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Norwich schools to remain in hybrid learning through December

Norwich — Norwich Public Schools will remain in the hybrid learning model until at least Dec. 23, the start of the holiday break, Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow announced Monday.

“I am not comfortable returning the district to a full in-person learning with the current positivity rates in the City of Norwich,” Stringfellow wrote in a letter to staff and parents Monday.

Stringfellow wrote that many parents have been urging the school system to reopen to full in-person learning, “so that children are fed, warm and safe each day.” Some parents have expressed fear of losing their jobs or that they are exhausting paid leave to remain home with their children.

But staff “are extremely concerned” about the health and safety of their families, their students and students’ families, Stringfellow wrote.

“While there is no solution that will support all stakeholder needs, I am morally and ethically bound to make a decision that is in the best interest of the children and I believe that to be remaining in hybrid until January,” Stringfellow wrote.

Norwich has been in the hybrid model for much of the school year, with students in grades kindergarten through eight attending two days a week in person, while preschool students have been attending four days a week. Some invited English language learners and special education students also have been attending four days in person.

Since Friday, Stringfellow has sent letters to parents and staff notifying them that two staff members at the Thomas Mahan elementary school, one staff and one student at the Bishop Early Learning Center and one student at the Samuel Huntington School had tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous several days. Two people at Mahan and three at Bishop were identified as close contacts who were asked to quarantine for 14 days.

c.bessette@theday.com

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