The Wilton Board of Education has voted to postpone the start of in-person learning for a week, saying the town needs more time to prepare. Hamden has also pushed back the start of school for a week, citing a shortage of teachers.
Instead of returning to the classroom next week, Wilton students will learn remotely on a half-day schedule until Sept. 4. Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith said teachers will have the afternoon to better train for the technology needed for distance learning. The district previously had decided on a hybrid learning model for the school year.
Smith made the recommendation to start the year online at a special meeting hosted over Zoom Tuesday night.
“I see my role as shepherding our administrative team, our teachers, our families to that common goal of participating in a public education that is one, safe for all stakeholders, and two, high quality,” said Smith.
He said Wilton has seen five new coronavirus cases over the last six days, though officials aren’t sure whether recent gatherings were to blame. Still, it’s a reason that Health Director Barrington Bogle recommended delaying a return to the classroom.
“We did speak about some students engaging in activities and families and other community members engaging in activities that were not really, not in keeping with the health and safety parameters,” said Smith.
Media website Good Morning Wilton obtained a picture of several high school students together after a scavenger hunt, which is a senior-year tradition in town. The board would not address the incident directly to protect the students’ privacy.
Smith said another reason for the delay is that several orders for personal protective equipment have been held up.
Meanwhile, Hamden has pushed back the start of school to Sept. 15. This comes after two high school teachers tested positive for COVID-19.
In Danbury, school won’t resume in-person classes until at least Oct. 1, and New Haven school officials said their students will begin with 10 weeks of remote learning.