HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) – Time is ticking. Friday is the deadline for school districts to submit their reopening plans to the state.
Hamden’s school district doesn’t want to bring its students back full time.
Like everyone else, Hamden is sending three models to the state, but the district feels the best option to get the most students back in the classroom in the fall is a hybrid model, mixing both in-class and distance learning.
“My main concern is the safety of my son, the safety for the other students, and safety for the teachers. I think that any plan really has to emphasize that above anything else,” said Mike Ferrett.
Mike Ferrett has a son going into the 8th grade at Hamden Middle School. He’s also a teacher himself in another district, so he sees both sides as a parent and an educator.
“He definitely wants to go back and see his teachers, if it’s the right situation,” Ferrett said.
In Hamden, the district feels a hybrid model is the way to go.
“We’ll have more kids in schools with teachers in front of them in a hybrid plan and we’ll have more teachers opting to come back to work in a hybrid plan. It is what’s best for our community and we’re going to be an advocate for Hamden going forward. We can’t guarantee that we’ll win, but we’re looking forward to providing data and rationale that we think is sound,” said Chris Melillo, Hamden Assistant Superintendent.
At the elementary school level, kids will be in class four days a week, with one day of distance learning.
For those in middle and high school, half the student body will go for two days, while the other half will learn from home. Then they’ll switch for the next two days while also alternating on Fridays.
Face coverings will be mandatory, and the district says desks will be spread out for social distancing.
The same goes when it comes to seats on the school bus.
Every student will also get either a Chrome Book or a laptop with teachers using Zoom to present lessons to those learning remotely at the same time as their classmates in school.
“I think using Zoom is the best way to educate the children. I think that will be highly effective,” said Bruce Emery.
With parents going back to work, the district says it’s working with before and after school programs to fill in the gaps when students are distance learning.
“The online learning, distance learning, is not ideal, it’s not ideal for the students, it’s not ideal for the teachers, but if that’s the safest way to go, I hope they choose the safest way to go,” Ferrett said.
The plan will now go to the state and the district pointed out that if the state doesn’t adopt their hybrid model, and instead makes them go fulltime, they’ll have to adapt and use extra spaces like gyms and auditoriums in order to spread the students out.