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HPS 2021-22 School Year Information and Updates

August 25, 2021

Dear Families,

I hope you had an opportunity to find some time to relax and recharge over the summer. Back in May, as the school year was winding down, I was reasonably optimistic that my summer would be different than last July and August. With the available vaccinations and COVID-19 cases at the lowest point in months, it appeared as though we would be able to put the pandemic behind us. Unfortunately, it is still here and what public health officials have learned is that we still need to take precautions to protect ourselves and each other. Consistent with our approach dating back to March of 2020, we will adhere to public health guidelines and remain committed to health and safety as we continue to wind our way through this health crisis. According to local and State public health officials, getting vaccinated and continuing a layered mitigation approach to stopping the spread of this more contagious Delta variant remains the key to getting past this pandemic.

I have sent out several updates this summer regarding our policies for the coming 21-22 school year. To reiterate, everyone will be required to wear masks, vaccinated or not, and we will follow the CDC guidance of physical distancing of at least three feet between students. You will find more detailed information in the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Reopening Plan revised by our district’s various reopening and health/safety committees.

The subcommittee charged with revising health procedures related to Covid-19 response has continued to meet throughout the summer. This committee includes our District Lead Nurse, Marsha Guglielmino, staff from our School Based Health Clinics, representatives from the Quinnipiack Valley Health District and Cornell Scott-Hill, Principal Levy, Mayor Leng, and me in collaboration with our District Medical Advisor. Our subcommittee’s purpose is to refine and clarify the containment procedures, actions, and notifications included in the initial HPS Transitional Reopening Plan for use this year. Our committee will continue to meet weekly throughout the year to ensure we remain updated on and respond to current trends. We will continue to post information from these meetings on our district website.

We each must continue to monitor our health daily. Getting vaccinated, if your medical provider considers you eligible to do so, combined with the precautions that we have established around social distancing and masking, daily health assessments help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Finally, as I noted in my last update, unlike last year, we are beginning the 2021-22 school year expecting we’ll have everyone back learning in our schools. With the expiration of the Governor’s Executive Order allowing for remote learning, Connecticut school districts do not have the authority to provide this option. Therefore, snow days will be snow days, and absences will be absences. In addition, last week Governor Lamont drafted Executive Order No. 13.D (“Protection of Public health and Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic – Vaccinations Required for State Employees, School Employees and Childcare Facility Staff”). In anticipation of this action, we conducted a generalized poll to see the percentage of staff in our district who are fully vaccinated. As of August 23, 2021-we are happy to report that 94 percent of our staff are fully vaccinated.

I’m pleased to share that over 1,500 of our students participated in the many summer programs we established to re-engage them into our schools and provide healthy, educational, and mindful experiences. It was so great to see and hear the sounds of happy children again. Having our children back in our schools is the best choice to support their learning, socialization, and overall well-being.

We are excited to see everyone on Monday. Enjoy your final days of summer.

Sincerely,

Jody Ian Goeler

Superintendent

Hamden Public Schools

District Communications