The Danbury Board of Education has received an update on the opening of a new school year today. Superintendent Kevin Walston says all school buildings are reopening for the district's roughly 12,000 students. To prepare for the new academic year, Danbury hired 120 certified staff members 18 non-certified staff members.
Over half a million dollars in furniture was ordered so students can be at least three feet apart, meeting the CDC recommendation. Walston notes that at the middle school level, given space constraints, they are unable to maintain three-foot distancing in every single classroom. When distancing is not possible, other mitigation strategies like masking and hand washing are encouraged. Tents will once again be used at the high school during lunch sessions.
Desk shields will be up only when students are unmasked and eating. Walston says it's been determined that desk shields are not necessary because they could impede air flow. For some of the desks it also didn’t really fit well, and interfered with learning. The back-to-school plan follows state guidelines.
Students under age 12, who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccination, can participate in a voluntary weekly testing program. Masks are required indoors and on buses.
Open house and school-wide parent events will remain virtual, or outdoors. Until further notice, nonessential visitors will not be permitted into the school buildings.