November update: A temporary move to distance learning

Nov. 18, 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

All students will move to remote learning beginning Nov. 19. We hope to resume our hybrid schedule on Monday, Dec. 7. We will monitor conditions closely and adjust accordingly.

This decision was not made easily or lightly. The recent, rapid increase in COVID-positive cases and the incidence of positive cases in neighboring schools means that we must act to safeguard the health of our school community. 

Although we have thankfully not had a positive case on site, we do have families who lost loved ones in the first wave of the pandemic. One hundred towns in Connecticut (and all but one of our partnering districts) fall into the red-alert zone in the COVID-response level framework defined by the state, and districts have moved to distance learning. 

COVID-19 Testing & Guidelines

There are 200 COVID testing sites operating in Connecticut. You don’t need to be symptomatic or have a doctor’s order to get tested, but the wait time can be very long for those who don’t have an appointment. Please call 211 for helping in finding a location near you.

  • If you have been directly exposed (within 6 feet, for more than 15 minutes) to someone with COVID-19, you are a “contact” and you should stay home and quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. A negative test result does not mean that you are no longer at risk of becoming ill with COVID-19. A negative test result only means that you were negative on the date you took the test.  You could still become ill up to 14 days after your exposure. If you become ill or have any symptoms of COVID-19 at any time during your 14-day quarantine, begin your own isolation immediately and get tested for COVID-19.
  • If you have a secondary contact – meaning you come into contact with someone who was exposed to a person with COVID-19 – you should quarantine until you are able to get tested. If your test comes back negative, you may resume normal activities.

     

  • Even if you haven’t knowingly come into contact with a sick person, if you experience any of the telltale symptoms of COVID: fever, shortness of breath, cough, loss of taste and smell, quarantine and get tested.

Holiday plans
Individuals who are elderly and those with underlying health conditions remain at high risk of dying from COVID. We know the virus can be transmitted by people who don’t have symptoms, and don’t know they have it. The CDC has a detailed guide to how to make the holidays safer for everyone.

Get in touch
We thank you for your continued cooperation and support. As always, our staff is ready to assist families however we can. These are difficult times but we can rely on each other. Please check your email and mail for a longer version of this letter which includes a reminder of staff contact information.

We wish you and your loved ones a healthy and happy holiday. 

Regards,

Dr. Pamela L. Potemri, Executive Director

October update: Welcoming a new clinician, SAT news

Oct. 28, 2020

Good afternoon,

We hope this update finds you well.

New clinician

We are very proud and fortunate to announce that Dr. Barry M. Prizant, one of the world’s leading authorities on autism, has joined our team as a consulting clinician. 

Dr. Prizant is the author of more than 120 articles on autism and human development, as well as the book “Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism”. He is an adjunct professor at Brown University, co-author of “The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach”, and host of the Uniquely Human podcast. We’re grateful to be able to access his decades of experience as we build and grow. You can find out more about his work at http://barryprizant.com/.

Dr. Prizant’s strategies are effective because they are based on direct observation. To this end, he will be observing students in the classroom setting. We appreciate this approach because it gives us added insight into classroom dynamics and helps keep our school climate moving in an uplifting, supportive direction. If you would prefer for your student to not take part in general observations, or you have questions, please contact Joan Aresco at 959-265-8184.

COVID reminder

Administrators are meeting with students individually to review the CDC’s COVID safety requirements: mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent sanitizing of hands and activity spaces. As we take steps to move to a four-day schedule, we expect our young people to fully commit to protecting each other’s health and safety. A few students continue to struggle with the guidelines, even as cases in our communities are rising. We provide frequent reminders, scheduled mask breaks, and breaks upon request. The next measure is moving noncompliant students to distance learning. This is a last resort for us, but necessary. Please continue to reinforce the importance of these safety measures. Your words matter, and we thank you for your support !

Calendar reminder

There is no school on Tuesday, Nov. 3, (Election Day and Professional Development Day) or on Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day). Our school year calendar is located here: https://www.ctcoastalacademy.org/calendar/ 

SAT and PSATs

So far, six students have completed the SAT and one has completed the PSAT. We’re extremely proud of their effort! If you have any questions about these tests, please contact your child’s case manager.

COVID update: A guide for attendance and testing

August update: Return to school details

Aug. 17, 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

We are looking forward to resuming classes on Aug. 26.

Whether they attend full-time in-person or in a hybrid model, our small class sizes and flexible work areas ensure that our students will spend their school day in a safe, socially distanced environment. In the event that conditions cause us to distance learning, we are ready to respond with models that will secure continued progress for our students. 

Student mental health and wellness  is the foundation of our academic and vocational work. We have strengthened our therapeutic program this year with the hiring of a full-time clinical director and another full-time clinician. 

Parents who have health concerns about their child returning to school full-time can opt for distance learning before school begins. Please contact Joseph Potemri, CTCA Director of Operations (potemrij@ct-ca.org) to make arrangements.

One important change is that teachers will be conducting their lessons from school whenever possible. This means that when distance learning students join their Google Classroom Meet, they will receive live instruction from their teacher’s classroom setting. 

Your support is critical to our success. Please see the graphic below for an overview of our reopening plan; and check your email for information about masks, symptoms, and changes at school for this year. Please review these items with your child so they know what to expect; and do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. 

With everyone’s cooperation, we are confident we can all enjoy a safe and happy year!

Sincerely, 
Dr. Pamela L. Potemri

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