As vaccinations increase, so does in-person attendance at Monroe’s schools

MONROE, CT — Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza told the Board of Education he was encouraged to see kids playing softball outside and the buzz of activity inside school buildings last week, which was “the first full week of the entire district” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Lane said the district asked families to to choose to come back from remote learning after spring break and, at the high school, from cohorts A and B, to have full in-person learning.

“The result is a number of families have moved back to full in-person learning,” Lane said.

During Monday’s board meeting, Jockey Hollow Middle School Principal Michael Crowley and Masuk Principle Steven Swensen gave updates on in-person learning at their schools.

“It’s been great,” Crowley said. “Probably the best thing that I’ve heard in the last week has been teachers who said, ‘I didn’t need to keep my camera on. I had my full class of students in front of me for the first time since March,’ and it’s like they are renewed. I think parents are happy. Kids are happy. The teachers are really happy.”

Of Jockey Hollow’s 783 students enrolled over both the main campus and STEM, he said 71 are still fully remote and don’t come to school at all. Last week he said over 95 percent went to school in-person on the main campus, along with over 82 percent of STEM students.

At Masuk, Swensen said in person attendance was not as high, but is on the rise.

“We finally hit the 600 mark for the first time last week and today we had our highest ever,” he said. “We went over 650, almost to 660.”

Swensen said about 58 to 63 percent of the total student population has been going to school in-person.

“We still do have about 20 percent that are fully remote, and then another just under 20 percent choosing to come in as either cohort A or cohort B,” he added of hybrid learning.

Swensen thanked the district for offering the hybrid option, rather than forcing families to be all in or all out.

“We’re doing much, much better,” Swensen said. “I think Liz said it best, ‘hot diggity dog the kids are back in school.’ There’s noticeably more life in the building. It’s good to see more kids in school. It really is. So hopefully the trend continues and we can finish strong.”

“Our final transition next week is back to the 2 o’clock dismissal time and full days of school, and reopening our cafeteria,” he said.

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