BRISTOL - While covid-19 cases are forcing some schools to move to complete remote learning, Bristol continues to operate under the hybrid model. If the number of cases were to start trending upward, any decision to change that would be made collaboratively between the school district and the health district, according to the city’s health director.
Last week, Superintendent Catherine Carbone reported two presumed positive cases in the school district, both of them at Bristol Eastern High School. When the second case was reported Sept. 16, the school was closed for two days and transitioned to all remote learning temporarily.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health and State Department of Education have put together a matrix for recommending whether a district should favor more in-person learning, remote learning or a hybrid model, based on a community’s number of new covid-19 cases per 100,000 in population in the past seven days, along with other factors.
“Every day we monitor that matrix to assure that we aren’t approaching anything that would be concerning,” said Marco Palmeri, the district’s director of health. “Our numbers are very, very good with regards to the matrix. We’re nowhere near the level at which we need to recommend that we change the ability to do in school learning.”
Palmeri said the health district takes other factors into account as well, noting “community exposures, as well as individual school criteria, are on our radar 24/7.”
“If we approach a level of concern then we would have cooperative conversations with the superintendent of schools and the Board of Education and collaboratively we would make a decision,” he said.
Adopted for the 2020-21 school year, the hybrid model means students with last names from A to K and L to Z are in their school buildings on alternate days, except for Wednesdays when they’re all doing remote learning at home, which allows for deep cleaning in the schools.
Messages left with the superintendent and deputy superintendent were not returned.
Since May, Bristol’s number of covid-19 cases have been steadily declining. As of Wednesday, Bristol had 702 confirmed and 17 probable coronavirus cases among its residents. The city has 64 confirmed and eight coronavirus-associated deaths since reporting began. The last virus-associated death was reported over a month ago.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.