As the Westport Public Schools join other districts in the state and country in navigating fast-moving, uncharted waters, assistant superintendent Anthony Buono and interim director of pupil services Ann Leffert sent this information to all families:
Our district has been actively planning for COVID-19 and the possibility of a prolonged school closure. As of Thursday, March 12th, all district schools will be closed until further notice.
School Closures and Continuity of Learning
This week, state officials provided districts with information regarding short-term school closures (up to 2 weeks).
At that time we were informed that if districts were to decide to close schools for up to 2 weeks, they would be required to make up lost days by adding days to the school calendar and/or changing vacation days to school days.
Adding back lost school days would enable the district to meet its obligations concerning state and federal laws, including those associated with special education services. Any closure beyond two weeks would require further consultation with the Connecticut State Department of Education.
If the decision is made to close school beyond a few days, activities, to the extent possible, will be provided to students and families that would allow for continuity of learning and to help students transition back to school. These activities are encouraged, but not required. Activities are intended to:
- keep students academically active;
- reinforce and sustain current learning; and
- preview curricular content.
These activities will not be graded, and students will not be required to submit completed work. There are many opportunities for students to engage in appropriate learning activities through their Chromebooks (grades 3 through 8), which all students in those grades should have at home.
Many students receiving special education and related services will be able to access the learning materials that are being sent home from classroom teachers. Some work has been modified for specific student learning needs.
In addition, where appropriate, related services providers (occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech/language pathologists, social workers and school psychologists) have provided activities that can occur at home. None of these learning materials are meant to replace instruction; rather, they are provided to engage students while they are home.
Once school reopens, student services will resume. School days missed will be made up as described above.
We will continue to share pertinent information with regard to this rapidly evolving challenge. In the interim, we encourage all families and staff members to take part in everyday preventive practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and maintain healthy school environments.