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Minutes of Redding Board of Education Special Meeting, 08/11/2020

AGENDA: Redding Board of Education Special Meeting

RECEIVED 08/18/2020 2:18pm
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

Held Remotely Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7B
 Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 512 827 8190 Passcode: 06896

August 11, 2020– 6:00p.m.

Board members:  Parkin, Pilato, Hocker, Hoffman, Oulton, Reilly, Whaley
Administration:  Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Del Conte, Amori, Hammond, Amodio, Wallin, Hankla
Others:  100+ members of the public and staff

C. Parkin called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m.

Victoria Ericson, Starrs Ridge Road, Redding
Mrs. Ericson wishes to receive something in writing detailing what the Temporary Learn from Home option entails.  Families need to understand this option better.


N. Hammond stated that 27 new children are enrolled at Redding Elementary School for the fall.  Sixteen students have moved out. Enrollment is near 500 students.

Kindergarten: 103 students (5 classes)
1st grade: 93 students (5 classes)
2nd grade: 81 students (4 classes)
3rd grade: 92 students (4 classes) There will be 22-23 students per class.
4th grade: 99 students (5 classes)

Dr. Amori shared that John Read Middle School will have a total of 339 students, including 18 additional new students this year.  There will be twenty or fewer students in each class if we open in the all-in model.

S. Reiss, Director of Finance & Operations, reviewed the Health Insurance Fund Balance. $310K from unspent funds will be moved to the Health Insurance Balance as previously prescribed by the Board.  Budget Object Summary showed an unexpended balance of $317K, but $430K is the latest total because of Health Insurance contribution and oil pre-buy changes that have occurred since the report was printed.  S. Reiss said he will close out the fiscal year and report out in September update.

J. DelConte, Director of Special Services, and J. Hankla shared that there is a new format for comparing special education numbers from one year to the next.  The numbers of special education students are on the decline due to students moving to the high school and effective interventions.

Dr. Amori reported that an anonymous parent donation in the amount of $5,000 has been made for the purchase of student Chromebooks.

Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education accept, with gratitude, the amount of $5,000 to acquire Chromebooks. Hoffman, Hocker. Approved.  Unanimous.


Redding Elementary School:
N. Hammond began her presentation by restating that the safety and health of students is at the core of all decisions regarding the reopening of the building.  She and J. Amodio proceeded to review the new protocols and scheduling changes made necessary because of the pandemic.  There is increased signage is visible throughout the building, educating students about new protocols. Students will be provided multiple opportunities to hand wash.  Masks and shields will be provided for all students. Face shields will be labeled, and cleaning procedures will be implemented.  There will be mask breaks during snack time and lunch/recess.  To limit sharing, large zip locked bags will be used to keep individual student supplies. N. Hammond recommends preparing students for school mask use by practicing extended use over the summer. Primary teachers will wear masks with clear fronts to facilitate language acquisition.  Clear plastic barriers will add an extra layer of protection.  There are some barriers that can be used for small groups.  The cohort strategy was reviewed.  There will be no visitors allowed in the building.  Extended Day program will be in effect.  There will be no water coolers; students are asked to bring refillable, labeled water bottles.  There will be access to water, if students forget.  High touch surfaces will be cleaned daily.  Bathrooms and doors will be propped open; cohorts use only the bathroom closest to their classroom.  Floors will be marked to direct traffic in the hallways. Stairwells will be one direction only.  The main office will have clear plastic shields.  Desks will be 3-6 feet apart, faced in the same direction; extra furniture has been removed to provide the needed space. The teacher has a portable desk shield.  The new arrival and departure protocols were reviewed.  Cafeteria/lunch protocols were reviewed.  Additional time is built into the schedule for daily community building including Morning Meeting.  There are extended uninterrupted blocks for instruction in core areas.  Classroom teachers will be allowed the flexibility to create their own schedules with increased intervention blocks and time for specials daily.  Google Classroom will continue to be used for lessons and materials.  Scheduling for the Hybrid Model was reviewed.

John Read Middle School:
Dr. Amori wishes to thank Mrs. Skidell for the new JRMS logo.

Dr. Amori’s presentation highlighted any safety protocols or scheduling differences between JRMS and RES.  There will be a table in the lobby where materials can be dropped off for students.  The morning paid program will continue to start at 7AM. All other students may be dropped off beginning at 8AM when supervision begins.  Each grade level is a cohort and will remain in a particular area of the building as much as possible.  Refillable water bottles will be necessary.  Bathrooms are designated by grade, two students at a time in the restrooms, the door propped open.  Students will not have access to lockers in order to limit congregating in tight spaces therefore necessitating minimal supplies carried in student backpacks from class to class.  Other safety measures include hallways marked to indicate traffic flow; doors propped open; and desk shields utilized.  STEM class will utilize plexiglass dividers.

Arrival and departure protocols were reviewed.  Cafeteria/lunch protocols were reviewed.  Scheduling and classroom changes were reviewed.  D.Wallin is balancing class sizes and passing times in the hallways will be staggered.  Advisory is now called Homebase, a time when social/emotional needs are supported.  Scheduling for the Hybrid Model was reviewed.



J. DelConte shared that the department is committed to the IEP to the greatest extent possible. She is  awaiting further direction from the Connecticut Department of Education (SDE). Consideration for each of the reopening models was reviewed.  If the All-In model is used, some services may be delivered virtually from one location of the building to another location.  If the Hybrid model is used, some ¨high needs students¨ will have the option to attend four days a week.  If the All Out model is used: The IEP will be delivered to the maximum extent possible.  The point person remains the Case Manager.

J. Del Conte clarified differences in the terms Homeschool, Homebound and the Temporarily Learn from Home model.  If students with IEP´s opt for this model, the department will work collaboratively with families to plan.

Health and Safety, Scheduling and Academic protocols for Special Services were reviewed.  Clear masks will be utilized by staff when this can facilitate instruction.  The department will work with families to help students to wear masks for extended periods of time.  Some staff will have gloves and scrubs in addition to what is provided to all staff.  Physical barriers are being utilized, for example in the testing room.  Specific training is needed for staff working with high needs students.  Different cohorts may be working together to get the services they need.  All 504 and IEP meetings will be held virtually.

Health and Safety, Scheduling and Academic protocols for Pre-school were reviewed. Guidelines come from the Office of Early Childhood and the State Department of Education.  Preschoolers are not required to wear masks; however, because the program is housed at Redding Elementary School, they are strongly encouraged.  Social stories will be utilized to help students tolerate masks. Staff will be equipped with gloves, gowns, facial shields and asked to wear long sleeves. Extra measures will be taken to sanitize toys, cleaned at the end of each day. Currently there are between 10-14 students in each class.  Guidelines state classes can go up to 18.

H. Whaley thanked everyone for their work on the reopening plans.  She believes the more staff wearing clear masks at RES, the better, in order for children to see faces.

C. Pilato thanked the administration for so much information.  She is concerned that in creating this plan, we may be compromising other safety issues, for instance doors propped open or food allergies if students eat outside of the cafeteria.  She asked if the Hybrid model is chosen, can families still opt for the Temporary Learn from Home model?

M. Hoffman is most concerned about special education students in both the Distance Learning and Hybrid models.

J. Reilly asked that we consider the new students, assuring they are welcomed to the school community.

He would like to know more about K-1 students eating in classrooms.  N. Hammond stated that. C. Distler, nurse, has approved spacing.

S. Oulton shared that she was contacted by teachers who requested that staff remain home on Wednesdays in order for deep cleaning to occur in the buildings.

C. Hocker thanked the administration for their work.  He said to always expect the unexpected and have at the ready a framework to respond quickly.

C. Parkin thanked the administration for their hard work.  He clarified with Dr. Amori that in both the All-In or Hybrid model, a regular schedule will be followed.  He stated that additional discussion on the matter of the reopening plan will be conducted at tonight’s Tri-Board meeting at 7:30.

C. Pilato asked if the three boards need to agree on the model chosen to begin the year.  Parkin replied that the model is ultimately determined by the Superintendent with the Boards asked to endorse the decision.


H. Whaley welcomed new families to Redding.

Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education meeting be adjourned. Hoffman, Whaley.  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:27 p.m.

Submitted by Colleen Pilato

Redding Board of Education Secretary
Recorded by Liz Rimkunas