Cummings: Fairfield school reopening 'Making solid progress'

FAIRFIELD — With the second week of the school year coming to a close, Superintendent Mike Cummings said there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus.

According to a release from the district, the Fairfield Public School District said it is closely monitoring both its hybrid and remote learning models.

“Much of the feedback has been positive,” Cummings said. “We still have work to do, but we’re making solid progress.”

The district said no student or staff member had tested positive COVID-19 as of Thursday.

“We count ourselves as very fortunate, and know that this could change at any time,” Cummings said. “The process and protocols we have put in place seem to be working well right now.”

He said the district is able to work closely with the Fairfield Health Department to ensure that individuals who should be in quarantine are not coming into the schools. The district said it has a COVID-19 dashboard on the front page of its website and has let families know they will be contacted in the event of a positive case.

“We have an obligation to keep the community informed,” Cummings said.

The release also spoke to the district’s plan to evaluate the hybrid learning model on Sept. 25, and decide what learning would look like in the comings months.

“The decision to implement the hybrid approach was largely based on social distancing,” the district said. “State guidelines recommend maximizing social distancing between student workstations, achieving 6 feet when feasible.”

The district said allowing a minimum of 3 feet around a student desk makes it possible to achieve the six foot distance but also required the district to reduce the number of students in buildings by 50 percent leading to the hybrid model.

“Obviously, this continues to be a limiting factor moving forward,” it said.

The district also said reopening the school buildings has shown that appropriate physical distancing is more than just the space around student’s desks. Building spaces continue to be evaluated for entrance and exit design to avoid crowding at arrival and dismissal.

The district said it is also monitoring cafeteria capacity and flow during lunch waves, hallway and staircase directionality and use of outdoor spaces, including playgrounds.

“As part of the ongoing evaluation process, Fairfield Public Schools is undertaking a building-by-building survey of ‘key school characteristics’ as defined by the state to be assessed as part of the decision-making process to consider more in-person, hybrid or remote instruction,” the district said.

“Beyond physical space considerations, these include cohorting, compliance with face coverings and self-screening, HVAC and cleaning/disinfecting protocols and supplies,” it said.

The Board of Education planned to tour several schools Sept. 18; data on the key characteristics would be shared during the meeting scheduled for Sept. 22.

The public is invited to attend the meeting virtually and submit comments on agenda items.