2022-2023 Welcome Back

2022-2023 Welcome Back
Posted on 08/30/2022

Dear Students and Families,

By now, you have received your school-based welcome back letters and have begun to plan for the start of the school year on Tuesday, August 30th. We are excited to start the year and have been preparing for it since school closed in June.  

Here are some highlights of work to facilities:

  • Gym floors at both the High School and Middle School were stripped and repainted. They have a brand new look that features our Ram, the “OS” insignia and a great “GO RAMS” message.  They are beautiful!

  • The light poles at the High School turf field have been installed. Electricity should be running to them very soon.  It looks promising for night games this fall.  A tentative celebratory event has been scheduled for September 9 at the first home game played on a Friday night. There will be more information soon.

  • The air conditioning project has continued at Goodwin Elementary over the summer.  You can’t see much yet, but a lot of underground work has been completed, including the improvement of the electrical system.  Now, rooftop work is starting. At this time there has been a delivery of all the materials needed to begin installing piping to classrooms. If you are in the building, you may hear footsteps on the roof over the next few months. This project has been slowed by supply chain problems, but chillers are on order and should be here by May or June of next year.   

  • Our custodians have worked hard to make our buildings shine.  

There are Curriculum and Instruction Improvements

  • Teachers engaged in professional learning on so many topics this summer.  Some participated in training in experiential learning and many, at Goodwin, participated in Responsive Classroom training. 

  • Various curricula were updated and some were tweaked to match State standards and directives.

  • Administrators met for some long days this summer to set goals to move the second year of our 2021-2026 strategic plan forward.  These goals will be shared in a short video in the coming weeks. 

Staffing

  • Each school has new staff this year.  The school leaders will introduce you to the staff at open houses and through letters home. We worked very hard to engage teachers, para-educators and coaches during this time of unprecedented staff shortages.  Fortunately, Old Saybrook has a great reputation and applicants choose to come here.  

  • We added an additional section of Kindergarten this year based on increased enrollment. 

Bus Routes

  • Bus routes will be posted at each school and can be found on our website.  Remember that our high school and middle school students will be riding the same buses this year. They will be separated in sections. Middle School students will sit in the front and high school students will sit in the back of the bus. 

  • Don’t forget that the new start time at Old Saybrook High School is 8:00AM. 

COVID 19 and how we will continue to respond to it

  • Masks will continue to be optional at this time. This is subject to change.

  • We will follow the State Department of Education and CDC guidelines as we always have.  Here are the guidelines from the State: Fall-2022-Operational-Strategies-K12_08012022_FINAL.pdf (ct.gov)

    • Please note the Test and Go protocols in the document linked above. 

Test and Go -- If a student or staff member has sniffles or other cold/allergy symptoms, take a test and, if it is negative, come to school.

  • Here is the link to the CDC website page regarding exposure, quarantining, testing and other best practices.  

  • Students and staff who are exposed to COVID 19 do not need to isolate unless they become symptomatic or test positive. Masks and other precautionary measures are recommended. 

  • Students and staff who are presumed positive because of symptoms and exposure, or test positive will be isolated for five days. 

  • Students and Staff who return to school/work after their fifth day of isolation (day 0 being the day they became positive) will wear a mask for five additional days.  They should also take other precautions.

  • Old Saybrook Public Schools will not cohort students as we did last year. This is subject to change at any time. We will seek the input of our medical advisor and the CT Area River Health District when considering a change in practices. 

Athletes and COVID 19 - Return to Play

The CIAC recommends that student-athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 follow return-to-play guidelines established by medical professionals. Currently, the CIAC recognizes the joint guidance issued by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the guidance issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as medically reviewed and established guidelines. It is important to note that beyond the isolation period, some athletes have required medical clearance because of potential complications caused by the illness. 

Remember, COVID isn’t the only health risk we face during the academic year. Anyone with flu, flu-like symptoms, COVID and/or COVID symptoms including those who have tested positive for Flu (influenza) or COVID should remain home until symptoms have resolved or significantly decreased. You should be fever-free without fever reducers for 24 hours and your symptoms should be resolving. Five calendar days of isolation is what CDC recommends as a minimum. Day 0 is the day you test positive.

Music Students 

Choirs will sing, masks optional, in the OSMS auditorium, OSHS Chorus Room, and the Goodwin music room for no longer than 45 minutes at a time, spaced three feet apart.

Bands will play, no bell covers, in the OSMS and OSHS Band Rooms for no longer than 45 minutes, spaced three feet apart. During chamber music units, when students play in smaller rooms, they will use bell covers, and will continue to be spaced three feet apart (this will appropriately limit capacity in smaller rooms).

I am looking forward to a wonderful year ahead.  We have so much to look forward to so let’s get started!