Following news of a gathering of Wilton High School students that took place one week before the reopening of school, with reports the participants did not follow recommended guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Wilton school officials have called an unexpected Special Meeting today to discuss reopening.
The Board of Education will meet Tuesday, Aug. 25; an Executive Session is scheduled for 4 p.m. and an open meeting will take place at 5 p.m. via Zoom.
The agenda for the Executive Session lists one item for discussion: an “attorney-client privileged memorandum providing legal advice regarding school reopening.” A discussion on reopening plans is to follow at the open meeting with a possible action item also on the agenda, listed simply as “School Calendar.”
Superintendent Kevin Smith has not responded to requests for comment or clarification on the meetings. He also has not released any statement since the news report of the student gathering over the weekend.
UPDATE: BOE chair Deborah Low told GOOD Morning Wilton, “The Board will review our readiness to reopen schools. The health crisis presents ever-evolving challenges. We need to review the latest information on a variety of topics against our goal for a safe, healthy, and smooth reopening.”
During the most recent BOE meeting last Thursday, Smith made an unexpected change to the start of school schedule, requesting the Board allow him to cancel the first two in-school half-days for students on Wednesday, Aug. 26 and Friday, Aug. 28, so that teachers would have more time to prepare to implement the district’s new learning management system, Schoology.
In addition, he cited delays in getting the school buildings ready for students, and being behind schedule on installing COVID-19 mitigation elements, including hand sanitizing stations, directional signage, and more.
The moves came after complaints from some teachers about the district not being ready to open safely.
Other talking points that may be up for discussion include how the district will proceed with plans for restarting fall sports. After the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) met last week, CIAC has postponed and delayed some team sports activities, and the DPH recommended modifications for football and volleyball.
To submit public comments to be read at the BOE meeting, send an email with “Public Comment” in the subject line, and include name and address to Lucille DeNovio. The email will be read and reviewed during public comment.