RIDGEFIELD —Starting the Labor Day weekend with a positive message for uncertain times, Superintendent of Schools Susie Da Silva addressed students and their families following the first week of classes.

“It’s hard to believe that we have been back to school a full week. I hope that the transition back has been positive for all,” Da Silva said. “Based on my school visits, the energy continues to be positive and students and faculty are glad to be back.

“The Ridgefield faculty and staff continue to impress with their resilience and creativity in the classroom,” she said, “...and students have shown flexibility and patience as we worked through the occasional hiccups, as well as high levels of engagement.”

In an email to Ridgefield Public School families, Da Silva said the administration would be closely watching how things go, and would consider making adjustments to the mix of in-class and distance learning options.

Students attending class in the hybrid model are separated in two cohorts that alternate going to school and live-streaming classes from home on a two-week, 10-day cycle. If the town’s COVID-19 risk assessment remains low, at the end of the first month students in grade K-8 who are in the hybrid model will transition to classes five days a week, while high school students will remain in the hybrid model through the end of November.

About 15 percent of students — 675 of the district’s 4,621 students — have elected to take classes completely through distance learning at home.

“Yes, we are open. That said, the Steering Committee will meet to monitor progress of the hybrid model, and determine next steps as we approach the end of the month,” Da Silva said. “We will keep you informed as we gather information to share. Also, as we make revisions to our protocols or procedures with new state guidance, we will make those changes on our website as soon as possible.”

Da Silva said bus ridership is down with most students getting dropped off and picked up from school.

“As expected, bus ridership is down. Many of our school buses have very few students riding,” Da Silva said. “As a result, we have many more drop-offs and pick-ups. Our schools are working through this change well and reducing the wait time as much as possible.”

Da Silva said to change ridership status, contact Rick Lupinacci at rlupinacci@ridgefieldps.net or call 203-894-5550 ext 1126.

Da Silva also said school grounds and facilities are closed while classes are in session.

Sports, lunches

Da Silva said the school system was taking guidance on sports from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and Athletic Director Dane Street has been updating families of athletes about the latest updates.

Recommendations and decisions have changed throughout the summer with the State Department of Public Health and the CIAC trying to agree on plans. On Friday, the CIAC announced 11-on-11 football will not be held this fall following DPH recommendations.

Da Silva said the district’s food service contractor “continues to provide a full-service lunch program, and the cafeterias smell delicious.”

Distance learners and those eligible for free and reduced lunch can pick up meals at East Ridge Middle School between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during regular school days.

Lunches are available for students registered with Ridgefield Public Schools and have a PIN to check out.

“Due to food safety reasons,” students can only pick up multiple meals on Monday (two) and Wednesday (three).