Newtown schools go remote with 95 staff members quarantined
NEWTOWN — Schools will switch to online learning from home on Monday after new coronavirus cases brought the number of staff being quarantined to 95.
“We just had new reports of cases at Newtown High School and within our Community Partnerships Program in the Department of Special Education, resulting in the quarantining of another 24 adults,” schools Superintendent Lorrie Rodrigue said in a district alert on Wednesday. “While we have no evidence of in-school transmission, the decision to transition to full remote learning is driven by the pattern of rapidly increasing community spread.”
Rodrigue’s notice was the third in as many days about new cases of coronavirus in the schools, as the second wave of COVID-19 surges across Connecticut and the nation.
Newtown becomes the latest district to join Danbury and other southwestern Connecticut towns by conducting all classes remotely to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus.
“When this impacts staff and their ability to operate effectively as a system, we need to pause until we can resume in an effective and safe learning environment,” Rodrigue said. [B]oth staff and administrators have been stellar in their efforts to help out colleagues and cover absences in each of our buildings, but there is a point in which this impedes a productive and safe learning environment.”
Newtown, which postponed the return to a full schedule of the upper grades when cases began to climb at the end of October, brought students in kindergarten through 6th grade back to class full-time at the start of November.
Wednesday’s change of plans means all students will go to school remotely on Monday through Dec. 4.
“[I]nformation for our free lunch program distribution will be sent to all families,” Rodrigue said. “Buildings will remain open for teachers, administrators, custodians, and secretarial staff.”