MONROE, CT — A coronavirus outbreak at Fawn Hollow Elementary School resulted in eight students staying home with COVID-19 and another 60 to quarantine, but Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza says the district learned from the experience and remains committed to its goal of keeping children in school throughout the year.
“We learned a lot in the first week of school,” he said Wednesday. “A lot of the quarantine was the result of close contact during lunch, so the Fawn Hollow team came up with a plan to further distance kids at lunch — and we anticipate future quarantines will affect fewer students moving forward.”
The Sun was contacted by one concerned parent, who is upset that no teachers quarantined and that there is no remote learning option this year for families who feel safer having their children learn from home.
“Last year, we were forced to go remote, because of staff in quarantine,” Kobza said. “This year, most of the staff is vaccinated, so that is not as much of an issue.”
At the middle and high school levels, Kobza said teachers are not teaching synchronously — to students in the classroom and remotely at home at the same time. But if students are out, the teachers turn on the cameras so they can observe the instruction.
“It’s not practical in the elementary schools, so we are asking teachers to have assignments on Google Classroom and asking adults to check in with quarantined students throughout the day,” Kobza said, adding building substitutes usually perform that task.
“We are looking at other alternatives,” he said. “We know the best thing for students is to be in school and we’re following the guidelines of the Department of Public Health with the goal of having all students in school.”
However, the superintendent said administrators are constantly monitoring the situation during the pandemic, while working closely with the Monroe Health Department, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Department of Education.
For the last year-and-a-quarter, Kobza said he also has had standing Tuesday meetings with every superintendent in the State, Connecticut DPH and the Connecticut Department of Education.