January 28, 2021

Neviaser Confirms Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Will Reopen Fully in Fall, Assuming No Change in COVID Count; Parent Survey Indicates Overwhelming Support

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Curriculum Director Michelle Dean responds to a question during Wednesday evening’s ‘Community Conversation.’

LYME/OLD LYME — “We are not planning to go to a hybrid plan.”

That was Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser’s response when asked Wednesday evening if LOL Schools were going to change their reopening plans for the fall in light of Governor Lamont’s recent decision no longer to mandate that schools in Connecticut must fully reopen in the fall. This change of heart by Lamont allows the option for schools to implement hybrid plans (a combination of in-school and remote learning.)

Neviaser spoke to LymeLine by phone after moderating the first of two ‘Community Conversations’ hosted by LOL Schools in which parents were able to discuss reopening plans with key members of school administration and faculty in a virtual Zoom event. He stressed during the ‘Community Conversation’ and while talking to LymeLine that the plan to re-open schools fully, “Assumes the health data remains the same.”

If the local health department were to advise, “an increase in the number of cases in the school community,” or the community in general had occurred, the plan would be reviewed immediately with health department and might then be changed.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser moderates Wednesday’s ‘Community Conversation.’

Noting that it was some of the larger towns and school districts, which had been resistant to Lamont’s original plan to reopen all schools fully, Neviaser noted that because Lyme-Old Lyme is a smaller school district, “We can work safely [within the social distancing and other requirements.] We have the data to support it,” whereas larger schools do not have the space to accommodate them.

Neviaser told LymeLine that his “general take” on whether parents in Lyme and Old Lyme wanted to send their children back to school was that they were “very eager” to do so and therefore the district was “working hard to make that happen.” His opinion was based not only on what he heard during the ‘Community Conversation’ but also from the responses to the parent survey sent out after the district had submitted its Reopening Plan to the state.

That survey had yielded more than 350 responses from parents and approximately 90 percent of those indicated, “Families plan on sending their kids back to school,” said Neviaser.

Asked how the teaching staff felt about resuming to in-school teaching, Neviaser responded, “They’re very supportive,” adding, “More than 65 people worked on preparing the reopening plans for the district and the majority of those were staff members.”

Emphasizing again that, “The plan is flexible and will change if the health data changes, ” Neviaser concluded that as of now,”The general consensus is very positive. People recognize we all need to work together. The vast majority is being very supportive and helpful,” adding encouragingly,  “Really, they’re being wonderful about it.”

Editor’s Note: We talked at some length Wednesday evening with Superintendent Neviaser about how the LOL School sports program might look in the fall but he noted a plan was being sent out from the state within the next few days. The plan has just been received and so we will write an article incorporating that latest information shortly.



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