Stamford Public Schools to Close for Two Weeks

Eric Kelly and Lindsay Scordato

Stamford Public Schools announced in an email to families Thursday morning that the district will close all schools for a minimum of two weeks in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Additionally, all sports, groups, and clubs are temporarily postponed until further notice. This announcement comes following temporary closures of neighboring districts such as Westport, Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien, New Cannan, Wilton and New Haven. Teachers will meet for a partial day Friday to discuss and potentially prepare to implement distance learning options.  Expect regular updates through your school email and other official channels.

Teachers were given time after school Wednesday to prepare for potential long-term closures. However, in a March 11 email to district staff, Stamford Education Association President Diane Phanos said, “For short term closures (up to two weeks) the CSDE recommends that school districts close with no distance learning instead of onsite schooling to avoid issues of potential of inequities, staff contractual issues, and special education concerns.  Please note that when a school district closes and does not offer distance learning instead of onsite schooling, it is generally not required to provide special education and related services to students. The CSDE recommends that school districts make up school days during these short-term closures during vacations and/or in June.”

In order to avoid having to make up any days missed, districts must submit waivers to the state asking for exemption from the 180-day requirement. According to Phanos, Superintendent of Schools Tamu Lucero has indicated that a waiver request would be submitted.  Phanos also said that the CSDE advises that waivers related to school closures beyond two weeks will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  In order to have the days exempted, the district must have proof that we have provided ongoing education for all students while they are home.

During this time Round Table staff would like to remind everyone to adhere to the CDC guidelines for cleanliness and safety.  The Round Table will keep students updated as more developments unfold.