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Stonington to release survey Thursday on resuming full in-person instruction

Stonington — Superintendent of Schools Van Riley is expected Thursday night to reveal the results of a survey done over the past week of how many families and teachers want to return to full in-person instruction.

Board of Education Chairman Frank Todisco said that after the results are presented at the 6 p.m. virtual meeting, the board will discuss what its next step will be.

The meeting comes two weeks after a meeting in which some parents pressed the school board to allow students to return to full in-person classes instead of the hybrid mode that has been used since September.

They told the board the current instruction mode — in which students go to school in person two days a week and learn remotely three days a week — has led to students not being engaged in learning, being left behind academically and increased cases of anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other problems.

Thursday's meeting also comes as East Lyme and Ledyard, a similarly sized district to Stonington, are creating plans to bring students back full time. 

In a letter to families earlier this month, Riley had recommended the schools continue in hybrid learning mode through the end of the school year and not return to full in-person instruction due to the difficulty and cost of meeting public health guidelines and finding large numbers of qualified substitute teachers that would come with the change.

He said at the time the best course is to proceed with the current model until vaccines become available for staff and students. 

But on Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that, beginning next week, teachers and other school staff would be eligible to get vaccines at special, dedicated clinics. School and health officials across the state are now working on how best to make those vaccines available to school employees.


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