By Peg McRoy Glover
Avon’s school board approved a set of COVID-19 protocols at its July 12 meeting for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. While these protocols have been approved, it appears that they remain fluid.
“We have met with our local health department to review guidelines from the state and CDC,” said Superintendent Scott Wyndham. “Guidance will continue to be shared (from the local health department) and these protocols may change over the next couple of weeks as we head to the start of school.”
Wyndham said that based on where they are today, protocols are recommendations rather than requirements. The one exception is the mandatory mask wearing on school buses. A federal mandate requires mask wearing on all forms of public transportation.
Currently, the school system recommends that unvaccinated individuals at all grade levels or visitors wear a mask, but it is not required.
Preschool through grade six classrooms will look much like they did last year with kids spread out to adhere to the 6-foot radius for social distancing. Seating in cafeterias will also maximize the distance between students who will be in pods for contract tracing.
Due to vaccinations, secondary classrooms will return to more normal operations. Students who have been vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination will be exempt from the distance guidelines.
E-Learning shifts, requiring families to commit to online learning the entire year and is only offered to those families who participated in e-Learning last year. So far 37 students, spanning all grade levels, will enroll in this option.
Extracurricular activities will only be offered to students who attend school in person.
After much public input, the school board passed the proposed protocols with a 4-1 vote. Gregory Dana dissented. He believes elementary students should be required until there is a vaccine available for that age group and that all visitors should be required to wear masks.
“As with every decision throughout the pandemic, ACSC administration’s proposed COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-22 school year were the culmination of much dialogue and input,” said Kim Woodward, board president. “In fact, despite pressure to produce our protocols earlier, we intentionally waited until current and pertinent data was made available. We believe these
protocols provide a basis for starting school, and our administrative teams will be able to focus on teaching and learning while still able to make modifications if needed.”
An FAQ link on the district website is planned that will address all protocols.