Waterbury public schools rolls out hybrid, virtual reopening plan options for fall semester

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury Public Schools Superintendent Verna Ruffin announced her two-part plan for reopening schools during a public forum Wednesday night.

The first part gives parents a hybrid option: students will be required to be four hours in class then continue distance learning from home.

The second option details virtual learning through Google Classroom. The Board of Education seemed to be on board with the new plan.

In a survey given to teachers regarding these options, Dr. Ruffin said she was happy with the results.

Dr. Verna Ruffin said, “We had 1,200 teachers responding to the survey, and close to 89% said they are returning so I’m very pleased about that; I’m encouraged by that. I’m actually excited.” 

However, several teachers refused to comment on the plan and denied interviews with News 8 in fear of retaliation. In addition, according to Dr. Ruffin, only 11,000 students’ parents have responded to which model they prefer.

Out of those 11,000, she says, 40% say they’re comfortable enough to send their kids back to the classroom.

She said the district is still waiting to hear from 9,000 other students.

As for cleaning and protection against the spread of coronavirus, the Board said they have enough PPE, masks, and cleaning products for the classrooms and the rest of the buildings.

“At this time,” Ruffin says, “I think classrooms will be appropriately set up for the social distancing and we will make schedules for when the students wash their hands, when the students eat, when we are going to transition from one class to the other to avoid large crowds in the hall.”

As far as public comment during this forum, the superintendent said she would only communicate with parents who have questions about this plan in future meetings and have those responses posted to the Board of Education’s website

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