate for all schools that serve pre-K through grade 12 students until Sept. 30. At that time, the state will reevaluate this guidance.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has modified its quarantine requirements. The previous guidance stated that masked students who are within 6 feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 must quarantine. The guidance now puts that mark at 3 feet. Masked students who are exposed to a student who tests positive for the virus but are beyond 3 feet do not need to quarantine.
Given that our schools identified zero cases last year where spread was noted between masked individuals in schools, we welcome this change knowing that it will result in fewer students being quarantined.
As access to in-person learning continues to improve, we are sensitive to the mental health of everyone living through this pandemic. Undoubtedly, stress has taken its toll on adults and children alike. While we continue to focus on mental health needs through special programming for students and adults, I’d like to personally thank Elim Park for partnering with us in this effort. They recently provided a generous grant to the School District that has allowed us to join with Pet Partners, an organization dedicated to promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities and education.
Pet Partners will be providing therapy animals to several of our schools throughout the year. Those of us with a beloved pet in our lives can attest to the positive impact they can have on our mind and spirit. We greatly appreciate Elim Park for making this possible for our school community.
We are very much looking forward to all of our students returning to in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year! While the challenges of the pandemic remain, the perseverance of the Cheshire Public Schools community continues to shine. Thank you for being a part of our success!