Superintendent talks about Covid procedure updates, state of the school district

Winchester Public Schools seal
Winchester Public Schools seal

WINSTED — It has been over six months since Gov. Ned Lamont held a press conference at Pearson Middle School and said “If Connecticut can’t get their students back into their schools safely, then no state can.”
Six months later, Winchester Superintendent of Schools Melony Brady-Shanley said the school district is “in a good place.”
Brady-Shanley spoke about the current status of education in the school district, along with an update on Covid-related procedures, during an online Zoom meeting held on Monday, Feb. 22.
According to Brady-Shanley, for a full week from Feb. 15 until Feb. 19, both the fourth-grade class and a pre-kindergarten class moved to virtual learning due to two separate Covid incidents.
“The fourth-grade class went to virtual learning because our staff got wiped out due to a direct contact situation,” Brady-Shanley said. “Then we had several students that were impacted, along with the pre-kindergarten class. The pre-kindergarten classroom [went to virtual learning] due to a direct contact situation. When you have a preschool with students ages three to four, it’s really hard to keep them away from their teachers. It’s better to err on the side of caution and close that classroom. Let them all take a break and come back healthy and well.”
Brady-Shanley said that she is hopeful that, with the state’s rollout of Covid vaccines, that Covid would have less of an impact on the school district.
“In general, our school district has been blessed with being able to be in-person for as much as we possibly can,” she said. “I can’t say the same for other school districts. However, I know all school districts are anxious to be able to go back to a five-day-a-week operation and normalcy in the classroom.”
A few hours before Superintendent Brady-Shanley’s meeting, Gov. Lamont announced that educators would be prioritized for getting Covid vaccines starting on March 1.
“I can speak for our educators who will elect to get the vaccine that they are thrilled to be able to have this,” she said. “There are several things still up in the air in terms of process, including whether or not some school districts would be able to have the opportunity to be able to have onsite or town clinics, or health department clinics. Those details are still up in the air, but I think that over the next few days that information will be forthcoming to us.”
As for Covid quarantining protocols, Superintendent Brady-Shanley said that, based on an advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the school district is switching from a 14 day to a 10 day quarantine period for those exposed or have Covid.
However, she said that the district has not received any advisories from the CDC on travel, and travel restrictions.
The school district’s spring recess is scheduled for April 12 to April 16.
“I want to remind people that it’s up in the air right now,” she said. “I do anticipate the need to update the travel advisory, but right now we are following the advisories that are already in place.”

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