WATERTOWN-OAKVILLE — All Watertown Public Schools are shifting to remote learning effective Monday, November 23.

All grades will return to school on December 14 in the hybrid model.

A statement from Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ramos, said:

“Dear Watertown Public Schools Families:

“We have reached the tipping point where it has become necessary to discontinue in-person learning for a period of time. I have attached information for your review to help you understand this decision.

“We cannot safely staff our schools and sustain a reasonable level of quality instruction for all students. Largely due to contact tracing from cases that originate outside of school, we are losing staff that must self-quarantine. Loss of staff is affecting both the quality of instruction as well as normal operations (to include security, facilities upkeep, and cafeteria services).

“It is important to note that the case numbers change from week to week and school to school. For example, a little over a week ago, Judson had teachers and 1/3 of its student body out due mostly to contract tracing. While Judson #’s are not as bad today, other schools show significant problems. Please remember that we are a school system, and any decision inevitably has various impacts on all buildings. Thus, we need to move the entire system in lock-step.

“Our hope is that we will be able to bring students and staff back to school on December 14, after the incubation period following Thanksgiving. The intention is to first bring students back in the hybrid model to help mitigate against any possible spread at that point. Of course, we will not bring students back at that time if community health circumstances dictate otherwise.

“Additional information about remote and December-hybrid schedules will be forthcoming from each school. Some schools have already sent you remote schedules. 

“Schedules for lunch pick-up will be forthcoming. The buildings will remain open for staff only.

“Meanwhile, it is critical that families continue to communicate Covid-19 related matters to their building nurse.

“Obviously, this is a major step that is not being taken without serious thought and deliberation. Some will agree and some will not, and that is understandable. Please know that at the beginning, throughout and at the end of this decision-making process, the primary consideration has been the children and young adults that this district serves.

“We all hope for normalcy to return. Until then, please know that we appreciate your support.”

Building nurse extensions are as follows: Bianca Perez, Nurse, John Trumbull Primary School, 860-945-1401; Sarah Simmons, Nurse, Judson Elementary School, 860-945-5738; Georgianna Karlak, Nurse, Polk Elementary School, 860-945-5128; Anne Terzigni, Nurse, Swift Middle School, 860-945-4613; Michelle Spagnoletti, Nurse, Watertown High School, 860-945-5021; Ann Marie Walker, Part Time Nurse, Watertown High School, 860-945-1420; Maureen Galvin, Nurse, St. John School, 860-274-9208; Anna DeMayo, Nurse, St. Mary’s School, 860-945-0621.

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