COVID-19

Optional District Activities

March 16, 2020

Dear MPS Community,

On Friday, we announced school closures for an undetermined time period. 
Madison educators established a resource bank to assist parents and students in optional district activities. This bank serves as a foundation for the addition of regional and local resources during this unprecedented school break. These activities are optional and do not take the place of instruction. They are designed to offer parents a guide for approximate grade level activities.

We suggest that a daily schedule of learning activities be established in homes based on the individual needs and interests of your child. We hope this bank is a helpful menu to keep your learner engaged.

We look forward to adding additional activities. We wish you good health and a future with a reasonable return to school. In the meantime, we hope this is a helpful school community resource.

Gail Dahling-Hench
Assistant Superintendent of Schools
Madison Public Schools
 

Messages

Meals

Grab and go meals will be available starting Wednesday, March 18, Monday through Friday while schools remain closed as a result of COVID-19.

Drive up under the bridge at Daniel Hand High School between the hours of 11 am and 12:00 pm, your meal will be handed to you while you stay in your car.  Meals will consist of a lunch and a breakfast for the next day.

Given the school closure, please take your meals off school grounds to enjoy.

Technology

The school district has posted Online District Activities on the website to keep students engaged in learning during this unprecedented break from school.  If your family does not have a way to access these online resources, please contact your building principal for further guidance.

How to obtain internet service


 

March 11, 2020

Dear MPS Community,

Yesterday, Governor Lamont's office declared a Public Health Emergency as Connecticut experienced its first diagnosed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In light of this, I wanted to take the opportunity to inform you of future actions that might need to be taken, provide important resources, and hopefully answer some of the many questions circulating right now.

All our efforts are intended to mitigate the spread of the virus in our schools and the larger school community. We will continue to follow guidelines and protocols directly from the CDC and Connecticut State Department of Public Health.  

Prevention

All experts in the field of public health continue to emphasize the importance of basic prevention strategies in slowing down the spread of the virus.

  • POSTPONEMENT/CANCELLATION OF EVENTS/GATHERINGS

    • It is the recommendation of Governor Lamont that all towns and schools in Connecticut modify, postpone, or cancel gatherings of 100 people or more. 
    • Effective immediately, all afterschool events, and some non-essential “in school” events such as all-school assemblies, of 100 people or more will be postponed or cancelled through April 30.
    • We are currently accounting for all such events in our schools and adjusting or cancelling the events as appropriate.  Communications about postponements or cancellations may come from your student’s school, sports teams, or other organizations hosting these events and activities. We will continue to review the calendar of events and reassess after April 30.
  • FIELD TRIPS

    • All field trips are cancelled through April 30.
  • WINTER SPORTING EVENTS

    • The CIAC made the decision to cancel all remaining winter tournaments, playoffs and championships.
  • SPRING SPORTING EVENTS

    • The District will follow the recommendation of the CIAC and the State Department of Public Health regarding spring sports.
    • No recommendation to cancel spring sports has been made at this time.
  • TRAVEL

    • The Madison Public Schools will continue to follow the CDC and Connecticut State Department of Public Health protocols regarding students and staff travel.  If a student or staff member has travelled from a country designated as a “Level 3” by the US State Department, the returning student or staff member will be asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon return. 
  • BUILDING CLEANING/ HANDWASHING CAMPAIGN

    • Countless posters have been placed in each building reminding students to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly.
    • Foaming hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in all dining halls.
    • Custodians have been instructed to ramp up efforts when cleaning and disinfecting high touch traffic points such as hand rails, light switches, cafeterias, and chair seats.
    • We have ordered more disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Items are currently backordered but we are doing our best to get these items to staff members as soon as possible.
  • BUSES

    • Our bus company and its employees are following guidelines set by the CDC. In addition, each school bus is being wiped down with a disinfectant solution after the morning bus runs and afternoon bus runs.

School Closures Due to COVID-19

At this time, school closures in Connecticut have not been directed by Federal or State officials and therefore closure remains a local decision. However, school closures are a possibility and I would like parents to understand the two scenarios that could occur: 

Short-Term School Closures: Closures of up to two weeks may be called to slow the spread of the virus.  The Commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education shared that outright school closures will require extending the school year through June 30, similar to the practice of weather related school closures. In the event of a short-term closure, Assistant Superintendent, Gail Dahling-Hench, is working with a team to create optional online learning activities for our students. This approach is not unlike the bank of summer learning activities that some families choose to access and are not designed to take the place of instruction. They are designed to offer skills practice as well access to a bank of engaging activities and authentic problems for home.

Long-Term School Closures: Closures of longer than two weeks may also be called as a more advanced measure called to slow the spread of the virus.  In the event of a long-term school closure, the State Department of Education will work with school districts on a case-by-case basis with regard to possibly waiving the 180 minimum school day law. 

Since Federal or State guidance is unclear on this issue, we will be examining potential districtwide learning options in the event of a long-term closure.  In an effort to minimize disruption to the education of our students, work will continue with small groups of teachers to identify curricular priorities in the event of a long-term closure. State authorities would require districts to consider all avenues of learning prior to making any concessions regarding 180 school days.  In addition, we will continue to work with our regional partners to mitigate impact to learning during long term closures.

Technology: In the next few days, parents will receive an inquiry from your building principal inquiring about at-home devices. If your student does not have access to a computer, one will be loaned to your student by the district in the event of a long term closure. Only one device will be given per household.

General Wellness Advice

As a reminder, everyone should continue to follow basic steps to keep themselves and others healthy:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a greeting.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Students who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are urged to stay home and not come to school until they are fever-free, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). The district attendance policy does provide for consideration of extenuating circumstances.   

Talking With Your Students

With all of the news coverage and conversation about COVID-19 happing right now, it’s important to think about how this environment might be impacting your student’s mental health. To help parents speak with their children about this topic, our Whole Child Steering Team has pulled together several resources that can be found in the document below.

Parent tips for talking about COVID-19

 

Resources

We encourage everyone to stay informed, sign-up for important news alerts, and refer to the following links:

State of Connecticut

Centers for Disease Control 

Madison Public Schools

Town of Madison Health Department

I understand a lot of information has been shared with you here and I encourage you to reach out to your building principals or myself if you have additional questions and concerns. We are entering uncharted waters, but the administration is preparing to support students and staff in any way we can as this issue continues to unfold.

Sincerely,

Thomas R. Scarice 


March 10, 2020

Dear MPS Community,

In light of concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has announced today that it will cancel all remaining winter tournament games.

In a letter sent to superintendents and high school principals, the CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said, “Due to continuing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the responses from local school districts and third-party venues have greatly varied…Given the wide range of direction local districts are considering, coupled with diminishing availability of neutral facilities, the CIAC needs to take the lead in providing logistical direction to our membership.  Therefore, with many questions and unknowns still pending in Connecticut about COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel our remaining winter championships so that schools can focus their attention on meeting their student's educational needs.”

We know this news will disappointment to many of our student athletes and their families. The District will continue to keep students and families updated as more news becomes available. Please check our website for updates.  

https://www.madison.k12.ct.us/departments/health-services/covid19

Sincerely,
Thomas Scarice 


 

Coronavirus

March 5, 2020

Dear MPS Community,  

As COVID-19 or Coronavirus continues to spread, I wanted to make our school community aware of the steps being taken by the administration to keep our students and staff safe and healthy. Our goal as a district is to keep our community as informed as possible and do our part to slow the spread of germs.

Right now, Madison Public Schools is working closely with the Madison Health Department, in particular, the local Director of Public Health, Trent Joseph, Madison Public Schools Nurse Supervisor Stephanie Lesnik, and our Medical Advisor Dr. Karen Goldberg. Our experts are currently encouraging anyone who did not get a flu shot this season to please get one now.

We rely on the expertise of the professionals in the field of public health to guide any necessary responses. Additionally, I and superintendents across the state have a weekly conference call with the state commissioner of education to encourage information sharing. 

We continue to follow the advice of the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We invite you to refer to information on the following websites to keep yourself informed: 

In addition to the CDC guidelines, we have ramped up certain precautions to halt the spread of germs in in our school community.

Buildings:

Posters have been placed in each building reminding students to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly. Furthermore, our facilities department as put a series of preventative actions in place including

  • Installing foaming hand sanitizer dispensers in all dining halls
  • Supplying all schools with additional hand sanitizer
  • Custodians have been instructed to remain vigilant when cleaning high touch traffic points such as hand rails, light switches, lunch tables, and chair seats
  • Providing staff with disposable wipes to wipe down Chromebooks and iPads between uses

Buses:

Our bus company and its employees are following guidelines set by the CDC. In addition, each school bus is being wiped down with a disinfectant solution after the morning bus runs and the afternoon bus runs.

The MPS Response:

The administration has made the decision to cancel a school-sponsored trip to Europe over April break and will monitor other school travel as the situation develops. The district is not monitoring any staff or students unless we have clear reason to do so. 

Please review the table below for a summary of current CDC travel notices and the MPS Health Guidance.

 

CDC Travel Notice Countries and Regions (as designated by CDC) MPS Health Guidance*
Warning
Level 3

Avoid Nonessential Travel
  • China (this does not include Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan)
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea
*If you have traveled to a Level 3 country, MPS is asking any students or staff to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the United States. 
Alert
Level 2

Practice Enhanced Precautions
  • Japan
  • Travel may continue to these countries and regions, but you may wish to reconsider your plans because the situation is changing rapidly.
  • Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe disease and should consider postponing nonessential travel.
  • Upon return, please self-observe (remain alert for fever, cough, or difficulty breathing)
  • Follow precautions to avoid illness
Watch
Level 1

Practice Usual Precautions
  • Hong Kong
There are no travel restrictions, but travelers should take precautions to avoid illness
 

 

Additional Information Links