July 21, 2021
Dear ASD Staff,
I hope you are enjoying your summer! The COVID-19 Steering Committee met briefly yesterday to discuss a few on-campus updates, as well as information from the State Department of Education and Department of Public Health.
We are in the second week of our Extended School Year (ESY) Program. All current mask mandates will continue through ESY and our other summer programs. Our students and staff are continuing to do a great job wearing masks indoors, and all is going well. Thank you to all for helping our students continue with their learning!
ASD Sports Clinic
This is the first week of our two-week sports clinic on campus, and it is going very well! We have a nice group of students participating, and the feedback received so far has been very positive. Students enrolled in the sports clinic will visit Camp Isola Bella this weekend.
A mechanical engineer is completing an inspection of ASD’s HVAC system to ensure our air systems are functioning well ahead of the new school year. ASD’s standards and expectations for our HVAC system, as well as our sanitization practices, far exceed the standards and expectations set by the State. Therefore, we are confident that our campus will continue to be safe for all students and staff.
COVID-19 Positivity Rates
It was announced yesterday that the State’s COVID-19 positivity rate has increased to 2.5%. This is in part due to the spread of the Delta variant. Within our own ASD family, two fully vaccinated staff members, and their families, recently tested positive for the virus. Fortunately, they are doing well and have not been on campus. However, this is a reminder that mask wearing continues to be important and necessary – especially among those who are unvaccinated.
CT State Department of Education/Department of Public Health Updates
Yesterday, the CT State Department of Education and Department of Public Health held their first COVID-19 weekly meeting since the end of the school year. During the meeting, several updates were shared regarding the development of plans for the re-opening of school this fall.
- The guidance from SDE and DPH regarding mask wearing for fully vaccinated students and staff in the fall will most likely be aligned with the mask recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As of last week, the CDC recommended that masks continue to be worn by anyone who is unvaccinated, but that they are not required for fully vaccinated students and staff. SDE and DPH’s formal recommendations for the re-opening of school have not yet been finalized, but will be shared as soon as they are available.
- SDE and DPH are encouraging anyone who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to become fully vaccinated prior to the start of the school year. Throughout the summer, Andrea Dillon and the Academic Hub are contacting ASD parents and families to share information about the vaccine and its eligibility criteria to help answer questions and alleviate concerns.
- In accordance with CDC guidance, classrooms must be arranged to allow for a minimum of 3-feet distance between students. This is a change from the 6-foot social distancing requirements mandated last school year.
- Regular detergent and soap should be used for classroom cleaning, and bathrooms should be disinfected once per day. DPH and SDE also announced that electrostatic cleaning and foggers are not recommended at this time.
- The State is considering weekly PCR testing for students in grades K-6 who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. More information about this will be shared as it is received from SDE and DPH.
- The cafeteria is no longer required to use disposable utensils and dishware at mealtimes.
- As has been the case for the past sixteen months, all guidance and recommendations are subject to change if necessary. SDE and DPH will continue their discussions about school reopening protocols, and we will continue to share all information as it becomes available.
Visitors to ASD
Beginning in August, several events with outside groups will take place at ASD, including an annual ASD Alumni Association cookout. All events will be held outdoors, weather permitting. Should it be necessary to move an event indoors, unvaccinated guests will be required to wear masks at all times. As you begin to notice outside groups on campus, please know they are following strict protocols that were established to keep our campus safe.
I do not plan to send another COVID-19 update this summer unless there are important updates or news to share. I hope you continue to enjoy your summer, and that you are able to relax and recharge before the start of our new school year!