Sunday, June 13, 2021

Letters

Reopening Plan is Short-Sighted

As a one-to-one paraprofessional working directly with East Haven’s most vulnerable students, I am deeply concerned that the school reopening plan for the town does not adequately protect the health and safety of students, their relatives, teachers, and staff.

Reopening the schools on a per usual, full-time basis is short-sighted and destined to spread COVID-19 through the community. Getting students to abide by the strict social distancing and mask-wearing mandates will simply not be possible during the 25 hours per week of learning time.

The good news is that East Haven Public Schools has options—the decision is up to the district to opt for either a hybrid model of learning, or a fully online model. The town should put the safety of its education community first by adopting (at least) the hybrid model now, rather than the current plan.

Having recently worked as a Paraprofessional in a remote classroom during the extended school year summer program in East Haven, I’ve found that remote learning is a reliable option to in-person study (which unfortunately equates to illness and death in the current state of the world). It’s not perfect, but students are engaged and learning does in fact occur.

Most shoreline towns in the greater New Haven region are planning to use the hybrid model, and the city of New Haven is going all-remote for the first 10 weeks of school. I believe East Haven Public Schools must take the safe route and join the 41 percent of school districts in Connecticut which have opted for a hybrid model, instead of risking accelerating the spread of the pandemic.”

Garrett Sullivan
East Haven