2021-22 Return to School Plan
Naugatuck Public Schools 2021-2022 Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan
Introduction and Background
Despite the unique circumstances of the pandemic, our mission and vision as a school district remain the same - to ensure that each and every student in each and every class develops into the Vision of the Graduate through engagement in rigorous academic experiences with social and emotional support, care, and guidance. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, Naugatuck Public Schools implemented a 2020-2021 Return to School Plan based on the CSDE’s guidance to support that mission. Our adaptable and responsive plan safeguarded the health and safety of our students and staff while continuing to provide the best education possible, regardless of time and place. The collective efforts of our faculty, staff, and families to implement the plan allowed us to maximize in-person learning. Because of our robust plan and community-wide commitment, Naugatuck Public Schools is poised for a safe return to fully in-person instruction in September 2021.
The CT State Department of Education, based on federal guidelines, has required that school districts publish a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (hereafter referred to as the Safe Return Plan) by June 23, 2021. The Safe Return Plan must address a series of health and safety strategies, as well as plans for ensuring the continuity of services including, but not limited to, academic, social, emotional, and food services in the event that in-person instruction is not available. The plans must be published and developed with stakeholder input and public comment.
The 2021-2022 Safe Return Plan has been developed in alignment with Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut's Plan to Learn and Grow Together-Fall 2021, the requirements and guidelines of the Connecticut State Department of Education. Please note that the strategies contained here are based on current guidelines and may change as updates and/or guidance from the CSDE changes. Naugatuck Public Schools must follow all requirements of the Connecticut State Department of Education.
Access and Opportunity for All
Health, Wellness and Safety for All
Meeting and Exceeding High Expectations
Health and Safety Strategies
Universal Mask Policies
In accordance with CDC recommendations and Executive Order 13a, and CT DPH Mask Order, all students, staff, and individuals will wear face masks when they are inside the school building. Mask use will not be required outdoors. All students, faculty, and staff will be provided with a cloth face mask at the start of the school year. Naugatuck Public Schools is prepared to provide a mask to any student or staff member who does not have one, or whose mask becomes unusable. The masks will be available in the school buildings, Central Office, and on the buses. Face shields, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to faculty and staff for special circumstances as needed.
The important point about masks is that our masks will help to protect each other. The CDC has additional guidance on why masks help us to keep one another safe.
Through a variety of media, the district nursing supervisor will teach and reinforce the correct use of cloth face masks.
- Provide staff, students, and students’ families information on facemask guidelines.
- Frequently remind individuals not to touch their face covering and to wash their hands frequently.
- Building principals, in conjunction with the district nursing supervisor, will schedule mask breaks throughout the day for all children.
- A face shield is not a sufficient alternative to the wearing of face masks, but rather both should be worn for additional protection. Face shields protect the eyes, nose, and mouth from contamination from respiratory droplets, along with masks or respirators.
The following exceptions are allowed:
- For anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, per CDC guidance.
- For any student or staff who has a medical reason, making it unsafe to wear a face mask. Students and employees who have medical reasons, making it unsafe to wear a mask, shall provide documentation to the School Nurse and direct nursing supervisor from a licensed MD/DO/NP attesting that the medical condition prevents them from having the ability to wear a mask safely.
- For students, while eating, drinking, or when outside, and effectively practicing social distancing and any other possible mitigants. Exceptions may also be necessary for certain students with special needs.
- For teachers and staff, while teaching so long as they are properly socially distancing or while eating, drinking, or when outside and effectively practicing social distancing.
- In a unique circumstance of an emergency restraint, a student who is being restrained will have their face mask removed for the duration of the restraint. Staff will wear appropriate PPE while engaging in the restraint.
Naugatuck Public Schools will promote the physical distancing recommendations from the CDC and state guidelines within our school community. NPS will:
- Maximize physical distancing within our schools to the extent possible provide a minimum of three (3) feet of space between students in all school building settings, including classrooms and lunch spaces (measured from the center of one seat to the center of the next).
- Maintain six (6) feet of distancing between adults.
- Maintain a minimum distance of at least 3 feet of space between individuals in situations of increased exhalation, such as while singing; shouting; playing instruments (band); engaging in sports; or exercise. In all cases, more space is better.
Class Grouping and Teams (Cohorts)
Students in K through grade 8 will be assigned a cohort when possible. A “cohort” is a group or team of students and educators with consistent members that stay together throughout the day. This will ensure that their movement around the building is minimal and help to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Cohorts will also assist with contact tracing when necessary.
Cohorts will be heterogeneous in nature, and the mixing of cohorts will be minimized to the greatest extent possible. Depending on the school plan, cohorts may have different points of entry into the building.
- K through Grade 8:
- Students will be assigned to a homeroom where they will receive all of their instruction. When necessary, teachers will rotate into those rooms to conduct their instruction.
- When necessary, Unified Arts teachers and teachers of electives will push into classrooms, rather than have students move throughout the building.
Classroom desks and tables will be placed facing forward. Desks and tables will be separated to maximize physical distancing within the classroom to the maximum extent possible. In an effort to maximize space and enhance disinfecting protocols, classroom rugs, porous materials, and nonessential furniture will be removed from classrooms.
NPS will limit sharing of high-touch objects that are difficult to regularly clean, such as, but not limited to: electronic devices, pens, pencils, books, games, art supplies, and lab equipment.
When it becomes necessary to share materials at school, students will engage in hand hygiene before and after the activity and school personnel will clean the materials as appropriate.
Outside Time and Playgrounds
Naugatuck Public School administrators will minimize exposure to COVID-19 from playground and fitness equipment use. Guidelines for use of equipment will include:
- Only the team cohort uses it at a specific time.
- Hand washing before and after use, or use of hand sanitizer.
Each cohort will have a time to go outside separate from other cohorts. Supervision will be increased during this outdoor time to monitor social distancing to the maximum extent possible.
After-School programs at all levels serve an important purpose in the social, emotional and intellectual lives of our children. In our after-school programs, our children could discover their passion, make new friends, form new bonds with adults and peers, and discover talents they weren’t even aware they possessed. Given their importance, the district will work with after-school partners who use our facilities as we transition back to school.
All programs will be required to follow the specific guidance in this document, including the use of face masks that cover the nose and mouth, and practice social distancing to the maximum extent possible.
The district will make every effort to use space effectively when considering after-school programs so that they are able to adhere to the requirements of this document.
After-school programs will consider using physical spaces for on-site, after-school programming that minimizes students’ exposure to others in common areas, and when feasible, keeps cohorts together to mitigate the spread of illness.
School clubs will run as usual with social distancing of six feet and face masks worn by all participants and facilitators.
All fall sports programming will follow the guidelines provided by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) in accordance with local and state health department requirements. Please see CIAC Fall 2021 Sports Guidance.
Field trip approval will be based on state guidelines and current community transmission data.
To mitigate exposure to COVID-19, visitors to our school buildings will be limited. When it is necessary to come into the building, visitors will need to make an appointment and prior to arrival, complete the at-home Visitor COVID-19 Screener. Masks are required.
Meetings, including parent-teacher and PPT meetings, will be conducted virtually or in-person. Meetings that occur in-person should be scheduled in advance and will include all safety protocols including, but not limited to: appropriate physical distancing; wearing a mask; and completing the at-home Visitor COVID-19 Screening Form.
In addition, volunteers, whom we value in our schools, will be limited, per guidance from the CSDE. Volunteers are permitted to assist with indoor and outdoor activities and events. Volunteers must abide by all safety protocols including, but not limited to: appropriate physical distancing; wearing a mask; and completing the at-home Visitor COVID-19 Screening Form.
Health Practices, Protocols, Monitoring and Containment Plan
Naugatuck Public Schools is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff. This includes educating all members of our school community about staying and keeping others safe.
The district will provide adequate supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol (for staff and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, cloth face masks (per guidelines), and no-touch/foot-pedal trash cans.
Additionally, the district will educate and train the school community in the standard public health practices to help them make appropriate decisions and comply with school health policies and practices. The CDC lists standard precautions here. Related to schools as workplaces, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also provided important measures for control and prevention that should be communicated to the school community. The district has used these recommendations in its plans to provide safe learning and working conditions.
In addition, schools will provide frequent reminders to students and staff of the importance of these precautions. In addition to posters and the initial unit of study, building leaders will re-engage staff in safety protocols and make morning announcements reminding students of important actions they can take everyday to keep everyone safe. Posters and signage can be found here.
Naugatuck Public Schools will work with the local health department and state agencies when it comes to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Reporting Illnesses and Addressing Vulnerable Populations
Naugatuck Public Schools will adhere to all reporting guidelines and requirements when it comes to COVID-19 cases. The school nurses will not diagnose COVID-19, but will initiate a screening and contact families when a child is sent to the nurse’s office for illness.
When to Stay Home
Students and staff will be informed by their school if they are sick with COVID-19 related symptoms, particularly if they had a known contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also had contact with the school population. They must stay home when they are sick, especially if they have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever and cough.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided guidance that confirms that, during a pandemic, it is permissible to ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus (such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat). Employers must maintain all information about employee or student illness as a confidential medical record.
The district nursing supervisor will be responsible for receiving and safeguarding this information. She will also:
- Educate staff and families about when to stay home. Schools should properly communicate the content of this or any updated guidance. The CDC web site has up-to-date information about when to stay home.
- NPS will follow and communicate the guidance for domestic and international travel from the state of Connecticut and the CDC.
- Instruct staff and students (or their parents and guardians) to perform a self-assessment prior to leaving for school to identify fever and other possible COVID-19 symptoms. Communicate this expectation and provide families with reminders about the symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that require keeping their students at home.
- Implement and communicate school-wide sick protocols, including signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and temperature thresholds requiring students or staff to stay home.
- Each school will have an isolation room with proper ventilation where students exhibiting symptoms of illness will be cared for until they are picked up by a designated adult.
- The district will not participate this year in any “perfect attendance” or other programs that incentivize coming to school. It is important for faculty, staff and students to stay home if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and receive the proper medical care and testing, if necessary.
Suspected Cases of COVID-19 in School
When a child or adult is sent to the school nurse with symptoms of COVID-19, the name, date and symptoms will be recorded by the nurse, along with an accurate temperature reading.
- The child or adult will be placed in an isolation room and monitored until they are picked up or have clearance by the school nurse to leave.
- The isolation room will be monitored at all times and the person monitoring the room will use appropriate personal protective equipment.
- The response team will identify the areas where the adult or student has been and initiate a cleaning protocol of those areas.
NPS Confirmed Cases of COVID-19
In accordance with the guidelines from the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD), any Naugatuck Public School staff member or student who has a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus must isolate at home. NPS will notify the school community of the positive case and will collaborate with the NVHD to conduct the contract tracing.
The Naugatuck Public Schools COVID-19 Dashboard tracks data to help inform operational decisions. The dashboard is updated daily on the district’s website Monday through Friday by 9 p.m. Naugatuck Public Schools is committed to protecting the privacy of individual students, faculty and staff while simultaneously sharing the general COVID-19 related health status of our school community. In light of this, student and staff information will be combined.
The data included in the dashboard includes all individuals who are under quarantine, including those exposed at a Naugatuck School, from a family member, or in the community. As individuals are cleared to return to work or school they are removed from the dashboard.
Contact Tracing, Isolation, and Quarantine
Testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases identified in PreK-12 students and staff, isolation of infected individuals, and quarantine of close contacts, will continue to be a necessary part of PreK-12 school operations in the coming year. However, some aspects of these processes have been updated by CDC, the details of which can be reviewed here. Of particular note:
- “Close contact” is defined by DPH as spending at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 within 24 hours. A member of the NPS or NVHD staff will notify individuals who are considered close contacts. CDC has included an exception in their definition of a close contact for students in a classroom setting. Students (not teachers or other individuals) within a classroom setting (not on buses or in other non-classroom settings) do not need to be considered close contacts if they are not within 3 feet of a known COVID-19 case for 15 minutes or more (cumulative over a 24-hour period), provided:
- contact between students happened exclusively inside a PreK-12 school classroom (e.g., no additional contact in a cafeteria, on a bus, during sports, outside of school, etc.)
- both parties were wearing a well-fitting mask consistently and correctly during the entire duration of their contact
- the student who is considered to be a close contact remains asymptomatic
Travel Guidance: Please contact the school nurse if you have traveled domestically or internationally.
Naugatuck Public Schools has revised guidance for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic per CDC Travel Guidance Updates as of October 15, 2021. These guidelines have been developed with the health and safety of the entire NPS community in mind, in accordance with the latest information and requirements from the Connecticut Department of Health, the Naugatuck Valley Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All NPS community members are being asked to follow these recommendations in the interest of their own health and the health of others.
Domestic Travel Recommendations (within the United States or to a U.S. territory)
The following Domestic Travel guidelines are recommendations not requirements. For more information, see Domestic Travel During COVID-19.
International Travel Recommendations
The following guidelines are requirements. For more information, see International Travel During COVID-19.
Attendance and Attendance Monitoring
Naugatuck Public Schools will create a welcoming, restorative community environment in each school this fall. Schools closely monitor attendance and engagement data. This data will offer crucial real-time information about whether students are responding to engagement strategies and are on the path to learning. Data on chronic absence and lack of participation in school are clear indicators of where the district will invest outreach and support as we partner with families to engage students in learning. Schools will implement the following steps:
- Step 1: Establish or reestablish an attendance team.
- Step 2: Review attendance data and establish priority groups. Teams will use data to identify which group(s) of students most need additional engagement and to better understand their strengths and challenges.
- Step 3: Craft engagement strategies. Teams will take a multi-tiered approach to engagement, especially for priority student groups, that starts in the spring, continues in the summer, and is amplified in the fall.
- Step 4: Reflect, learn and improve. After each phase of work, teams will assess what worked and what can be improved for the future.
Reporting a Student’s Absence
If a student is going to be absent, parents will follow the normal attendance protocols by calling the school to notify them.
If a student is going to be absent due to quarantine or self isolation and are feeling well enough to work from home, then the student will transition to distance learning via their teacher’s Google Classroom and Google Meet. These situations will be addressed with the assistance of the building administrator and your child’s teacher.
Diagnostic Screening and Testing
Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is intended to identify occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection at the individual level and is performed when there is a reason to suspect that an individual may be infected, such as having symptoms or suspected recent exposure. Examples of diagnostic testing strategies include testing symptomatic teachers, students, and staff who develop symptoms in school, and testing asymptomatic individuals who were exposed to someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
Naugatuck Public Schools has partnered with the Naugatuck Valley Health District and Griffin Hospital to host several vaccine clinics on-site at Naugatuck High School. Clinics were offered to all employees of the Naugatuck Public Schools, and students aged 5 and above. Vaccination clinics will be publicized through ParentSquare and other district and school communication platforms.
Facilities and Operations
Naugatuck Public Schools is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff by implementing cleaning and disinfection schedules and procedures that comply with guidelines from the CDC and CSDE.
Throughout the summer of 2021, facilities and maintenance staff will be busy preparing for the reopening of all of our schools. All physical spaces including, but not limited to, classrooms, offices, hallways, common areas, lockers, walls, and bathrooms will be cleaned, disinfected, and ready for the 2021-2022 school year.
NPS has developed cleaning and disinfection protocols and schedules which include routine cleaning of all areas of the school used throughout the day that are not touched frequently such as floors, windows, and walls, and increased cleaning and disinfection schedules of frequently used, or “high touch,” areas and surfaces.
Cleaning and Disinfecting:
Cleaning removes germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects, while disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects.
Step 1 - Cleaning: Surfaces will be cleaned with soap and water or a commercial cleaning product prior to use of disinfectants in order to reduce soil and remove germs. Dirt and other materials on surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of disinfectants. Custodians will wear disposable gloves while cleaning and disinfecting. For combination products that can both clean and disinfect, instructions on the specific product label will be followed to ensure effective use.
NPS has identified the following cleaning and disinfection products for use throughout our facilities:
- Cleaning Products:
- Soap and water: Detergent products (soap) and water are effective for surface cleaning and are very effective at removing the virus that causes COVID-19 from surfaces.
- Properly diluted ES64
- Disinfecting Wipes (Clorox, Lysol etc.)
- Sporicidin RTU (EPA N List for deep cleaning approved for use against COVID-19)
- Lysol Aerosol Spray
ES64 is both a cleaner and disinfectant which must be used twice to be effective. First, the product is used to clean the surface. It is then allowed to air dry. ES64 is then used again and remains on the surface for the contact time stated on the label (10-minute dwelling time).
The cleaning products listed above comply with the Connecticut School Green Cleaning Law. To the best of its ability, Naugatuck will comply with the Preferred Purchasing Program for cleaning products that comply with the Green Cleaning Law.
Step 2 - Disinfection: Cleaning of soiled areas must be completed prior to disinfection to ensure the effectiveness of the disinfectant product. Disinfection products may be used in school settings as needed at any time. Student interaction with the disinfectant should be considered and discussed if students are in the building. NPS has identified the following cleaning and disinfection products for use throughout our facilities:
- Disinfection Products:
- Properly diluted ES64 for use as a daily disinfectant (see directions for use above).
- Disinfecting Wipes (Clorox, Lysol etc.) for use as a daily disinfectant.
- Sporicidin RTU (EPA N List for deep cleaning approved for use against COVID-19)
- Lysol Aerosol Spray
Label directions must be followed when using disinfectants to ensure the target viruses are effectively killed. This includes adequate contact times (i.e., the amount of time a disinfectant should remain wet on surfaces to be effective), which may vary between five and ten minutes after application. Disinfectants that come in a wipe form will also list effective contact times on their label. For disinfectants that come in concentrated forms, staff should carefully follow instructions for making the diluted concentration needed to effectively kill the target virus. This information can be found on the product label. Custodians should take the following precautions when performing larger-scale disinfecting:
- Wear disposable gloves
- Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure:
- safe and effective use;
- how to apply disinfectant products, including dilution instructions;
- and length of necessary contact time for the disinfectant to be effective at killing the virus.
- Allow disinfected surfaces to air dry. Do not use fans or other mechanical means to shorten product drying times.
- Wear skin protection and eye protection for potential splash hazards (i.e., Sporicidin).
- Ensure adequate ventilation by opening windows or ensuring ventilation system fans are running properly.
- Use no more than the amount recommended on the label.
- Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label).
- Avoid mixing chemical products.
- Label diluted cleaning solutions.
- Store and use chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
- Employees with asthma or underlying respiratory problems should review the disinfectant’s safety sheets and consult with their medical or health provider.
Disinfecting is the responsibility of school custodial staff. Custodians are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner. Facilities staff are reminded to ensure procedures for safe and effective use of all products are followed. Custodial staff do not need to wear respiratory protection (e.g., masks) while cleaning unless there is an outbreak. PPE, including gloves and eyewear, have been issued to all custodians. Safety instructions are listed on product labels and should be followed. All used gloves will be placed in a bag that can be tied closed before disposing with other waste. Custodial staff will wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after removing gloves or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly soiled.
Cleaning and Disinfectant Schedules
- Nurse's Office and Isolation Room: Clean and disinfect all surfaces daily after the end or before the beginning of the school day. Spot clean high touch areas throughout the day. Respond to emergencies and clean and disinfect as required, including after each episode of isolation.
- Classrooms and Occupied Work and Learning Spaces: Clean and disinfect all surfaces daily after the end or before the beginning of the school day. Spot clean high touch areas throughout the day. Respond to emergencies and clean and disinfect as required.
- Bathrooms: Clean and disinfect all surfaces and areas of every bathroom in use at least twice daily, including either after the end or before the beginning of the school day, and throughout the school day. Spot clean high touch areas throughout the day. Respond to emergencies promptly and clean and disinfect as required.
- Main Entrances, Offices, Hallways, and Common Areas: Clean and disinfect all surfaces daily after the end or before the beginning of the school day. Spot clean high touch areas throughout the day. Respond to emergencies promptly and clean and disinfect as required.
- Lunch and Breakfast in Classrooms: Trash in every classroom must be emptied after breakfast and lunch. Respond to spills as needed throughout.
- Lunch and Breakfast in Cafeteria: Clean and disinfect all cafeteria tables or desks between each lunch wave.
- Other: Clean and disinfect the surfaces of all other school areas used for learning or activities before the beginning of the school day.
High Touch Areas
Soiled and frequently touched surfaces can be reservoirs for pathogens, resulting in a continued transmission to people. Therefore, for pathogenic microorganisms that can transmit disease through indirect contact (transmission through contaminated surfaces), extra attention must be paid to surfaces that are touched most often by different individuals. As part of standard infection control practices in school settings, routine cleaning should be continued and disinfectants used daily on common-use and high-touch areas.
In addition to the cleaning and disinfection protocols outlined in the handbook and this document, custodians should spot-disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the day. These surfaces include but are not limited to:
- Door handles, push bars and push plates everywhere
- Light switches
- Classroom door windows
- Classroom sinks and faucet handles, counters
- Classroom tables/chairs
- Elevator push buttons
- Locker handles
- Water fountains/bottle filling stations
- Restroom doors, handles and push plates
- ADA Bars
- Toilet and urinal handles
- Sanitary napkin dispensers
- Sink and faucet handles
- Toilet paper, soap, and paper towel dispensers and handles
Routine Building Cleaning
Unless otherwise specified in these guidelines, custodians and maintenance staff will continue to follow the cleaning schedules set forth in the NPS Custodial Handbook. Such duties include, but are not limited to: the daily emptying of trash; dusting; wiping heating and AC vents; sweeping; mopping; and vacuuming of high traffic areas. In addition, custodians will perform the cleaning duties outlined in this document to provide a healthy, clean, and safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.
Classroom / Student Materials
Classroom and student materials such as Chromebooks, tablets, manipulatives, pencil boxes, etc. will be disinfected daily by classroom staff using disinfectant wipes.
Playscape / Playground
The surfaces of the playscape (i.e., swings, slides, poles, handrails, etc.) will be cleaned before the start of the school day by the custodian. One cohort will be permitted to use the playscape at a time. Students who use the playground must wash their hands before and after use.
All custodians, maintenance, and faculty and staff working in a school building will be trained in the aforementioned cleaning guidelines, with additional training offered as guidance from the state or CSDE changes.
Signs and Messages
Naugatuck Public Schools has arranged for all school buildings to be equipped with floor stickers and signs that direct the flow of foot traffic around the buildings, keeping with guidance on maintaining a safe environment. These signs and floor stickers will be accessible to all students, at appropriate heights and spacing. When possible, signage will be in other languages.
- Signs will be in restrooms and near sinks to wash hands.
- Regular communication with staff, students and families about sanitation will be disseminated and announced regularly.
Naugatuck Public Schools will ensure the ventilation systems in all buildings are functioning optimally. Good ventilation will not only help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but it has also been shown to improve student and staff performance in educational settings. NPS, as part of it's American Rescue Plan (ARP) application, is currently developing a plan to bring in increased outside air to specific schools without central ventilation systems.
In order to ensure that ventilation systems are functioning optimally, NPS will:
- Commission building mechanical systems for full occupancy.
- Operate all ventilation systems at full capacity for one (1) week prior to the reopening of school buildings.
- Limit changes to the mechanical systems (i.e., thermostats, fan speeds, etc.).
- Communicate with staff regarding the changes to the ventilation as a result of the guidance from the DPH.
- Flush the air inside the building for a minimum of two (2) hours prior to occupancy and one (1) hour after occupancy (after the night-shift custodians leave), with the dampers open as fully as possible (i.e., to maximize fresh air intake) during this flushing period.
- Program and lock fan schedules to align with the building occupancy schedule (i.e. provide flushing ventilation starting two (2) hours before building occupancy and one (1) hour post occupancy).
- Develop a system for building users to notify the facilities department if the building needs to be open longer than usual so that the fan schedule can be altered for that day.
- Keep the ventilation system running during all hours that the building is occupied.
- Teachers or other staff will not be allowed to make changes to ventilation system controls in their respective rooms.
- Run bathroom exhaust systems all day, every day (24 hours a day/7 days a week).
- Implement and track the preventative maintenance plan (PM) for mechanical systems, as specified in the commissioning process.
- Install air filters with a MERV-13 rating or higher in all central ventilation systems.
In order to maximize the available dilution ventilation and minimize the spread of virus particles in our schools without central ventilation systems, NPS will:
- Open windows to allow for some minimum level of fresh air exchange into occupied spaces (where temperature allows).
- Ensure that window air-conditioning units are adjusted to maximize fresh air intake into the system. Air conditioner blower fans should be set on low speed and pointed upward and away from room occupants to the extent possible.
- Adjust ceiling fans so that fins are rotating in a direction that draws air up toward the ceiling rather than down onto occupants.
- Ensure that window fans are turned to exhaust air out of the window in the direction of the outdoors. Ensure that fans are not blowing out of windows directly into walking paths or areas where individuals may congregate. Use child-safe fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows. Safely secure fans in a window to blow potentially contaminated air out and pull new air in through other open windows and doors.
- Prohibit window fans that blow air into a room or free-standing fans that only serve to circulate existing air around a room.
- Add a supplemental portable air cleaner (HEPA Filter)* to all isolation rooms. These portable air cleaners will:
- Contain HEPA filters only without ionizers, ozone generators, UV light, or other add-ons.
- Be correctly sized for the space, with an appropriate CADR (clean air delivery rate).
- Be located for greatest efficiency within the space.
- Be turned on at all times that the space is occupied.
The guidelines do not recommend separate, free-standing air cleaner or HEPA filter units for individual classrooms.
As noted above in the Cleaning and Disinfectant Schedule, all bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected a minimum of twice daily. In addition, high touch surfaces within the bathroom, including but not limited to: toilet, urinal, stall handles, sanitary napkin dispensers, sink and faucet handles, toilet paper, soap, and paper towel dispensers and handles will be spot-disinfected throughout the day.
Ventilation will be optimized in school bathrooms by running the exhaust fans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Due to ventilation considerations, hand dryers have been disabled. Paper towels will be used in all bathrooms. Posters will be hung in all bathrooms to remind students and staff to properly wash and disinfect their hands.
It is recommended that, when possible, students are transported to school by a family member and picked up by a family member each day. In the event that this is not possible, transportation services will be available to all eligible students.
Naugatuck Public Schools will maximize physical distance between children on school buses to the maximum extent possible (i..e., seat children one child per row, skip rows, etc.). Masks are required by federal order on school buses and other forms of public transportation in the United States. Windows will be opened to improve ventilation when it does not create a safety hazard.
- All passengers, including the driver, will be required to wear a face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth during transit.
- The passenger’s face mask must be in place prior to boarding the bus and must be kept in place until they are completely off the bus.
- Passengers should load into the bus from the back row to the front (where the first passengers onto the bus sit in the back row) and then unload the bus in a controlled manner upon arrival at the school from front to back by seat. This will reduce the number of passengers walking by as they get on the bus and will prevent crowding in the center aisle when the bus arrives for unloading.
- Passengers from the same household should sit together.
- Students will sit in assigned seats.
- School staff will assist with safely exiting children from the bus upon arrival to ensure that students are leaving their seats from front to back, one seat at a time.
- No student may change seats at any time during their bus ride.
- Students may not ride a bus other than their district assigned bus(es) (i.e., no going to a friend’s).
Mask Wearing on Buses
Per federal order, everyone on a school bus at any given time will be required to wear PPE. The driver will wear a face mask and ensure all children coming onto the bus have a mask in place. For anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, or anyone who has a medical reason making it unsafe to wear a face mask, face masks should not be required, per CDC guidance.The nursing supervisor will communicate exceptions to the bus company manager.
Masks will be available on all buses to ensure that students getting on the bus have one to wear.
Cleaning and Sanitation on Buses
STA, the district’s transportation provider, will ensure that all buses, vans, and other vehicles used to transport children are regularly cleaned and sanitized after each bus run. STA will maintain a log that records the date, the time, and the type of cleaning that occurred. STA will provide copies of the log to the NPS Business Manager upon request.
The transportation service provider will also:
- Train employees to recognize symptoms of COVID-19 that can be observed by the bus driver.
- Train employees in cleaning and maintaining their vehicle to insure the health of their passengers and minimize exposure to harmful chemicals by cleaning well before and after students are on the bus. The district has created resources to assist in the training.
Continuity of Services
Learning Model: Fully In-Person
Naugatuck Public Schools believes that an in-person environment is best for students. In September of 2021, Naugatuck Public Schools will implement a fully in-person learning model for Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade and Adult Education. Student learning will be supported at all levels through opportunities for extending learning, social, emotional and counseling support services, and acceleration and support of instruction based on identified student needs.
These high impact practices and habits include:
- High quality instruction with integrated digital tools and resources
- Multi-tiered system of instructional and behavioral supports
- Formative assessment process and progress monitoring
- Multiple means of demonstrating and assessing learning
- Multiple means of accessing learning
- Developing student agency
- Cultivating strong and supportive relationships with students and families
In alignment with the CSDE’s Acceleration Framework:
“It is imperative that special education teams are included in planning for the acceleration of learning within the school district to ensure that students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) have access to such opportunities and that IEPs continue to align with the curriculum and content standards being addressed. Planning and Placement Teams (PPTs) may need to consider whether the student requires additional accommodations and/or modifications to access and make progress in the acceleration programming.”
Unless directed by the CSDE and DPH, the district is committed to providing in-person learning in a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff, adhering to all guidelines from federal, state and local authorities.
In the event that a classroom or school must close due to COVID-19, academic learning, food services and therapeutic services will continue, and school-based nurses will be available.
Transitioning to Distance Learning (if needed)
Principals and their staff will develop plans for transitioning students and teachers to the online environment should the district be ordered to move to remote learning by the governor or CSDE. Each student will be provided a Chromebook at the start of the school year and will bring Chromebooks to and from school each day. Teachers will use Google Classroom consistently to ensure that the transition to distance learning, if needed, is quick and seamless. Students and families will receive information on participating in distance learning from their teachers, and administrators will coordinate staff and oversee the implementation for their teachers. The primary communication tool will be ParentSquare, and all information families will need to transition to distance learning will be communicated by their child’s building principal.
It is important to maintain open lines of communication and clear communication systems when staff and students work virtually. Ongoing, timely communication with families, students, staff, and the community will occur via the Naugatuck Public Schools web site and ParentSquare. All important information and resources will be posted in both locations. In an effort to reach all stakeholders, a variety of other platforms will also be used for communication. These platforms will include digital tools including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, print resources, including local newspapers and signage, and virtual forums.
Naugatuck Public Schools will not offer a remote learning option for the 2021-2022 school year. All schools and programs Pre-K through 12th grade and Adult Education will be in-person.
Short-Term Distance Learning
Naugatuck Public Schools, in accordance with the established Interim Guidance for Remote Learning from the Connecticut State Department of Education, will approve individual student access to remote learning (distance learning) opportunities on a case by case basis in response to the documented and verified need to quarantine as indicated by the Naugatuck Valley Health District. (Please note that students who are absent for reasons other than COVID-19 will not have a remote learning option.)
- When there is a documented and verified need for students to quarantine or self-isolate and students are feeling well enough to work from home, they will transition to short-term / temporary distance learning.
- Teachers will post assignments electronically via their teacher’s Google Classroom for students to complete asynchronously.
- If students require materials from school for distance learning, arrangements will be made for a family member to pick up the materials at school.
- An NPS staff member will provide students with virtual grade level check-in opportunities from an NPS staff member to ask questions and receive guidance and support with assignments. Grade level check-ins will be offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
- Classroom teachers will continue to review assignments and provide direct feedback to each student in their classroom.
- In the event that a building, classroom or cohort of students must quarantine due to COVID-19, information on transitioning to distance learning will be provided by the district or the school principal.
- CT Law no longer allows the use of distance/remote learning for school closures due to inclement weather or emergencies. Unless the guidance changes, all closures for inclement weather will be traditional “snow days” where schools will close and the day will be made up in June.
- Parents and guardians of students who are required to quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19 should contact the school nurse to provide documentation/ verification of the need to quarantine. The school nurse will communicate distance learning approval with the building principal and classroom teacher.
Longer-Term Distance Learning
In the event that the governor or CSDE closes schools due to the pandemic, NPS will transition to fully remote learning programs Pre-K through 12, including Adult Education.
- Should NPS be instructed by state authorities to initiate a hybrid model of learning to reduce the number of students in a school building on any given day, a plan will be communicated to families by the school principals or the district.
Return to School
The superintendent of schools, in collaboration with the local health department, district medical director, district nursing supervisor, and others, will make the decision of when staff and students will return to the school building.
The Office of the Superintendent will communicate to its school community about returning to school. The superintendent will use the district website as well as district communication tools like Parent Square and social media to alert staff and families when it is safe to re-open our buildings and enter into either a hybrid model of learning or full, in-person learning.
During the closure, admittance to the buildings will be limited and possibly restricted. If possible, the superintendent will give notice of building openings so that teachers can begin to prepare their classrooms for in-person learning.
Naugatuck Public Schools will continue to implement a 1:1 Chromebook program so that students will have immediate access to technology whether at home or at school. Chromebooks will be brought to and from school each day by every student in their protective cases. This full 1:1 implementation will allow all students to easily transition between any learning model the district needs to initiate and remains seamless for students as conditions evolve. Device chargers are to remain at home to limit the amount of materials being brought between school and home. Spare chargers will be available at each school in the event that charging is needed.
All students and families will have received a copy of the district’s Acceptable Use Policy, the Acceptable Use Administrative Regulations and the 1:1 Chromebook Policy that affords each student a Chromebook to use at home for hybrid and distance learning.
Should a Chromebook fail to work properly, teachers and staff will notify the I.T. Department through their established service ticket system. Once a problem is reported through the ticket system, I.T. personnel will schedule it for repair as soon as possible.
Should families and students who experience issues with Chromebooks while in quarantine or self-isolation should contact their child’s school for assistance.
Assistance with Internet Access
The district works with Comcast Internet Essentials, as well as other programs and services that offer low cost options for families to get online. The district also keeps a supply of 4G hotspots that are available to students and families who require them.
These are available to families upon request. A school-based team can create a technology service request and a 4G hotspot device will be assigned to the student and scheduled for pickup.
Naugatuck Public Schools is devoted to providing the highest quality education to students. Regardless of time and place, the academic experience of each and every student in Naugatuck schools will be consistent, rigorous, and designed to meet the high expectations espoused in the NPS Competencies and scoring guides.
Naugatuck Public Schools has created a handbook for its faculty that addresses instructional, curricular, and assessment expectations whether the district is engaged in in-person or remote learning. Also included in the handbook are plans required by the Connecticut State Department of Education regarding expectations for:
The handbook offers exemplars in the form of videos, Google Slides, and innovative assignments from Naugatuck Public School teachers. It also offers access to professional learning opportunities that teachers can access on their own as well as recorded webinars on the district Professional Learning site.
The handbook can be accessed here. It adheres to state requirements and guidance, and uses the feedback from teachers, families and students.
Social and Emotional Learning
Naugatuck Public Schools values the Social and Emotional Learning of its students and continues to work to embed SEL into its curriculum and instruction. For more information about SEL in our Teaching and Learning Plan, please see the NPS Teaching and Learning Handbook.
Districtwide SEL Team
In the Spring of 2020, NPS created the COVID-19 Closure Resources and Support Team. The team members consist of school staff that provide support services to students and/or who are connected with community resources. The purpose of the team is to plan resources and organize support to families, students, and staff during the COVID school closure, upon reopening, and on-going. While planning will continue throughout the summer and into the 2021-22 school year, the team has recommended the following:
- A Google classroom that includes resources and ideas for teachers to support students.
- Partnering with community agencies to provide counseling support.
- Transition activities for students transitioning between buildings, which may include virtual tours and/or virtual orientations.
- Individualized support for students identified by school teams, which may include individual meetings, social stories, and individualized transition plans.
- School staff should receive training in recognizing and supporting students who have experienced trauma.
- Teachers will identify students who need additional support through their Tier 1 instruction, including lessons specifically designed to focus on the impact of the school closure.
- Continuation of the RULER program, which includes daily check-ins with students on the Mood Meter and strategies to support emotional regulation.
- School staff will continue collaborating closely with families to connect them to resources they may need in the community, such as mental health services and basic needs.
Nutrition and Food Services
Naugatuck Public Schools is committed to ensuring every child has a nutritious breakfast and lunch every day. We will continue to meet the needs of all children by offering free breakfast and lunch to all students who attend Naugatuck Public Schools. We will continue to comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) regulations and policies for school meals and milk, including the meal pattern requirements. We will continue to collect data about our school meal plan, including the number of students who take breakfast and lunch each day.
In 2021-2022 Naugatuck will operate under the USDA’s Summer Seamless Option (SSO). As such, any child under the age of 18, even those who are not registered in NPS, are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch. NPS will have the following curbside pick up for such eligible students and NPS students who have transitioned to distance learning due to quarantine or self-isolation:
- Naugatuck High School: Breakfast and Lunch from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
- City Hill Middle School: Breakfast and Lunch from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Breakfast and Lunch
Breakfast and lunch will be served in all schools during the school day. Social distancing of three (3) feet or more will be maintained in all settings, including lunch spaces. Surfaces that come in contact with food should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized (using EPA List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus [COVID-19]) before and after meals. Children and staff will wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before and after handling, preparing, serving or eating food. Tables and chairs will be cleaned and sanitized between lunch waves. Lunch menus will be posted on the school websites.
Naugatuck Public Schools will adhere to guidance from the CSDE regarding Special Education as it is released.Additional guidance regarding Special Education can be found in the Teaching and Learning Handbook under the section called “Special Services.” Some students may have needs that require unique or innovative solutions. NPS will develop plans for students in accordance with the most recent guidance from the CSDE.
Naugatuck stands ready to support its growing population of English Learners. Naugatuck Public Schools will provide support for ELs as they access academic content and their supplemental language instruction program.
EL students will continue to receive their supplemental EL instructional program in addition to their mainstream, grade-level and content-area instruction, as provided by law. Such language instruction programs may consist of a range of services, including bilingual education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Sheltered Instruction, and others.
Family Engagement and Support
As we return to fully in-person learning in the fall, we will continue to strengthen relationships and engage families in authentic partnerships. The district will continue with its mission to create full, equal and equitable partnerships and recognize that families bring valuable knowledge to the table. We seek to actively involve them in advance planning and decision-making. We will strive to do this by following Connecticut's Framework for Family Engagement which includes:
- Building collaborative, trusting relationships.
- Prioritizing what families say about their children’s interests and challenges.
- Modeling high-quality learning practices.
- Sharing information frequently with families about how their children are doing.
- Engaging students in conversations about how they want teachers and families to support their learning.
In addition, families in Naugatuck have access to a Distance Learning website where they can access information about:
- Digital programs used in the district and how to access them from a school Chromebook at home.
- How to report issues with technology.
- Information about Chromebooks and how to troubleshoot issues.
- How to log into a student’s Google account from home.
This site will be expanded and new information, tutorials and videos added as needed.
Despite the learning model, our talented educators ensure our students have access to innovative and meaningful learning opportunities. Naugatuck Public Schools will continue to provide staff with ongoing professional learning that supports implementation of high-quality instruction, engaging and rigorous curricula, and connections to social-emotional learning for all learners. The district has developed a professional development plan for the return to fully in-person learning.
Naugatuck Public Schools values the input of our school and greater community. The Safe Return Plan was reviewed with the Naugatuck Board of Education on June 10, all district and school administrators on June 14, and the Return to School Committee on June 15, 2021. In addition, the plan was posted on our website and emailed out to our school community with a survey for commentary and feedback. Information from the stakeholder groups and public comment informed our Safe Return Plan to the extent possible, given current state requirements and guidance.
Periodic Review Process
Naugatuck Public Schools will review this plan every six months in alignment with the federal guidelines:
- June 23, 2021
- December 23, 2021
- June 23, 2022
- December 23, 2022
- June 23, 2023
Understandable and Uniform Format
Naugatuck Public Schools Return to In-Person Learning and Continuity of Services Plan is written in an understandable and uniform format. The Safe Return Plan is available in English as a PDF document posted on our website. In addition, our Plan will be available as a webpage on our website. Our website uses Google Translate, which can translate our plan into approximately 109 languages. Upon request from an individual with a disability, the plan will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that individual.
Return to School Committee Members
Position / Role
Curriculum Director / Parent
Middle School Principal / Parent
BOE Member / Parent, Intermediate
Parent High School / Teacher
Parent NHS / NPC
High School Principal
Food Services Director
Parent, Middle and High School
Parent, Elementary School
Paraeducator / Deputy Mayor
NTL Vice President
NIPSEU Vice President
BOE Member / Parent, Intermediate
Director of Early Childhood Center
Director of Special Services
Parent, Elementary School