Alison Villanueva, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Friday, March 12, 2021
Dear Watertown Faculty and Families,
This is a longer update than usual….Keep scrolling!
I happened to come across this particular article back in February and the title captured my attention. Depending on the publication, it’s always interesting to see varying perspectives.
“No ‘COVID Zero’, But Normalcy: ‘Covid zero’ isn’t going to happen — but normal life still can.” (https://tinyurl.com/dfjs3xh4) In light of this week’s update, I thought this would resonate with readers.
On March 4th Governor Lamont (click for press release) shared his plans to continue reopening the State of CT beginning Friday, March 19th. In addition, the CT Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) just released their Spring Sports guidelines. Whenever updates and new guidelines are released, our teams meet to discuss how they impact our district’s current protocols and plans.
Although our community continues to move towards normalcy, it is extremely important for the Watertown Public Schools community to remain vigilant in following mitigating strategies like: mask wearing and social distancing when outside of the school. We continue to have low transmission rates in our schools and in order to continue this, I dually urge and thank the WPS community for the continued partnership in keeping our schools safe.
This week’s update includes important information about:
upcoming travel for Spring break
an update on our attendance policies
Happenings and Useful Information
Out of State Travel Protocol for Watertown Public Schools
I would like to remind all of our WPS Families that the current Watertown protocol for any students returning from travel to anywhere other than New Jersey, New York or Rhode Island, where they have stayed longer than 24 hours are required to either
Self-quarantine for 10 days or
Complete a test for COVID-19 in the seventy-two (72) hours prior to arrival in Connecticut or at any time following arrival in Connecticut, if the result of such COVID-19 test is negative, they can return to school.
Please read more about Governor Lamont’s Travel Advisory here.
CIAC Quarantine: 14 Days
On Wednesday, March 10, the CT Interscholastic Athletics Conference (CIAC) released their 2021 Spring Sports Plan. At this time, CIAC is following DPH’s position that anyone who has tested positive or has come in close contact with someone who is Covid positive may return to athletics after a full 14-day quarantine period. This means that a student-athlete may return to in-person instruction after a shorter quarantine period (i.e., 10 days), however, must wait the full 14-days prior to returning to athletics.
Adjusted Quarantine: 10 Days
We continue to have success and and a high number of vaccine requests from our Watertown Closed Vaccination Clinics on March 2, March 13 and March 20 and data that continues to trend favorably for Watertown. By March 20, a majority of our WPS faculty will have completed their first dose of the Covid vaccine.
As of Friday, March 19, Watertown Public Schools Quarantine durations will move from 14 days to 10 days based on CDC guidelines published on December 2, 2020 and Addendum 5 as released by the State of CT. Students are required to self-monitor for symptoms throughout the 10 day quarantine and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, they may return to school. If symptoms do arise during their 10 day quarantine, they must contact the school and remain in quarantine.
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY ON QUARANTINE:
Anyone exposed on March 8 or prior will complete the 14 day quarantine protocol.
Anyone with an exposure date on March 9, 10, or 11 has the option to return to school on March 22 (10 days) or may complete their full 14 day quarantine.
Upon return, monitoring must continue and if any symptom arises during days 11-14 students will be asked to visit a physician prior to returning to school again.
This is a reminder that student athletes may not return to sports until a full 14 days have passed even if they return to school after 10 days of quarantine as we will be strictly enforcing the CIAC guidelines for sports.
Families are reminded of the following when planning for a vacation:
If your vacation falls outside of the regularly scheduled April Break, please notify your building principal.
Vacations are not considered remote learning days and students should not log on for remote learning classes. A vacation is a vacation.
The district’s attendance policy (BOE 5110R) is in effect during vacations that take place outside of the district’s scheduled break. Please click your school’s Student Handbook to review the attendance policy,
Thank you again for your help in following this guidance.
Parent-Teacher conferences will take place on the dates below.
Tuesday, March 16th
Thursday, March 18th
Health and Safety
We’ve had a great response and are continuing to move forward with our next two vaccine clinics for all WPS PreK-12 educators and the general public based on age eligibility. Both clinics will be held at Watertown Town Hall.
Clinic 1: Saturday, March 13, 2021 from 8-5PM
Clinic 2: Saturday, March 20, 2021 from 8-5PM
Board of Education Updates
The FY22 BOE Recommended Budget will be presented at the next Town Council meeting on Tuesday, March 16 at 7PM. Click here to join the Zoom Meeting.
On Monday, March 8 at a regularly scheduled BOE meeting, an update on the current $1.9 million deficit in the FY21 budget year was shared. Presentations on where the deficit stems from and the plan for receiving Emergency Covid Relief Funds were discussed. Please click here to learn more about this year’s current budget deficit.
Quote of the week
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~Henry Ford