2020-2021 Instruction Model Status:

On January 4, 2021, the Thomaston Board of Education voted to change the instruction model to in-person instruction every school day beginning on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.  In-person instruction will utilize a full-day schedule unless otherwise indicated on the district calendar.  Snow days/inclement weather days will continue to be replaced with synchronized remote learning days.  The schedule for snow days/inclement weather days will be the schedule that has been used for "remote Wednesdays."  The use of synchronized remote learning days will eliminate the need to make up snow days/inclement weather days in June.  All other details related to this instruction model will be/have been sent by the School Principals to parents.  If parents have any questions about the instruction model, they are asked to contact their child's School Principal directly via email:

Student Instruction Status:
Students have three instruction status options in Thomaston:

  • In-Person Instruction
  • Temporarily Choosing Not to Participate in In-Person Instruction (applicable to the 2020-2021 school year only)
  • Permanently Withdrawing/Disenrolling from Thomaston Public Schools to Homeschooling or a school outside of Thomaston

Information related to these three instruction status options are listed below.


 In-Person Instruction:
Parents who choose to have their child(ren) participate to in-person instruction are expected to provide a cloth face covering for their child(ren).  All students shall wear cloth face coverings that completely cover the user's nose and mouth when in school buildings, school vehicles and wherever social distancing is not practicable (outdoors, at bus stops, etc.).  The Connecticut State Department of Education Plan does not require districts to provide cloth face coverings for all school participants; however, Thomaston Public Schools will provide a one-time use cloth face covering to any student or staff member who does not have one or whose cloth face covering has become soiled or wet during the course of the school day.


In-Person Student Illness:
If an in-person student presents symptoms similar to the symptoms for COVID-19, the student will be placed in the school's isolation room and parents will be contacted for immediate pick up from school. 

In order to return to school, parents have two options:

  • Submit to the School Nurse a COVID-19 Return to School Protocols form stating an alternate diagnosis (click here for the form) and, if a COVID-19 test was performed, a copy of the test results must be included.

OR

  • Submit to the School Nurse a signed/dated note with the doctor's letterhead on it, stating an alternate diagnosis and, if a COVID-19 test was performed, a copy of the test results must be included.


Temporarily Choosing Not to Participate in In-Person Instruction (Distance Learning):
If parents wish to "opt-out" of in-person instruction for their child(ren), they must send an email directly to their child's School Principal indicating the first day their child will be leaving in-person instruction and becoming a long-term distance learner.  Each School Principal's email address is listed below:

A parent who chooses to temporarily keep their child(ren) at home and not formally withdraw/disenroll their child(ren) to homeschooling, can access instruction through the Thomaston Public Schools Distance Learning Plan.  NOTE:  Illness-related quarantining of an in-person student does not require parents to change their child(ren)'s instruction status from in-person to distance learning; your child(ren)'s School Principal will provide you and your child(ren) with information about access to instruction for students experiencing an illness-related quarantine.

Opt-out students can return to in-person instruction with a one (1) week notice of return by submitting a completed Return to In-Person Instruction Form to the school in which their child is enrolled (one form must be submitted per student).  Parents SHOULD NOT SEND their child(ren) back to in-person instruction until they receive a specific “return date” for their child(ren)’s return.  Sending a child back to in-person instruction before receiving this specific “return date” may cause unnecessary anxiety for your child as staff may not have received notice of your child’s return and may not be prepared to assist with his/her transition and acclamation to in-person instruction. 


Return to In-Person Instruction Form:
The Return to In-Person Instruction Form is ONLY for students who are CURRENTLY:

1.  ENROLLED in Thomaston Public Schools,
2.  PARTICIPATING IN DISTANCE LEARNING through Thomaston Public Schools, and
3.  Wanting to CHANGE THEIR STATUS TO IN-PERSON instruction.

If your child meets the characteristics listed above, you can complete and submit this form for the purpose of returning your child to in-person instruction.  After submitting this form, you will receive a "return date" from your child's school which shall serve as the first day of in-person instruction for your child.

SUBMITTING THE RETURN TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION FORM DOES NOT MEAN YOUR CHILD CAN RETURN TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION IMMEDIATELY.

DO NOT SEND your child back to in-person instruction until you receive a specific “return date” for your child’s return.  Sending your child(ren) back to in-person instruction before receiving this specific “return date” may cause unnecessary anxiety for your child as staff may not have received notice of your child’s return and may not be prepared to assist with his/her transition and acclamation to in-person instruction. 

Parents who choose to have their child return to in-person instruction are expected to provide a cloth face covering for their child.  All students shall wear cloth face coverings that completely covers the nose and mouth when in school buildings, school vehicles and wherever social distancing is not practicable (outdoors, at bus stops, etc.).  The CSDE Plan does not require districts to provide cloth face coverings for all school participants; however, TPS will provide a one-time use cloth face covering to any student or staff member who does not have one or whose cloth face covering has become soiled or wet during the course of the school day.


Permanently Withdrawing/Disenrolling Child(ren) to Homeschooling or Private School:
Parents who choose to permanently disenroll their child(ren) to homeschooling shall submit a completed Notice of Intent:  Instruction of Student at Home Form (https://tinyurl.com/IntenttoHomeschool) to the Principal of the school from which the child is being disenrolled.  Parents who choose to permanently disenroll their child(rent) to a private school shall submit the Permission to Release/Obtain Records Form (https://tinyurl.com/releaseobtainstudentrecords).

Participation in In-Person Extracurricular Activities, Events and Sports/Athletics while Temporarily Choosing to Not to Participate in In-Person Instruction or After Disenrollment:
Participation in in-person extracurricular activities, events and sports/athletics while temporarily choosing not to participate in in-person instruction or after disenrollment is prohibited.  In order for a qualifying  student to participate in extracurricular activities, events and sports/athletics, the student must be enrolled in Thomaston Public Schools and participating in in-person instruction.


Disenrolled Students:
If you disenrolled your child to homeschooling or a private school, you must first complete the residency (https://tinyurl.com/TPSResidency) and registration process to enroll your child in Thomaston Public Schools.  DO NOT USE the Return to In-Person Instruction Form to communicate your intention to enroll your child.


Instruction Plan Thresholds Related to COVID-19 Spread:
The CSDE thresholds are listed in the blue image and the CTDPH thresholds are listed in the black-framed image (both below).  

Image provided by the Connecticut State Department of Education from the August 3, 2020 COVID-19 Governor's Press Conference


Image available at https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Departments-and-Agencies/DPH/Communications/Graphics/COVID-chart.jpg as of October 29, 2020.

The Connecticut State Department of Education and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have both set Yellow, Orange and Red thresholds, however, these thresholds are different.

CSDE COVID-19 Thresholds vs. CTDPH COVID-19 Thresholds

COVID-19 Threshold

CSDE

CTDPH

YELLOW

Less than 10 positive COVID-19 cases

5 to 9 positive COVID-19 cases

ORANGE

10 - 25 positive COVID-19 cases

10 - 15 positive COVID-19 cases

RED

More than 25 positive COVID-19 cases

More than 15 positive COVID-19 cases












An example of this difference is when the Town of Thomaston has 16 positive COVID-19 cases (per 100,000 per day), the Town would be RED and the Schools would be ORANGE.  Further, if the Town has more than 25 COVID-19 cases (per 100,000 per day), the CTDPH recommends, "In collaboration with Local Health Department and Superintendent consider more distance learning over 25."

This means that Thomaston's current instruction plan is subject to change in relation to the course of the virus itself as well as to the restrictions that may be imposed by the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Town of Thomaston, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the Torrington Area Health District (TAHD), and the district’s ability to secure necessary resources to implement the 2020-2021 Thomaston Public Schools Reopening Plan.
 
Therefore, Thomaston’s Instruction Plan allows for flexibility as circumstances dictate.  This webpage will be used to post the most up-to-date information about Thomaston’s Instruction Plan.  Additionally, parents and staff will receive updates on Thomaston's Instruction Plan via SchoolMessenger.  Announcements related to these types of changes will be made via the SchoolMessenger announcement system (phone, email, text message).  If you have opted out of any of these announcement types, it is advised that you reconsider and opt in again.  Information on how to opt into SchoolMessenger phone, email and/or text messages is found on the District’s PowerSchool webpage.

If you have any questions about the Thomaston Instruction Plan, please email Jessica Bedosky, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Assessment at jbedosky@thomastonschools.org.


COVID-19 Procedures:
The District has COVID-19 procedures for almost every aspect of school life – from how and where classes are offered to how meals will be served to bathroom access to elevator use.  Freedom of movement by our students and staff may be affected.  In-person instruction will not be successful unless all members of the community continue to comply with the public health guidelines and the District’s Reopening Plan.  A COVID-19 appendix have been added to the Parent-Student Handbook, one for each school.  This appendix was distributed to parents via SchoolMessenger on August 24, 2020; a link to each appendix is found below.


COVID-19 Health and Safety Compliance Liaison:
The Connecticut reopening plan requires each school district to have a COVID-19 Health and Safety Compliance Liaison and to identify that Liaison to the public.  Thomaston Public Schools is pleased to have the expertise and experience of Diane Aniki, Thomaston Center School Nurse and District Nurse Coordinator, serve as the COVID-19 Health and Safety Compliance Liaison for our district.  Mrs. Aniki can be reached at daniki@thomastonschools.org.


2020-2021 District Calendar and Parent/Public Events:
In-person classes began on September 1, 2020 (this was a change from the original start date).  All in-person events and meetings that include parents and/or members of the public will take place virtually, including Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings and Section 504 meetings.  When schools are providing in-person instruction, Board of Education Meetings will be held both virtally and in-person with in-person guests permitted in the Thomaston High School Auditorium ONLY (guests must enter and exit the Thomaston High School auditorium through the direct exterior door; total meeting capacity will be in alignment with the Reopen Connecticut Phase 3 indoor meeting cap of 100).  When schools are providing remote instruction only, Board of Education Meetings will not permit in-person guests; meetings will be virtual only.

The December and April vacation weeks, as well as any other school days currently listed on the 2020-2021 District Calendar are subject to change depending on pandemic-related circumstances.  This means that vacations could be canceled or that vacations could be moved, shortened or extended.  Announcements related to these types of changes will be made via the SchoolMessenger announcement system (phone, email, text message).  If you have opted out of any of these announcement types, it is advised that you reconsider and opt in again.  Information on how to opt into SchoolMessenger phone, email and/or text messages is found on the District’s PowerSchool webpage.


Format of Instruction:
Thomaston's Reopening Plan sets out to provide both in-person and online instruction to students.  All classes will be offered in-person and online.  All remote instruction is synchronous with most instruction being both synchronous and live.  Google Classroom is used by all in-person and stay-at-home students. 

Announcements related to changes in instruction type are made via the SchoolMessenger announcement system (phone, email, text message).  If you have opted out of any of these announcement types, it is advised that you reconsider and opt in again.  Information on how to opt into SchoolMessenger phone, email and/or text messages is found on the District’s PowerSchool webpage.


Daily Schedules:
At this time, all daily bus and school schedules are unchanged.  Bus schedules are posted on Thomaston’s School Bus Information webpageSchool start and end times are also posted on Thomaston’s website.


Co-Curricular Programs:
Whenever schools are offering remote instruction only, all co-curricular programs shall be virtual.  Whenever schools are offering in-person instruction, co-curricular programs shall be held in-person and/or virtually.  Students who are considered opt-out students, i.e., temporarily choosing not to participate in in-person instruction ("Distance Learners") cannot participate in co-curricular programs in person.  The co-curricular advisor will determine whether their program will be held virtually or in-person and students will be informed of the status of those programs by the program advisor.


Athletics:
Students who are considered opt-out students, i.e., temporarily choosing not to participate in in-person instruction ("Distance Learners") cannot participate in athletics.  

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletics Conference (CIAC) has developed and is implementing the Connecticut Interscholastic Conference Resocialization to Interscholastic Athletics and Activities Programs Guidelines; the Thomaston Public Schools Fall Athletics Restart Plan follows these guidelines.


Information Technology:
The Thomaston Public Schools’ Help Desk can be contacted via email for technology questions and assistance at infotech@thomastonschools.org

You can also visit the Thomaston Public Schools Technology webpage for other technology-related information.


Limiting Visitors:
At this time, parents are not permitted to enter school buildings.  All in-person events and meetings that include parents and/or members of the public will take place virtually with the exception of Board of Education meetings.  Board of Education meetings will take place both virtually and in-person, with in-person guests entering the meeting space from an exterior door, i.e., Board of Education meeting guests will enter and exit Thomaston High School's auditorium through the exterior door ONLY.  All other typically in-person events will be virtual:  Open House, Parent-Teacher Conferences, and all Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings and Section 504 meetings.


Limiting Virus Spread:
All students and employees who enter a school building must comply with the latest State of Connecticut COVID-19 Response to Health and Safety guidance, which, at this time, includes, but is not limited to the CDC recommendations below: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

    • Wash your hands often

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others  (NOTICE:  The Connecticut State Department of Education published interim guidance related to face masks on August 31, 2020 (see table below)).

(ADDITIONAL NOTICE:  Face masks must be worn even when wearing a face shield or when located behind a clear plastic barrier - Image from "Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together" (CT Schools Reopening Plan), June 29, 2020).)

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.

    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.

      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

    • DO NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.

    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect

    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

    • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

  • Monitor Your Health

    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

      • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

      • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.

        • Do not take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

      • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop. 



Mental Health Resources:


 

   

  • Current Instruction Model in Thomaston:  Remote Instruction (with athletics per CIAC)
  • Future Instruction Model in Thomaston:  Full In-Person (with some restrictions and with athletics per CIAC)

State and District Documents: