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NPS delays school opening one week

“As we prepare to welcome children back to learning, everyone at Norwalk Public Schools is fully focused on the complex work of reopening schools in a safe and effective way,” NPS said in a statement. “With that in mind, we have made the decision to delay the first day of school by one week.”

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Public Schools is delaying the start of the school year until Sept. 8.

The one-week delay is “needed to make sure all health and safety precautions are in place,” NPS said in a statement. “The unexpected storm interrupted our preparations, and essential materials and supplies are still on their way. By delaying our opening by one week, we will be able to make sure that all precautions are ready to welcome children and staff back.”

The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) on Monday recommended a two-week delay, as well as emphasizing that it feels remote learning would be better than in-person instruction.

The NPS statement was sent to families and staff, NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams said.

“Other districts in our area have already made the choice to delay the start of school,” the NPS statement said. “We know that unexpected changes to the calendar are challenging. Please trust that we are making this change to ensure the health and safety of students and their families, teachers, and staff. We are genuinely grateful for your understanding and flexibility, particularly at a time when we are all so often asked to absorb so much change.”

Story corrected at 4 a.m. Friday to show Sept. 8 as the opening date, not Sept. 7.

4 comments

Clark Charles August 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

Tidal Wave Coming to the Norwalk Public Schools

On September 8, 2020 the Norwalk Public Schools will open its doors to students. However, what the Parents are not aware of is the following: many teachers are contemplating not coming back this fall. A number of Teachers have already turned in their resignation letters. Teachers feel they cannot teach students under the conditions being forced upon them. Teachers are claiming “they didn’t sign up for the chaos and mayhem that is about to befall this Public school system.” There have been no clear cut directions and guidelines on how to teach the new Curriculum and Technology this year. Although school has been delayed from opening for a week, it is not enough time for teachers to prepare their lessons for the upcoming year. Also their has been no support from the Union about these issues. All that has been said is that “Everyone is in this together, we will get through this year, and don’t worry.” Well, Teachers are very worried. What many Parents don’t know is that the working conditions our students and staff members are going to be faced with is intolerable. For example students will not be tested for Covid 19 as they walk in the buildings. Parents will simply turn in a form each day saying their child was tested, and doesn’t have the virus, and everything is okay. Students will sanitize their hands and wear masks daily, but not all children have to wear masks depending on age and medical condition. Supplies such as paper and pencils, and equipment in the areas of Art, Music, Physical Education, and Library cannot be shared therefore no group or partner games, no coming together in group activities. If supplies and equipment are shared they have to be sanitized immediately for fear of Covid-19. Supplies cannot be used by somebody else. Students have to be at least six feet apart and recess games cannot involve sharing of equipment or groups of children together. If a student accidentally touches other students or other equipment they could be exposed to Covid-19, so everything has to be sanitized again. All assignments must be done on lap tops, and classrooms and bathrooms will be sanitized by custodians every few hours. This crazy scenario is not what teachers expected, and not what students are ready for this fall. The way the Norwalk Public Schools is treating this virus is like the Bubonic Plague, or the Ebola Virus. It is the opinion of many teachers now that the Norwalk Public Schools should not open this fall until this virus calms down, or things get back more to normal. If students can’t play with their friends, collaborate in groups, do normal assignments what is the point of having school? This horrible scenario should have been thought through better by the Norwalk Public Schools Administration. Yes, we are all in this together, but our students and staff deserve better. I hope the Parents realize what is at stake here in Education for their children – don’t expect much.

Tammy S August 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Clark, I agree that it is going to be a challenging start to the school year. You have every right to be concerned about the quality of education that you child will receive. The schools will most likely not be given nearly enough supplies to keep everyone safe. We have chosen to keep our HS child at home for the first month to see how it goes for the other students and teachers. I heard that students will get some sort of hand wipes each day? How many? Are they effective? I still can’t find disinfecting wipes in stores. How about no school until those are commonplace? I just don’t see this working out. I wonder how many lawsuits will arise from all of this? Maybe most of the students will be ok, but many teachers are older and are being forced to teach in person. How about students bringing the virus home? Other people commented on this site that businesses should fully open if schools are going to be operational. I agree!! Either way, the students lose.

Clark Charles August 22, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Tammy, I totally agree with you. Nobody in Central Office or the State has really considered the consequences of the school year here. I also didn’t even go into the problems of virtual learning for teachers and students at home. Do you realize that teachers are going to have to teach students both in school and at home by being filmed or skyped on the computer/camera? Can you imagine the extra hours the teachers will have to spend after school now in checking to see if the students at home are doing their work. Did you know the average Norwalk classroom teacher in Elementary school is putting in 10-12 hours a day to prepare lessons, check students homework, post up new assignments, and planning future work, not to mention doing assessments/tests, etc. Parents don’t know what goes into teaching now. On top of this if teachers get poor evaluations because the students scores are low on the tests, now the teachers have to work even harder to prove themselves. The days of teaching our children basic math, reading, writing and communications skills have gone out the window. Everyone is teaching to the test because if schools have high test scores they get more money from the state and local governments. If you are a model school then this looks great on paper, yet are the students really learning? I know for a fact there is cheating going on, but you almost can’t blame the people doing this because they are under such pressure to perform. Public Education has become a business institution, and all that matters is that test scores are high so the money can roll in from the government. Teachers can’t come out openly and say these things for fear of being fired. Also there is no real transparency on how the money is being allocated to these schools. This is another problem that parents need to be aware of. Getting back to the school year though did you know that the specialist teachers in Art, Music, PE, and library will have to be separately filmed, so the students at home can watch the lessons? A teacher at another school told me this. What about the liability issues here if a student is home alone? Also Students can’t go to the cafeteria to have lunch with their classmates, instead they have to stay in the classrooms six feet apart. If you ask me its almost like being in prison. On a positive note, I just feel Norwalk should delay opening right now until the virus subsides more. I can see the kids coming back home after classes in September saying we did this computer learning at home why are we going to school to do do the same thing? We all have to pray and hope this year will turn out alright. I really feel for our children.

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