Danbury Schools Plan to Fully Open By April With Limited Capacity
It's been a long year for Danbury students, but if you're a parent, I don't have to tell you that. Now school district officials are looking to finally get back to in-person learning starting in April.
Even though Danbury Schools have been re-opened for a few months now, they are still on a hybrid program and for a number of students, they actually have not been in their classroom in almost a year. Now district officials have targeted April for full time, 5 days a week, return to the classroom. However, not all students may be allowed to return.
It's a complicated situation and it's based on guidance and space. According to newstimes.com, Danbury Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella explained to the school board in a meeting late last week just how things can get a little dicey when it comes to some 12,000 kids returning full time in this COVID era.
Danbury students could not all return to school and maintain the required three-foot separation per American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines between desks in classrooms that had been overcrowded before COVID-19. So, the about one-third of students who opted to stay on distance learning may need to wait for an in-person seat. New families enrolling in the district could be forced to learn remotely. That’s the only way that we can operate and start planning mindfully about opening up five days a week.
With the new restrictions, it may mean that due to the limited class size, many students could be switched to different classes with a new teacher and students who opted to be full-time distance learners may be forced to stay home due to the regulations. In some of the Danbury schools, only 16 to 17 students can safely occupy a classroom while other classrooms can accommodate a few more between 20 to 25 students.
Erin Daly is the president of the teachers union and she put things in perspective.
Under their contract, elementary teachers should have no more than 25 students and middle and high school teachers should have 30 or less, many classes are over these limits. If we don’t have that in check right now, moving to additional or future phases of opening is going to be a real road block for us, as well, and it certainly will be a road block for space issues, for mitigation and social distancing.
According to the Danbury Health Department COVID cases have declined in Danbury over the last 14 days, the city is now averaging 27 new cases daily per 100,000 people.
So far there hasn't been an official date set for the full time return, but the district is targeting sometime in April.