Coronavirus - HPS Information and Updates
Coronavirus/CoVid-19 is a global challenge that is affecting many aspects of our lives, including school operations. We've created this page to compile information related to Coronavirus that is relevant to our families. Please check back frequently for updates.
April 2 Update: Food Service During Spring Break
On Thursday April 9th, Whitson's School Nutrition and Hamden Public Schools will be providing families with four days worth of breakfast and lunch meals. In recognition of Good Friday, there will be no meal service in Hamden on April 10th.
Bagged Meals for the 4 days will be separated in our eco-friendly plastic grocery bags (one bag for breakfast items, one for lunch items). As our normal custom has been, families may requests as many meals as they have children under the age of 18 in their household.
We will resume normal service beginning Monday, April 13th. Even though it's Spring break, food service will continue throughout the week.
- Online Instruction to Start Week of March 30
- March 20 Update: Information on At-Home Instruction
- March 19 Update Monthly Mobile Food Pantry, More Food Sites
- March 18 Update: Enrichment Packets and Extended Plans for Learning
- March 16 UPDATE: First Steps for Continuing Learning at Home
- March 14 UPDATE: Message on Free Meals and Instructional Packets
- March 12 Post and Message to Families - Hamden Schools Closed Beginning Friday, March 13
- March 11 Email and "Robocall" to families - Early Dismissal on March 16
- March 10 Letter to families from Superintendent Goeler
- February 27 Website Post on staying healthy
Get those keyboards sharpened (!) Hamden teachers and students will begin online work the week of March 30. Chromebooks are being distributed March 26 and 27 for HMS and HHS students who need devices, and March 30 and 31 for elementary students. (Detailed distribution schedules will be provided by each school or see our Chromebook Loan Information Page). For the next several weeks, students will learn in their "virtual classrooms" - with activities and assignments created and managed by their teachers!
We hope you are well and taking care of yourselves and your families. The following is an outline the various phases of our plan to implement continued teaching and learning while schools are closed. Over the last several days, we have developed a distance-learning plan for all students. Our district values transparency with our families and wanted to be sure we provided you with any and all information we have at this time.
Phase 1: Paper Enrichment Packets (March 18 - 27)
On Wednesday, March 18, Hamden Public Schools made grade-level materials available for students and families. Students are encouraged to complete these assignments gradually over the next several days to remain academically engaged through March 27. Although hard copy distribution will end on Friday, March 20, electronic copies will remain available on this page, below.
Phase 2: Transition to Online Teaching and Learning (March 19 – 27)
On Thursday, March 19, the District sent an online survey to all parents and certified staff in order to determine specific technology needs. If you have not already completed the survey, please do so now. Technology Survey - English and Technology Survey - Spanish. Paper copies of the survey are also available to parents at the Church Street, Hamden Middle School, and Hamden High School food distribution sites until Monday, March 23.
As we move to an online platform, Hamden Public Schools will make every effort to ensure faculty and students have access to technology. More information will be provided once our district has assessed our families’ technology needs. In the meantime, staff and families should explore free Internet offers, such as Comcast's Internet Essentials Program www.internetessentials.com. You can also call them at 855-846-8376 for English and 855-765-6995 for Spanish.
Although we do not have details yet, we expect to loan chromebooks to our students who do not have a computer, chromebook or iPad that they can use at home. Please know that we do not have sufficient numbers of these devices to give one to every student in the district. If you don't need a device, please do not ask for one from the district. We ask for your sensitivity, cooperation and compassion in allowing your child access to home devices you already have. In doing so, you will be helping to make sure that those in Hamden who currently have no devices at home are able to be connected and stay involved in their school work during this unprecedented time.
As we move to online instruction during the School Closure, students in grades (K-12) will be expected to log in to their Google Classrooms. On or before March 27, we will provide detailed directions concerning student log-in to Google Classroom and other digital resources.
Phase 3: Implementation of Online Teaching and Learning (Anticipated start date of March 30)
Students are expected to:
● Log-in daily onto Google Classroom and complete their work throughout the day
● Demonstrate appropriate online behavior and work habits
● Post all assignments to Google Classrooms by 9:00 am each school day
● Be available from 9:00 – 1:00 on regular school days in order to:
- Communicate with parents and students via email, Google Classroom, and telephone. To the extent possible, communication between teachers and families will be through email and/or Google classroom. Should parents or students want to speak to a teacher by telephone, they should email the teacher, and the teacher will call at a mutually agreeable time using his or her personal phone, which may appear as a blocked number.
- Monitor student progress and provide timely feedback
- Maintain and update all grades weekly
What parents can do to help:
● Provide your child with a space to work
● Minimize distractions during work time
● Communicate with teachers if your child needs help with assignments
● Create a schedule for your child that includes time for academics as well as time for physical activity and the arts to provide structure and a routine for learning
Special Education Support
We will work to implement student IEPs with the understanding that, in some cases, not all services can be provided and some service provision will look different than it would in the classroom setting.
Student teams will be reviewing services and working to determine how best to support student needs under the new distance-learning model. Services may include, but not be limited to: collaboration with classroom teachers, consultation with students and families, and virtual instruction and support activities. Teachers should expect to collaborate with special education service providers on student need, scheduling, and service provision.
At this time, 504 and PPT meetings will not be conducted while we allow staff to become acclimated to this new methodology. As we move forward and receive additional guidance, we will reassess our position on this matter and communicate with staff and families once we have more information.
Additional Student Support
EL Specialists and SRBI Coordinators will continue to collaborate with classroom teachers to provide ongoing support for our English Learners and students receiving academic interventions.
We are all learning together how to live and work in the midst of a pandemic. In essence, we have been tasked with moving from a traditional school system to one that provides distance learning for all students with only days to accomplish this. We are working very hard to develop, implement, monitor, and, when necessary, modify our plan to provide your child with a quality distance-learning experience. We are here to support you and your child, and appreciate your ongoing partnership as we deal with a challenge that is unprecedented in any of our lifetimes.
Although this is our current plan, we will continue to be informed by and respond to state agency recommendations and/or mandates, which may significantly alter this plan.
Mobile Food Pantry: Monday, March 23th from 3:30pm-4:30pm (Rain or Shine), Dunbar Hill School - 315 Lane St. (back parking lot)
In addition, Hamden Public Schools is happy to expand our daily breakfast and lunch sites to two new food distributions sites: Ridge Hill School and the ML Keefe Center.
So, starting Monday, March 23, breakfast and Lunch "to go" meals will be available for any child 18 and under at Church Street School, Ridge Hill School, Hamden Middle School, Hamden High School and the M. L. Keefe Center. Spread the word!
Home Technology Access Survey
It looks like schools will be closed for awhile, and so we are busy planning for students to learn from home electronically. In order to implement at-home online learning, we need to know what technology and Internet connectivity is available to your child(ren) at home.
We have created a survey to help determine access and needs. The survey is available in print form at our food distribution sites (Church Street, Hamden High and Hamden Middle Schools) or can be completed electronically: Technology Survey - English and Technology Survey - Spanish. Please complete the survey by Monday, March 23.
At this point, all students should be starting their enrichment packets at home. (if you don't have your packet yet, packets are available March 18, 19 and 20 at HHS, HMS and Church Street Schools, from 9:00-12:00, or by printing documents from links below on this page.
It appears more and more likely that schools will be closed for several weeks beyond the end of March when the enrichment packet activities have been completed. For this reason, Hamden administrators and teachers are working hard to plan online learning for our students, including strategies to accommodate special needs. Options for families who currently lack connectivity and technology at home are being explored. More details on our online learning plan will be provided in the coming days.
We’d like to let you know that Hamden Public Schools are working to implement ways to continue students’ education during extended closures of our schools. On Wednesday, March 18, packets of instructional materials for each grade level will be available for pick up at one of three locations: Hamden High, Hamden Middle and Church Street Schools, between 9:00-12:00 each day this week. These materials are designed to keep students learning for about two weeks. We will continue to update our families of at-home educational programs should closings continue beyond that timeframe.
Since “social distancing” has been recommended by CT health departments and the World Health Organization as the best way to stay healthy, please be sure to keep distance from others when you come to pick up instructional materials packets.
While children are home during school closings, we suggest that parents/guardians establish (or keep) regular routines for their children. This will help provide some structure and normalcy to what may be a confusing time to many. Here are a few suggestions.
- Have a regular “wake up” time for children.
- Have children eat breakfast, wash and dress as they would on a normal day where they go to school.
- Schedule daily time for “school work” (at this time, instructional packets). This can include time for children to read a great book, or to have a book read to them. You may also want to establish a special “school work zone” to complete work.
- Schedule breaks and snacks each day.
- Put in time for exercise and fresh air - those things are important for all of us! Think about ways to get children outside and/or get them moving with inside exercises and stretches.
- Music and art are also important (and fun!) parts of the school week for many children. Include weekly time to sing and listen to music and for drawing/coloring or other art projects.
We will continue to provide regular communications to you. Thank you for your help in ensuring our children stay engaged in learning during these school closures.
Hello Hamden Families,
Due to the closing of Hamden Public Schools, we are providing "to go" breakfast and lunch to all our students at no cost starting Monday, March 16th. Students do not need identification. Food will be distributed Monday to Friday between 9AM and 12PM at Hamden High School, Church Street School, and Hamden Middle School.
Distance learning packets will be available at these sites on March 18th. These packets will also be emailed to those families that have provided email addresses to the district.
Please be aware of future communications as information is changing daily. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.
In an effort to help mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, Hamden Public Schools joins with other CT school districts in closing our schools, beginning Friday, March 13, 2020. All before and after school and adult education programs are also cancelled.
Parents and other caregivers should expect an extended closure. We will provide more information on when it will be appropriate for school to resume based on guidance from health officials and the State of Connecticut.
Because we know that many of our students rely on school to provide breakfast and lunch, we will be implementing a program similar to our Summer Meals program. Starting on Monday, March 16, we have made arrangements for any child 18 (or their parents) or under to pick up “To Go” meals at one of our three distribution locations: Hamden High, Hamden Middle and Church Street Schools. Meals will be available between 9:00-12:00, Monday –Friday. No identification is required to receive these meals.
Although our schools will be closed, district and school offices will reopen on Tuesday March 17 for business that can be conducted by phone or electronically. All of our buildings are closed to the public indefinitely.
Starting Wednesday, March 18, packets of educational materials to help keep students’ minds and bodies engaged will be available at HHS, HMS and Church Street School. Anyone is welcome to pick up packets for their children.
We understand that closing schools will be difficult for many families, but this is an unprecedented situation that requires a community response. As part of our community, Hamden Public Schools will do all we can to support our families during these challenging times.
We will continue to communicate updates through phone, email and our Websites.
Dear Hamden Families,
The BOE approved an early dismissal for Monday 3/16 in order to allow teachers to organize materials for students to bring home should a school closure become necessary in the future due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Dismissal times will be:
Church Street, Dunbar Hill, Helen Street, Shepherd Glen: 12:34
Bear Path, Ridge Hill, Spring Glen, West Woods: 1:04
Alice Peck: Extended PreK: 12:15; Morning PreK: 10:15; Afternoon PreK: 12:15; Full Day IIC: 12:15
Hamden Early Learning Center: Will remain open during regular working hours.
Especially at this time, communication with our families is essential. Please ensure that your child's school has the most up to date family contact information.
Thanks for your flexibility and understanding during this challenging time.
On Monday evening, I participated in a conference call with other CT school and town leaders, which was led by Governor Lamont and focused on Coronavirus planning and actions. This letter shares steps already being taken in Hamden Public Schools to minimize the impact of Coronavirus in our community as well as additional steps added as a result of recommendations by the Governor.
The following proactive steps have been enacted with the best interest of our students, staff and greater community in mind:
Cleaning: We have increased cleaning measures in all of our buildings, with a focus on disinfecting of rails, doorknobs and other frequently touched surfaces. First Student is also increasing the level and frequency of cleaning on all of our buses.
Healthy Behaviors: Through our Websites, letters to families, email messages to staff, signs in our buildings and discussions and reminders to students, we have and continue to promote behaviors that help everyone stay healthy. These behaviors include frequent handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds, not coughing or sneezing without covering your mouth/nose with a tissue/sleeve, not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth), avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home when you are sick.
Social Distancing and Limiting Travel: The Governor has asked that all activities involving groups of 100 or more be postponed. In addition, the Governor has recommended that CT students not travel for field trips that may include exposure to large groups and/or contact with people from outside our immediate area. This means that all school-wide events, external professional development and field trips will be cancelled or postponed until further notice. (Trips abroad have already been cancelled.)
Today, the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) made the difficult decision to cancel all remaining CIAC winter tournament games.
We are in the process of reviewing alternatives for in-person parent conferences currently scheduled for March and April. Those wishing to register their kindergarten children are strongly encouraged to utilize the online registration form located on our Website at www.hamden.org/resources/register.
School-Based Health: Our school nurses are skilled in infection control and are implementing best practices for minimizing spread of germs/illness. Nurses are also monitoring the type and number of illnesses presenting, to determine patterns and additional steps warranted.
Preparing for Possible School Closures: The district has been working with teachers and administrators to develop a series of plans in the event that local health agencies and the State of Connecticut deem closing of schools necessary. In the next several days, students will receive packets and materials of cross curricular school work, which should be completed by students if schools are closed. For your information, we have chosen to use print rather than computer-based materials at this time to ensure every student has equitable access.
Our library/media center policies will be loosened to ensure students have the opportunity to borrow more than the usual number of books.
School Meals: One of our big concerns, in the event of school closures, is making food available to our students that depend on it. We are currently exploring waivers and other options to best ensure students who participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program have food available to them in the event schools are closed for an extended period of time.
As this is an evolving situation, communication is particularly important during this time. We will continue to use telephone messaging, our Websites, social media and other vehicles to provide information and updates to our families.
We will continue to monitor the situation, with guidance from QVHD, the State of Connecticut and CDC. If you have questions about Coronovirus (CoVid-19), you can do the following:
- Call 211 or text CTCOVID to 898211 with your questions
- Visit the QVHD Coronavirus Website http://www.qvhd.org/corona-virus-preparedness
- Read the CDC factsheet on Coronavirus: http://www.qvhd.org/sites/default/files/pdf/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf
- Visit the CDC Coronavirus Website
The uncertainty and media reports related to Coronavirus make this a particularly challenging time for all of us. You have my commitment to keeping you updated on school-related issues and in doing all we can to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff. I appreciate your support and understanding.
Jody Ian Goeler
There's a lot of scary information in the news lately about Coronavirus. (View the CDC's FactSheet on Coronovirus) The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and local health officials remind us that the best way to stay healthy is to practice basic healthy behaviors. These behaviors help prevent the spread of any illness, including flu or Coronavirus.
QVHD (Quinnipiac Valley Health District) has asked that we share the following information and recommendations:
To help avoid coming into contact with infectious diseases or spreading them to others, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions including these steps:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Facemasks are not generally recommended. Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people taking care of someone in close settings.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
As was distributed via a "robo call" to all HPS families, QVHD also recommends several home preparedness steps. QVHD and the CDC state that it's important for everyone to maintain a 3-day stockpile of essential items at home - regardless of emerging situations. These would come into play for any emergency - including hurricanes or snowstorms. You know the drill - buy milk and bread, extra batteries for flashlights, etc. In the event that the Coronavirus reaches our area, your won't need extra batteries for the flashlight, but it is possible that people will be asked to stay home for a period of about two weeks. For this reason, QVHD recommends that people be ready to store non-perishable foods and other essentials (like pet food, prescriptions, diapers) that could last for up to two weeks. Please note that this is not currently the recommendation - but could be recommended should the situation change.
So to summarize: Stay home if you are sick. Stay away from sick people. Clean frequently touched objects. Wash your hands frequently and don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth. And finally - check for updated information on the CDC or QVHD Coronavirus Webpages.