2020-2021 Thomaston Public Schools Reopening Plan Information

The staff of Thomaston Public Schools are developing a plan for the reopening of school in the 2020-2021 school year.  This plan will include how to provide both in-person and online instruction for students.

The reopening of school in August 2020 will look different than in the past, however, the focus on educating, challenging and inspiring our students will be the same.

The plan for the reopening of schools in August 2020 is subject to the course of the virus itself as well as to the restrictions that may be imposed by the State of Connecticut, 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 Reopening Plan will allow for flexibility as circumstances dictate. This webpage will be the place to find the most up-to-date information about Thomaston’s Reopening Plan.  Additionally, parents and staff will receive updates on the Plan via SchoolMessenger throughout the summer.

If you have any questions about the 2020-2021 Thomaston Public Schools Reopening Plan, please email fcoss@thomastonschools.org.


2020-2021 Thomaston Public Schools Reopening Plan

The District is doing everything it can to prepare for the fall 2020 semester.  The staff have been and continue to work hard on the 2020-2021 Reopening Plan so that Thomaston’s students and staff will be able to return to a safe in-person learning environment.  While the District is writing a careful plan for the return to in-person instruction, that return must be approached with an understanding that in-person instruction will not look the same as it did before the COVID-19 school closure.  Additionally, the Reopening Plan can and will likely change as circumstances warrant.  If/when those changes are required, this webpage will be updated and parents will receive a message about the update via SchoolMessenger.

The District will have new 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.  There will be restrictions on the services and opportunities that can be provided and on the freedom of movement by our students and staff.  Our return to in-person instruction will not be successful unless all members of the community comply with the public health guidelines and the District’s Reopening Plan.

Reopening work groups were established to plan and execute the details in each of the distinct areas of the District’s Reopening Plan. These work groups included Administrators, Teachers, Staff, and Parents. 


2020-2021 School Calendar and Daily Schedules

In-person classes will begin on August 26, 2020 as originally scheduled.  All in-person events and meetings that had included parents and/or members of the public will take place virtually.  This means that Open House on August 24, 2020 and Parent-Teacher Conferences on November 4 and 5, 2020 will be held online.  Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings and Section 504 meetings will also be virtual.

The December and April vacation weeks, as well as any other school days currently listed on the 2020-2021 School 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

The Reopening Plan sets out to provide both in-person and online instruction to students.  The Thomaston Board of Education recognizes that some students will not be able or will not wish to return to in-person instruction in the fall and, even if the State Department of Education does not change their in-person attendance requirements for students, Thomaston Public Schools will offer stay-at-home students the opportunity to advance their learning remotely. 

All classes will be offered in-person and online.  Teachers will record their in-person instruction so that stay-at-home students can access that instruction online.  Google Classroom will be used by all in-person and online students.  You will receive more details about the format for each class from your child’s teacher when schools reopen.


Daily Schedules

At this time, all daily bus and school schedules are unchanged.  Bus schedules are posted on Thomaston’s School Bus Information webpage; the 2020-2021 bus schedules will be posted in mid-August 2020.  School start and end times are also posted on Thomaston’s website.


Co-Curricular Programs and Athletics

At this time, all co-curricular programs that typically occur during the school year shall be virtual or, if they cannot effectively occur virtually, they shall be canceled.  The co-curricular advisor will determine whether their program will be held virtually or canceled and students will be informed of the status of those programs by the program advisor.

Also, at this time, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletics Conference (CIAC) has posted a document, Resocialization of Interscholastic Athletics and Activities Programs Guidelines, that provides information about athletics.  In these guidelines, there is an assumption that schools will be open for in-person summer school; this is not the case for Thomaston Public Schools.  Therefore, the CIAC Guidelines that permit a progression from the “Highest Risk Virtual Stage” to the “High Risk In-Person and Virtual Stage” on July 6, 2020 will not occur in Thomaston.  This progression will occur as deemed appropriate for the circumstances; no date for this progression has been set for Thomaston Public Schools’ athletes at this time.


Information Technology


Limiting Visitors

At this time, parents will not be permitted to enter school buildings.  All in-person events and meetings that had included parents and/or members of the public will take place virtually.  This means that Open House on August 24, 2020 and Parent-Teacher Conferences on November 4 and 5, 2020 will be held online.  Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings and Section 504 meetings will also be virtual.


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
    • 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.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others  (NOTICE BELOW:  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.
    • 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.

For Employees

Governor Lamont’s Roadmap for Reopening Connecticut reopens the State in multiple phases.  At this time, Connecticut is in phase 2.   Each subsequent phase will depend upon health trends and, per Governor Lamont’s Plan, will happen no less than three weeks from prior phase.  Phase 2 began on June 17, 2020.

Current Work Status (as of June 28, 2020)

Custodians have continued to report to their respective in-person work locations throughout the COVID-19 related school closure period.  With the exception of Central Office Staff, Administrators, 12-month Secretaries, Custodians, and School Nurses, all other employees do not have keyfob access to school buildings at this time.  Employees without keyfob access can enter school buildings when called in by their supervisor or by appointment; these employees can make an appointment to access a school building by contacting their supervisor.