Even in the best of times, it’s hard for the average person to fathom the task of organizing and running a building full of a couple of thousand teenagers. And this, the year of the coronavirus, is certainly not the best of times.
Late last week, school leaders said they were hoping students will be able to return to Southington High School Tuesday, after a week of remote learning. Several coronavirus cases led to more than two dozen teachers having to quarantine, and there weren't enough substitutes to continue in-person classes. Monday is Columbus Day and a holiday for the district.
While this must have been disruptive for a lot of families, it’s hard to imagine what else the school could have done without enough teachers. Even study halls (which no one really thinks are a productive way to spend time) would require supervision.
The decision to move to remote learning was taken reluctantly, School Superintendent Tim Connellan wrote in a release, but it was a “necessary choice.”
Probably every school system in the state is going through something like this problem, although it’s important to bear in mind that SHS, with more than 2,000 students, is one of the biggest high schools in the state. (Danbury High, with more than 3,000, is the biggest.)
Once a case of the virus has been discovered, the Southington school district does contact tracing, and those found to have been in close contact have to quarantine for 14 days. The number of people affected determines whether to close the school while tracing is underway. High school students are broken into cohorts to make contact tracing easier.
This is 2020, and nothing can be said to be “normal.” But we trust that the school authorities in Southington are doing their best to get things back to the “new normal.”