Connecticut's #1 City School District for 3 Years in a Row!

October 29, 2020
A Message From NPS Superintendent
Dr. Alexandra Estrella
Last week, we let families know that we needed to look closely at what a rise in COVID-19 cases would mean for in-person instruction at Norwalk Public Schools. The State of Connecticut had classified Norwalk as a COVID “red zone” due to the recent sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Municipalities in the red zone have confirmed positive cases above 15 per 100,000 people, based on a 14-day average.

Since that time, additional cases have been confirmed at NPS, requiring more quarantines. We had to make the difficult decision to move several buildings to full remote instruction, because in-person staffing levels would have been below what is necessary to effectively operate a school.

Since last week, our district leadership team has worked together to review the latest available information. We have consulted with the Norwalk Health Department, Mayor Rilling, Board of Ed members, our medical advisor Dr. Norman Weinberger, as well as school principals and nursing staff. A review of the most recent data shows that cases are continuing to rise. While we remain hopeful that a vaccine will be available in the future that will significantly reduce the COVID risk, we also know that the current uncertain situation could continue well into the winter.

We also heard concerns from parents and staff member who are worried about physical health, social and emotional well-being, and the challenges of childcare for working parents. With the effective health and safety protocols that the district has in place since the start of school, we know that schools can be one of the best places for children to be, aside from at home.

(Continued....)

NPS COVID Action Plan Overview  

  • Hybrid option to remain in place for middle and high school students 

  • In-person option to remain in place for elementary students, certain students with disabilities and English learners

  • Full remote option remains available to all 

  • Potential for two-week closures at individual schools where only remote learning would be offered

  • One-day closures and remote learning at individual schools for cases confirmed late in the day or over the weekend 
Educational Equity Survey Reminder
Dr. Fergus of Temple University is looking for feedback from across all of Norwalk's diverse communities. All parents and guardians are encouraged to take the Temple University & NPS Family Survey on Equity in Education. Input will be utilized to develop the next Strategic Operating Plan. The survey closes November 8. 
Urgent NPS Notifications And Opting Into Text Messages

In keeping with our commitment to the health and safety of our students, NPS sends out notifications to guardians when urgent matters arise. These notifications are sent via email, text message and automated voice message. To ensure that you receive these notifications, please make sure to contact your student’s school directly for any changes or updates in your student’s guardian contact information field. If guardian information fields are incorrect or blank, you will not receive phone or email notifications when urgent events arise.
 
To ensure delivery of notifications via text message to your mobile device, you can also specifically opt in. Click here for instructions on how to opt-in.
 
Additionally, we encourage all families to rely on official sources for accurate information. Urgent notifications, such as school closures, are also communicated in the following places:

Live Interpretation Available For Board Workshop & Business Meetings

Full Board of Education workshop and business meetings are live streamed on Zoom and the NPS YouTube channel. Meetings can now be viewed in Spanish and Haitian Creole, with live interpretation available during meeting by through the Zoom meeting link. Recorded translations are posted on our YouTube channel for later viewing.

No School For Students November 3

Tuesday, November 3 is a Professional Development day for school staff due to Election Day. There will be no student instruction on November 3. Schools will be closed for all students.
Revised NPS Calendar

In taking a closer look at the 2020-21 school calendar, we confirmed that there was an extra day included by accident. To make sure the calendar aligns with the agreed-upon 188-day school year, NPS has altered the calendar to reflect a day off for all school staff and students on February 11. To see the updated calendar, click here
 
Friday, February 12 and Monday, February 15, will remain as planned days off for all NPS students and staff to coincide with President’s Day.
NPS Students To Celebrate Veterans Day In School On November 11

Each year, NPS students across the district celebrate veterans with assemblies and special events. Students and staff will celebrate Veterans Day this year on Wednesday, November 11. Although celebrations will look a bit different than in the past, our veterans will be recognized and applauded for all that they have done to keep our country safe.
NPS Shout Out - Wolfpit Elementary School
This week's “NPS Shout Out” video features Wolfpit Elementary School. Click here to watch the clip on the NPS YouTube page!

Each "NPS Shout Out" highlights the fantastic learning and hard work that is taking place in our schools each day! Videos are shared in the district newsletter as well as on the NPS YouTube page, website and social media. 
Sign Up For November Sessions of
NPS Parent University
Don’t miss the November sessions of Parent University focusing on how to incorporate high quality learning experiences at home to support your digital learner. These sessions are free and designed by NPS educators to help provide both parents and students the tools they need to achieve in today’s 21st-century hybrid classrooms.

November 4
 

 
November 11
 
Halloween Recommendations from the City Of Norwalk

City officials strongly discourage traditional Halloween activities, such as trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, indoor haunted houses, costume parties and social gatherings this weekend. Gathering with groups of people who live outside of the same household, prolonged close contact, and touching shared objects increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. More information can be found at norwalkct.org
Board of Ed meetings will be held by videoconference until further notice.

Full Board of Ed workshop and business meetings, as well as committee meetings, will be Live Streamed on the NPS YouTube channel at the times listed below. More information on the process for public comments for Board meetings will be available on our website.

Meetings also will be recorded and available
on YouTube within 24 hours of the meeting time listed below.

Tuesday, November 3, Professional Development/No School for Students

Tuesday, November 10, Policy Committee, 5:15pm

Tuesday, November 10, Board Workshop, 7pm

Wednesday, November 11, Finance Committee, 6pm

Norwalk Public Schools
125 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06852
Phone: 203-854-4000
This newsletter is compiled & published by the
NPS Communications Department.
Have a question about our school district or an item to share?
Contact Brenda Wilcox Williams, Chief Communications Officer, williams@norwalkps.org, or call 203-854-4003.