Shelton schools plan ‘normal’ opening in fall

Exterior view of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Exterior view of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON - School officials are planning for a “normal” opening this fall - but the specific rules related to COVID-19 protections remain unclear.

Superintendent Ken Saranich told the Board of Education last week that the plan, as of now, is to open schools for in-person instruction for a full school day, five days a week. Saranich added that the full opt-out distance learning option would not be available for the coming school year.

Saranich said the district had to submit its safe return to school plan to the state - and post it online - by June 23 in order to qualify for funds from the American Rescue Plan.

But he admitted the plans remain vague because the state departments of Education and Public Health, as well as the Naugatuck Valley Health District, have not weighed in with mandates.

“We don’t know what those mandates will look like,” Saranich said.

The plans posted online state the district “will follow all guidance” given by the state and local health district. No cohorting is planned at this time, Saranich said, and schools will use 3 to 6 feet of distancing when applicable.

Saranich said he has joined with his colleagues in the Southern Fairfield County Superintendents Association in penning a letter to the state asking that no mandates be placed on public school systems, but instead to issue options.

“We want students to be safe, but we want them to have the option to choose how to be safe,” Saranich told the board.