A message from the new Head of School
Good afternoon,
I am grateful for the opportunity ahead of me as the new Head of School at Norwich Free Academy. I look forward to meeting many of you, and, of course, your students when possible. Until that point, I wanted to provide you with key updates regarding the upcoming school year.
Your Feedback is Valuable
Thank you to all who responded to our first survey seeking your input about the 2020-2021 year. Our response rate topped 50 percent, which is significant. Your information has informed our planning. It is likely that we will survey you again before school begins. But, until then, we appreciate your response to this first call for information.
School Calendar
As you may have seen, the state has reduced the mandatory number of school days. This was done to allow for additional preparation and planning prior to the start of the year. We are grateful for this additional time, and we will be presenting our proposed calendar changes to our Board of Trustees soon. Once approved, we will share that information with you.
State Mandated Response
Based on state requirements, which can be found here, we are currently planning for three distinct scenarios for the upcoming school year. It’s important for us to be prepared for all possible scenarios. And, it’s important for us to remain nimble and fluid to change our learning model in extremely short notice, much like what we experienced in the spring. The state’s three scenarios include:
In-person learning: this model features all students attending school every day. It’s contingent upon minimal or no increase in virus spread by late August or early September. It includes heightened safety protocols based on the state requirements.
Hybrid model: this model means schools are open, but there will be reduced daily capacity in all buildings. Some students would attend school in person while remote learning happens on the alternating days. Heightened safety protocols would be in place.
Full remote learning: this model would be based off what we did in the spring when NFA moved to its fully remote continuity of learning plan. This would be implemented if there is moderate virus spread in our area.
The possible fluctuation moving from one model to another will be determined in consultation with local and state health officials and, likely, the governor’s office.
Our initial plan to meet the state mandate is due Friday, July 24. This initial plan will serve us as more of a framework for the new year and really drive our additional planning.
Additional Planning
While we are focused on completing the mandated plan for the state, we are looking beyond that, with your feedback, to determine the best and safest way possible for us to welcome back our students to campus this fall.
We have committees focusing on academics, facilities and logistics, communications, and health and wellness. Faculty, staff and administrators are working tirelessly to examine all viable options in advance of the start of school. Our planning will continue to evolve during the summer, and I am committed to sharing important information with you along the way.
Keeping You Informed
Like the proposed calendar, our working re-opening plan will be presented soon to our Board of Trustees. We will release plan information upon approval from the Board. I am hopeful to share more with you next week.
When approved, our plan will be available online at nfaschool.org/covid19. This will be an important resource to refer to regularly as things will no doubt change and be updated on a regular basis.
These are no doubt challenging times. I assure you we will work to our greatest ability to provide a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff. I am grateful for your patience during this process as we may be forced to change course quickly. I will do my very best to keep you informed and up-to-date throughout this process.
Thank you again for your continued support and cooperation. I am excited for the challenges and opportunities ahead that will continue to prepare your students for success.
Dr. Brian M. Kelly
Head of School