SOUTHINGTON — John F. Kennedy Middle School will go into full remote learning starting today, after a newly confirmed COVID-19 case at the school.
The school will operate on full remote learning until Thursday, Oct. 29, School Superintendent Tim Connellan wrote in a letter to district families and staff.
In the letter, Connellan said all individuals identified as close contacts with the positive case were notified Tuesday afternoon and had received specific information regarding quarantine periods of 14 days.
“Students and staff who are recommended for self-quarantine will not be allowed back in school until the fourteen-day period has elapsed,” Connellan wrote.
That self-quarantine includes approximately 20 staff members, Connellan told families. “It will not be possible to open school safely for in-person instruction since the school will not have enough staff available.”
He added later, “The move to temporary remote learning is not our first choice, but it is the necessary choice to ensure the safety of students.”
Connellan, when reached by phone, said the impact of the confirmed positive case at Kennedy “is significant,” with 20 staff members identified as close contacts.
“That’s a little less than a third of the staff. It becomes an issue of student safety. You can’t convene in-person instruction safely in a building of that size when you don’t have enough adults to adequately staff the classroom,” he said. “You always need to make sure you have enough people to safely staff all of the buildings.”
While remote learning is in place, staff members who have not been instructed to self quarantine are expected to report to JFK to conduct remote instruction, Connellan explained. Meanwhile staff members in quarantine will be expected to conduct remote instruction from alternative locations.
“If you did not receive a ‘Close Contact’ notification this afternoon from school personnel, it means that the information collected by the school or the health department indicates that your child or you as a staff member have not been in close contact with a confirmed case,” Connellan wrote.
Earlier this month and in September, officials opted to implement periods of full remote learning at Southington High School, where students attend every other day on a hybrid-in-person-remote system, after positive COVID-19 cases were identified.