COVID 19

Update from CREC Schools Superintendent, July 19, 2020

Hello CREC Families,

This is Tim Sullivan, Superintendent of the Magnet Schools. I wanted to provide you with a preview of what will be an important week for you and your children.

We have spent the past several months working with area superintendents, state officials, CREC leaders, staff, student and parent senates to develop plans for the coming school year. We are going to share those plans with you this week.

On Tuesday, July 21st at 6:00 pm we will be releasing our plans for the fall. As you know our plans must include three levels (return to school, only use distance learning or a hybrid). Our plans will detail for you what the first option - in school learning - will look like. Using both the district and school based plans, you will be able to see the steps we are taking to make your children and our staff safer while in school. Based on that information, we are asking you to make a choice.

You can return to school in the fall at your CREC campus or you can stay home and access your learning through our CREC Distance Learning Academy. Details about CDLA will also be shared in our plan, and you should be able to decide which option is best for you and your family.

We recognize that nothing is perfect in these uncertain times, but we do have to move forward. Because we need to staff the buildings and CDLA for your return, we will need you to make a decision by the end of the day on August 2nd.

I am asking you to start having that conversation now and be ready to fill out the form being emailed to you on July 21st.

I know that some of you will want to wait to make your decision based on data and knowing what other school systems are doing. We will allow families to change their mind throughout this process, but you should understand that we need time to assign staff to teach. We really need an initial response from every family to make that happen.

Again you will receive the information we have available at 6:00 pm on July 21st. The sooner you fill out the form, the more prepared we will be for your classes this fall.

Thank you for your patience.

I will be hosting four zoom meetings on Wednesday to provide answers to questions that you may have. You should join the zoom meeting that aligns with your grade configuration. These meetings are limited to 1 hour and you can submit your questions into the chat. If you are unable to join the zoom meeting, you can send me an email. We will then add the questions and answers to our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) so everyone can see them. Please expect to receive Zoom links in the emails being sent to you on July from your CREC school.


Update from CREC Schools Superintendent, May 6, 2020

CREC Magnet Schools Families,

Due to yesterday's announcement by Governor Lamont, Connecticut schools will remain closed through the remainder of the academic year. While this announcement brings some relief to many in our community, it may also bring disappointment to staff, students and parents who were holding out hope for a return. 

As a district, we will be developing procedures for students to access personal items that may have been left in desks, lockers, and classrooms. School administrators will be sending out further communication regarding this, as well as end-of-year activities, continued interim learning plans, and outreach efforts by our school counselors, social workers, and FACES team members. Each school will continue to follow their current schedule for online learning from now until the official end of the 2019-20 school year. CREC educators remain fully committed to teaching and connecting with students, now more than ever.

CREC is in the process of launching a new initiative this summer to offer students who are enrolled at CREC for next year the opportunity to participate in fun enrichment activities offered by CREC staff through virtual platforms. Activities will not replace a summer school course load or summer camp, but will instead offer students opportunities to connect with each other and engage in fun activities through 1 - 3 week long sessions, 4 days per week. A catalog of full offerings and registration will be shared with families soon!

As we look forward toward September, we fully expect to be open for business for the 2020-21 school year, whether through in-person or virtual platforms. CREC has created a committee currently working on plans and procedures for multiple scenarios, with the goal of ensuring the health and safety of our students, staff, and families, as well as access to quality education.

While the past few months have been taxing on all of us, I do remain hopeful. I believe that better days are in our future. We will suffer, and we will eventually recover. I am confident that we as a school district can and will respond as a community. We will pick each other up and forge ahead knowing that our strength comes from our ability to see past our differences and find the common good within us all.

Timothy J. Sullivan, Jr.

Superintendent



Update from CREC Schools Superintendent, April 9, 2020


Dear CREC Families and Staff,


I hope this message finds you and your loved ones in good health. I’d like to begin by announcing the winners of the CREC Social Distancing Video Contest. 


Of over 100 submissions, the following students are being recognized for their incredible talent and messages:


1st Place: Tiffany Sprague, Vernon Center Middle School -  VIDEO LINK

2nd Place: Khalil Nulan, CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts -  VIDEO LINK

3rd Place: Isabella Seery, CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts - VIDEO LINK


Thank you to everyone who participated, helping us share the important message of physical distancing, and congratulations to the winners! 


As a reminder, CREC Schools are not in session for April break, Monday, April 13 - Friday, April 17. Students are not expected to participate in the Interim Learning Plan during this time, and it is our hope that everyone enjoys a well-deserved rest over the next week.


We will continue to follow the Governor’s lead on the closure of schools.  He announced that schools are now closed through May 20th. 


I would also like to announce that we will be starting a “poster” contest.  Prizes will be awarded by grade level with $100 each for PK-5th, 6th to 8th and 9th to 12th.   The Overall Grand prize will get an extra $200 for a total of $300. The deadline for the contest is May 3rd. Full instructions and the submission form can be found at www.crec.org/c/c19postercontest.  

Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding during this time of school closure. Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have questions, concerns, or suggestions. You can call us at 860-524-4096.

Important Dates to Remember:

Friday, April 10 - Good Friday, No School

Monday, April 13-Friday, April 17 - April Break, No School


Stay home. Stay Safe.


Timothy J. Sullivan, Jr.

Superintendent



CREC Magnet Schools Move to Online Learning Message, March 20, 2020

CREC Magnet School Parents and Staff,

I am contacting you today with more updates on our response to COVID-19.  

I first want to thank you for your patience and understanding during this crisis.  We are aware that families are under a lot of stress in these tough times, and we appreciate all that you are doing.  

Secondly, I want to be clear that I am not aware of cases of COVID-19 in the CREC community.  At this point we are encouraging all of you to take safety precautions and stay home as much as possible. I believe that the spread of the virus will be impacted by our decisions as individuals, and we should do all that we can to slow the transmission.

Lastly, I want to inform you that we are shifting our thinking regarding our response to the school closure.  Initially, we intended to make up the days at the end of the year by staying in school through June 30th. Based on the information I am getting from the governor’s office, it is no longer possible to get 180 days in school.  We do not know how long we will be out of school.

Despite our previous concerns about equity and the implementation of IEP and 504 plans, we have to make the transition to online learning, and do the best that we can.  Starting next week teachers will begin supporting student learning through electronic mediums. It is our goal to engage every student at some level, realizing that high school students' experience will be different from students in PreK and Kindergarten, but we want everyone doing something.

We acknowledge up front that this will not be perfect. Distance learning is new to us.  We cannot ensure that the technology will always work. Households - of both teachers and students - are busy and may create distractions. Family schedules may not align with learning time. Given that this format of teaching is new to most teachers they have a steep learning curve ahead of them.  We can only ask that everyone do their best.

We continued to be concerned about students with an IEP, 504 plan, English Learner needs and those that lack technology.  We will try our best to assist with those needs.

In the coming days more details will be sent to you. On Monday we hope to begin to have contact established between the school and the home.  If someone from CREC calls your house, they will be calling from a blocked number since they are calling from their home - please answer.  If anyone has questions or concerns you can call our main number 860-524-4096.

I am hopeful that we will all come together during this tough time and demonstrate patience, kindness and empathy for each other.

Timothy J. Sullivan, Jr.

Superintendent

  



CREC Magnet Schools Closed, Effective Monday, March 16, 2020

Good afternoon CREC Families and Staff,


In an effort to promote health and safety in light of the developing spread of the Coronavirus (CoVID-19), and in consultation with CREC Medical Director, Dr. Barbara Ziogas, we have decided that effective Monday, March 16th, we are closing all CREC Magnet Schools until further notice. CREC Magnet Schools will make up any missed days in June; please plan accordingly. All extra curricular activities, including athletics, are canceled during this time. We are aware that for many families this will create a child supervision issue, but given the health risk, we need to take this proactive approach to promote the wellbeing of our community.


CREC has put together extension activities and experiences that are designed to keep students engaged in learning while they are away from school. These activities are not a replacement for the school day and are completely optional, but provide young minds with ways to stay active. Please visit CREC Learning Extensions for these resources.


We will continue to update the CREC community with new information as it becomes available through direct messaging and on www.crecschools.org. Please continue to follow CDC guidance and practice frequent hand-washing and social distancing. 


During this time, school staff will have limited access to voicemail and email. CREC staff will get back to you as soon as possible with responses to questions. For questions that require a more timely response during regular work hours, please use the CREC Magnet Schools hotline at 1-860-524-4096. We also recognize that schools are a main point of support for families. In addition to the resources that we will continue to share on our websites, please feel encouraged to reach out using the hotline should you need our support.


Anticipated Questions

How long will the schools be closed for?
We will be looking for state officials and our medical director to advise us on that, but it will be at least several days, if not weeks, so long term planning is a good idea.

I thought the governor waived the 180 day rule; why are we going to school until the end of June?
The waiver is only for distance learning. We will not be be using distance learning because we have many students who do not have access to either devices or WiFi and we cannot ensure that students with an IEP or 504 plan can access the supports they are entitled to.

Will graduations be impacted?

At this time, graduation dates will be rescheduled if needed. More information to come.


What will the impact of learning be on Student Services?

When we return to school we will review each child’s IEP or 504 Plan  and if necessary convene a PPT/504 meeting and review the ramifications of the absence.and its impact on student learning.


Will April vacation be impacted?

April vacation will go on as planned.


Are conferences being canceled or rescheduled?

All conferences (including phone conferences) are canceled.


The wellbeing and safety of our community is dependent on our collective efforts, and I thank you for your cooperation and patience during this time.


Timothy J. Sullivan, Jr.

Superintendent



3/10/20 Coronavirus (CoVID-19) Update for CREC Community

Dear CREC Families and Staff,

The following provides our most recent update regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), preventative steps CREC has taken to date, as well as the virus’ current state in Connecticut.

What do we know about the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

CREC’s Response

CREC Schools Superintendent continues to meet regularly with CREC executive leadership, review current guidance from the CDC, consult with CREC’s Medical Director, and monitor local and national news for current information and future planning.

Family-Teacher Conferences:The March 18-20 Family-Teacher conferences will now happen by phone. All teachers will contact families at their already designated appointment times. Please contact your school’s main office with questions regarding conferences or to ensure that you have current contact information in the school information database, PowerSchool.

School Cleaning Protocols: CREC has implemented and enhanced cleaning protocols in schools that include morning and afternoon disinfecting of classrooms and touch surfaces throughout our schools. CREC will continue these protocols until no longer necessary.

Hand washing: In addition to increased hand-sanitizer in all CREC schools, school nurses and classroom teachers will continue to remind students of proper hand-washing techniques. Increased signage regarding these techniques will also be posted.

Field Trips / Travel: All international and out of state field trips have been either canceled or postponed. All local field trips occurring before April 17 have been canceled or postponed. Attendance to all out of state professional learning conferences for employees have been canceled.

How will CREC respond to cases in Connecticut?

CREC will continue to follow the guidance of the CREC Medical Director as well as follow directives from state officials. School closures will not occur unless deemed necessary by the Department of Public Health. We have been assured that they will be providing CREC with guidance on this topic should school closures become necessary in the future.

Learning Extensions: In the event that schools are temporarily closed due to COVID 19, CREC fully intends to make up the time as we would snow days, at the end of the year.   We have, however, put together extension activities and experiences that are designed to keep students engaged in learning activities while they are away from school.  These activities are not a replacement for the school day and are completely optional, but provide young minds with ways to stay active.  Visit our web page,  Learning Extensions or ask your school for paper copies of these extension activities.

If necessary, CREC will extend the 2019-20 school year to as late as June 30, 2020 to make up any missed days. CREC will NOT cancel April vacation (April 13-17, 2020.)

Information Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Connecticut Department of Public Health, CREC Medical Director, Dr. Ziogas, and CREC Leadership remain our primary sources of information relating to the coronavirus. Information changes with every news cycle (12 hours), but CREC is closely monitoring all updates and resources, and will share with the CREC Community in a timely manner through direct messaging and the CREC Schools website.

As a reminder, please consider the following key messages for the general public from CT Governor, Ned Lamont::

  • People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.

  • If you were with someone who does not have symptoms, the risk of transmission is very low.

  • There are many respiratory illnesses circulating in Connecticut, such as the flu and the common cold. Having respiratory symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19.

  • People are at higher risk for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of the virus (cough, fever, shortness of breath) AND if they were in contact with a positive case of COVID-19 (or have traveled to country with community transmission, such as China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan).

  • Someone is considered a contact if they have had direct, face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19.

  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).

  • If you haven’t already, get your flu shot and make sure the people around you do the same.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.

  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant. 

For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut, as well as guidance and other resources, visit ct.gov/coronavirus. If you’re not already subscribed to receive press releases from the Governor’s office and want the most updated announcements in your inbox, you can sign up for their mailing list by visiting the governor’s  website.

CREC will continue to share more information as it becomes available through direct messaging to families and on the CREC Schools Website. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this messaging, please feel free to contact my office.

Timothy J. Sullivan

Superintendent


03/07/2020 Press Release, State of Connecticut Governor's Office

Governor Lamont: Connecticut Launches Coronavirus Infoline for General Questions from the Public


Connecticut Residents Can Call 2-1-1 or text CTCOVID to 898211

(Hartford, CT) - Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is partnering with the United Way of Connecticut to launch an information hotline for questions from the public regarding issues related to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have questions can call 2-1-1 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211.

Answers to many of the questions people may have can already be found by visiting the state's coronavirus information website at ct.gov/coronavirus. People are encouraged to review that website for answers to their questions first before calling the hotline.

This information hotline is only intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experienceing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider to seek treatment.

"We understand people have specific questions but we want to stress that this call center is only intended for general information. Anyone looking for specific medical advice regarding symptoms they may be experiencing is strongly urged to seek medical treatment," Governor Lamont said.

The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day. Multilingual assistanct and TDD/TYY access for those with a hearing impairment is also available.

Coronavirus (CoVID-19) Update from CREC Schools Superintendent

March 4, 2020

Dear CREC Community,


I am writing to provide you with an update about how CREC Magnet Schools is addressing the news and concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (CoVID-19). I continue to meet with CREC’s executive leadership, review the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and consult with our medical advisor. At this time there is no evidence of the coronavirus (CoVID-19) in any of our schools. Influenza A and B (the flu) continue to be our biggest challenge.


CREC Magnet Schools is continuously monitoring the activities of local, state and federal health agencies, as well as reviewing our pandemic plans. Currently, there are no confirmed cases in the Hartford Region, or in The State of Connecticut. 


I am holding frequent conference calls with CREC school principals, updating them on our current situation and future planning. Right now, we are advising all teachers and our families to continue operating as we do during any flu season. I’ve also directed the ordering of additional hand sanitizer for each school. The most important step in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, the flu or most illnesses, is practicing the following healthy habits:

  • Frequent and thorough hand-washing for at least 20 seconds

  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Stay home when you are sick and do not return to work or school until you have been fever- free without the use of fever reducing medication for at least 24 hours

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

I also would like to share with you the following resources:

Connecticut Department of Public Health: https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Public-Health-Preparedness/Main-Page/2019-Novel-Coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website providing general prevention information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html 

We are also closely monitoring and evaluating all field trips and will make decisions on a case by case basis. Your child’s school administration will continue to communicate with you about the status of all field trips.


I will keep you informed in the coming days and weeks through direct communication and on www.crecschools.org. Please monitor your children for any anxiety about the topic, and talk to them if they have questions. Suggestions for how to talk to your children can be found here https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4886.pdf. As always, the health and safety of our school communities is our top priority.

If you have any questions please contact my office at 860-509-3679.


Timothy J. Sullivan

Superintendent 




Message from CREC Schools Superintendent to CREC Community

Friday, February 28, 2020

Dear CREC Magnet School Families,

The purpose of my letter is to provide you with an update about how CREC Magnet Schools is addressing the news and concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. I met today with CREC’s  executive leadership, reviewed the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and consulted with our medical advisor. At this time there is no evidence of the coronavirus in any of our schools.  Influenza A and B (the flu) continue to be our biggest challenge.  

I have directed the ordering of additional hand sanitizer for each school. The most important step in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, the flu or most illnesses, is practicing the following healthy habits:

  • Frequent and thorough hand-washing for at least 20 seconds

  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Stay home when you are sick

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We are also closely monitoring and evaluating all field trips and will make decisions on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions please contact my office at 860-509-3679.


Timothy J. Sullivan

Superintendent



 

CoVID-19 Resources

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Updates:

    In response to closings, cancellations and changes related to COVID-19, the Eligibility Center is closely monitoring the impact on students and their ability to meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements. The EC will be posting more information here in the coming days to assist our prospective student-athletes and the high school community. For information on COVID-19, please visit ncaa.org/COVID-19 and continue to monitor for more information. Click here for the NCAA Portal Website.

    In response to COVID-19, the ACT and SAT have modified their testing schedules:

    Click here for ACT information.

    Click here for SAT information.

  • The College Board announces that all SAT testing has been canceled until June 6. If you were planning on taking the test on May 2 or missed the test on March 14, here's what you need to know. 
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