August 10, 2020
Board Members Present: Jenny Emery (via Google Meet), Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall (via Google Meet), Rosemarie Weber, and Brandon Webster.
Melissa Migliaccio called the special meeting to order at 6:31 p.m.
Board Chairman Melissa Migliaccio, shared opening remarks and said this is the board’s fourth special meeting this summer in order to get the schools reopened. She thanked the administration, Jordan Grossman, Jennifer Parsons, and their team. She also thanked the board for its efforts in attending meetings this summer as well as to board members Rosemarie Weber, Jenny Emery and David Peling for attending the Reopening Task Force Meetings.
• He thanked the administrative team for the countless hours they have put in and the work they are putting forth to ensure our students and staff come back in the safest way possible.
• Final interviews for a Middle School Assistant Principal have taken place and it is hoped that the candidate will start the school year as early as possible.
• Grossman thanked Ms. Martin and the Special Education staff for bringing students in to meet with staff for 1-on-1 skills.
• The roof project at the middle school is progressing and will be done by the start of the school year.
• There will be potential child care at the YMCA for parents and staff who may need this service.
• There will be a Special Finance Subcommittee Meeting on Aug. 18.
• A Board of Education retreat will be held on Aug. 19 and as part of the retreat there will be a facilities tour.
A motion was made by Weber and seconded by Webster that the board approve the minutes of the July 22 Board of Education Meeting. This motion passed unanimously at 6:38 p.m.
Reopening Plan Update
Grossman reminded the board that an extensive update was given at the last board meeting and that since the last meeting, the Governor has given districts flexibility in their reopening plans. Administration is bringing a reopening plan to the board this evening for a vote. Parsons provided a brief review of the district as well as individual school reopening plans. Parsons said that since the last board meeting, the new Stronger Together website was launched where each school reopening plan is available as well as the district plan and all correspondence from the superintendents.
For a responsive return, administrators have reviewed proactive health and safety measures including face coverings, traveling cohorts, social distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning protocols and, building awareness. The district has collaborated with the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD) and the CSDE to develop tools to use every day such as a self-assessment checklist, sick protocol and containment procedures.
Parsons informed the board the State has required us, and Granby is ready, to launch into any of the models for either a high COVID-19 spread, moderate spread, minimal spread or contained/vaccine (full in-person). Granby’s plan will involve all of these models. Data points will be reviewed, such as the number of cases, percentage of positive rates, new hospitalizations, and COVID-19 and flu-like symptoms. Weekly updates from the FVHD with our numbers will help to determine which of the models to employ at any given point. Parsons discussed next steps for releasing school-level plans with school-level Zoom calls and videos.
Migliaccio inquired if the FVHD released guidelines today and if the board could get a copy or have it put on the website. Parsons said they will be up on the website. She also inquired about containment procedures. Parsons informed the board that if there is a suspected case, the FVHD will be called for assistance with contact tracing. There is not one specific procedure but rather a lot of what-ifs.
Migliaccio asked if the FVHD will be updating the district daily for Granby only and Parsons stated the FVHD will be giving the district a weekly report and access to Hartford county and the state as a whole will also be available. She also said that the FVHD would let Granby know if it sees a jump in the numbers. Mark Fiorentino asked about someone needing to be tested—how does that happen and how will the results be received. Parsons said that at a point in the sick protocols care will be turned over to the parent/health provider to advise the individual to test or not test. Fiorentino expressed concern about lag time between people being tested and receiving the results. Parsons said that the containment plans in the sick protocols state how long a person needs to stay home and when they can return. This is contingent upon if the person was tested or just having symptoms and all of those scenarios are accounted for.
Emery inquired if students can learn online if they are home sick. Parsons stated, yes, this can happen, and students will have access to what is posted in SeeSaw and Google Classroom. However, she does not know the extent that material will be available online.
Brandon Webster inquired about substitute teachers. Grossman said the district is still working on getting substitute teachers and told the board that the district posted bus monitor positions.
Adoption of Fall 2020
School Reopening Plan
The board discussed the adoption of the Fall 2020 School Reopening Plan. A motion was made by Weber and seconded by Fiorentino: The Granby Board of Education hereby adopts the Fall 2020 School Reopening Plan and directs the Superintendent of Schools to revise the plan as needed. Migliaccio shared that on the CABE listserv other board chairs around the state are weighing in on how each district is approaching its own plan and several comments that “this our plan at the moment” because the situation is so fluid. The motion is drafted to adopt the plan as it is today but directs and empowers the Superintendent to revise the plan as needed. Fiorentino stated this is a difficult decision and believes it is best for students to be in school and interacting with their teachers. There is no such thing as a perfect plan, however, this plan is a good one. This motion passed unanimously at 6:59 p.m.
Approval of Full Reopening Dates
The board considered approval of tentative full-reopening dates for Kelly Lane Primary School, Wells Road Intermediate School, Granby Memorial Middle School, and Granby Memorial High School.
A motion was made by Migliaccio and seconded by Peling, that the board approve the tentative full reopening dates for the district that will occur following a transition period using a hybrid model beginning on Sept. 1, and pending health metrics and preparedness.
The full reopening dates are as follows: Kelly Lane Primary School and Wells Road Intermediate School on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and Granby Memorial Middle School and Granby Memorial High School on Monday, Sept. 21. Grossman said that when the Governor announced that there would be local control, the district conducted a survey to see where the community stood on this issue.
Last week a questionnaire was sent out and 88 percent responses were received (1,544 responses); 1,252 students will attend in-person (81 percent); 263 students are opting into the online environment (17 percent) that will be taught by an online certified teacher; and, 29 students will not return to the Granby Public Schools —moving, homeschool, etc. In consultation with the FVHD, it recommended for schools to come back in a hybrid model where 50 percent of the population comes back at a time. This will help to establish health and safety routines in smaller groups. It will also help staff and students to build relationships with one another and assist with social/emotional wellbeing.
Grossman said he is recommending an approximate 10-day transitional entry by breaking the community into Maroon (A-K)/Gold (L-Z) teams with Kelly Lane and Wells Road coming back in full on Sept. 16 and the middle/high schools coming back in full on Sept. 21. Migliaccio said that overwhelming communication in the community is to get the students back in school as often and as safely as possible. She appreciates the plan for the transitional entry and supports it with the hope that Granby will return to a full reopening.
Emery inquired if teachers are in support of this plan. Grossman said he has been speaking with the teachers’ union president and is working on a Memorandum of Understanding. Fiorentino inquired if middle school/high school students might be on campus for sports on their off day. Grossman said, yes.
Webster commented he likes the transitional entry and thinks it is a good way to ease students into wearing masks, etc. Fiorentino inquired if the split A-K and L-Z is a fair split especially for Hartford students and blended families. Parsons stated administrators will speak more about this issue tomorrow and will be looking at the split in various ways.
Peling inquired how we can best serve the students in-person and online learning with regard to staffing. Grossman said the survey was a tool to find out how to best service both sets of students to a high level. Some staff members will be asked to teach remotely to children who are learning at home. The level of detail in the plan is a challenge and Migliaccio appreciates the work. She inquired what will happen with parents who opt out and want to opt back in. Grossman stated families are being asked, if possible, to opt back in at the beginning of a marking period. This motion passed unanimously at 7:26 p.m.
There was no need for an Executive Session/Non-Meeting, and a motion was made by Migliaccio and seconded by Weber to adjourn the meeting. This motion passed unanimously at 7:26 p.m.
Rosemarie Weber, Board Secretary
Editor’s Note: Minutes for the July 13 and July 22 BOE meetings are available on the town’s website.