Safe Return to School 2021-22

A Safe Return to School & Continuity of Services Plan 2021-2022

 Side by Side Charter School Statement:

As we prepare for the start of the 2021- 2022 school year, Side by Side Charter School is committed to implementing a reopen plan that is responsive to the needs of our school community. In particular, as we prepare for a full, in-person re-opening, we will also be attending to maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment. As you know, in the fall of 2020 Side by Side put enhanced health and safety precautions in place in accordance with federal, state and local public health guidelines.  When we reopen this fall, we will maintain many of the systems and protocols that help keep us safe during the 2020-2021 school year.  Currently, we are planning for a full return to in-person learning for all, while adhering to any ongoing local, state and federal requirements. This is consistent with the approach we took over the last school year. 

Mitigation Strategies:

Side by Side’s strategies will follow current State of Connecticut guidance and may change as a result of updates.

Effective August 2021, SBS Charter School will implement the following mitigation measures:

  • Side by Side will follow the guidance of the State of CT and the Norwalk Health Department.  Based on current recommendations (as of 7/1/21)  and Executive Orders from Governor Lamont, all students and staff will be required  to wear masks when inside our school.
  • Masks will not be required to be worn outdoors.

Should Executive Orders or CDC recommended mask requirements change, Side by Side will use the following approach:

  • If masks are required, the masks must be worn properly and cover the nose and mouth in all indoor areas and transportation.
  • Mask breaks will continue to be provided at the discretion of staff and faculty
  • Masks shall be removed for eating and drinking
  • If masks are NOT required by the State of CT, Department of Public Health or the Norwalk Health Dept, staff and students will be allowed to make a choice about whether to wear them.  Mask wearing will be encouraged in the following cases:
    • If the individual is not vaccinated
    • During flu season
    • In case of high COVID spread
  • SBS will continue to monitor the state and local Health Departments’; recommendations and our own health data to determine the proper guidance on mask wearing
  • Social distancing of 3 feet will be maintained in all settings including lunch spaces to the best extent possible  
  • Ventilation will be continuously monitored to ensure necessary air flow
  • Both SBS buildings will be cleaned and sanitized according to adopted procedures
  • When necessary, contact tracing will be conducted in cooperation with the Norwalk Health Department
  • Dividers and desk shields will no longer be required
  • COHORTING: Side by Side will implement the following practices for cohorting:
    • All students in PreK-8 will remain in typical classroom cohorts but WILL BE ALLOWED to travel to other classrooms for their specials and/or interventions
    • Students from different classes/grade levels will be allowed to play with student from other grade levels during recess
    • We will continue to monitor which groups of students were together for the purpose of contact tracing
    • Cohort rules and procedures may change and become more restrictive in the event that there is a surge in local COVID-19 cases.

Learning Model:

Beginning in August 2021, Side by Side Charter School will implement an in-person learning model. Student learning will be supported with:

● Social emotional supports, including the development of a social emotional learning team and the implementation of a social emotional screening for all K-8 students beginning October 2021. 

● Assessment of all K-8 students in the fall to determine instructional needs, including but not limited to increased small group and individual instructional time for students in need of accelerated learning supports. For students attending Side by Side’s summer ExCelerate program, this process has already begun. 

● Collaborative instructional teams will work together to revise curriculum and align instruction in support of student learning needs.

Additional Resources:

This plan was created based on the original Reopening Guidance written in July 2020, and submitted to the CT State Department of Education, as required. It outlines, in detail, our safe return to school, in compliance with all necessary health and safety mitigation strategies. This plan was updated in June of 2021 to reflect the Interim Guidance for Summer School and Enrichment Opportunities, published 5/21/2021. It will continue to be reviewed every time new guidance is released from the CDC and State.

Please provide comments to this plan using this survey form. Thank you.