With four weeks exactly to go before the first day of school, officials of the Wilton Public School District are under extreme pressure to get a plan put together outlining how they’ll provide a learning environment for all students that meets the educational standards the Wilton community has come to expect while keeping all students, teachers, and staff safe from exposure to COVID-19. It’s an almost impossible, herculean task, but this evening, Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith will present the Board of Education with a plan that aims to do just that.

The members of the BOE will consider the plan at a special meeting that was called just for the occasion; there is no other major item on the agenda aside from this one, to consider and possibly approve the roadmap for returning to school that Smith and his administrative team have laid out. [The meeting starts at 7:15 p.m. and is accessible for viewing via Zoom.]

District officials have had to plan for three contingencies under instructions from the State Department of Education and Gov. Ned Lamont, who is eager to get students back into school classrooms. One of the big questions is how Wilton’s plan incorporates a return to in-person learning at each of the town’s four school buildings–whether they’ll reveal provisions to bring back all students full-time to in-school learning or create some sort of hybrid model, in which students would be split into two groups and switch off between in-person teaching and remote video learning, to minimize density in the classrooms. The third contingency is a plan for full remote learning–presumably, a model the district would turn to if the number of COVID-positive cases rises beyond the level the state says is “high-risk” for contagion.

Administrators have been working on the details pretty much around the clock this summer, as nine different subcommittees have been meeting to map out the protocols and plans for learning, communication, and cleaning; new procedures for maintaining social distance and less crowded spaces; daily procedures such as sanitizing; community responsibilities such as daily health checks; set up and maintenance of facilities; logistics of transportation; and so much more.

The plan for how students and teachers will return to school will have to be as comprehensive as possible while also being as flexible as possible to account for possible building closures and a swift transition from in-person learning to an at-home remote learning model.

Tune in tonight to hear the district’s proposed plan in more detail, via the Zoom link. In the meantime, to get a more detailed look into the district’s planning process and requirements, please see GMW’s past coverage, linked below: