Rising COVID cases moves Monroe schools back to hybrid model

Students arrive for the first day of classes at Monroe Elementary School, in Monroe, Conn. Sept. 1, 2020.

Students arrive for the first day of classes at Monroe Elementary School, in Monroe, Conn. Sept. 1, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

MONROE — All elementary schools will return to the hybrid instruction model on Monday, according to Schools Superintendent Joseph Kobza.

Kobza informed parents and staff Friday of the shift, which places these schools on the original hybrid cohort model. In addition, he said schools at all levels will have full remote instruction on Wednesdays.

Jockey Hollow Main Campus will remain in full remote instruction next week.

“The decision to return to the hybrid model schedule allows us to create a safer environment by reducing person density in our buildings,” Kobza stated. “This allows us to maintain as much in-person learning while increasing our health and safety protocols.”

Kobza said district officials believe present mitigation strategies within the schools have been effective in reducing the spread of COVID.

“Nonetheless, we feel it is necessary with the recent increase in cases to implement further strategies to limit person-to-person contact for our students and staff,” Kobza said. “We understand the impact that the hybrid model has on families for child-care arrangements. We urge our families to not only plan for the upcoming hybrid model but also for the potential need for a fully distance learning model should the circumstances require.”

The elementary schools would return to the original hybrid model of cohort A in school Monday and Tuesday, cohort B in Thursday and Friday, with Wednesdays a full remote instruction day for all students.

The school district’s move comes as the town remains in the “red alert” level, with the two-week average daily case rate at 4.8 cases, which equals an average of 24.6 per 100,000. First Selectman Ken Kellogg, in his Friday report to residents, stated that the state Department of Public Health has reported more than 10 cases per day in Monroe.

“While we continue to see an increase in cases impacting our school community,” Kellogg stated, “the primary origin of the cases appear to be coming from infected family members and small social gatherings outside of school.

“We continue to see numerous ‘clusters’ of cases that involve an entire household,” Kellogg added. “However, due to the increase in cases in the community, all elementary schools will return to the original hybrid model Monday.”

As of Friday’s report, the town has had 276 overall confirmed cases and 27 probable cases.