VERNON, Conn. (WTNH) — On Oct. 13, Vernon elementary schools will be returning to fulltime in-person learning. That includes five elementary schools throughout the town.

Parents will still be given the option to opt for continued virtual learning, however, 70 percent have already said their students will be back in the classroom fulltime.

Superintendent Joseph Macary tells News 8, “I’m afraid that were losing precious time and that’s my sense of urgency to bring them back.”

Dr. Macary says there’s a specific urgency for younger students because they learn the building blocks of their education. In fact, he says since they’ve been virtually learning from home, they’ve seen a negative impact through testing and assessments.

“We’ve got a learning loss, as a matter of fact we are in the middle of doing formative assessments and reading comprehension and the regression is staggering. It’s huge, biggest regression I’ve ever seen,” said Macary.

Josh Egan is the principal at Maple Street School.

“We’re ready to have them back,” said Egan.

The superintendent is confident the mitigation strategies in place will protect staff and students.

The mitigation strategies include:

  • Face coverings at all times for students and staff
  • Regular hand-washing for students in bathrooms
  • Reconfigured water fountains to avoid germs
  • Sanitizing and cleaning all tabletops and desks
  • Cohorting of students and contact tracing
  • Twice daily cleaning of high-touch areas
  • Self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Social distancing, maximizing where feasible
  • Visual markers and positioning in hallways
  • No public entry and limited visitors
  • Bagged breakfast and lunches in the cafeteria
  • Enhanced building cleaning every day

Lindsey Robbins is a second grade teacher. She says it’s important for her students to get back to the classroom fulltime.

“Well they’re missing on that consistency for sure. So, if were teaching one kind of concept one day on a Thursday, I don’t see them for another week so it’s a lot of review to get them back to what they just learned,” said Robbins.

With the current hybrid model students are only in school twice a week,

“It’s hard to have them go to school online and then come back into school. It’s hard, there’s a lot that they’re missing so they need to be here,” Robbins says.

Fifth grade student Leylani Pena is looking forward to being back with her friends five days a week.

She tells News 8, “It’s different because when you’re on the computer. It’s harder, but when you’re with your teacher it’s a little easier.”

So far there have been no positive Covid-19 cases among students in Vernon. Thursday, they had a bus driver test positive and after contact tracing, only one student has had to quarantine out of precaution.

Principal Egan said, “I don’t think we could have a better plan moving forward right now in terms of our safety aspect and what’s going on inside the building.”

There’s been no talk regarding when middle school and high school students will be returning to fulltime in-person learning. For now, both schools will stay with the hybrid model.