Weekly Message From Dr. Tamu Lucero, Superintendent -- Mensaje de la Dra. Tamu Lucero, Superintendente de las SPS

Dr Tamu Lucero

Dear Staff and Families,

It is hard to believe that we weren’t able to get through the first week of school without having to call a delayed opening due to weather!  But, while some might have been skeptical if it was necessary, myself included, after attempting my early morning run and seeing firsthand the flooded streets and displaced manhole covers, I am confident that we made the right decision to keep our students safe.  So despite a delayed opening, some tears from our youngest students, and a few late buses across the district, we are off to a great start for the 2021-2022 school year.  Thank you to our staff and families for making this possible.

Teacher Removal of Mask Regulation Update

In an effort to balance the risks of COVID-19 in a classroom and the instructional needs of our students, we have revised our regulations (4118.237 R 4218.237 R 5141.8 R) to include Teacher Removal of Mask During Active Instruction, which can be found on p. 96 of the Personnel Policies.  The regulation reads, as follows: “In an effort to balance the risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a classroom and instructional needs, teachers who are fully vaccinated may choose to remove their masks when they are engaged in active instruction at the front of the classroom in which students are seated and masked provided that a separating distance of at least six (6) feet to the greatest extent possible is maintained.  Mask removal may not occur in cases where a fully vaccinated teacher is a close contact of a known case and, in lieu of quarantine, is instructed to wear a mask until they receive a negative test.”

School Lunch Program Applications

The district is pleased to be able to provide access to free meals for all students again this year.  Please know that in order for families to receive all of the benefits associated with meeting the eligibility requirements, such as discounts for camps and reduced AP testing registration fee, families must complete the application.  More details can be found on the Free and Reduced information page of the district website.

Vaccination Clinic

In an effort to provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine, we are working with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) to offer free vaccination clinics at our schools for age-eligible students, families, and staff.  The vaccine is available to children aged 12 years or older, family members, and staff without an appointment on the days of the vaccination clinics.  Students who are between 12 and 18 years of age must have a signed parental or guardian consent to participate.  Our first vaccination clinic will be held on September 15th for the first shot followed by a clinic on October 6th for the second shot.  Please find additional information here or on the Office of Family and Community Engagement website.

Remember, as outlined in our 2021-2022 Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan, fully vaccinated students/staff who are a close contact with a known COVID-19 case do not have to quarantine, provided they remain asymptomatic after close contact with a known COVID-19 case, and wear a mask until receiving a negative COVID-19 test (taken between days 3 and 5 from the date of contact) or 14 days without a test.

Midterms and Finals

Recently our Central Office and building administrators, along with our high school teacher leaders, collaborated on a decision to suspend mid-term and final exams.  Our high school families will get a better understanding of the benefits of and the rationale behind that decision at Open School Night.

Transportation App

The district is excited to announce plans to launch a mobile transportation app that allows parents the option to track their child’s bus in real-time.  The app uses GPS technology, lets you see the location of your child’s bus, and confirms when the bus has arrived at the bus stop and at the school.  The transportation app is expected to go live in November.  More information to follow.

Upcoming Week Schedule

Remember, next week is a short one.  Due to the Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah holidays, there is no school Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.  All students and staff should return to school on Thursday.

Stay safe and healthy!

Dr. Tamu Lucero

Superintendent of Schools