STAMFORD, CT — Over 3,000 families with children in Stamford Public Schools who responded to a survey said their child will attend classes virtually this fall. The results of the survey were announced during a recent Board of Education meeting.
According to Amy Beldotti, the district's associate superintendent for teaching and learning, the numbers were reflected in a school survey sent to families, which she noted had closed Monday at 5 a.m. (To sign up for Stamford breaking news alerts and more, click here.)
"We are still getting emails from parents selecting their choice or changing their mind," Beldotti said during the meeting Tuesday, "and that's ok."
The survey asked parents and guardians whether they preferred to have their child attend school under a hybrid model, which would have students attend class in school buildings every other day, or at home full-time.
According to the district calendar, students who opted for the hybrid model are set to return to school buildings the week of Sept. 8, their first time doing so since moving to remote learning in March due to the spread of the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19.
Beldotti said the district received over 12,000 responses to the survey.
"That really helps in our planning," Beldotti said.
According to the Stamford Advocate, the projected enrollment for the 2020-21 school year is just over 17,000.
Breaking down the numbers of students whose family opted for distance learning in the fall, Beldotti said about 1,400 were elementary students, around 700 were middle school students and a little over 1,000 were high school students.
"That's a lot of kids to plan for," Beldotti said, "in terms of our distance teaching and learning academy."
After Beldotti's update, Superintendent Tamu Lucero noted the district's facilities group was "hard at work" after receiving more information regarding cleaning protocols.
She also said the city's health department had provided further guidance on areas such as lunch, music, physical education, recess and visitors, among other things.
"We just truly appreciate the Stamford health professionals who continue to guide us in our work," Lucero said during the meeting.
The superintendent said the district had recently hosted several "town meetings" for parents, teachers and staff that went "really well," during which school officials were able to answer a lot of questions.
She also noted the district is still actively answering questions from staff, parents and community members, and acknowledged her appreciation of "how hard our building administrators are working."
Before moving on, Board of Education president Andy George noted the district's current reopening model was chosen due to its balancing of three important goals: safety, learning and the social and emotional condition of students.
"There's no perfect solution," George said during the meeting. "There's no fantastic model to roll out, so this was the model that the committee has chosen and worked on, and I think that administration has done a Herculean job of putting this together in a relatively short timeframe."
George said the board was aware the plan was "fluid" and could change quickly depending on different factors.
He also noted distance learning will be improved in the fall compared to the spring, when the district had to suddenly shift to that model after school buildings were temporarily shut down.
"It is going to be a better experience overall," George said.