Darien Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley updated parents on Sunday with a letter and video as to the status of the district’s eLearning as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Addley told the school community that while Gov. Ned Lamont ordered the schools to close until March 31, he fully anticipated the schools would be closed for “signficantly longer” than that.

Addley also asked for school families’ patience as eLearning continues, and also asked the district community to respect social distancing and limit gathering.

“Please remember that all district buildings, athletic fields and playgrounds are closed,” he said.

Addley also shared this informational video with parents that can be be viewed here: https://www.darienps.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=399653&type=d&pREC_ID=video&showMore=1&titleREC_ID=10056786.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Sunday night that three more people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the state’s total to eight.

The news came as businesses throughout Connecticut were hoping to see their industries on the list of those allowed to remain open during the public health emergency. The full list was released at 9:10 p.m. Among those businesses that will be able to remain open are laundries and dry cleaners, mailing and shipping firms, farms and farmers markets, and pet and pet supply shops.

There are 104 new cases of the virus, bringing the state’s total to 327, according to the state Department of Public Health. Fifty one people are hospitalized and there have been 3,600 people tested, Lamont announced. The age group with the most infections is 40-49, with more than 70 people found to have COVID-19.

Board of Ed meeting

Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting will discuss the remainder of the school year’s schedule, including proposing that the spring break be canceled and eLearning continuing.

“However, we would recommend the use of two days for the April break: Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13 for a long weekend. This gives teachers, parents and students time to adjust and focus on the ever-changing environments within their own homes. Under this scenario (taking a twoday long weekend), the date of graduation would be established for Thursday, June 11, 2020,” proposed agenda for the meeting says.

The meeting, like Monday night’s Board of Selectman meeting, will be closed to the public.

“Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order, this meeting is closed to the public but will be available to view. Details on how to view will be posted on the district website before the meeting,” the email from the school district said. Visit the district website here: https://www.darienps.org/

Read Addley’s full letter below:

Dear Parents:

I trust this finds your family healthy, in good spirits and you were able to get outside and enjoy a little sunshine this weekend.

Thank you for your assistance with the technology and your child’s eLearning experiences during the past week. I recognize this has not been easy for staff, parents or students as everyone juggles a myriad of responsibilities. For clarification on the current status of school closures, the Governor’s March 15th Executive Order closed all Connecticut schools through March 31st. Given feedback from the State, I fully anticipate the period of school closure to be significantly longer than March 31st. I will keep you apprised.

Tomorrow morning the district prepares to transition its eLearning platform from practice, maintenance and enrichment activities into new learning and instruction through recorded and live lessons. The teachers have done a terrific job preparing for the upcoming weeks and I ask for your continued patience and support for the staff as they innovate, reflect and modify their practices. Parents, staff and students are learning together as we navigate this is new normal. It is important we go slowly, thoughtfully and reflectively through this next phase of teaching and eLearning and that we do not overwhelm anyone.

We recognize that our students miss their teachers just as the teachers miss their students. As time passes, we will make every effort to reduce any sense of separation or anxiety for our students and each another.

During the public health crisis, we recognize the hard work and sacrifice of our health professionals, first responders and care givers. You may have noticed their social media campaign,” I stayed at work for you. You stay at home for us.” The best thing we can do to honor their work and protect each other is to heed their advice. Please stay home. Exercise social/physical distancing and limit gatherings of adults and students. Please remember that all district buildings, athletic fields and playgrounds are closed. As was announced Friday, the town is offering a drive-through COVID-19 test site at the high school each Monday until further notice. Only members of the community with the approved documentation should be on the high school grounds on Mondays from 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Thank you for your continued understanding and assistance as we face this public health crisis together. District and school administrators will continue to communicate regularly with you through the period of school closure.

Be sure to keep your family safe and healthy and remember to look out for your Darien neighbors. Sincerely,

Alan Addley

Dr. Alan Addley Superintendent of Schools