Greenwich schools announce plans to return students to the classroom at four elementary buildings

Photo of Justin Papp

GREENWICH — An unanticipated period of remote learning for staff and students at four Greenwich elementary school is coming to an end.

Julian Curtiss, Old Greenwich and Riverside schools were cleared for staff and students, who returned to classrooms for in-person learning as of Friday morning.

And students and staff at North Mianus School, where a Feb. 13 ceiling collapse and subsequent flood closed down the building, along with the three others in the district of a similar age, will return to in-person learning next week at a variety of locations.

Those relocations will likely last through the rest of the school year due to the extensive damage.

“In-person learning will resume on Tuesday, March 2, for students that are being relocated,” Superintendent of Schools Toni Jones and North Mianus Principal Angela Schmidt said in a Thursday night email to families.

“The goal for students remaining at North Mianus is to return for in-person learning next Tuesday as well, as we are anticipating that an inspection will allow us to utilize the newer sections of the building, while relocating those classrooms which are closed.” the email said. “For those returning to North Mianus, all affected areas will be safely sectioned off and will be inaccessible to all students and staff. “

On Monday, North Mianus teachers will provide asynchronous learning for the students. As of Tuesday, students in kindergarten and grades 2 and 3 will return to North Mianus, where newer parts of the building not affected by the flood can still safely be utilized, according to the town building inspector.

All eight sections of students in grades 1 and 4 will be relocated to Cos Cob School. All sections of Grade 5 will be relocated to Old Greenwich School. And the three sections of Advanced Level Placement will be relocated to Parkway School.

The usual bus routes will run to North Mianus School, with shuttles picking up relocated students and taking them to their alternate school locations. The district is asking any parents with difficulty transporting their child to the relocated school to fill out an online form requesting additional accommodations.

School start times will also be shifted to allow for the relocations. The North Mianus start and end times will remain the same, according to the district. For those students now attending Cos Cob and Old Greenwich schools, arrivals begin at 8:45 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start time, and pickups will begin at 3:30 p.m. At Parkway School, arrivals will begin at 8:30 a.m. for an 8:45 a.m. start, and pickups will begin at 3:15 p.m.

“For parents dropping off their students at North Mianus to take a bus to the new school location, please drop off at North Mianus by 8:30 a.m.,” the letter from Jones and Schmidt states. “Buses from the alternate schools will deliver the North Mianus students to North Mianus at the end of the school day by 3:45 p.m.”

Crews will work this weekend to move classroom furniture and materials into relocated classrooms at North Mianus.

“We do expect that these changes will likely need to remain in effect through the end of the school year due to the extensive renovations required,” Jones and Schmidt said. “However, we are remaining adaptive and will continue to evaluate the set-up for our relocated students and staff to ensure we are providing the best learning environment, and will address any concerns promptly.”

Separate notes from Jones were sent to families at Julian Curtiss, Old Greenwich and Riverside schools to inform them the schools — which were built around the same time and have similar plaster ceilings to the one that faltered at North Mianus — are safe and had been cleared for occupancy. Those buildings had been closed since Friday, Feb. 19.

“The only item of note on the report is a minor, non-safety item at Old Greenwich School,” Jones said. “The investigation showed a few areas of penetration in non-accessible areas of plaster ceiling. We have been reassured that this is not a safety issue and that the minor repairs can be performed in non-school hours.”

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586