Remote learning continues through January 29th
Friday, January 22
Given the continued number of positive COVID cases in our community, and the burden it puts on our ability to safely and effectively provide adequate staffing, Norwich Free Academy will remain in remote learning for at least one additional week.
While we were scheduled to return to campus Monday, January 25, we will now target a return to campus date of Monday, February 1.
Last Friday, I notified you of 16 additional positive cases in our school community. Since that time, we have seen an additional 19 cases, bringing our total to 35 over two weeks.
In the most recent data released by Uncas Health District, Norwich and our sending towns continue to remain hot spots. The daily case rate in Norwich is 110 per 100,000, down last week from 111, but still incredibly high. The percentage of positive tests in Norwich is down just over a percent to 11.6, but that is still more than double the statewide seven-day average of 5.2 percent. All of our sending towns continue to face comparatively high numbers.
Like you, I am frustrated with this situation. I understand the importance of our students being on campus as often as possible, especially as we begin our second semester on Monday. I also appreciate there are multiple perspectives and beliefs when it comes to the pandemic, how it has been managed and the effect it has on our children. Unfortunately, schools have been placed in the incommodious position of making decisions that may make some people unhappy. For my part, I continue to make decisions based on the health metrics and what NFA's reality is in terms of affected community members.
While the numbers we monitor are significant, there is some cause for optimism. These numbers are based on the last two weeks (January 3-16). The second week did show a marked decline. Our hope is for that pattern to continue this week, which will significantly improve our ability to return to the classroom February 1. Furthermore, our internal numbers of school community members infected with the virus, or quarantined due to close contact, indicate we will be able to fully staff the school by February 1.
And, as you've likely seen from our neighboring towns, this is not a situation we are facing alone. Our partners at Norwich Public Schools are also in fully remote learning until February 1, as are multiple other schools and school districts. These are difficult times for all of us.
I will update you as needed. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
Dr. Brian M. Kelly
Head of School