Many teachers in Stratford concerned as district moves forward with in-person learning amid rising COVID cases


STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There are mounting concerns about moving to in-person learning in Stratford as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in cities across the state.

Starting Monday, kindergarteners, first-graders, and English Language Learners can learn in-person four days a week. Families do have the option to stick to the hybrid learning model or with the full distance learning cohort.

And frankly, many teachers are concerned. One teacher spoke to News 8 about the plan Sunday.

Robin Julian is a kindergarten teacher at the Victoria Soto School in Stratford. She says she’ll now have 16 students in her classroom under the district’s reopening plan.

And she isn’t the only one concerned. News 8 was told 100 teachers sent letters to the superintendent and Board of Education urging them not to move forward.

Some of their concerns include rising COVID cases, cleaning of school buildings, and lack of social distancing with more people in the building.

“I want my kids to be able to come into my room, sit two at a table, and share their crayons and hug me every morning and walk outside for recess and play with each other,” Julian explained. “We’re not there yet in the world…I’m so afraid we’re going to go back with kindergarten and [first grade] and it’s going to shut down the entire district because there’s going to be some kind of major case.”

In a letter Superintendent Dr. Janet M. Robinson sent to News 8, she maintains the safety and well-being of the students is their top priority and adds, with the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, changes can happen quickly and they’ll be ready to respond.

The letter goes on to say, “Currently, our plan is to begin a gradual re-entry beginning with K, Grade 1, and all ELL students next Monday, November 16, followed by Grades 2, 3, 4 on Monday, November 23, and Grades 5 & 6 on Monday, November 30. Families who wish to remain on remote learning certainly may choose to do so. This plan, of course, is dependent on having enough staff to cover all classes. When staff or students are exposed to the virus in or out of school, they must quarantine for 14 days. So, our schedule will depend greatly on the health of staff and students and the date from our local Department of Public Health.”

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