No plans yet to change learning model as 9 COVID cases reported in North Branford schools

The cases did, however, necessitate that fifth-graders be moved to remote learning due to staffing levels, according to the release. A Nov. 5 email from …
  • North Branford Intermediate School in North Branford Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media File

    North Branford Intermediate School in North Branford

    North Branford Intermediate School in North Branford

    Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media File

Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media File
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North Branford Intermediate School in North Branford

North Branford Intermediate School in North Branford

Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media File

No plans yet to change learning model as 9 COVID cases reported in North Branford schools
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NORTH BRANFORD — Three students and six teachers in North Branford Public Schools are out sick after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a release from Superintendent of Schools Scott Schoonmaker.

Michael Pascucilla, director of the East Shore District Health Department, shared a copy of the release, which indicates the district reassesses its metrics on a daily basis but does not have definitive information on if and when it might change its full-time in-person learning model.

“We know many of you are concerned and wondering if we will be moving to a remote or hybrid schedule at this time or in the near future,” the release said. “There is no number or metric that we are using to make this determination, but rather the safety of our students and staff and our ability to maintain safety and supervision dependent on staff attendance levels. The monitoring and evaluation of this occurs daily.”

The cases did, however, necessitate that fifth-graders be moved to remote learning due to staffing levels, according to the release.

A Nov. 5 email from Schoonmaker to parents described the situation slightly differently, saying the remote learning decision was made out of an “abundance of caution” and that fifth-graders would return Nov. 9.

That email, forwarded to the New Haven Register, also indicated the infected individuals included at least one Totoket Valley Elementary School and one North Branford Intermediate School community member, with 11 people at the latter school asked to quarantine due to possible exposure.

When asked to comment on the quarantine of 11 community members, Schoonmaker indicated there were two NBIS staff quarantined and he didn’t know “where 11 came from.”

He did not return multiple follow-up requests for comment, one of which asked him to clarify whether there were there were two staff members who had been infected, or two who had been quarantined due to possible exposure.

On the whole, Schoonmaker classified the district’s infection rate as “extremely low,” according to the release, which indicated the district hasmore than 1,700 students and 300 teachers.

Schoonmaker’s release said the schools have been diligently following health guidelines and that safety was of the “highest priority.”

It’s not the first time the coronavirus has affected the town’s schools, which resumed in-person classes under a full-time learning model Sept. 8.

Several cases in high school students toward the start of the school year put dozens of others into quarantine.

And at the end of September, an NBIS staff member reportedly was infected.

At the time, Pascucilla, the district health director, said he knew of six cases that had been recorded districtwide since classes resumed.

meghan.friedmann@hearstmediact.com