SEYMOUR — The Board of Education, meeting Monday, October 5, listened to reports on the status of the new school year.
Rebecca Bennett, school nurse, provided the board with an update, saying, “I’m very happy. I think things are going well.”
She said she was surprised at how well the youngest students are doing with mask wearing and said there has been success with cohorts and limiting access to the schools to students and teachers.
She added that bathrooms are cleaned hourly and techs have been helpful in the health office and isolating students presenting with possible Covid symptoms.
The plan is going well and Ms. Bennett feels Seymour has been successful because of everyone’s efforts.
Timothy Connors, facilities manager, said that facilities are well in hand, cleaned every night. “Knock on wood, we’re doing well.”
During the meeting, the board directed the superintendent to conduct a short survey of the community in order to gather input that would inform the reopening committee as it meets on Wednesday, October 14.
Superintendent Michael Wilson said that activity would be helpful and agreed with Kristen Harmeling, board member, who proposed the survey, that there would be a deadline of Friday, October 9, before which education board members should provide their feedback on the survey.
Public participation supported the idea of returning students to school full time.
In his report to the board, Mr. Wilson said procedures are followed and he described the teachers as doing exceptionally well in the new learning environment.
He added that the administration is in contact with teachers to ensure they know they are supported and shared comments that illustrated positive feedback and gratitude from all areas of the school district.
He shared several comments from the team, words he’d gathered from the team as a way to respond to what the agenda asked, “How are things going?”
When he pointed out that teachers have been building a special bond with each student, he read comments from one teacher describing the challenges of teaching during the pandemic: “It was a learning curve. I felt like a first-year teacher all over again. I have the hang of it now. I get to meet with each student every day, how perfect is that? Our students are going to grow with all of this attention we can give them.”
Mr. Wilson described the success of reopening school as a team effort and he said everyone is working hard to make this year a success.
Finally, he thanked staff members, administrators and students for their dedication while recognizing how hard everyone is working. He also thanked the education board for its part.
Ms. Harmeling said she was upset that the board was not discussing those students who are struggling in every school.
Mr. Wilson responded that he could provide trend data in a future board meeting, acknowledging that the numbers might not fully address her concerns.
She said the data would give the board and reopening committee a better understanding as the board and reopening committee consider the idea of returning students to the school buildings on a full-time basis.