Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services


CREC Schools

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services

Capitol Region Education Council

111 Charter Oak Ave

Hartford, CT 06106

June 23, 2021


The CREC Magnet Schools developed its plan for reopening its schools for the 2020-21 school year with a focus on the following four core principles:

  • Health and Safety

  • Emotional Well Being

  • Communication with our Partners

  • Maximizing Teaching and Learning

We are now turning our attention to the 2021-22 school year and the return to full in-person learning, unless health metrics and guidance from the Connecticut State Departments of Public Health and Education advise us otherwise.  

Federal grant monies have been made available to the CREC Magnet Schools to assist with overcoming this year of learning during a pandemic.  A prerequisite for receiving this funding is posting our plan for returning to school in the fall of 2021. 

II. Health and Safety Strategies

The table below highlights several mitigation strategies employed during this current school year, and our current thinking for returning in the fall of 2021.

Mitigation Strategy

CREC’s Response

Universal and correct wearing of masks

CREC Magnet School students and staff wore masks for the entirety of the 2020-21 school year while on school property. CREC Magnet Schools looks forward to receiving additional guidance about the necessity of mask wearing as vaccination rates increase and infection rates continue to decrease.

Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding).

During the 2020-21 school year the CREC Magnet Schools maximized the amount of space between student work stations, with six feet as the standard. Signage was posted throughout each building indicating one-way hallways and stairwells. Students were assigned to cohorts for all aspects of the school day. The CREC Magnet Schools will continue to adhere to guidance from the CDC and the Departments of Education and Public Health.

Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

The CREC Magnet Schools will continue to encourage and enforce healthy habits to reduce the risk of any infection. Students will continue to have frequent opportunities to wash their hands and hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and common areas.

Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

This year there was frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas and touch points throughout the school day. The CREC Magnet School will continue to follow best practices dictated by the CDC and the Department of Public Health.

Upgrades to the HVAC systems will continue in order to

allow for maximum fresh air to circulate through school buildings without compromising the heating or cooling functions.

Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

Each time there was a positive Covid-19 case in the CREC Magnet Schools extensive contact tracing occurred in collaboration with CREC’s Director of Health Services and the local Department of Public Health. Extensive documentation of cases and quarantines were maintained. The CREC Magnet Schools will continue this practice into the 2021-22 school year.

Diagnostic screening and testing

All school personnel were trained to identify potential symptoms of Covid-19 and refer students and staff to the school nurse if needed. The school nurse in consultation with the CREC Director of Health Services advises families and staff if they should seek a Covid-19 test. This practice will continue into the 2021-22 school year.

Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

CREC in conjunction with community partners hosted a series of vaccination clinics for all CREC staff and students. In addition, during the weekly Covid-19 update emailed to staff and families, CREC provided information about the various locations throughout Connecticut that were offering the vaccine.

Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

To the extent possible and with the cooperation of the appropriate LEA; PPT and 504 meetings will be conducted virtually moving forward, as requested by parents. This strategy has significantly raised parent participation and has eased the burden for many of our families of having to decide between staying at work and attending the meeting. CREC remains ready to provide instruction and related services in a virtual environment should the need arise for our most vulnerable students OR to cooperate with SDE in assuming responsibility for service provision of said students.

III. Continuity of Services

The CREC Magnet Schools will open its doors to welcome students on September 1, 2021.  It is the intention, barring any change to health metrics or state and federal guidance, that all students and staff will be in-person with the following in mind:

  • There is the potential of significant academic impact for some students as a result of learning during the pandemic.  The CREC Magnet Schools are prepared with additional curricular materials and academic personnel to provide targeted instruction and intervention to those who need it the most.

  • Students may have experienced trauma during school closures, ranging from losing a loved one, living in an unsafe or unstable home, or to more basic challenges of feeling loneliness from being isolated from their peers or enduring greater stress than usual.  Also, students and staff may be apprehensive to return to full in-person learning in the fall.  The CREC Magnet Schools is committed to providing additional social and emotional support through additional staffing and programming to ensure a smooth transition for all who are reentering.

IV. Public Comment

The Superintendent of the CREC Magnet Schools convened student, staff, and parent senates that meet monthly.  Through these constituent groups, the district has received feedback and suggestions about the CREC Magnet Schools operations during the 2020-21 school year and accompanying mitigation strategies and protocols.  Looking forward to the 2021-22 school year, the CREC Magnet Schools will solicit feedback over the summer from stakeholders through targeted surveys.  The results of the surveys, combined with state and federal guidance, will inform the final reopening plan for the fall of 2021.  The student, staff, and parent senates will reconvene in September of 2021 and meet monthly thereafter, and will serve as the primary mode for feedback ongoing.

V. Understandable and Uniform Format

Federal regulations require that this plan be in an understandable format and written in a language that parents can understand and access.  The CREC Magnet Schools will offer this plan in Spanish, and will have alternative formats made available upon request.

CREC Schools Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services - PDF

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